Switzerland is indeed one of the best destinations in Europe. Many adore its preserved medieval cities, natural beauty, and spectacular countryside. Travelers and tourists visiting Switzerland never miss seeing the Swiss Alps – the glimpse of heaven on earth.
If you are looking for a city near to almost all famous tourist destinations in the Swiss Alps, then it must be Brig that you’re looking for. In this blog post, I will introduce Brig to you, as well as other information that you can use:
- To decide if Brig is worth visiting.
- To know the things to do in Brig.
- To determine how far Brig from other Swiss tourist destination.
And many other more.
I hope this blog post can help you plan your trip to Brig. By the way, Brig is one of the cities near the Swiss Alps’ most famous tourist destinations. You can check out other cities later or now from this blog post: Cities in Switzerland near the Swiss Alps Best Destinations.
Unlike most cities in Switzerland, Brig is something we seldom hear. If you are not yet familiar with Brig, here I show you a video of Brig. Let this be your travel inspiration for today:
Interesting Facts about Brig
Though Brig is a small city, it is was recognized as the Alpine Town of the year in 2008. It is also the birthplace of a few talented sports personalities like the professional ice hockey forward Nico Hischier. An Olympic champ was also born here. Benjamin Weger, a biathlete, won Olympic medals three times.
Where is Brig in Switzerland? See in maps.
Brig, also known as Brig-Glis, is situated at the foot of the northern slope of Simplon Pass in the Upper Canton of Valais. Rhone River flows through the city, and mountain peaks such as Tochuhorn, Glishorn, and Spitzhorli surround it.
If you look at the map below, you can see that Brig lies at the center of all the attractions in the Swiss Alps. Later on, in the following sections, you will learn how far they are to Brig.
Brig also houses the train border station that welcomes the travelers pouring to Switzerland from Italy. Because of that, many trains roaming around Switzerland have a stop in Brig to pick these new arrivals.
Glacier express, the scenic train that travels for 300 kilometers in the Swiss Alps, also stops in Brig. The easy access to other attractions in the Swiss Alps provided by the Glacier Express is one reason why sometimes travelers choose Brig as their base city/location.
There are other cities that you must also visit in the Swiss Alps. Like Brig, they are near the famous tourist attractions too:
- Sion – It has a castle on a hill, and here you’ll find the oldest playable organ! Like Brig, Sion is also in the Rhone Valley, so you must expect stunning sceneries here, as well. Learn more about Sion from my article: Captivating Places in Sion, Switzerland: A Link To The Past.
- Thun – Similar to Brig, it has a castle in the heart of its town. It is also the gateway to more magnificent castles sitting by Lake Thun’s lakeshore. Learn more about Thun in my article: The Guide to the Breathtaking Places in Thun, Switzerland.
- Lucerne – We all know where Lucerne is in Switzerland. It is one of the country’s largest cities! But do you know that it is near the Swiss Alps’ attractions as well? Moreover, do you know why you must visit Lucerne? Check it out in my article: The 15 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lucerne
- Montreux – It is the city located on the western end of the Swiss Alps. It sits between Lake Geneva and Rochers-de-naye. If you are coming from Geneva, Montreux could be a good stop. Learn more about Montreux from this article: The 10 Best Reasons Why Montreux Is Worth Visiting
What are the best things to do in Brig?
Brig is relatively “small” compared to other cities in Switzerland like Lucerne, Geneva, Bern, or Zurich. Thus we must expect that there are fewer activities that await us in Brig. But, never underestimate the numbers! Below are all the things to do in Brig that I found from researching.
Let’s start the list of things to do in Brig with the Stockalper Palace, the most famous attraction in Brig. It is a 17th-century structure, the largest privately-owned building in Switzerland during its early days.
The palace was made and owned by a rich and powerful tradesman called Kaspar Stockalper. He is a trading genius who employed 5000 people and monopolized the salt trade using the Simplon Pass.
The Stockalper Palace has three towers with unique water-drop-designed roofs. Fun fact, Stockalper’s towers were named after the Bible’s Three Wise Men: Caspar, Melchior, and Baltazar.
Architecture enthusiast travelers will love the interior of the palace, especially the large courtyard inside. There, visitors see spectacular arcades in Italian Renaissance Style, paired with eye-catching balusters. Below is the 360 view of the courtyard, rotate the view to see more:
Usually, you have to join a tour to get inside the Stockalper Palace. Inside the palace, you will see a gallery about the Stockalper family, the history of the Simplon Pass, and other artifacts collected from the Upper Valais region.
If you want to know what an ultra-rich early capitalist looks like during the 17th century, come inside the palace. At a hall inside the building, you will see the painting of Stockalper placed between two windows. See the 360-view of the palace hall below:
The palace is big, but it is not enormous. Based on the reviews of TripAdvisor.com, the suggested visiting duration for Stockalper Palace is around 1 to 2 hours. The palace is at the heart of Brig. If you plan to stay within Brig, you can reach Stockalper Palace within minutes on foot.
Do not forget to take a selfie souvenir of you with Stockalper Palace at the gardens located southwest. Here is the Google Maps coordinate for easy reference.
World Nature Forum
World Nature Forum is an interactive museum managed by UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Alps. It is one of the best museums in Europe, bestowed with the Sustainability Award during the European Museum Forum 2019 (source: wnf.ch). It is a “must” thing to do in Brig.
You can virtually start exploring the World Nature Forum by the 360-view of it below. I suggest that you use a PC for a better viewing experience, or you can tilt your phones in the landscape to see a larger view.
In World Nature Forum, you can learn so much about the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Alps. The museum will let you experience in all senses what’s it to be like in the Alps.
There are many experiences that you can try in the museum. The range of activities inside the World Nature Forum starts from viewing pictures of the mountains to watching epic sceneries inside a panoramic screen to smelling the sample fragrance of the flowers in the Swiss Alps.
One of the highlights of the World Nature Forum is the Jungfrau railway car. It is a replica of the wagon that has journeyed into Jungfraujoch in 1912. You can try the virtual ride to the mountains inside the wagon. Here is the 360 view of what’s inside the wagon:
If you like an experience in an exhibit, you can “collect” it using a badge. It’s like creating a digital list of things you want to actually encounter in the Swiss Alps while you explore the museum. As you exit, you can get a hard copy of the experiences that you liked, serving as your checklist for your entire Swiss Alps expedition.
You can check out the video below to learn more about World Nature Forum.
The World Nature Forum is located in the northern portion of the city. You have to cross the Rhone River to Naters to reach the museum. It is only 5 minutes away from Brig’s train station to the north. Once you see the roundabout, you’ll almost there. There’s the Google Map location of the World Nature Forum for your reference.
The World Nature Forum is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed every Monday. You can enter without any payment if you have the Swiss Museum Pass. If you don’t have, you need to pay 18 CHF for adults and half of it for kids 6 to 15 years old. For further information regarding your visit, you may refer to the World Nature Forum’s website.
If you’re outdoorsy or have visited World Nature Forum and Stockalper Palace, going to Simplon Pass is the next thing to do in Brig. Simplon Pass may sound just like an ordinary road, but it is not. Actually, it is one of the most famous scenic drives in Switzerland.
The Simplon Pass stretches from Brig to the Swiss-Italian border. Within that length, you will encounter several historical landmarks that will spice up your visit to the scenic drive.
Aside from that, Simplon Pass also offers different activities that you can do regardless of season and weather. There are hiking trails for the summer, ski resorts for winter, and museums during “bad” weather.
If going to Simplon Pass is on your things to do in Brig list, you must not miss seeing the landmarks in the Simplon Pass. Take a photo or a selfie, so you give yourself a souvenir that you visited the scenic drive.
There are three landmarks to see, and they are all in scenic locations. So, it is really compelling to come and visit them:
This bridge lies at a very stunning location nestled between two mountains, connecting the two. It is a superstructure built in a seamless continuous frame system. You will be able to spot the bridge right away. It pops out of the scene because of its light color.
Actually, there is two Ganter Bridge. There is a new and old Ganter bridge, with the new Ganter Bridge more massive than the old one. If you’re coming from Brig, you will see the new Ganter Bridge first. It bypasses the old Ganter Bridge located farther in the valley.
If you’re at the new Ganter Bridge, move 800 meters to the east, and you will arrive at the old Ganter Bridge. The old Ganter Bridge is made of bricks, and it really looks nostalgic. There is a pathway below the old Ganter bridge. The view to or from the bridge is really Instagrammable, especially during a bright sunny day.
Above is a 360-view of the old Ganter Bridge. Tilt the image a little bit upward, and you’ll see the beautiful ice-capped mountain located at the east of the old Ganter Bridge.
When you are sightseeing, do not forget to enjoy the moment! The scene is beautiful, and undoubtedly, the air will be absolutely fresh. Close your eyes and breathe deeper! If you’re living in a city, those will be the things that you will surely miss.
As you move up higher the Simplon Pass, you will see the famous landmark of Simplon Pass, the Simplon Adler. It is a granite statue of an eagle built during World War II. It symbolizes “vigilance,” created by the 11 Mountain Brigate commemorating the “Watch of the Simplon.”
Simplon Adler stands at an absolutely breathtaking spot in the Simplon Pass. It is near the Simplonpass tourist information center, a cafe, and a hotel. If you plan to hike your way up to the pass, it’s an excellent spot to have refreshments.
Save the Google Maps Location of Simplon Adler through this coordinates link to the landmark.
Not too far away from the Simplon Adler, you will find Altes Spittel (Old Hospice in English) as you continue to move southwards in the Simplon Pass. It is a five-story granite structure, also built by Kaspar Stockalper, that serves as a refuge for some travelers and tradesmen back in the days.
According to the official website of Simplon, the structure, though old, is still functional. It can be accommodated by a group of 20 to 66 people.
But for a traveler like us, we can just simply admire the structure outside. I’m not sure if we can enter the structure (sorry!). Either way, many reviews tell that it has a good stunning location similar to Simplon Adler.
What’s good about visiting such a historic place is that it can help you escape the present and image that you travel back in time. It’s like you’re creating a fantasy of your own, a movie where you are the main character. For a while, don’t life escape you! Feel that you are alive.
Back in the days when Altes Spittel was still a shelter for traveling tradesmen and travelers, people follow a mule track in Simplon Pass known today as Stockalperweg. Hiking Stockalperweg is a thing to do if you want to see almost every corner of Simplon Pass.
Today, it is still accessible. However, it is not used anymore for commercial purposes, but for leisure activities like hiking. Stockalperweg is called Stockalper Trail in English.
This trail has three stages, according to the official website of Brig-Simplon Tourismus. And if you have plans to hike the Simplon Pass, you will traverse these parts of the scenic drive:
First Stage: Brig to Simplon Pass
- Hike Duration: 6 hours
- Distance: 11.9 kilometers
- Overall Elevation Gain: 1606 meters
- Sceneries to see: Saltinaschlucht Gorge, Taverntal valley, Simplonpass
- Landmarks to see: Stockalper Palace, Hospice
Second Stage: Simplon Pass to Simplon Dorf
- Hike Duration: 3.25 hours
- Distance: 9 kilometers
- Overall Elevation Gain: -540 meters
- Sceneries to see: Small Alp settlements and hamlets, Simplon Dorf Village, Alpine cultural landscape
Third Stage: Simplon Dorf to Gondo (Swiss-Italian Border)
- Hike Duration: 3 hours
- Distance: 8.6 kilometers
- Overall Elevation Gain: -850 meters
- Sceneries to see: Gondoschlucht gorge, Old Army Barracks perched in breathtaking mountain sceneries, Gondo Stockalperturm Hotel Restaurant
As per reviews, and based on the site of Brig-Simplon Tourismus, hiking would only be tiring during the first stage. However, the pass has several bus stops. You can skip all the steep parts of the Simplon Pass if you want.
Before you reach the end of Simplon Pass in the Switzerland Territory, you will pass by several settlements showing lovely views of the Switzerland countryside.
One of them is the Simplon Dorf Town. There you will find a museum called Museo Sempione. In this museum, you can find items used in the Simplon Pass and photos of the lives of Simplon inhabitants. Here are the map coordinates of Museo Sempione for our reference.
Fort Gondo is another museum that awaits you in Simplon Pass. In the past, it was used as a defense station to protect the country from an invasion. Today, it is a museum showing the life of the military back in the day.
Inside the museum, you will see several machine guns that you can hold and take a selfie with. You will have a chance to enter the metal doors of heavily fortified barracks.
Visiting Fort Gondo would feel like you’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse in which the mountains serve as your last refuge. The things you’ll see here will range from military kitchens to underground tunnels used for escaping capture.
Regardless of the season, visiting Rosswald from Brig or Simplon Pass is sure a must-do thing. Rosswald is a car-free resort town that lets you see scenic views of the alps by hiking during summer. During winter, Rosswald turns into a winter wonderland with beautiful chalets and wooden houses that look so picture-worthy in snow.
Since it is located at a high elevation, a spectacular phenomenon called a sea of clouds can occur here. Basically, it is an overcast cloud seen from above, but it is absolutely a sight to behold. See the 360-view above.
Thermalquellen Brigerbad AG
After all the physical activities you do in the city or Simplon Pass, a refreshing thermal bath will surely complete your experience in Brig. Relax your tired muscle and calm your mind in Brigerbad – a thing to do in Brig.
Brigerbad is Switzerland’s largest open-air hot springs with mineral-rich warm waters containing lithium, sodium, calcium, and sulfate. The water temperature in Brigerbad ranges from 21 degrees to 50 degrees celsius, perfect not only in soothing our muscles but also in helping reduce several ill conditions.
According to the Brig-Simplon website, the waters in Brigerbad is suitable for the following conditions: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neurological disorders, chronic bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Brigerbad has a thermal spa, outdoor and indoor pool, wellness and beauty center, and a restaurant. It is open every day, all year round. The opening hours are from 9 am until 9 pm. Watch their official video below:
How far is Brig to the attractions in the Swiss Alps?
Brig is located at the center of many natural attractions in the Swiss Alps. Here is the table which will tell you how far is an attraction from Brig. You will see how many train/bus/cable car rides you will need to get to a specific place in the Swiss Alps, as well.
|To||Transport (Minimum number of rides)||Approximate Travel Time (Minimum)|
|Bettmeralp||1 train + 1 cable car||34m|
|Obergoms||1 train||1h 15m|
|Saas-Fee||1 bus||1h 1m|
|Zermatt||2 trains||1h 17m|
|Interlaken||1 train + 1 bus||1h 17m|
|Lauterbrunnen||3 trains||1h 45m|
|Grindelwald||3 trains||2h 1m|
The data above is gathered from Google Maps. The number of trips and the travel time must be the same vice versa for inbound/outbound trips to/from Brig. You can double-check the data below using the links provided.
Google nor I cannot precisely tell the exact travel time for each route. They could vary depending on weather, time of the day, or demand. Ultimately, these are just estimates and should always be double-checked on the day of travel.
Route from Brig (data resource):
If you are looking for a comprehensive post about the attractions near Brig, you look at my article, the 15 Villages and Towns in the Swiss Alps.
What is the language spoken in Brig?
Brig is located in the multilingual Canton of Valais, where 62.6% of the population speak German or Swiss German. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 40% of the Swiss population aged 15 and above can speak more than one language, including French, English, Portuguese and Italian. See the infographic below:
Generally, in a workplace or transactions, more than 30% of the total Swiss population can speak German, nearly 30% can speak French, around 20% can speak English, and 10% can speak Italian. The numbers continue to change as the Swiss Government promotes multilingualism.
Is Brig Worth Visiting?
Brig is one of the places you must include in your bucket list if you plan to stay in Switzerland for 10 days or more. It goes into lower priority when compared to other attractions in Switzerland like Zermatt or Lauterbrunnen. However, based on the table shown earlier in this post, Brig is an ideal base location to book your hotel when visiting more than three attractions in the Swiss Alps.
Brig is also a good starting point in visiting towns in the Swiss Alps, especially if you are unsure of what places are excellent to travel to. The World Nature Forum will basically orient you to the different experiences you can have in the Swiss Alps.
You can compare Brig to other cities in the Swiss Alps by checking my blog post the Cities in Switzerland near the Swiss Alps Best Destinations.
Photos of Brig: Travel Inspiration
If you are still undecided to travel to Brig or not, here are a few of the photos taken from the city and nearby attractions in Brig. Let this be your travel inspiration for Brig.
I have a post about the beautiful countryside of Switzerland. It has a lot of photos that can inspire you too! Actually, it is my main driver why I created the posts about Switzerland. I’m sure you’ll gonna love the photos too.
Save it on Pinterest.
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