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.