Gressoney-Saint-Jean a favourite tourist resort of Queen Margherita of Savoy who spent her summer holidays here. The village is on a vast plain facing Monte Rosa and the Lys glacier which are reflected in the waters of the small Gover Lake, just outside the centre of the village.
The historical centre is characteristic; some perfectly preserved Walser houses are grouped around the church, dated 1515, with its attractive bell-tower crowned with a copper cusp. Outside the church you can see the Via Crucis. Of particular interest is Villa Margherita (housing the Town Hall) built at the end of the 19th century by an old local family, it often gave hospitality to Queen Margherita of Savoy. Very interesting is the “Alpenfaunamuseum”, the alpine natural history museum, which houses a rare and rich collection of hunting trophies, ancient weapons, pictures, books and publications concerning mountain wild life. Surrounded by woods in the “Belvedere” panoramic area stands the Savoy castle.
In summer, visitors can enjoy easy walks, trips up to the mountain pastures and mountain huts, climbing trips and trekking trails, and the area also offers vie ferrate, rock climbing walls, a nine-hole golf course, fishing, horse-riding and the “Sporthaus” centre, with a range of activities available.
During the winter season, Gressoney-Saint-Jean offers snow-shoe trails, ice climbing and a number of cross-country skiing tracks, while downhill fans will find some first-class runs in the Weissmatten ski area, as well as a superbly equipped snow park where children can have plenty of fun. Visitors are also sure to enjoy the traditional festivals in the area, such as the Alpine Guides Festival on August 15th and the Feast of the local patron saint, San Giovanni, on 24th June, when the locals take part in a procession dressed in typical Walser costumes.