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Verbier or Zermatt? The battle of the Swiss heavyweights

It’s fair to say Verbier and Zermatt are the two best known ski resorts in Switzerland. With that in mind, we wanted to take a closer look at the differences between these two luxury ski resorts and put to bed any myths of rivalry. You know us, we are honesty personified, so we won’t be afraid to admit defeat if we absolutely need to!

There is no denying it, Zermatt is home to the most iconic mountain of all; the Matterhorn. It has to be one of the worlds most photographed mountains and standing proud with it’s watchful gaze over the village itself, it’s not hard to see why. Whilst the majestic Matterhorn does give Zermatt that unique feel, big mountains do create big shadows… and the majority of the time, Zermatt village itself is in shade, and that’s a bit of a shame on a bluebird day! Did you know you can also see the Matterhorn from the Verbier ski area?!

The transfer time is one of the most important factors and much talked about aspects when deciding where to book a ski holiday. Of course, the shorter the better. Verbier is such an easy win here, with a simple and quick journey by road which is under 2hrs from Geneva airport. That makes it accessible and versatile for shorter breaks and longer stays alike. Zermatt has a much more significant journey time (around 3.5hrs) requiring careful thought and planning (plus expense!). That’s not to say it isn’t worth it when you get there, but it does affect the beginning and end of your stay with the travelling days significantly impacting your holiday time and completely rules it out for a weekend trip. Taking the train from Geneva is an option for either resort, a little over 2hrs to Verbier against 3.5-4hr to Zermatt, both with 1 change. The scenery however, is to die for.

Zermatt is always regarded a much ‘higher’ ski resort than Verbier, but if you look at the towns themselves there’s really not a huge difference; Zermatt’s 1600m to Verbier’s 1500m. Yes, Zermatt does reach higher skiing altitudes – a dizzying 3,883m making it the highest ski area in Switzerland no less, but you also spend much more time on the lifts simply to get to the highest spots. We can’t help but feel that what you gain in height, you really do lose in ski time. Verbier’s highest altitude is an impressive 3,330m and can also boast the most amount of lift-accessible off-piste terrain. The final numbers need little explanation. Verbier’s 4 Vallees ski area provides skiers with 410km of piste compared with the Zermatt Matterhorn Paradise with just 360km.

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Harriet Kitchen

Author Harriet Kitchen

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