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Brig, Switzerland: Where It Is and What You Need to Know

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Darla Uhl

The historic town of Brig, Switzerland lies in the Upper Valais region of Switzerland. Zermatt lies to the southwest, Simplon Pass to the east, Jungfrau Aletsch to the north, and Andermatt to the northeast. Brig, also officially known as Blig-Glis, is located in the Rhone Valley, 691 meters above sea level.

Overview: Brig, Switzerland

Brig is on the route of the Glacier Express that goes from Zermatt to St. Moritz. Other attractions in this alpine town include St. Sebastian Chapel, the Stockalper Castle, and the thermal baths

There are plenty of things to love about Brig, even though it may not be as famous as other cities and towns in Switzerland.

Brig was historically part of an important route in the Western Alps during the 17th century. Today, the Stockalperweg hiking path is open from early June to mid-October. From the quiet Taferna Valley to the wild Gondo Gorge, this path is dotted with mountain streams, forests, chapels, bridges, castles, and museums.

Brig is easily accessible from many parts of Switzerland. With the opening of the Lötschberg Basis Tunnel NEAT, Brig can be reached in one hour from Bern and in two hours from Zurich and Basel. It is a great location for excursions because it is so convenient.

Several of the best ski resorts in Europe can be reached easily from Brig. But before we go into all the attractions near Brig, let’s see first what the town has to offer.

Stockalper Palace, Brig, Switzerland

Stockalper Palace in Brig, Switzerland
Image of Stockalper Palace, Brig by TouringSwitzerland.com

Stockalper Palace, the most prominent building in this alpine town, dates back to 1658-1678. It was built by Kaspar Stockalper, a Brig silk merchant.  

Come during a time when they’re having a guided tour and you’ll have the opportunity to explore Stockalper Palace’s historical rooms. For more information, check out the website of Valais.ch here

Besides Stockalper PalaceGamsenmauer and the Church of Mariä Himmelfahrt with ossuary are historical sites. To protect the valley from attacks coming from the west, Gamsenmauer was constructed. The Church of Mariä Himmelfahrt in Glis is one of the oldest in the area.

If you would like to read more about Stockalper Palace, you can check out The Fascinating Stockalper Palace In Brig, Switzerland.

Brig’s Old Town

Despite the small size of Brig, is still worth a quick stroll if you are already in the area. I consider it to be one of the most beautiful towns in Rhone Valley. Brig’s Old Town offers historic buildings, cozy hotels, boutiques, restaurants, and shopping opportunities.

Visitors can arrange a Group Tour of Brig (about 90 minutes long) or a Culinary Tour (4 hours long) at the Brig Simplon Tourist Office (Address: Bahnhofstrasse 2). The tours are available in German, French, English, and Italian.

In summer, a small blue train called Small Simplon Express (Kleiner Simplon Express in German) circles Brig-Glis and Naters in 30 minutes. During this trip, you’ll discover many exciting and historical facts about the region.

The train runs in the afternoon (around 4:00 PM) from the end of June to mid-September. Starting the third week of August, the train will only run on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You can buy your ticket from the train driver.

The Small Simplon Express Train passes by the following places of interest:

  1. Stockalper Palace, Brig
  2. Jesuit College Church, Brig
  3. Parish Church, Brig
  4. St. Sebastian’s Chapel, Brig
  5. Bone House, Naters
  6. Parish Church, Naters
  7. Junkerhof, Naters
  8. Judengasse, Naters
  9. Brig Train Station

Brigerbad Thermal Baths

Brigerbad Thermal Baths
Image of Brigerbad Bath from wikimedia

As well as the city itself, Brig includes Brigerbad, 43 small Alps, and mountain pastures. It is located a bit above Brig itself. 

Originally discovered by the Romans, Brigerbad thermal baths offer a beautiful view of the Alps. Together with the spa area, it is open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. With a surface area of 2,600 m2, it is the largest open-air thermal bath in the Alps. Up to 50 liters of 50°C thermal water per second come out of the springs in Brigerbad; these waters have been used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, and other ailments.

If you would rather head over to a swimming pool, you can go to the Swimming Pool of Geschina Brig (Address: Geschinaweg 7 3900 Brig) during the summer season. Here, they have multiple swimming pools, a long water slide, diving boards, beach volleyball, a kiosk, and a playground. The water temperature here is 24 to 25°C.

Simplon Pass

Simplon Pass Eagle
Image of the Simplon Pass Eagle from Wikimedia

Just outside the town gates begins the Simplon Pass, one of the most beautiful Alpine passes in Switzerland. For centuries, Brig has been a transit point as well as a customs post for transport across the Simplon Pass. As Brig prospered with the Simplon Pass, it gradually overtook Naters village across the road, becoming an independent diocese.

Simplon Pass, 20 kilometers away from Brig, links Brig with Domodossola in Northern Italy. Thus, it connects the Pennine Alps of Switzerland to the Lepontine Alps of Italy. The pass lies 2,005 meters above sea level and is open all year round.

Sculptor Erwin Friedrich Baumann created the nine-meter-high eagle on the Simplon Pass. The charming village of Simplon Dorf, with its 310 residents and stone-roofed houses, lies just beyond the Simplon Pass at 1,476 meters above sea level.

World Nature Forum, Naters

Image of the World Nature Forum, Naters by TouringSwitzerland.com

The World Nature Forum in Naters is an interactive museum that people of all ages can visit to learn more about the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is creative and informative. The exhibits here are available in four languages.

The World Nature Forum Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Please take note that the exhibition is closed between Christmas and New Year.

If you would like to learn more about the World Nature Forum, you can check out The World Nature Forum Naters: A Review.

Excursions from Brig, Switzerland

Brig Train Station, Switzerland
Image of Brig’s Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

Any Swiss map will show that Brig lies at the heart of Valais’ attractions. There are a variety of excursions within easy reach of Brig.

Here are some of the attractions near Brig that you can reach by public transport:

RouteEstimated Travel Time from Brig
Brig to Brigerbad22 minutes
Brig to Bettmeralp41 minutes
Brig to Riederalp43 minutes
Brig to Simplon Pass42 minutes
Brig to Simplon Hospiz43 minutes
Brig to Fiescheralp52 minutes
Brig to Belalp55 minutes
Brig to Simplon Dorf55 minutes
Brig to Rosswald59 minutes
Brig to Gondo1 hour 12 minutes
Brig to Zermatt1 hour 17 minutes

In addition to these attractions that you can reach by train, Brig, Rosswald, Termen, and Ried-Brig are also good starting points for various hikes in the region. For example, check out the nature path Achera Biela. This 24-hectare area contains a variety of valuable habitats, including traditional and near-natural arable crops, species-rich meadows, rocky steppes, bisses, and terraced dry stone walls.

Located 1,820 meters above sea level, Rosswald is accessible by road or cable car. A small bathing lake can be found near the mountain station. Apart from that, it offers a fantastic panoramic view and hiking trails through forests and mountains.

Termen also boasts a coffee roastery that you can visit, Caffè Sempione. You can also learn more about the region on a Valais mountain adventure path

Final Thoughts: Brig, Switzerland

It is worth considering Brig, Switzerland, even if most guidebooks recommend places like Lucerne, Zurich, Bern, or Geneva instead. Despite its small size, there are plenty of attractions to visit from here. Moreover, fast trains make it easy to get here from international airports.

One caveat to all of this is that Brig doesn’t have many hotels to choose from. Nevertheless, you can find wonderful accommodations if you book early. Here are some terrific hotel choices due to their excellent location in the heart of the town or near the train station:

Brig, Switzerland is a suitable option if you’re looking for a small alpine town set in Valais similar to Chur. It’s also easy to get to Zermatt from here. Alternatively, you can visit the Jungfrau Aletsch region, where you will find the country’s largest glacier.

Other places to visit in or near Brig are the following:

  • Naters – Known for its historic buildings, this is one of the largest villages in Valais. In addition to the church, it is worth taking a look at the ossuary (Beinhaus).
  • Red Mile (Rote Meile) – A foot and bike path between Naters and Bitsch.
  • La Caverna – In a former military fortress, La Caverna’s culture center is home to the Swiss Guard Museum (Gardemuseum), the Museum of the Simplon Fortress (Festungsmuseum), and the Radiator Museum (Strahlermuseum).
  • Grindji – From Brig, you can get to Grindji by walking near the Saltina River and Napoleon’s Bridge. The place has a grill area and places to sit.
  • Ganter Bridge – It is the second longest spanning reinforced concrete bridge in Switzerland, after the Poya Bridge, at 678 meters.
  • Simplon Dorf – A charming Walser village that is home to hotels, restaurants, and local businesses.
  • Ecomuseum (Alter Gasthof Museum) – Stockalper, Napoleon, Simplon tunnel miners, Geo Chavez, and Life in Simplon are just a few of the topics presented at the museum.
  • Gondo Gorge – This gorge is home to Alpine Ibexes and Chamois, as well as unusual plants like south alpine tulips.
  • Fort Gondo – A 19th-century fort that was reinforced during the wars. The site can be visited with a guide.
  • Gondo Gold Mine – Almost 120 years after being shut down, the Gondo gold mines are now a visitor attraction. Under expert guidance, you can go gold-seeking yourself in the mountains where the ancient Romans laboriously mined gold-bearing ore two thousand years ago.
  • Laggintal – With 75 types of butterflies, Laggintal is one of the most interesting butterfly reserves in Europe. The area also has pretty waterfalls and a mountain with glaciers

If you want to stay in Valais and visit other destinations without having to travel two hours each way, Brig is a great place to stay. Brig is a great day trip destination as well as a base. This could also be a place to stay in Switzerland after exploring Italy before heading to France, Austria, or Germany.

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Resources

  • Stockalperweg: «Auf den Spuren des Königs des Simplons». Wandermagazin Schweiz, 2022.
  • Eine Etappe zum Erholen. Wandermagazin Schweiz, 2022.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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