Verbier... The Swiss Alps are something very special, and it's impossible to put a finger on why. I went hiking for a few days and it's just wow! Follow along and I'll show you why.
Beautiful Verbier in Switzerland
Verbier in Switzerland is very well known for its many ski slopes in winter. It is first and foremost for its off-piste slopes and has one of the steepest slopes in Europe. Most recently in August 2019, Verbier was named Switzerland's best ski resort for the second time. I (Peter) received an invitation to experience and write about Verbier in September 2019 focusing on hiking, mountain biking, food and experiencing nature without snow. I looked on the internet and thought like Ingemar Stenmark ... "They just have to go".
Where is Verbier located?
Verbier is located in the south-west of Switzerland in the commune of Bagnes. In Switzerland they have Cantons as counties or states and Verbier belongs to Valais. There are more than 800 km of mountain bike trails and 950 km of hiking trails, so the range is enormous.
1. Inspired by the Mauvoisin Dam
The flight from Arlanda left at 06.30 and I was there and landed at 08.40. Now I had one hour until the next flight, but it was much more than that. There was a strike at KLM and my flight was delayed 8 hours. Now I miss the fantastic dam where I had planned to take my drone up and take pictures. The Mauvosin dam was built between 1951-1958 and is the highest dam in Europe. It looks absolutely magical and there I was at Schiphol in Holland, waiting for my flight with a good beer and a tear in my eye.
2. Enjoy the Alpine station Cabin Brunet
My flight left at 15.00 and landed in Geneva at 16.30. From here I had to go by train which takes 2 hours and 10 minutes, and I went to Martigny where a taxi would pick me up. I got to ride in a Saab, haha, and the taxi driver loved his car (which makes you proudly Swedish). It took 50 minutes straight up to 2103 metres above sea level in crazy beautiful winding roads to the cottage where we would sleep.
It's getting dark and I don't care about my packing when we arrive, because photography comes first and it's insanely beautiful.
I run like a small child and take pictures of a big cabin and two small sheds with all the nature around me, as if I will never experience this again. The cows are playing their tune with their bells around their necks and you can see snow on the tops of the mountains. Come on ... this is really beautiful!
I go in and choose something to eat and it's cheese fondue and a beer. I familiarise myself with the female guide who has been coming here for 50 years (started at 15) and two photographers from France. The air is really thin and I lack oxygen but I fall asleep after being up for almost a day at 23.00.
3. Walk across the Passerelle de Sery suspension bridge.
Up at 06.00 to watch the morning sun over the Swiss Alps. Photographed for an hour and then breakfast before slowly packing up and leaving at 08.00. Everywhere helicopters come and deliver food to the different places around Verbier. Today we will hike first 5-6 hours up to the Corbassiere glacier, a 550 metre climb, and then straight down for three hours. We will also pass two suspension bridges on our way and it all seems very amazing.
After an hour's walk, the first suspension bridge (Passerelle de Sery) was about 25 metres long. By this time we had gained about 100 metres in height and the walk was quite comfortable, and incredibly beautiful.
4. Walk across the dramatic Passerelle de Corbassiere suspension bridge.
Three hours with several steep joints and for me it was heavy. I have been taking cortisone for a year for a strange inflammation, and have gained 15 kilos, which I am not used to, and it really felt in my body. The guide was great and took it more slowly and if you rest more often and concentrate on your breathing, you will eventually get up.
We walk around streams, sheep and high mountains and suddenly all the green disappears. We have entered the glacier and we are at the Corbassiere bridge, which will take us 190 metres across the glacier with a depth of 70 metres and up to where we will have lunch. This is a really cool suspension bridge and it swings well when we cross.
5. Fascinated by the glacier La Cabane FXB Panossiere
After another 1 h 30 min we have arrived at a fabulous place 2641 metres above sea level. Here is a restaurant with a crazy beautiful view of the entire glacier and the mountains Grand Combin 4314 metres above sea level is the one we see straight ahead and the highest in the region.
Petit Combin, Corbassiere Combin and the top Tournedos Blanc etc. In all these cottages/restaurants you can sleep and eat. We had a wonderful weather and I took a big strong, a lovely soup with bread and cheese and damn how good it tasted, and the view to it.
6. Discover wonderful Fionnay in Verbier
It was time to get down and the first two hours were a wonderful walk with just the right amount of downhill. There are lots of marmots here, and you hear their singing and you think it's birds.
After that, the steepness came for a whole hour. It felt like if I didn't hold back I would reach 50 kilometres per hour. It was also rocky, winding because you can't go straight down and after 30 minutes I asked for a rest. My thighs were shaking and I didn't trust that I could hold myself back. The last half hour was actually very hard, and my thighs hurt 7 days after I got home, haha. We got down to Fionnay and my legs were shaking but what a journey, and what a wonderful day.
7. Take a lift from Le Chable
The guide left me in the town below Verbier called Le Chable, because that's where you come by train when travelling to and from Verbier. From here, the lift goes up to Verbier or if you have a car, you wind up next to the lift. Next to the lift and train is also the tourist office, and here I picked up my suitcase that I could not take with me on the hike. Into the lift and so on.
8. Strolling around Verbier
It's cool to go into the town you are staying in, and Verbier is not that big but they have most things very close. My hotel Bristol was 5 minutes from the lift with a wonderful view of the Alps.
Pack up and off to dinner and it was a light salad and chanterelles on a bed of potatoes, and a test of a new wine (Ned noir) which was really good. It is not possible to eat melted cheese every day even though it is good. Back to the hotel and unload cameras, videos and all the gadgets I had with me.
9. Climb to the Pierre Avoi mountain top
New morning and new challenges. Pick up the electric mountain bike in the middle of the city and we will cycle 1 hour 30 minutes up another mountain of course. It is really easy to get up with an electric bike and it will be a nice morning. When we park our bikes, the fog comes.
We still have 45 minutes straight up to reach the top of the mountain Pierre Avoi 2472 metres above sea level. Now it's getting tough again and the oxygen is running out, but I'm struggling and it's very steep.
When you get up there should be a 360 degree view but the fog is messing with us today, but it's still cool with the whole Rhone valley below.
When we cycled back, we had lunch at the famous "La Croix de Coeur" at 2174 metres above sea level, and there we had another soup with bread and a big strong one.
10. Tasting new beers at the V Bier Brewery
In the centre of town there is a microbrewery/restaurant/gym that I was invited to taste beer at. The guy who shook hands was Swedish so there was a lot to talk about on the V Beer Brewery.
The IPA was the best, and we talked so much that I lost track of the time to the restaurant I was going to for dinner. Apparently it was a famous chef but I arrived an hour late and he had closed. That's how it can go and it was chips and wine from the mini-bar at the hotel ... always something!
11. Try Raclette at the famous cheese factory Laitere de Verbier.
On the last day before going home, there was also a visit to the famous cheese factory in town. No 1 Raclette and a guided tour of the production. These were really nice guys ... The father is Roger and the son is Marc who has his family business and won the "Swiss Cheese Avards" many times.
I bought Raclette cheese and Gruyere to take home and outside the shop there is a big vending machine with all the products to make fondue, if you think of it in the evening when it is closed, haha.
12. Take part in the "Verbier infinite playground" VIP pass.
This card is given to you when you check into a hotel and contains 45 fantastic offers between 1 June and 27 October. The card is valid for as many days as you are checked in at the hotel. Many of them are free and a lot of them have a 50 % discount.
Some tips from Verbier
- See beautiful Mont Fort at 3330 metres where the lift goes all the way up.
- Louvie Lake is an idyllic alpine lake at 2213 metres above Fionnay.
- Suone von Levron is a hiking trail for the whole family.
- From mid-July there is a music festival with classical music.
Flight tips from the return journey
After a hectic journey as usual, one is vulnerable to get some relaxation. I arrived at Geneva airport and they informed me that I could buy a business class ticket from Paris to Stockholm for 1200 Sek. I also got a lounge at Paris airport with all the services that business people want, right? It was cold at the bottom and everyone crowded to get some of the luxury they paid for. This clearly felt over-advertised!
Tired as hell and lacking energy, I went to seat 1A, and you can't get closer to the captain than 1A. The plane is a Boeing A-320 and sitting in the front is the worst thing you can do. You have a wall in front of you and it's a real shitty seat with even worse legroom than all the seats in the entire plane. Never buy the first seats in a small aircraft! A fancy folder with cool food that tastes like nothing... See what you get for your money and don't settle for something that looks good. This is just a little tip from Freedomtravel.se
See more in the neighbourhood
- On the other side of the mountains is Nendaz which has the same lift system and where we have been before. Here you can read about that excursion.
- We have also visited charming Zermatt which is a little south of Verbier.
Is it enough for me to write wow! Well... it's like this or a bit like this. Verbier may be an awesome skiing destination but they have a crazy beautiful place to visit in the summer. It's more beautiful when the snow has disappeared and a perfect long weekend (4-5 days) of hiking and relaxation. It is expensive in Switzerland as we know, but in summer you can get many discounts and after being in this wonderful dramatic nature you want more and you never forget it.
Film from Verbier
Here's a film from beautiful Verbier in Switzerland!
- Country: Switzerland
- Location: One of the most famous ski resorts in Europe
- Was: 1503 metres above sea level and 1200 km from Geneva
- Known for: The four valleys and 67 ski lifts and 107 ski runs
- Best afterskin: Pub Mont Fort
- Language: French
- Currency: Schweizerfranc
- Price mode: More expensive than Sweden
- Residents: 22 000
- Highest point: Mont Fort 3330 metres above sea level
- Getting around: Bus, mountain bike or lifts
- Time difference: None
- Emergency number: 112
- Religion: Christianity
- El: Like Sweden
- Water: Drinking beard
- Tourist OfficeRoute de Verbier Station 61
travelling to verbier
- Flight: from Arlanda with a stopover in Schiphole or Paris and on to Geneva.
- Trains: Trains are the best thing in Switzerland and they connect everywhere in the country, and it's incredibly beautiful. Take the train to Le Chable or to Martigny from Geneva which takes 2 hours and 30 minutes.