First, we drive to the La Namaste viewpoint restaurant above the village for a cup of coffee and French lemon tart. It gets us in the spirit of Verbier. The view from the restaurant reaches from a flowery meadow down to the village and the whole mountain area. The restaurant La Marmotte next door can offer an equally gorgeous view.
Some travel guides describe Verbier in Switzerland as “glitzy” and “ritzy”. It has been said it’s even too fancy. The British princes and Swedish royalty have also come here on holiday.
Verbier is expensive but also beautiful, high-class, stylish, and welcoming. The village that was built in uniform alpine style is located on a lovely sun terrace at 1,500 metres.
In Verbier, you can literally do anything you can think of, from golf to skydiving. We’re happy with hiking. Verbier is one of our top favourites as a hiking destination in the Alps. The region offers fantastic open spaces for hiking. It’s well suited for starting hiking, as well.
Even though Verbier is expensive, it has a significant advantage. When you stay there for two nights, at least, you get a visitor card that guarantees free rides on the lifts and the buses in the village. Lift passes can cost you a lot on alpine trips. It pays out to find out about discount cards in various destinations.
Verbier is in the canton of Valais in the French-speaking area of Switzerland. In our opinion, the service here is richer in nuances and the food is better than in German-speaking areas in Switzerland.
Every evening, we dine in Le Fes a Cheval on the main street. The nice atmosphere of the patio attracts a lot of people. The restaurant serves beautifully cooked food like salads and lasagne at an affordable price.
We’ve visited Verbier twice, in July 2014 and 2017. Both times, we tried to book a room in the B & B Les Sapins Bleus but in vain. The cosy-looking B & B must be very popular because it’s been fully-booked for July as early as late winter or early spring. It’s located three kilometres from the centre of Verbier and boasts a great mountain view.
In July 2017, we stayed in the B & B Ride Inn in the centre of the village. We were happy with it: the small room is simple and stylish, and the living room and the breakfast room are bohemian and homely. Sascha, the owner of the place, is helpful and makes excellent specialty coffees at breakfast.
The night in a double room sets you back about 150 euro which is in accordance with the general price range of similar accommodation in Verbier.
Since Ride Inn is in the middle of the village, it can’t offer the best mountain view. But on the other hand, it’s only a five-minute walk away from the ski lift taking you to Les Ruinettes (2200 m) with several hiking trails to choose from.
Beginners can start with a short but enlightening introduction to alpine hiking and take the half-an-hour trail from Les Ruinettes to Les Chaux. In beautiful weather, it can offer many treats of alpine hiking: breathtaking mountain views, rippling mountain streams, grand spruce forests, meadows filled with flowers, butterflies, birds, and cows.
We start our hike in the peace of the morning but we’re interrupted by a herd of black bulls blocking the path. It reminds me of a newspaper article a few years ago about a hiker getting killed by a cow ramming into them in Verbier. We think it’s best to go around the herd and step aside from the path.
In our experience, cows do not threaten hikers on alpine meadows. Swiss authorities have, however, given instructions on how to act when meeting a herd of cattle. You should not step away from a cow on a hiking path or look them in the eye. If the situation is threatening, the hiking pole can be used as a smart weapon.
The bulls don’t follow us, and we continue our hike in the strong smell of manure in the air.
If you prefer a long and demanding introduction to alpine hiking, opt for the day-long hike on the trail of Sentiers des Chamois past Le Chaux. The name refers to the horned chamois often seen on the trail. The hike is also known as the Lac de Louvie trail named after the lake along the path.
It’s one of the most demanding day hikes we’ve ever done in the Alps. There are steep rocky climbs and snowy slopes to cross. Ahead, you can constantly see the imposing mountain Grand Combin (4314 m) arising. The tough climb takes you to the highest point of the trail at Col Termin (2652 m). From there, you can come down and get refreshed in the Lake Lac de Louvie (2213 m).
The six-hour trail ends in the village of Fionnay (1490 m). Before you head out, check the time of the last bus from Fionnay to Verbier. Also remember that the instructed times on hiking maps and signposts do not include any breaks or mistakes.
We wasted an hour on taking a wrong turn in the beginning of the trail and arrived at the village of Fionnay at seven at night. We had missed the last bus and had to hitchhike. Some friendly women gave two exhausted hikers a ride back to Verbier.
Translated into English by Katja Juutistenaho. Original Finnish text by Tuomas Hyytinen and Mila Hyytinen.