Once Upon A Time In Grimentz, Switzerland—Exploring An Alpine Fairytale Village
Perhaps for the average person from Switzerland, the charms of small Alpine villages like Grimentz are found in daily life—but for those from the rest of the globe, the sun-blackened granaries, the rustic barns, and a hushed, ambling brook lined with centuries-old waterwheels will seem so timeless and unreal that it’s as if the setting is straight out of a picture book.
Sitting at an altitude of 5,095 feet in the Valaisian Val d’Anniviers, a Swiss valley on the northern slopes of the Pennine Alps, Grimentz has been hailed as one of Europe’s most beautiful ski-resort villages, and rightfully so.
In the summers, bright red geraniums bloom in the window boxes all around the village and the melting tongue of the Moiry Glacier fills the reservoir with mineral-rich water that shines a brilliant turquoise.
The arrival of winter brings the activity of ski-season including free-ride skiing, snowboarding or helicopter skiing, and access to cross-country ski trails, a toboggan run, and unspoiled hiking trails with views of the snow-capped mountains that display the awesome might of the Alps.
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“The valley hasn’t been overdeveloped yet, as it is in other valleys with more famous ski-resorts,” said Quentin Epiney, founder of elite Geneva-based brokerage FGP Swiss & Alps. “It is a place where you still find true, authentic Swiss-alpine culture, alongside some of the best natural beauty in all of Switzerland.”
The housing in Grimentz
Like other Alpine villages, Grimentz is famous for its enchanting chalets. Throughout the entire village, you will find traditional Swiss chalet architecture—rich wooden weatherboarding, gabled roofs and carved ornaments.
But being a tourist-driven town with a permanent-residents population of less than 500 and only a stretch of four blocks means housing in the village proper is limited. However, new housing options, particularly for those searching for a second home, can be found overlooking the village, like those available in the upcoming Residences Guerneres, which combines modern luxury with a traditional Anniviers feel.
The upscale housing of Residences Guerneres comes with amenities often associated with high-end hotels, such as access to spas, housekeeping and gourmet food services.
The home prices in Grimentz
Real estate prices in Switzerland are often more guarded to maintain the privacy of sellers and buyers. Because of this, home prices are mostly supplied and obtained upon request.
Although specific numbers are kept under wraps, it is well-known worldwide that real estate prices in Switzerland have been on a steady increase and the market in Grimentz exemplifies this growth.
“In 2019 to 2020, Grimentz had the highest increase in prices of all the Swiss Alps,” Epiney said. “That’s important to note for those investing in a secondary home here because prices are likely to continue to grow for the coming years.”
The local vibe
Being a ski-resort town means that the heart of the village is tied to the recreation and pleasures offered by the natural surroundings—thus many festivals and competitions are centered around mountaineering, mountain-biking or skiing.
Grimentz also has a deep connection to heritage and history, and this is apparent from the moment you step into the village. Wandering through narrow alleyways of cobblestone surrounded by traditional structures, one is transported back in time. If scenery isn’t enough, visitors can also enjoy one of the many heritage trails and learn about the rich history and culture of the Anniviers people.
For those who are not interested in skiing or snowboarding, there is still much to enjoy with all of the natural beauty and village charm.
In July, a folk festival brings in music-lovers from all over the Val d’Anniviers, and in the winter, the Raquettissima snowshoe event combines snowshoeing with stopovers offering traditional dishes.
The cellar of the Maison Bourgeoisiale is home to the famous Bishop’s Barre, where wine in a larch-wood barrel dates back from 1886.
What to see when visiting Grimentz
Located on the southern end of Switzerland, Grimentz is less than two hours away from both the French and Italian border.
A short 40 minutes drive to the east gets you to Sion and the Sion Airport, which offers international flights.
Continuing east via A9 and A1 lies Geneva.
Getting to Grimentz is traditionally done by car, but the village is also one of the few ski-resorts with a helicopter port, according to Epiney.
“Of course, you can also get there by skiing if you’re into ski-trekking,” he added.
FGP Swiss & Alps is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.