The Walser-German district of Vals is situated in the Romansh-speaking Val Lumnezia in the Grisons highlands, also known as Surselva. Covering 175 square kilometers, Vals may be the largest district in the region, but with just around 1,000 inhabitants is nevertheless quite sparsely populated.
Valaisians from the Goms region populated the valleys of Grisons around 700 years ago, where they were given the name Walser. Soon the Romani had become a minority, which is why the people in the district speak German to the present day. There were other Walser settlements in addition to Vals, all of them German-speaking villages in the middle of areas where Romansh or even Italian were spoken. They include Obersaxen, a few villages in Prättigau and Bosco Gurin at the very end of Maggia Valley.
There are numerous reasons to pay a visit to Vals. The magnificent mountain world that attracts many tourists in summer and winter alike is among the most important reasons, in addition to the famous spa by the architect Peter Zumthor. But Vals is far from a bustling hub of mass tourism and instead is located in a secluded, idyllic and quiet mountain valley.
Located close by, plenty of guests travel to the Zervreila reservoir in summer to hike in the beautiful landscape round about. The view of the crystal-blue lake and the breathtaking Zervreilahorn – called ‘The Original’ with a sly wink to the Matterhorn – is simply unforgettable. Flooded in 1957 after completion of the dam, the hamlet of Zervreila is now located at the bottom of the lake.
The road to Zervreila is prepared as a thrilling toboggan run in winter. Small but modern, the ski region is right at the back of the village, at the foot of the stately Dachberg. The pistes extend to around 3,000 meters above sea level, right up to the little Frunthorn. From there, skiers enjoy a staggering mountain vista right over to the Valais Alps. A modern 8-gondola lift system whisks you almost to the summit.
Besides the breathtaking nature and the unique spring for thermal and Valser mineral water, the village is also known for the peerless quarzite that is mined there. Valser stone is used in many places around the world, in addition to the Bundesplatz in Bern and at the spa in Vals.
Almost half of the residents of Vals work in the services sector. The others are employed in agriculture and forestry, industry and trade. In addition to the spa, Valser Mineralquellen has a workforce of 75 and is therefore the largest employer in the village.
The Vas Tourist Information Office gladly provides information about the village.