The Essential Family Guide to Verbier

The Essential Family Guide to Verbier

Mum of three, Maev Cox, shares some tips for families visiting Verbier

As much as we’d like to think that we’re the ones in charge, the truth is, if the kids are happy, then so are us parents. Nature provides the very best playground and the slopes, forests and paths surrounding Verbier abound with magic-making and adventure-seeking opportunities. But when stormy weather chases us off the mountain or if little legs are too tired to snow plough, or if you simply want to add another dimension to your holiday, there’s a cache of organised activities, for lively little ones through to persnickety teens, available to parents. Let’s take a look at what you can dip your child’s pudgy little toes into this winter…

The newly renovated Verbier Sports Centre houses amazing facilities which includes a state of the art 600m2 climbing wall with colour-coded climbing routes for every level of climber. There is also a climbing block dedicated to children. Climbing is fantastic for building strength and flexibility, but it’s also great for teaching the really important skills of decision-making and focus. Turn up as you are as everything can be rented.

 

Entry for kids is CHF10 and for adults is CHF16. Additional rental costs are harness CHF4, shoes CHF4, rope CHF5, full set up CHF9.

In case you’re intimated or want to improve your skills, why not get some climb lessons? Gabriel Heger (heger.gab@gmail.com / +41 79 257 77 21) provides the know-how at CHF80/hour.

For a more scaled down climbing experience, there’s a great climbing wall at the Médran café where harnesses can be hired on site and you can enjoy a cappuccino while the kids work on being Spiderman.

An excellent family activity is the Escape Room Verbier. Your family will need all of your combined brainpower, working as a code-cracking team in order for you to escape the room. The rooms aren’t scary in any way and there’s an emergency escape option for anyone who might suffer from claustrophobia. This engaging family experience is for ages 7 and up. The cost is dependent on your group’s size but as an indication, a group of 4 to 5 people is CHF35 p/p and a group of 6 people is CHF30 p/p. Book online through their website www.verbierescaperoomemporium.com or email verbierescape@outlook.com for enquiries.

Ice skating in a winter wonderland hands down beats the more synthetic city experience. At the Parc de Loisirs, below Verbier’s Place Centrale, there’s an outdoor rink which is open to the public from 10.00 to 20.00 daily, at no cost. Skates can be rented nearby at Monnet Sports for CHF 5 per hour. Get it touch with the Tourist Office for more information ph. +41 27 775 3888 or email info@verbier.ch

 

How about your child learns a valuable life skill while having enormous fun? Mountain Thyme Cookery School offers a range of options for creating mini chefs. Your child will learn to make a traditional meal from the region and take the recipe away with them so they can recreate it for you in your home. The cost is CHF 30. For more information and other classes, including private lessons, go to their website www.cookinthealps.com

We all love a good film and often, the best way to really enjoy that is to go for the full cinema experience; popcorn, flip-down seats, a dark auditorium and a huge screen. The Verbier Cinema, just off the main strip above the Place Centrale, has retained all the charm of a classic old-school cinema and runs a varied program of new releases, normally offering a mix of genres including animations, family-friendly flicks and documentaries. See their schedule and timings on www.cinemaverbier.ch

 

There are few children that don’t love getting wet. The Mondzeu Indoor Pool is a great option for unleashing some toddler energy and tiring out your little one. Its convenient location near the Place Centrale and minimal tariffs (children are CHF6, adults are CHF8 with a 50% discount for residents) mean you can easily squeeze in an hour or two here and there. The opening hours are 12.00 to 19.00 Wednesday to Sunday.

The Verbier playground at Marais Verts has just undergone a complete transformation. This sunny play space, close to the post office, has fantastic new facilities aimed at building independence and confidence while having fun. Depending on the snow conditions, this is a wonderful social place for children to do what they do best – play.

Need more Zen? A little time on the mat can be so beneficial for children. Yoga not only improves flexibility and co-ordination but brings a sense of calm to even the smallest of practitioners, who are also prey to the pressures of our fast-paced modern living. Verbier’s Wholeycow studio have created a special half-term timetable for kid’s yoga and dance classes. There are classes on Mondays and Fridays, from 15.00 to 16.00 (for 4 to 6 year olds) and from 16.00 to 17.00 (for 7 to 10 year olds). Classes are CHF10 per child and you can book them in by emailing info@wholeycow.ch. Full details on their website www.wholeycow.ch

If you’re looking for something more genteel, the duck pond at Hameau is a short bus ride up above Verbier to the Hameau bus stop. Take some dry bread and enjoy some quiet time in the afternoon sunshine feeding the ducks. Kids adore this simple pleasure.

Time for yourself is hugely important too. The team at Petit Verbier is an invaluable resource for parents carving out precious time for themselves when in Verbier. From full day nannies to evening babysitters, and everything inbetween, Petit Verbier provide friendly and professional carers that are adaptable to you and your children’s needs. Why not take advantage of their After Ski Kids Club, for children aged 3 to 6 years. Your child is picked up after ski school at midday, fed a warm two-course lunch, and then spends the afternoon engaging in outdoor activities with other children, until pick up at 16.00. So they get hours of fun and you get to ski the whole day! Win-win. Go to www.petitverbier.com for more information on this and other services.

 

And when it’s time to eat, and we know never to delay on fulfilling this critical small-human need, there are a number of restaurants around the village that are child-friendly and worth pinning in your Google Maps.

Good Morning Le Bec (www.good-morning-verbier.ch) on Verbier’s Place Blanche not only serves healthy ‘flexifood’ including a lot of kid-centric options between 8.00 and 16.00, but they have a dedicated soft-play area which is run by the ladies at Petit Verbier.

Offshore Café (www.offshorecafe.com) is fantastic for ‘hangry’ children because their kitchen, serving fresh, mostly Mexican-influenced hunger-busting dishes, is open non-stop between 8.00 and 19.00. There is a kid’s menu and the atmosphere is friendly, noisy and relaxed so you won’t get any snooty eyebrow raises when little Freddy kicks off.

Le Shed (www.leshed.ch) is a great option too. My kids love it because their burgers (including veggie burgers) are just so darn good! And so are their fries. Swedish-run, this cool restaurant radiates chilled Scandi vibes, where nothing’s a problem.

Al Capone (www.alcapone-verbier.com) is the real Italian deal, serving delicious pizza and pasta and many other wonderful seasonal dishes, grilled meats and fish. A truly authentic restaurant that caters to children without skimping on adult indulgence.

La Pergola (www.lapergola-verbier.ch) restaurant warmly welcomes kids and family and serves great pizza and pasta dishes that will fill hungry tummies.

So come snow or sunshine, Verbier’s got it covered. Here’s to experiences over things and memories over Minecraft! Have a great time in Verbier.


VERBIER NIGHTLIFE GUIDE

From chilled cocktails to wild après-ski, we’ve brought together the comprehensive guide to Verbier’s nightlife scene.

THE PLACE TO CHILL
Farinet Lounge
The Farinet’s Lounge Bar is a great spot to unwind after a day on the slopes. With a huge menu of signature cocktails, subtle tunes and a super-relaxed vibe, The Lounge is a popular spot on Verbier nightlife scene. Every day 4pm- 2am. www.hotelfarinet.com

FRENCH ALT
Le Crock No Name
Crock has earned its place as a Verbier institution over many years of doing it unlike any other place in town. With a cool French alternative vibe, the bar hosts some of the best musicians in town and offers a great menu of international beers, specialist cocktails and local wines. Every day 5pm-2am.

ONE TO REMEMBER
Fer à Cheval
If you can score a seat at the bar of the Fer, its one of the coolest places in Verbier for a beer. Cosy, local and authentic, this place is one you’ll remember forever.
Every day 8am-12pm

THE PLACE TO BE SEEN
Farm Club
Verbier’s Farm Club has been the place to be seen in town for as long as anyone can remember. Undisputedly Verbier’s most famous nightclub, the mix of glamour and party make it a hot spot for the rich and famous. If there is one institution that epitomises Verbier’s high-end reputation, it’s the Farm Club. Wednesday-Saturday 11pm-4am. www.experimentalchalet.com/party

THE CLASSIC
Pub Mont Fort
The Pub has been a staple of Verbier’s nightlife scene for many years and has been the setting of countless wild nights for locals and vistors alike. An après-ski favourite with happy hour from 4-5, a great food menu, plenty of themed parties and a massive terrace, Pub Mont Fort is an absolute winner. Monday-Friday 3pm-2am / Weekends 12pm-2am www.pubmontfort.com

APRÈS GOLD
Le Rouge
This classic après ski spot ticks all the boxes, with a prime position on the piste, soulful house music, cocktails and a killer view. The panoramic terrace is one of the best places in town to catch the last of the sun. Every day 12pm-12am. www.lerouge-verbier.com

THE PLACE TO PARTY
Farinet Après Ski
Verbier is famous for its lively après-ski scene, but no venue captures this better than Farinet. This bar, next to The Lounge has become the go-to for rowdy locals and visitors, thanks to great live bands, fast-flowing beer, compulsory bar dancing and its famous sliding roof. Every day 4pm-9pm. Live band starts at 6pm www.hotelfarinet.com/bars/farinet-apres-ski/

THE LUXURY LOUNGE
W Living Room
The W hotel’s Living Room bar brings together the finest cocktails in a luxurious setting with a stunning panoramic terrace overlooking the Swiss Alps. An excellent DJ line up sends smooth beats sailing into the evening at this high-end bar. www.wverbier.com 11am-1am

THE NEW PLAYER
Mt Gelé
Newcomer to the party scene in Verbier, Mt Gelé is making a play for some après-ski fun. With a great position right on the piste above Médran, a fun après vibe plus live music and happy hour, this little bar has a lot of promise. Every day 2pm-8pm

 


MONT 4 ZIPLINE –THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD!

MONT 4 ZIPLINE –THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD!

Get ready to drop 383 metres and fly 1,400 metres over the Mont-Fort glacier at a maximum speed of 130kmph…

August 13
A thick covering of clouds, howling wind and rain greeted us at the Col des Gentianes as Mother Nature reminded us who was in charge. Just one hour earlier I had left my house in warm sunshine: now, feeling more than a little nervous as I exited the Jumbo station, I wondered if my introduction to the 4Vallées’ latest attraction was about to be called off. Verbier ambassador, and all-round adventure poster girl, Géraldine Fasnacht, checked a forecast and confidently reassured me that the weather should clear up in an hour. If there is one person in Switzerland I know I can rely on for an accurate interpretation of meteorological data, it is highly experienced base jumper, pilot, snowboarder and explorer, Géraldine.

Sheltering in the comfort of the Gentianes Igloo, with thunder, lightning and snow whirling around outside, I enjoyed a hot coffee whilst François Fournier, Director of Nendaz Veysonnaz Remontées Mécaniques and Laurent Vaucher, CEO of Téléverbier talked to us about this impressive project, three years in the making. The main challenge of building a zip line at such high altitude, they explained, was ensuring the stability of the launch pad, since Mont-Fort is located on permafrost. Suddenly, with true Swiss punctuality and in keeping with Géraldine’s prediction, the clouds lifted and a shaft of sunlight lit up our destination – the 3,300 metre-peak of Mont-Fort and the shiny new take-off point of the world’s highest zip line. It was time to sign our disclaimers, be weighed and be fitted into our harnesses.

The views from the top of Mont-Fort partly helped distract me from what was about to take place. I have developed a mild fear of heights over the last few years and, for me, this new activity was a personal challenge, an opportunity to tackle my vertigo, fight the fear. I looked at Géraldine and told myself firmly: ‘Hey, if she can jump off the top of mountain, soar through the air in her wingsuit then surely I can throw myself off a mountain in a safe, controlled environment.’

 

The team made me feel really safe. The way the harness is fitted meant my body felt secure as I dangled over the edge before they pressed ‘go’. An initial movement forward put me in place, followed by a pause for the final check. The initial departure came as a bit of a surprise (even though I knew it was coming) – you can hear me let out a tiny yelp in the video but once I was whizzing through the air, I felt pure exhilaration. The speed was just right – exciting but not too hair-raising.

Géraldine followed a few people after me and said found the ride so exciting she was trembling – high praise indeed.

The Verbier Life verdict the zip line is a fantastic addition to the area, for both summer and winter. Don’t be intimidated by it, challenge yourself. If a scaredy-cat like me enjoyed it then the chances are, you will too.

Some tips:

I was holding a GoPro in my hand which put me off balance on the way down and caused me to twist in the harness and face backwards – I wasn’t the only one. The trick, I now know, is to stay in a straight and even position.
Make sure that if you are wearing a hat or sunglasses they fit securely, otherwise they’ll be needing a big lost property box at the bottom of the zip line.
Read the advice on the website: if you have heart/ health issues, are pregnant or have serious vertigo (not like my rather pathetic version) it’s probably not for you!

Practical information:

Access:
Paperwork and weigh-in in the Gentianes igloo.
From Verbier, take the Jumbo cable car to the Col des Gentianes.
From Nendaz, take the Siviez-Tortin chairlift then the Tortin-Gentianes cable car.

Make sure you book your descent online to ensure a place. Reservations can be made directly on the website www.mont4zipline.ch or www.easyverbier.com

Holders of VIP Pass and Openair Pass benefit from a free return trip to Mont-Fort.
Holders of a 4 Vallées annual pass benefit from a ‘2 for the price of 1’ voucher.
For annual pass holders:

  • CHF 45 adults
  • CHF 38 young and seniors
  • CHF 20 for children (from 7 -14 years of age. Minimum height 120cm and minimum weight 30kg)

Without a pass (includes a pedestrian day pass):

  • CHF 75 adults
  • CHF 64 young and seniors
  • CHF 36 for children

(Open weekends until September 2020, reopens for the winter season! )


THE 5 BEST SUMMER HIKES IN VERBIER

THE 5 BEST SUMMER HIKES IN VERBIER

From quaint forest tracks, to spectacular high alpine trails, Verbier has an incredibly diverse range of hiking options.

Thanks to an extensive summer lift system, there are endless stunning walking trails for all ages and fitness levels at the mountain paradise. Immerse yourself in all the Val de Bagnes has to offer with the five best hiking trails in Verbier.

1. Sentier des Chamois

The trail from La Chaux to Lac Louvie is an absolute classic in Verbier. The stunning track offers unparalleled views of the Grand Combin massif all the way to Mont Blanc. While it’s technical at times, the traverse to the lake never gets too difficult and the view from the north side of Louvie is one of the best in the valley. It’s also a great trail for wildlife spotting. Starting from La Chaux, follow the signs to Col Termin before dropping down to the stunning lake and charming cabin. Finish the walk in Fionnay, where you can take the bus back to Le Chable.
Distance: 13km
Vertical: 546m+
Time: 5h

2. Lac des Vaux

The popular trail to the beautiful Lac des Vaux is a must-do hike in Verbier. There are a lot of great ways to get to the lake, but one of our favourites is the loop back to Verbier via the lake from Fontanet. This trail offers spectacular views over the famous turquoise lakes. Take a dip if you can brave the alpine temperatures!
Distance: 12.3km
Vertical:276m+
Time: 4h15

3. Cabane Panossière par la Maye

While it’s one of the more challenging hikes on this list, it is easily one of the most satisfying and a chance to experience the high mountains of the Val de Bagnes in all their glory. From Cabane Brunet’s sprawling valley views, trek though grassy meadows to spectacular high alpine landscapes and the 190m-long suspension bridge Passerelle de Corbassière, which spans the Corbassière glacier. Enjoy incredible views of the 4313m Grand Combin and then a piece of cake at the charming Cabane Panossière.
Distance: 13km (return)
Vertical: 796m+
Time: 2h45

4. Pierre Avoir

The famous Pierre Avoir pinnacles overlooking Verbier are a must-see for visitors and locals alike. There are lots of routes leading to the impressive peak, but for those up for a challenge, the trek all the way from Verbier via le Château is a worthwhile endeavour. Take the forest track to St-Christophe and pass the dramatic Chute du Bisse before emerging above the tree line and following the ridge to the Pierre Avoir. Take the lift back down from Savoleyres to complete this breathtaking loop.

Distance: 8km
Vertical: 1014m+
Time: 4h15

5. Bisse du levron

Traversing the entire Verbier bowl, the Bisse du Levron is a classic route for meandering souls. Built around 1460, the Bisse du Levron is an ancient irrigation channel which flows high above Verbier at around 2000 metres above sea level. Largely flat, the ancient waterway winds its way all the way from La Chaux to just below the Pierre Avoi, where it spills over an enormous cliff – the Chute du bisse.

Distance:10km (from La Chaux)
Vertical:60m+
Time: 2h30


SUMMER IN VERBIER ?

It’s already been weeks since the unexpected closure of Verbier back in mid-March. The whole world has been ‘on hold’, uncertainty hovering above us all. Hopefully our time in confinement is nearly over - homeschooling and watching Netflix can be swapped for some of the activities we have been missing over the last few weeks…

Even though some services resumed on April 27, (hairdressers, physiotherapists, florists and garden/DIY stores) social distancing and hygiene recommendations are still imperative. The Swiss government is still recommending that all citizens stay at home – especially anyone who is over 65 or has underlying health conditions.

From May 11, additional businesses and schools will re-open. Others are to follow on June 8.

What does this all mean for Verbier this summer? Many businesses are planning to open as soon as they can, of course, adhering to the guidelines set out by government.

The Sports Centre is opening the tennis, badminton and volleyball courts from May 13 (12h-20h from Wednesday to Sunday, changing rooms won’t be open). www.verbier.ch/fr/centre-sportif-verbier.html

The horse riding stables are opening on May 11, for information what they are offering, call +41 79 645 63 86. ( www.verbiercheval.ch )

Get on exploring on the area by pedal power – if you don’t have one, hire a mountain bike or electric bike from one of the sports shops. The Verbier Tourist Office has plenty detailed on routes for all levels. www.verbier.ch/fr/vtt/vtt-listingm-tvt0-tve0-tel0-tpv0.html

 

For those into downhill, hopefully the Verbier Bike Park will open on June 11. For more information, go to www.verbierbikepark.ch.

 

Hiking - there’s plenty of options and a vast area to enjoy - the perfect social distancing activity. There are plenty of itineraries to choose from www.verbier.ch/fr/activites-loisirs/ete-automne/randonnee/randonnee.html

Verbier has an abundance to space and activities to accommodate mountain-lovers, hoping to get outside and enjoy the summer months! Keep an eye on our website to see our updates the activities on offer this summer.