Valais lies in the South-west of Switzerland, stretching 150 km along the Rhone Valley between the Rhone Glacier and Lake Geneva. Valais has an impressive range of landscapes. Within just a few kilometres, some of the highest peaks of the Alps are bumping elbows with almost subtropical areas where almonds and pomegranates are found.
The Rhone Valley dominates the region, but the main skiing resorts and other small villages are in side valleys to the north and south. Some of these resorts include Zermatt, Verbier, Crans-Montana, Saas-Fee and Nendaz. Loving Apartments offers accommodation at each, giving their guests convenience and comfort after a day of winter sports and activities.
Zermatt is the most glamorous ski resort you’ll find in the Swiss Alps. The village lies at the foot of the majestic Matterhorn and offers a glorious view of the surrounding peaks. Nestled in a deep valley near the Italian border, Zermatt has become a cosy destination with its romantic cobbled streets, horse-drawn sleighs and quiet corners. You won’t be bothered by the hustle and bustle of traffic because combustion engine transport is not allowed in order to prevent pollution. The atmosphere is instantly welcoming with the fresh Alpine air, one-of-a-kind shops, quality restaurants and traditional chalets. The area’s beauty is simply unsurpassed.
Zermatt is the heart of Swiss winter sports with the highest mountains in Europe. The three main ski areas – the Sunnegga, the Gornergrat and the Klein Matterhorn – soar to altitudes over 3,100 metres with fabulous snow conditions and long runs. The longest, and most recommended, run is from the Klein Matterhorn to Zermatt. The trail covers 13 km of varied terrain. On the way down, skiers will be awed by the white glacial world with sweeping views of Switzerland, Italy and even distant France. These three areas offer skiers of all levels over 250 kilometers of trails. That is a lot of ground to cover, so it’s a good thing that Zermatt has the longest winter ski season in the Alps from late November to the start of May. If slope skiing doesn’t take your interest as much as cross country skiing, there are also cross country skiing routes with the Täsch and Randa trails.
And this is only skiing. We haven’t even begun to scrape the surface of all the other winter sports opportunities.
Photo Credit: dsearls@Flickr.
Snowboarders can find good terrain and a half pipe near Riffelberg and a snowboarding park on the Klein Matterhorn. Winter hiking, snowshoeing and sledding trails are scattered throughout the Zermatt region, and you’ll find hockey, skating and curling in the village.
But Zermatt is more than just winter sports. During the summer season, almost every sport imaginable is offered from mountain biking, to hiking, to golf and tennis.
Since Zermatt is car-free, the most sensible way to travel there is by train. The trip is beautiful because it takes you through the deepest cleft in Switzerland with the highest mountains on either side of you.
Here is some additional information about Zermatt to help in your holiday planning.
Featured Accommodation in Zermatt
Heinz Julen Penthouse Chalet:
This light and chic apartment has 4 bedrooms, sleeping up to 8 people. It has stylish furnishings, a terrace, sauna and gorgeous views of the Swiss landscape.
Verbier is the main ski resort in the four valleys – Switzerland’s largest ski area. It is reputed as being Europe’s premiere off-piste resort with ranging slopes for all skill levels. The resort is popular with weekenders from London and Geneva, giving it a buzzing energy and exciting atmosphere. The village is full of ski and fashion shops, award-winning restaurants and lively bars and nightclubs. The mix of breathtaking scenery, sporting terrain, and nightlife attracts youthful and athletic visitors from all over the world.
Now let’s get down to business. Skiing. Verbier is one of the largest lift-linked ski regions in Switzerland with 412 km of well-maintained pistes – 39% for beginners, 44% for intermediates and 17% for advanced skiers. The entire lift system links the resorts of Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Bruson, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. If your looking for a thrill off the beaten skiing path, try the daunting vertical drop of 2,000 metres of off-piste skiing from Mont Glacier.
The off-piste opportunities and competitions like the Verbier Ride and O’Neill Xtreme set the skiing standard high, so Verbier attracts top skiers and boarders from all over the world. Don’t let that phase you though. Verbier is suited for all sorts of skiers. Take a look at Verbier’s official website to read additional information on the skiing region.
Featured Accommodation in Verbier
La Toura Apartment:
This 3 bedroom apartment sleeps up to 6 people and has a balcony that gives guests an incredible view of the mountains and valley.
Crans-Montana is composed of two neighbouring resorts situated on a sun-drenched plateau above the Rhone Valley at 1,500 metres altitude. The twin towns have much to offer visitors all year round. They have a remarkable view of all the mountain peaks from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc. Crans-Montana offers some of the most extensive Alpine shopping around and is also home to a renowned culture and congress centre. The towns have been a popular venue for sporting events, especially because of their reputation as a golfing Mecca. The resort also gives visitors the chance to enjoy nature with five swimming lakes and footpaths through the mountain forests. There is literally something for all tastes.
Crans-Montana offers skiing at 1,500 metres on the resort’s altitude level and then skiing at 3,000 metres off Plaine-Morte Glacier. There are 140 km of marked pistes: 17 blue, 20 red and 4 black. The valley descent down the Piste National is particularly popular as the longest run in the region, and advanced skiers can take to the chairlift to La Toule to find a challenge. Crans-Montana is known for having broad carving pistes which means that skiers and snowboarders can use them safely side-by-side. You can enjoy night skiing on some of the pistes, and if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can organize a torch-lit descent.
In winter, all the golf courses are transformed into havens for cross country skiers and hikers. Mountain bikers will also find a place for themselves with 117 km of marked pistes, two downhill runs and the Kona Bikepark.
If you decide to plan a holiday to Crans-Montana, this additional link may come in handy.
Featured Accommodation in Crans-Montana
This 6 room accommodation can sleep up to 10 people, so it’s a great location to bring a group of friends for a winter holiday.
Until the 14th century, Saas was the only community in the Saas Valley. However since then, Saas has grown and transformed into four different villages. One of them became Saas-Fee – “The Pearl of the Alps.” The village is situated on a plateau above the other three communities – Saas-Grund, Saas Almagell and Saas Balen. Saas-Fee has been declared a “miniature Zermatt” and is a charming Alpine village with its streets lined with chalets. Similar to other mountain villages, it is car free, so you can figure on a peaceful community for your winter holiday. Not to mention, Saas-Fee is encompassed by 13 mountain peaks, so you’ll constantly be surrounded by the dazzling Alpine scenery.
Saas-Fee offers several lofty pistes. Some reaching up to 3,600 metres, so you can also be certain of snow. Slopes are also serviced by 95 snow cannons to ensure that you have plenty of the white fluff to make a successful descent. The resort provides 150 km of slopes for skiers of all levels and 4 different snow parks. Getting around the slopes in Saas-Fee is convenient with 22 railways leading to the pistes, including the Metro Alpine that takes people to the world’s highest revolving restaurant.
Saas Fee is also known for favouring winter hikers. The area has 20 km of trails for winter hiking in order for adventurers to admire the beautiful landscape. There are also various toboggan runs in the valley as another alternative to skiing. The longest run is 11 km from Kreuzboden to Saas-Grund and has become a favorite run of the locals.
Take a look at this link for some more information about Saas-Fee.
Featured Accommodation in Saas-Fee
This apartment is modern, chic, and the perfect place to relax after a day out on the slopes.
Nendaz is located on a mountainside overlooking the Rhone Valley. The village originally started as a farming community, but over time it transformed into a winter holiday destination and ski resort area. However, that farming tradition is still evident in remaining cow sheds, barns, grain stores, fruit orchards and the annual alphorn festival. Nendaz is known as being an affordable and family-friendly ski resort. The village is fairly large and is full of chalets and apartments, shops and a variety of bars and restaurants.
Photo Credit: vasile23@Flickr.
Nendaz is situated in the four valleys ski region in Switzerland – along with Verbier, Veysonnaz, La Tsoumaz and Thyon. However, Nendaz is the best for children and beginners with their exceptional nursery slopes and the wide blues on Tracouet. Intermediate skiers will be thrilled with good carving runs from the top of the Alpage, and expert skiers can try their luck on off-pistes routes that the four valleys is known for. There are also back country skiing options that advanced skiers can try, starting with Siviez-Chassoure route and building up to the Tortin Wall, which has been listed as one of the “scariest ski runs in the world.”
Boards may not appreciate the gradient-lacking tracks from one valley to the next, but they will be sure to love the two snowparks that Nendaz offers. There is the Nendaz Snowpark for beginners, and the Burton Progression Park which is geared more towards advanced boarders. Visitors to Nendaz can find alternative winter activities on 12 km of cross-country ski trails, 100 km of winter hiking trails and 40 km of snowshoe routes.
If you would like to plan a holiday in Nendaz, here is some additional information to help.
Featured Accommodation in Nendaz
Les Roches Apartment:
This beautiful and luxurious apartment sleeps up to eight people in 4 bedrooms. The accommodation also includes a sauna, hot tub, children’s play equipment, and a storage room for ski equipment.
In case you would like to plan your winter holiday for somewhere else, check out the other regions in Switzerland that Loving Apartments offers accommodation:
Alpes Vaudoises Bernese Mittelland
Central Switzerland Eastern Switzerland
Lake Geneva Lake Zurich
Ticino Bernese Oberland