The 4 Valleys is the largest ski area in Switzerland, and resorts such as Verbier are loud and crowded. But if you head east, away from the mayhem, then sooner or later you will come to Thyon, a tiny resort which will beguile you with its charm and beauty. No, you won’t find a crazy nightlife here, but what Thyon offers is far better than that: peace, unspoilt nature, and some remarkably good food.
Who should visit Thyon?
Thyon is undeniably romantic, so come here with the one you love. Perhaps it is the swirling snow, the mountain panoramas, the fine wines, or the cosy ambience of Hotel Restaurant La Cambuse, but you are going to want to strike a balance between skiing or otherwise exploring the great outdoors, and snuggling with your beloved inside, perhaps in front of an open fire. A certain amount of laziness is good when you are on holiday. It is a restorative balm for those with tired lives.
Winter activities in Thyon
You can ski straight from Thyon, connecting to all parts of the 4 Valleys ski area, and this will become even easier in winter 2023-24 with the addition of a new gondola linking Les Collins 1850 with Thyon 2000. You can rent ski and snowboard equipment from Genolet Sports. What is really special in Thyon, however, is the snowshoeing, with trails looping through the alpine forests and along the edges of the piste. Mountain guide Etienne Jaccottet is passionate about wildlife and conservation issues, and so snowshoeing with him is a fascinating education in everything from the impact of reintroducing wolves and bears, to why climate change is causing the majority of the local hare population to turn from white to brown.
Summer activities in Thyon
The forests and meadows of Thyon are idyllic, especially in the late spring and summer when there are plenty of alpine flowers. This is a wonderful time of year for hiking and horse riding but also to see wildlife such as marmots, ibex (which you can learn about on the Ibex Trail), and deer. With the long days you can spend hours outdoors on the mountainsides, breaking from your activities for a picnic or perhaps to drink a thermos of herbal tea made from herbs foraged in the meadows. Families will love the outdoor “escape room” challenge, which is called The Legendary King of the Forest; and also exploring Thyon’s three scooter routes.
Where to stay in Thyon
The jewel of Thyon is Hotel Restaurant La Cambuse, so if they have availability, this is where you should plan to stay. It is a small, family-run property at the bottom of the ski slope into Les Collons and it has views so spectacular that you would hardly think they are real.
Where to eat out in Thyon
There are a total of 11 restaurants in Thyon, many of which showcase the local cuisine of the Valais Region. Up on the mountain L’Alpage has a spectacular location and a sweeping outdoor terrace to make the most of the views.
Order raclette here: this indulgent melted cheese dish is thought to have been invented by a local winemaker called Leon, who served it to his friends in the late 19th century.
In Les Collons, dine in the restaurant at La Cambuse where owner Jerry Bovier and his team use local ingredients to create a mouthwatering menu of dishes such as Fondue Chinoise with beef, chicken, and venison; Beef tartare with Calvalais; and duckling fillet with citrus juice.
How to get to Thyon
The closest international airports to Thyon are Sion (23 km) and Geneva (180 km). The latter has a greater selection of flights and is connected to Sion by train. You can then take a local bus from Sion to Thyon, or book a taxi with Thyon Taxi Service ([email protected]).
To find out more about Thyon, see the resort’s official website, www.thyon.ch.
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