Leukerbad, a modest little village in the Valais region, has a bathing culture dating back thousands of years and is actually the largest thermal spa resort in the Alps. The hot springs are not wild anymore, but are piped in to a variety baths and pools in town – nearly four million liters per day at temperatures of up to 51 ºC (124 ºF).
Leukerbad isn’t necessarily the most charming village around – it has the appearance of a place that experienced a boom in the 70’s – but it’s small, walkable, and attractive enough to be pleasant. The main reason to come, of course, are the hot springs, and the main springs in town – the Leukerbad Therme – are a great place to start. They have a great variety of pools, hot steam grotto, massage jets, spa services, waterslides, and kiddie pools that can keep you happy for days. With all this hot water, Leukerbad is a great destination year-round, 365 days/year, and not a bad choice if you are looking at bad weather during your trip.
There are other things to do in Leukerbad as well, including the awesome, winding pathway up to the Gemmi pass (there’s a cable car as well, if you don’t want to hike), and other good walks, such as along the Dala gorge near town. You can hike here from Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland, hiking from Sunnbuel across to the Gemmi pass and down to town. Assuming you’re not hiking though, you can drive to Leukerbad, or get here by bus from Leuk in the valley below. It takes enough getting to that you’ll probably want to plan at least one overnight in town.