Sion

Rearing up in the otherwise delta-like flatlands of the western Valais, two otherworldly twin hills flank the ancient city of Sion. The two hills together are a powerful emblem of the city's 1,500-year history as a bishopric and Christian stronghold. If you're up for it, climb to the top of either hill (though not mountains, they're still steep) for dramatic views of the surrounding flatlands and the mountains flanking the valley.

A shortage of high-quality hotels gives the impression that the town is not as hospitable to travelers as the tourist-oriented ski resorts, but don't be deterred; there are ample reasons to spend time here, including a vibrant Old Town with modern boutiques and restaurants, some interesting museums, and those unbeatable hilltop vistas.

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