Grimentz, Switzerland: The Most Charming Place on Earth?

This chalet is part of Grimentz’s famous “Geranium Trail.”

This chalet is part of Grimentz’s famous “Geranium Trail.”

This Small Swiss Town Is Overflowing With Charm

Don’t let the small size of Grimentz, Switzerland, fool you. Located in the Val d'Anniviers 1600 meters (5310 feet) up in the Pennine Alps, Grimentz has a year-round population of 500, and an old town that’s about four blocks long. But this tiny Swiss village punches way above its weight when it comes to charm.

Famous for its chalets and geraniums, Grimentz is surrounded by 4500-meter peaks in almost every direction. First settled a thousand years ago, the town has a strict building code in terms of style and construction materials, which is a big part of the reason why visitors feel like they’ve been propelled back in time.

In the winter, it’s a ski town (the population swells to 6000), with two different gondolas taking you in opposite directions, to two different mountain resorts. The Grimentz-Bendolla chairlift whisks you up the mountain rising directly up behind town, while the more modern Grimentz-Zinal chairlift takes riders up to Corne de Sorebois, which rises up to 2,896 m (9,501 ft). To reach the summit, you have to walk another thirty minutes, but the views from the top are stunning and worth it. Especially, that of the Weisshorn standing at the far end of the Val d'Anniviers.

We visited in the summer. And while the hiking and mountain-biking are extraordinary, we were most taken by the town itself — from its gorgeous chalets, geranium-filled flower-boxes, and decorative water-wheels and fountains. Kept meticulously tidy in the famous Swiss fashion, walking around Grimentz was delightful, even on repeated walks.

You’re not only treated to spectacular mountain views, but the old town is filled with narrow streets going this way and that. A brook that babbles exactly the way a Swiss brook should as it cuts through town, two bridges providing access. On certain days, an old flour mill powered by the stream is operated for tourists, and the stream powers several other attractions, including two woodsmen sawing a log.

Take at look at it, below.

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