Verbier – An Alpine Adventure

Named one of the best winter ski resorts in Europe, the Swiss alpine town of Verbier is just as popular in the summer

Increasing numbers of holidaymakers are drawn to the Swiss Alps – not only to recharge, but also for the region’s roster of globally renowned events, and for the range of outdoor activities on offer.

From the moment you land in Geneva airport, you’re presented with a scenic landscape, with the Alps as its magnificent backdrop. The scenery becomes even more dramatic as you approach Verbier. Snow-capped peaks contrast with the bright blue surface of Lake Geneva, dotted with paddle-boarders; on land, you see chapels, castles, and vibrant fields of sunflowers.

The onward journey to Verbier can be enjoyed comfortably by train and taxi, or via gondola. All guests visiting the area of Verbier, Val de Bagnes or La Tzoumaz for a minimum of one night are issued a Verbier Infinite Playground Pass (VIP pass), which provides free access to the gondola and public transport, as well as over forty activities, either for free or at preferential rates.

Taking the gondola is an experience in itself: you are instantly immersed in the sound of peace, with just the distant buzz of crickets and a violin being practiced to be heard.

The latter is in readiness for the Verbier Festival, an international classical music festival, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The famed event showcases great masters and young artists, including emerging soloists and chamber and orchestral musicians. There are also singers and conductors, all combining to welcome international audiences to experience exceptional music-making during a distinctive and exhilarating calendar of events, both large-scale and intimate.

The buzzing atmosphere of the Verbier Festival continues in the approach to autumn, with the PALP Festival and E-bike Festival. Mountain biking is just one of the many popular outdoor activities offered in Verbier as part of the VIP pass: guests may also experience golf, horse-riding, yoga, and swimming. There is the even the opportunity to participate in traditional cheese making, a unique experience held at the family owned Verbier dairy. Under the guidance and expertise of passionate cheesemaker Marc Dubosson, guests can handcraft Tomme cheese while enjoying a selection of ‘fromage et vin’ pairings. Raclette-filled vending machines are found dotted throughout the region, and there are plentiful cheese offerings across the many Alpine menus. The PALP Festival has previously taken place in various locations throughout Verbier, from private apartments to historical castles, and themes have ranged from raclette to dreams and even death. The festival can easily be reached using public transport, and showcases unique, tailor-made events featuring music, performing arts, local produce, and wonderful landscapes.

Verbier is rich in art and cultural experiences. Venture to an altitude of 2,200-metres by cable car to the 3D sculpture park: a 3km walking trail accompanied by a collection of artworks inspired by the mountains. Each year, the collection is enriched by varying artists in residence. Artist Kiki Thompson began the installation with a sculpture entitled Samsara and is involved in Verbier’s new Creative Space – Rue du Centre – which launched in July this year. Creative Space, in the heart of Verbier, offers courses, workshops and facilities; these are available to the local community, travellers and tourists alike. Choose from pottery, printmaking, and woodworking; visitors can even attend painting walks across the region or film screenings at the hub.

For accommodation, Verbier has many authentic chalet hotels and B&Bs. With a fabulously central location, the Experimental Chalet has a selection of charming rooms and suites, some of which have panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, terraces and Jacuzzis. The hotel also houses its own spa and Jacuzzi area, which opens up to the outdoors, taking full advantage of the surrounding views.

Fact box

A three-night stay at 4* Experimental Chalet is priced from £240pp, based on two people sharing a room. Breakfast is included.

Return direct flights from London Heathrow to Geneva cost from £102 with Swiss.

Swiss Travel System provides a range of exclusive travel passes and tickets for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited travel on consecutive days throughout the Swiss Travel System rail, bus, and boat network. This pass also covers scenic routes and local trams and buses in around 90 towns and cities, and includes the Swiss Museum Pass, which allows you free entrance to 500 museums and exhibitions. Prices start from £186 for a three-day second-class ticket.

A first-class, return train ticket from Geneva Airport to Verbier costs from £69.

By Klaudia Burton

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