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Verbier Vs Zermatt

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posts: 85
reviews: 80
Verbier Vs Zermatt

Hi Guys, I'd really appreciate any assistance. As two couples, we have been visiting Zermatt for the last five Christmas/New Years.

We are thinking of heading somewhere different and wanted to get some advice.

We have two skiiers and two non-skiiers, so it's important that there are additional activities like mountain walking, tobogganing etc to keep everyone entertained.

We love the christmasy village feel of Zermatt. I'd appreciate any advice on how Verbier compares to Zermatt.

Thanks in advance for your time! I really appreciate it.

Destination Expert
for Verbier
posts: 1,663
reviews: 152
1. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

I know Verbier really well, but not Zermatt. However, I have a few friends who have tried both and I know what is the determining factor....

I love Verbier but it has 2 main differences to Zermatt.

1 it is primarily a chalet town. There are a few new chic hotels but the overall atmosphere of the place is one orientated towards chalets dwellers. For example, not so many gourmet restaurants because this is less where people 'come of holiday' but more where they come for school holidays, weekends etc. It's upscale, but very laid back and untouristy.

2. It's a skiers town - or at least a place for highly active people. The terrain is challenging (plenty for everyone but exceptional at the challenging end) so it attracts people who are looking for that, not for the spa.

There's a stack of things to do - everything you note and more. The setting is sunny and beautiful etc etc. New Year fireworks are the biggest firework party I have ever seen. But it isn't a chocolate box Swiss tourist resort. You can see that there are probably 100 questions about Zermatt for every one about Verbier on this site. Verbier is not where 'international tourists' go for a slice of Switzerland - but European royalty hang out in jeans skiing off piste and eating fondue.

I don't know if that helps... I know lots of Zermatt visitors who aren't keen skiers who haven't been mad about Verbier. In trying to explain why, they talk about how many gourmet restaurants Zermatt has on the mountain. The gourmet restaurants in Verbier are empty and a bit of a joke - why would we need that sort of food when skiing? Who wants 2 hours for lunch? The spas are not world class. But who needs it. Save that for when you are back in London/Geneva/Paris etc.. Each to their own - great that we don't all want the same thing. But very sensible to be asking for the advice!

In summary, I would say that the people who love Zermatt, only love Verbier if they are really keen skiers. A better alternative to Zermatt might be St Moritz??? Not somewhere I have skied, but it may be more of the profile.

Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 20,449
reviews: 130
2. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

Certainly not St Moritz. This is a town in the mountains, skiing is not so fantastic (seems that most people go there to be seen and not to ski!!) and has a totally different feeling than Zermatt.If you like Zermatt you are unlikely to like St Moritz. Food scene in St Moritz is amazing though...

I skied for years in Zermatt, then bought a flat in Verbier (had a lot of friends there) and eventually built a chalet there and lived there year round for over 12 years... I much preferred the skiing in Zermatt. Lots of reasons why especially because in those days (I am talking about 20 years ago) the people in Zermatt did a hugely better job of maintaining the slopes than they did in Verbier. That has changed - at least Verbier has improved!!

But Verbier lacks the atmosphere of Zermatt. You need a car to even get groceries in Verbier and though there are buses in the winter and the summer season most chalets and apartments are located a distance from a bus stop so that hauling back wine and water etc not to mention food becomes an issue. zermatt is and always has been a village. It existed for hundreds of years before skiing was even thought of. Verbier resort - as distinct from Verbier village - was created after the Second World War and initially attracted mostly Belgian tourists. (The village is very old and has been there for hundreds of years but it is lower down the hill than the resort and so somewhat separated... all the new development is in the resort area)

JT14 is right about the New Year's Eve festivities in Verbier. I have been in both places for New Year's Eve and there is nothing like Verbier for that... and really good skiers will say that there is nothing to compare to the off piste skiing in Verbier either. JT14 is also right about the food. Verbier does not have the gastro scene that Zermatt does. And it doesn't have the charm either though the Commune de Bagnes is trying hard to deal with that! Why not try Verbier for one holiday? If you are good skiers you will certainly enjoy and be challenged by the skiing. and if you don't like it you can always go back to Zermatt the next year.

Destination Expert
for Verbier
posts: 1,663
reviews: 152
3. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

I think the OP has moved onto other ideas - he posted about Gstaad (which isn't so snow sure really).

Incidentally, you don't really need a car to go shopping in Verbier. Coop will deliver anything over CHF100 same day for free. So no lugging the wine and water (unless you buy a lot of very cheap wine, and nothing else!). That said, it helps.

I am no St Moritz expert. But I do know a lot of people who like both. And the OP was looking for places for non-skiers too, which it is.

Edited: 9:49 am, May 08, 2013
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 20,449
reviews: 130
4. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

Agree - St Moritz is more of a place for non skiers (me, now, for example!!) There are lots and lots of things to do there. But so are there in nearby Pontresina, for example...

Gstaad? I skied there once. It was easy even for me!! Not nearly as many good restaurants as Zermatt though.

As for the Coop delivery service - good news to hear about. I do not think it existed when I lived there (or maybe it was only available in "season" or they didn't want to come all the way up to my chalet!) there is also always le shop which will deliver and I used them quite a lot. www.leshop.ch

Verbier, Switzerland
posts: 62
reviews: 4
5. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

Verbier other activities -

- Tobogganing

- Ice Karting - http://www.kartingextremeverbier.com

- Snow shoeing

- Ice skating

- Curling

- Wine tasting

- Spa's etc

- Sports centre (swiming etc)

- Ski touring

- Husky rides

I'm sure there is more, try Ski Alternative, the sell everthing that's no skiing (John) www.theski-alternative.com

6. Re: Verbier Vs Zermatt

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