Verbier in Switzerland is one of the world’s most upmarket ski resorts but does it live up to the hype? This luxurious village styles itself as the Capital of Winter and we’ve compiled an insider’s guide to Verbier to help you to get the most out of your trip.
Verbier is seriously photogenic – most buildings are chalet style with wooden roofs and the village centre is charming. aul, being half Swiss, had been here some years ago and was curious to see how it had changed. The answer is not all that much but there are now many luxurious shops and cosy restaurants as well as a cinema and tourist information office.
It’s a great place to go for a stroll. What I wasn’t expecting is how friendly everyone is, whether the local shopkeepers or our fellow skiers. We got chatting with people who had come from as far as Australia and Dubai to enjoy the skiing here, as well as Brits closer to home.
Skiing in Verbier
Talking of skiing, Verbier has a reputation for some of the best in the world with 410 kilometres of runs. The 4 Vallées is actually the largest ski area in Switzerland.
Whilst beginners will certainly find enough runs to keep them busy, it’s the fabulous black runs and off-piste skiing that attracts the likes of celebrities and royalty. Verbier has invested heavily in infrastructure in recent years, with a new 6 person ski lift at La Chaux that can transport up to 2,100 people per hour. The main ski lift in the village is somewhere that you could use as a meeting up point with friends, as it has a cafe and lockers. There are even a couple of climbing walls for children! At the top, there’s an unusual dual ski lift and chair cabin that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Snowboarders or those preferring to take a cabin on a chilly day will find it particularly handy.
Skiing conditions in the 4 Vallées are excellent, mainly due to Verbier’s high location. There are also ski cannons that can be called into use if necessary. A wide range of ski passes are available, including the hands-free Valais SkiCard that you can prepay.
Verbier has also created the very first Drone Slope in Europe, where for a fee your skiing can be filmed by the resort’s own drones and emailed to you the same day. Its’s part of the Audi Funpark which has small jumps and a tunnel, located in Savoleyres. While we were on the slopes, we noticed a few very photogenic dogs with their owners. You can pay a certain amount to get photographed with one of them – isn’t this St Bernard adorable?
We also spotted this rather cute penguin.
Dining on the slopes
I’d highly recommend Le Mouton Noir, one of the best restaurants in Verbier. It has a superb location at the top of the main ski lift, a few minutes from the village centre. We feasted on local specialities including tartiflette and profiteroles.
There’s a huge panoramic roof terrace where apres-ski gets into full swing and there’s also a self service restaurant on the floor below.
If you like fondue, make sure to head to Igloo du Mont-Fort. It’s actually the highest fondue in Europe at 3300 metres high! We took a succession of cable cars to get there and the air got steadily thinner as you reached the top. Arriving at the summit, we spotted a tiny igloo structure – inside there’s a cute restaurant with four tables, although there’s plenty of outdoor seating for when it’s warm. The charming chef, Lolo, rustled us up a tasty fondue, washed down with a glass of white wine.
Dining in the village
For a real fine dining experience, head to La Cordée des Alpes. This gourmet restaurant creates dishes that would not be out of place in a Michelin star establishment.
Casual dining can be found at Le Fer à Cheval which serves up tasty pizzas and Swiss specialties.
Close by, Milk Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a hot chocolate or other milky treats.
Bottle Brothers at Hotel Nevai is a stylish choice for cocktails and mini burgers. There’s a lovely outdoor area for when the temperature heats up.
No guide to Verbier would be complete without a mention of apres-ski and one of the best places for it is the Farm Club. Also within the Hotel Nevai, it’s been a hotspot since opening in 1971.
We used JET Verbier as they deliver skis and all other equipment directly to your hotel or villa so there’s no need to carry them back. When you leave, they’ll also collect your equipment, a great time saver.
Where to Stay
Hotel La Cordée des Alpes is an excellent choice, combining luxurious interiors with what many consider to be the best spa in Verbier. Most of the spacious rooms and suites have there own balcony overlooking the village. We were impressed by the charming staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble. A handy mini-van will drop you at the base of the slopes and collect you at the end of the day. We enjoyed relaxing in front of the log fire in the open-plan lounge area, decorated with books and vintage skiing equipment.
Getting to Verbier
It’s a scenic 2 hour drive from Geneva airport although you could choose to take a train from Martigny to the nearby Le Châble station. We used a hire car from Tesla Transfers and were pleasantly surprised by the excellent road handling.
For us, Verbier most definitely lived up to its reputation as the Capital of Winter and one of Switzerland’s best ski resorts. The perfect combination of good looks and world class skiing make this an unmissable Winter destination…although I’m told that it’s very popular for Summer hiking too!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this insider’s guide to Verbier – what would your favourite activity here be?