Villars-sur-Ollon: A Haven For Outdoor & Nature Lovers

villars sur ollon

Villars-sur-Ollon, often called just Villars, is a popular ski resort in southern Switzerland. If you’re considering traveling to the village and you want to know what to expect there, you’ve come to the right place because this detailed guide will tell you all you need to know about Villars!

How to get there, what there is to do in the area, and what makes this little village internationally famous are just some of the things covered in this guide. Keep reading to learn more about Villars and find out why this quaint Swiss village attracts so many local and international tourists every year!

How to Get to Villars

Villars-sur-Ollon
Villars-sur-Ollon

Villars-sur-Ollon is accessible by trains and buses, so you can easily reach the village if you rely just on public transport. However, it’s important to note that there’s only one train that passes through this village, and it’s the R27 that runs from Bex to Col-de-Bretaye. If you want to travel exclusively by train, you will need to reach the Bex train station first.

Direct trains to Bex run along the shore of Lake Geneva, so you can easily reach the town if you’re departing from Geneva, Lausanne, or one of the other towns on the northern shore. But if you’re trying to reach Bex and Villars from different parts of the country, you’ll have quite a bit of train changing to do.

From northeastern Switzerland, look for trains that head to Visp. Trains run between Visp and Aigle, and then you need to change trains in Aigle to travel back south to Bex. It’s a bit tricky and tedious, but it doesn’t take a lot of time to travel between two towns.

If you’re trying to reach Villars from places in northern Switzerland like Zurich, St. Gallen, or even Basel, it will take a while. It’s about three and a half hours from both Zurich and Basel, with several train changes and an optional bus ride. You can either travel by train to Bex and then to Villars, or you can catch a train to Aigle and then ride the bus for 30 minutes to Villars.

Things to Do in Villars

Skiing

Villars Skiing
Skiing in Villars-sur-Ollon

The Villars resort is a very popular skiing destination in Switzerland. It’s part of the Villars-Gryon ski area together with the neighboring village of Gyron, which offers some 84 kilometers of ski slopes. On top of that, you have easy access to other ski resorts from this area, namely the Les Diablerets ski area and Glacier 3000.

Those are just the two most popular ski areas that are easily accessible from Villars-Gryon, but it’s important to note that there are dozens of others as well with pistes of all difficulties.

If you’re planning to travel to this region specifically for skiing, you should look into the Magic Pass. It’s a ski pass that offers unlimited skiing in numerous resorts and ski areas in the region, and it’s valid for an entire year. The validity of the pass is from the beginning of May one year until the end of April the next year, so you can even take advantage of summer skiing opportunities on the highest Swiss mountains.

If you purchase the Magic Pass before mid-April, you can get it for half the price. It’s absolutely worth it if you’re an avid skier and want to spend as much time as possible skiing or snowboarding on the Swiss mountains.

Hiking

Villars Hiking
Hiking in Villars-sur-Ollon

When the snow melts and it’s no longer possible to ski on most of the mountains around Villars, the numerous ski pistes turn into hiking trails. With hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails in the immediate surroundings of Villars, the village is an excellent destination for all outdoor adventurers who love exploring and being out in nature.

From easy loop hikes around lakes to challenging mountaintop ascents; Villars boasts countless trails for everyone, regardless of their previous hiking experience. Whether you want to hike for a few hours, or a few days, you will find that there are at least a few trails worth checking out in the immediate surroundings of the village.

Mountain Biking

Some of the most exciting red and black runs near Villars become thrilling downhill mountain biking trails when the snow melts. There are dozens of exciting mountain biking trails in the immediate surroundings of Villars, so you could spend days, if not weeks, riding around and exploring.

The trails vary in difficulty, and there’s everything from easy MTB trails over mostly flat terrain, to fast downhill descents that will give you an adrenaline rush. Villars is also popular for e-bike trails and you can rent e-bikes in multiple places throughout the village and its surroundings. Most MTB trails can be done on e-bikes as well, just try to keep track of the nearest charging stations.

Relax at a Thermal Spa

Relaxing in a thermal spa after an exciting afternoon on the ski slopes is one way of enjoying your days in Villars. Les Bains de Villars is the most popular thermal spa in the village, with indoor and outdoor thermal pools. The thermal baths are part of the Villars sports center, which is situated in the heart of the village.

The outdoor pool is heated to 36 degrees Celsius, and it’s very popular in the winter. Relax and swim in the heated pool while enjoying the views of the snow-covered peaks around you. The sports center also boasts a cold water pool, hammams, and saunas, and it’s the perfect destination in the village for travelers who just want to relax and unwind for an afternoon.

Play Golf at Villars Golf Club

Villars Golf Club
Villars Golf Club, Image Courtesy of Gorilla Golf Blog

Golf is one of the most popular summertime leisure activities in Villars, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the village boasts an excellent Golf Club. What’s even better is that you can enjoy stunning views of Mont Blanc from the club. It’s worth noting that the golf course closes down in the winter. It opens again in the spring, after the snow melts.

The golf course is situated at an altitude of 1,660 meters, and it faces both the Alps and the Mont Blanc massif. It’s also regarded as one of the best 18-hole golf courses in the entire country, so it’s the perfect destination for all golfers who find themselves in Villars.

Visit Glacier 3000

glacier 3000
lGacier 3000

Glacier 3000 is a ski resort near Villars. It’s one of the most popular ski resorts in the country, thanks to a variety of challenging pistes that attract avid skiers from all over the world. Skiing here is possible between November and May, and it’s worth noting that the area also features a wide variety of activities for non-skiers as well.

The Tissot Peak Walk is one of the most popular things to do in the area if you’re not that into skiing. This is a unique experience of walking across a suspension bridge that connects two mountain peaks, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. While it’s generally perfectly safe to walk across the bridge, if you have any anxiety or fear of heights, you’ll have a heart attack if you look down.

See The Famous Chillon Castle

Chateau Chillon
Chateau Chillon

Chillon Castle is one of the most famous historical landmarks on the shore of Lake Geneva, and you can easily visit it on a day trip from Villars. You can either take a bus to Aigle or ride the train to Bex, and then get on a train to Chilon castle. Whatever option you choose, it will take you around an hour and a half to two hours to reach the historical landmark from Villars.

The castle is best known for its impressive medieval architecture and rich history. Archaeological excavations on the site uncovered artifacts that date back to Roman times. During the middle ages, Chillon Castle served as a formal residence of noble counts.

Nowadays, it’s mostly a tourist attraction open for tours. You can learn about the history of the castle and enjoy panoramic views from its higher terraces.

What Is Villars famous for?

Villars is famous for a few different things and excellent skiing opportunities are at the top of the list. With easy access to several mountain ranges and peaks like Dents du Midi, Col du Pillon, and Les Diablerets, the resort village offers some of the best skiing opportunities in all of Switzerland.

But hundreds of kilometers of pistes are hardly the only thing famous about this village. Villars-sur-Ollon is home to two of the best and most expensive private boarding schools in Switzerland – Aiglon College and Collège Alpin Beau Soleil. Because of that, the village attracts a lot of very rich and famous people, so it’s not exactly a popular destination among budget travelers in Switzerland.

Is Villars worth visiting?

Villars is worth visiting if you are an avid skier and you want to explore the numerous ski pistes in the area. It’s not a bad destination for summer trips in Switzerland either, thanks to a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails in the area, but it’s not the top destination in southwestern Switzerland I would recommend.

Another thing to keep in mind about this resort village is that it’s very popular with the rich and famous, and the prices of everything in the village reflect that. Most hotels in Villars are luxury hotels with elaborate spa and wellness centers, huge rooms, and exorbitant prices. The most affordable type of accommodation in Villars are private apartments, and even those run for at least $150 per night, in the off-season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Villars good for beginner skiers?

Yes, Villars is good for beginner skiers. The village boasts a great nursery run and several ski schools for older children and adults, plus there are approximately 94 kilometers of easy Blue runs in the immediate surroundings of the village. 

Is Villars good for snowboarding?

Villars-sur-Ollon is a good destination for snowboarding. There’s a dedicated school for snowboarders in the village, as well as a large number of snowboarding-friendly pistes in its immediate surroundings. 

Can you see Mont Blanc from Villars?

Yes, you can see Mont Blanc from several places in Villars. The Villars Golf Club is one of the places that offers breathtaking views of the majestic mountain, plus there are dozens of viewpoints and promontories in the village where you can admire the panoramic mountain vistas of the Mont Blanc massif. 

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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