An Introduction & guide to Verbier
Sitting in a sun-drenched south-western facing bowl, perched high up on a mountainside at an altitude of 1500m, Verbier has it all. Boasting a wide array of sporting and leisure activities during both the summer and winter months, the resort also has a great nightlife, and stunning scenery which can be enjoyed at whichever pace suits you. And if peace and quiet is what you’re after…you never have to venture too far to get it!
Situated in the south-western part of Switzerland in the canton of the Valais, Verbier is bordered by France to the west and Italy to the south. During the summer months the resort is home to the Verbier Festival, a classical music festival of international acclaim, the Grand Raid Cristalp mountain biking competition and the Grand Concours Hippique horse show; and in the winter, the resort plays host to the world famous Verbier Xtreme freeride contest (the last stop in the Freeride World Tour), which takes place on the Bec des Rosses, and the renowned Verbier Ride freeskiing competition.
During the winter, Verbier becomes a skiers paradise. Verbier forms part of the 'Four Valleys' ski area, the four valleys being Thyon, Veysonnaz and Nendaz which together offer over 410 kilomtres of ski runs and 93 state of the art lifts, all covered in one (hands-free) lift pass. (Apparently if you want to show a love of all things Swiss, you can buy a Swatch Snowpass watch and load up your personal details!) The season normally runs from the second week in December until the end of April, with New Year and February/March being the busiest times. The valley is located at 1500m, and right up to the summit of the Mont-Fort glacier (3300m) the views extending across the breathtaking Swiss valleys are fantastic. Snow is guaranteed in Verbier due to it's high altitude and glacier skiing, and this 'mountain playground' means that there is guaranteed to be something to suit skiers and boarders of all levels. If the off-piste is more your thing, then Verbier is also recognised as one of the premiere "off-piste" resorts in the Alps and in the world, with great Heli-skiing opportunities too.
The area around Mont Gélé is popular with many beginners and intermediates alike however it can be busy. If you are a little more experienced and want to try something with a slightly steeper gradient, take the cable car down to Tortin (2050m) where it is quieter, and there are a number of red intermediate runs for you to enjoy. On the oppotiste side of the valley, Bruson (1080m) is an excellent area for intermediate skiers. There's fewer crowds here and the North East facing orientation means that the snow (and powder!) stay good for longer.
If you are an expert or advanced level skier then the world of Val de Bagnes is your oyster! You have to try out the classic black runs in areas such as Mont Fort and Combatzeline. The weather can usually be a major stumbling factor here and if visibility is good, expect the lift queues to replicate that. If you're a confident off-piste skier then take a mountain guide, and explore some of the off-piste potential in the Tortin, Mont-Gélé and Chassoure areas. There are many ungroomed, former black runs in the valley which offer some good off-pisting. They're usually quite busy, but you should still use the services of a mountain guide and ensure you carry (and know how to use) suitable off-piste equipment when skiing these areas.
Verbier has an excellent snowpark, located at La Chaux (2260m), with all the rails, jumps and corners you need to get off. It's the steep freestyle skiing opportunities that make this valley a favourite with many professional skiers. Many top skiers have settled down there in order to profit from these steep slopes and freestyle skiing which Verbier offers in abundance.
Where is Verbier?
The nearest airport to Verbier is Sion about an hour away, although it's not the main airport that people use when travelling to Verbier from international destinations. The airport of choice is Geneva, which is around 2 hours drive away. Remember, before succumbing to a bargain flight into one of these airports, take a few minutes to investigate your onward transfer options; your flight may only cost you £50 but your transfer to resort could set you back €300 - €400!
Also see: Towns & Villages in Verbier
Events in Verbier
Home of the Xtreme Verbier the final stop on the Freeride World Tour. The most prestigious extreme skiing and snowboarding contest is held in Verbier on the famous Bec des Rosses mountain every March. Plenty of events take place throughout the summer and winter months, so take a look at our events calendar for all the latest ones.
Sights & Attractions in Verbier
Centre Culturel du Hameau in Verbier has a small alpine Museum, gift shop and small church all located in a small private square at the bottom of Les Esserts Ski Slope. A bit further up at the top of Les Esserts you have Carrefour, which in winter is as high as the road goes, you have a panoramic view of the surrounding mountain ranges, Rogneux, Combin and Mont-Blanc.
Verbier has 2 lift stations, Medran (the main one) and Savoleyeres. Medran connects you to Verbier's main pistes and also down to Le Chable. Verbier is part of the 4 Vallees ski area, which includes the resorts of Nendez, Veysonnaz and Thyon. There’s a whopping total of 92 ski lifts and 412 km of pistes to ski and snowboard. Medran and Savoleyeres lift station are both easily connected via the free bus service.
Things to Do in Verbier
The main activity in Verbier in winter is of course skiing and snowboarding, but you can do snowshoe walks, sledging or take a ride in a husky sledge. Off the mountain the 'centre sportif' provides swimming, squash, snow and ice karting, ice hockey and ice-skating. There is also a gym which provides private classes for every member such as Pilates, Yoga, Spin, Boxercise and more.
Verbier has a local golf club that is situated at Le Hameau which is only open in the summer. It has an 18-hole golf course and is located above the main town of Verbier only a 5-minute drive away. The golf course is situated on the winter piste called 'Les Esserts'. There is also a 18 hole short pitch and put course at 'Les Moulins' which is a 5 minute walk from Place Centrale, just behind Cordee Des Alps hotel.
Restaurants in Verbier
Verbier has an extensive range of restaurants all over town from Route De Verbier station all the way up to Rue De Medran. You can choose from traditional Swiss restaurants like Le Caveau, La Channe, Le Currie, Relais Des Neige, and La Chamois. For restaurants serving a more of a varied menu, head to Chez Martin, La Pergola, Borsalino or Fer a Cheval. For a fine dining experience try Nomad Sushi Lounge, Cordee Des Alps, La Grange and The W Hotel. A little bit further away from the centre you’ll find Le Rouge, Chalet Adrien, Le Hameau restaurant, Le Sonalon, Carrefour and for great pizzas try Al Capone.
Also see: Where to Eat in Verbier
Nightlife in Verbier
Verbier is known for some of the best partying in the Alps and it certainly does not disappoint with a wide range of options to choose from. From the Medran lift station down to Place Centrale you have between 10-15 bars open in winter from 3pm - 1-2am. For a late night option you have The Etoile Rouge, Twin Peaks and Farm Club all within the surrounding areas of Place Centrale and no longer than 5 mins walking distance in each direction.
Where to Stay in Verbier
Wherever you stay in Verbier you are never too far from a ski lift. Place Centrale is the place to be for night life. Right in the centre of town you have quick access to all the best bars, restaurants and the famous night life.
Also see: Where to Stay in Verbier
Hotels in Verbier
Verbier has a wide range of accommodation available for its visitors. From the 5* Lodge hotel, where Sir Richard Branson calls home when he is in town, to the more affordable Bristol Hotel situated right in the heart of Verbier, for those who are after a quiet comfortable bed after a hard day on the slopes.
Apartments in Verbier
There are a wide range range of self-catering apartments and residences which allow you to be completely independent during your holiday in Verbier, most of which are self catered although you will find some where you can order in meals or have your own private chef.
Chalets in Verbier
You can also enjoy the Chalet experience in Verbier which are available both catered and non-catered ranging from the height of luxury with multiple spa facilities to warm and cosy traditional mountain retreats.
History & Culture in Verbier
Verbier draws its alpine charm from it's traditional chalet-style buildings harmoniously nestling in the hillside and it's natural setting. It's south-westerly orientation means that it maximises sun exposure so there are many sun terraces for you to kick back and relax on. The resort is best known for its chalet style accommodation, with dozens of tour operators and select Chalet companies offering all-inclusive holidays to self-cating apartments. There are also many hotels that will suit all budgets.
Also see: History of Verbier
Location: Verbier Region