Sitting on a sunny plateau high in the Alps, Verbier is a fabulous playground in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. It’s an extraordinary winter sports region for both advanced skiers and beginners accompanied by a luxurious apres ski life. In summer, the alpine village attracts visitors with countless outdoor adventures for everyone including golf, sledding, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.
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Where is Verbier located?
The village of Verbier is located in southwestern Switzerland in the canton of Valais. Bordered by Italy to the south and France to the west, it serves as the gateway to the 4 Vallées ski areas —Verbier, Savoleyres/La Tzoumaz, Bruson, and Mont-Fort.
Verbier is a 2.5-hour drive from Geneva airport and 3 hours from Zurich airport. From the airports, you can get there by train to Martigney and then LeChable where a gondola ride will take you to the resort.
Skiing in Verbier
Verbier ski resort forms the western region of the four Vallees. It has an extensive skiing area and is the largest one that is entirely in Switzerland. Both on and off-piste skiing opportunities are exciting and seemingly limitless. Verbier is open for skiing on weekends beginning in November and fully open from December to the end of the skiing season.
The area is so vast it is broken into four parts: Verbier, Bruson, Savoleyres/La Tzoumaz, and Mont-Fort.
The Verbier sector is perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers or for guests who are just looking to hang out with the ski crowd. Beginners can take it easy and cruise along the blue pistes taking in the views while more experienced skiers can enjoy easily accessible off-piste skiing.
The sunny area of La Chaux, the smooth pistes of the Lac des Vaux, and the wide “boulevards” of the Combes and the Attelas cater to beginners and intermediates. There are three nursery slopes for beginners at the resort while the Lac des Vaux has easy runs that are perfect for intermediate skiers.
For long, uninterrupted runs down the boulevards, skiers can head to the Combe 1 and 2 pistes or the Attelas 2 and 3. Modern lifts such as the Funispace, the six-man, high-speed Les Attelas, and the six-seater La Chaux Express will take you to the runs. Even on the busiest days, queues for the lifts are minimal.
The Bruson ski area is directly across the valley opposite Verbier, and the two are linked by cable car. The ride on the eight-seater lifts off from La Châble and goes directly to the mid-station. It has 44 kilometers of pistes that include five blue (easy), six red (intermediate), and one black (expert) The only marked black piste (La Pasay Noir) has two starting points to choose from. Both of them fuse together further down the slope.
Off-piste skiing can be enjoyable at Bruson since the tree-lined terrain means the runs don’t get tracked out as fast as they do at Verbier, and there are 11 kilometers of cross-country skiing. Freeriders can zoom down marked trails through forests and stunning natural surroundings.
Set in a nature reserve, the Buson village is a family-oriented resort with lots of charm.
Sunny, south-facing Savoleyres is popular with families and beginners for its nursery slopes, blue pistes, tree skiing, and winter hiking trail. The area sits at an altitude of 2,220 meters and links to Verbier. It covers 41 kilometers with 13 runs.
La Tzoumaz meets Savoleyres on a ridge line and has north-facing slopes with unspoiled snow conditions. You can go freestyle skiing on the Audi fun slope or whizz down the Verbier Race experience. La Tzoumaz also has a long toboggan run that links it to Savoleyres. It’s one of the longest toboggan runs in the Alps, and you’re likely to see sledges whizz by.
Two gondolas connect Savoleyres to Tzoumaz, and six additional lifts give you access to more blue and red pistes.
Mont Fort is not exactly a part of Verbier, but it is home to the Four Valleys with a high point of 3,330 meters. The slope is a challenge that beckons free riders to give it a try. The black pistes are some of the most accessible of any ski resort in the Alps. In spite of being so easy to reach, you can find secluded slopes.
For impressive panoramic views, take the Mont Fort 2 tram up to the summit where you can experience adrenaline-pumping descents off the backside. It’s advisable to do so with a certified mountain guide.
Mont Fort can be accessed via Tortin on the Col des Gentianes tram, or via La Chaux on the Jumbo with its comfortable cabins and short queues. Both lifts meet at the Col des Gentianes.
Things to Do in Verbier Aside From Skiing
In addition to skiing, you’ll find other exciting things to do in winter. And for a summer holiday, Verbier has several gems to discover.
For a unique experience, Verbier’s TakiTrek, led by friendly and knowledgable locals, will take you on a delightful dog sled ride led by a team of expert and adorable huskies. It’s known in this part of the world as mushing, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to ride a sledge through a snowy world among the towering peaks and get a chance to know the locals.
A toboggan ride is a must-do while visiting Verbier. That’s because it’s home to western Switzerland’s longest toboggan at run more than 9.6 kilometers (6 mi) long and with an altitude difference of 819 meters. You’ll hop on a cable car at the La Tzoumaz ski area and go to the Savoleyres ski area at 2,354 meters above sea level.
There are trails for hiking year-round in Verbier. A winter trail starts near the Maison de la Forêt, a hotel nestled in the forest, and gently rises to the Bisse de Saxon, a river that crosses La Tzoumaz. The path takes you in the direction of the popular toboggan run.
The Savoleyres-Pierre Avoi is an excellent hike that begins at the top of the lifts in Savoleyres. A cable car takes you there from La Tzoumaz or Verbier. The path leads in the direction of the Col de la Marlène, a popular alpine trail, and towards Pierre Avoi. You’ll need to use ladders to reach the summit, but at 2,472 meters, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Alos, The Val de Bagnes, the Rhone Valley, and Verbier itself.
Hire a bike from Backside Verbier and head to the Verbier-La Tzoumaz Bike Park. You’ll find over 12 kilometers of trails to peddle with seven downhill trails. They range from beginner to intermediate and black trails, and even a completion trail.
A Spa Day
Verbier is home to several highly-rated spas. Take a spa day or pay a visit to help you relax after a day on the slopes. In addition to traditional massages, they offer special treatments like hair styling services, saunas, hammams, and Jacuzzis for even more relaxation.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Après ski at Verbier is nothing short of fantastic with bars for late-night partying and Michelin restaurants for a quieter more intimate evening.
For drinking and dancing into the wee hours, check out Le Roughe, Fer à Cheval, or the Casbah. And if you’re here at the closing of the season, don’t miss The Farinet end-of-season party. It’s a wild night of crazy costumes and partying.
Tucked away in the hamlet of Clambin, Chez Dany is a cozy slopeside restaurant that serves traditional Swiss cuisine using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Verbier’s culinary scene doesn’t overlook families. Raclett’house is a family-friendly restaurant and bar in Bruson near the bisse des Ravines. Try the local cheeses before enjoying a Valais specialty dish. In the summer, a playground is open for the children.
Where to Stay in Verbier
Verbier has no shortage of luxurious accommodations and a few somewhat less expensive options.
Le Chalet de Flore is a good choice for hard skiers. It’s an ultra-chic property with magnificent views and easy access to the slopes. W Verbire is also steps from the lifts. A blend of classic and modern, the hotel has 123 rooms and suites each with its own fireplaces.
If you’re looking for luxury and a longer stay, La Cordée des Alpes has 17 apartments as well as 39 rooms and suites. The hotel has an onsite restaurant and lounge, and a special ski room to store your gear.
For less expensive and quieter lodging, you’ll find a few places in one of the other villages. The little village of Nendaz has some charming slopeside hotels such as Thyon les Collons, Hotel La Cambuse, and Hotel Les Etagnes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Verbier
What is Verbier famous for?
Skiiers flock to Verbier for challenging runs and off-piste skiing, wide slopes, and stunning views. It’s also known for its fantastic après ski.
Is Verbier suitable for beginners?
Yes, you’ll find plenty of places for beginning skiers with nursery slopes and blue piste slopes at Verbier and Savoleyres/La Tzoumaz. They are usually low-lying, and you may not even need a lift.
Is Verbier better than Zermatt?
The ski areas are more easily accessed in Zermatt, but there are fewer pistes and less options for different ski levels. Verbier is larger and more suited to spending an entire day on the slopes.