Idyllic Sierre lies almost exactly on the French– German language border. The road east from Sierre to the sleepy village of Salgesch begins as the Rue de la Gemmi and ends five minutes later as the Gemmistrasse; Sierre sits alongside the Rhône, while in Salgesch the same river is dubbed the Rotten.
Wine is what fuels both communities, and there are plenty of trails through and between the vineyards, with numerous opportunities to sample a glass or two. Sierre is the driest town in Switzerland, and gets an average of almost seven and a half hours of sunshine daily from May to October, helping it to produce excellent Fendant whites; Salgesch, meanwhile, is renowned for its Pinot Noir reds.
If you turn left from the train station and aim northwest up Avenue du Marché, you'll come into the old quarters of Sierre. The Rue de Villa, alongside a vineyard, marks the eponymous quarter of Villa, with, at the very top, the Château de Villa, one half of Sierre-Salgesch's modest Musée Valaisan de la Vigne et du Vin (April– Nov Tues– Sun 2–5pm; Fr.5 for both museums; Web: www.museevalaisanduvin.ch ). The Sierre half focuses on the wine itself, with interesting displays (in French and German) on grape varieties and the history of cultivation. From here, a six-kilometre Sentier Viticole/Rebweg (Wine Path) runs through the quiet, shuttered lanes of old quarters of Sierre for a couple of hours over to Salgesch and out through the open hillside vineyards to the other half of the wine museum, in the creaky old Zumofenhaus in the heart of Salgesch. Displays are more scholarly here, on the technical aspects of viticulture, cultivation methods and history, but the enthusiastic guardian will be happy to give you a rundown in English on what's what. Buses (every 2hr) can run you back to Sierre.