For an autumn holiday, Verbier has much to offer - such as 800 km of e-biking and mountain biking trails and more than 500 km of hiking trails. But it's also a time to explore some new activities: from a deer rut to a dreamy hike amidst the colours of autumn, from a night among the trees to running a trail in the cool of the day, from fishing in an Alpine lake to feasting on autumn specialities such as chestnuts and hunting dishes. Autumn in Verbier has a markedly different vibe to the heat of the summer season or the cold of winter.
Where is Verbier?
Verbier is in the Val de Bagne in the canton of Valais in south-western Switzerland. The village sits on a south-facing plateau at around 1,500m facing the Grand Combin massif. The nearest airport is Sion, however most UK visitors will take the 90-minute flights to the more popular gateway airports such as Geneva, Zurich, Bern and Basel, and use the excellent Swiss rail network for onward travel to Verbier.
Why visit Verbier in the Autumn?
Hikers or mountain bikers will already know the answer to that one. The summer heat can be too much for full-on outdoor efforts, but in the autumn, you get the Goldilocks effect, with temperatures that are just right. And Verbier's mountain landscapes glow with the colours of Autumn and the late afternoon sunshine catching the tips of the peaks. Take a look at our pick of the best hiking and biking routes in Verbier for more info. E-biking is a gentler alternative to mountain bikes.
A t the Centre Sportive de Verbier there is an outdoor heated swimming pool surrounded by the most fantastic views of the mountains. With tennis and squash courts, indoor climbing, volleyball courts and a large garden, it's an ideal stop for the whole family. The thermal baths near Verbier, Les Bains de Levey or Bains de Saillon are the perfect spots to spend some time pampering yourself.
Thrill seekers can opt for helicopter tours or try mountain climbing.
The best things to do in autumn in Verbier
Walking trails, great seasonal food and some unique experiences - a taste of autumn in Verbier.
Enjoy the seasonal food
Verbier is a great destination for a number of culinary specialities linked to autumn and the Valais. Pop in to Restaurant La Marmotte nestled in the Planards, above Verbier, where the menu is based on local products including brisolée (a seasonal dish of roasted chestnuts, rye bread, cheese, charcuterie and grapes). Or book at table at the Cafe de la Promenade to sample one of their famous hunting dishes, with game provided by hunters from the Val de Bagnes and the surrounding area.
You can also take an evening tour or participate in a workshop at the Laiterie de Verbier for some of the best Swiss cheese you will ever taste.
Spend a night in the Verbier wilderness
Chose from mountain or forest, for an experience that brings you closer to nature. For example, the Cabane de Chanrion is located at the end of the Mauvoisin dam, almost at the end of the isolated and unspoiled Haut Val de Bagnes. Perched at 2,462m, it sits on the mountainside and blends into the landscape without damaging it. Freshly renovated and extended, it has comfortable dormitories, modern sanitary facilities and a bright dining room. The cabin is accessible to experienced mountaineers but it also welcomes families, hikers and mountain bikers in search of freshness and calm.
For a truly unique experience, you can spend a 'night among the trees' in Verbier's ArboCamp, sleeping in hanging tents strung about a metre above ground with spectacular views. A night at ArboCamp is something you won't soon forget: spend the evening around a small fire, and a night under the stars, waking up to the warmth of the first rays of the sun...Settled in your cozy little nest, you will feel like you are living in the depths of yourself.
Take a colourful autumn walk
Verbier's 500km of hiking trails cross landscapes that are alive with autumn colour. Try this fairly challenging 13.3km route to the Lac des Vaux, via La Tzoumaz: an ascent from Savoleyres, follows the ridge towards La Croix de Coeur.
The route continues around the hillside, and goes around the bottom of the Tête des Etablons, leading to the Col des Mines. This is followed by a climb towards the Lac des Vaux, which is the perfect place for a well-deserved break. The return is via the Vallon de Chassoure, and then along the Fare up to Les Pontets. You get back to the resort centre after going through Le Marteau. highlights of this route are the stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Go trail running
Once the summer heat has passed, Autumn is the perfect time to step up your running challenges, and trail runners can choose between 21 marked routes in and around Verbier, such as the 21km Tour des Villages - a picturesque run that allows breaks in a reviving and bucolic setting, the Vernays chapel, Sarreyer, a thirst-quenching oasis with its Fontaines alley, Lourtier, Champsec and finally Bruson.
Or if you fancy taking on a longer, multi-day route, there's the Tour des Cabanes, an 89km challenge in which you run from hut to hut in the Bagnes Valley, including Mont Fort, Brunet, Chanrion and Panossière. A shorter run is the 13km Château route: a top-quality trail will get you feeling like a true trail runner as you tackle La Chaux ... An uphill climb that will make your legs and lungs scream!
Get to know the local wildlife
September and October are the season to witness a unique natural phenomenon - a deer rut in Vallon d'Arbi. A small group experience, you'll head into the forest with specialised mountain guides to follow in the footsteps of the deer. The moderately difficult hike lasts 3 hours with an elevation gain of 300m, but the itinerary can be adapted according to the participants wishes,.
Flanked by two smaller but equally gleaming mountain lakes, Lac des Vaux at 2,543m is the perfect spot for a picnic or a fishing trip. You can drive up to La Croix de Coeur and walk from there, in about 1h30mins. Or you can walk from La Tzoumaz, but this will take you longer - about 3hrs. Fishing permits are sold at the village's tourist office. With its crystal-clear waters, the lake is home to rainbow trout and snapper which attracts fly and grasshopper fishing enthusiasts. Alternatively, the Lac de Louvie - well-stocked with rainbow trout each year - is the only lake in the Haut Val de Bagnes where fishing is permitted; most of the other lakes there are private. Fishing permits are available from the caretaker at the Louvie's mountain hut.
Don't miss the wonderful autumn events
The fun doesn't stop when summer ends: Verbier plays host to a couple of 'cheesy' autumn events:
23-24 September - Bagnes Capitale de la Raclette - a celebration of all things raclette in the capital of this famous cheese dish.
5 November - Alpine Cheese Market - a unique opportunity to meet all the local cheese producers in a friendly alleyway in the village of Bruson during this market where you’ll be able to buy wheels or half wheels of the famous cheese. Share a glass of wine, some cold cuts or a raclette while chatting with the men and women who produce this exceptional cheese.
Get a VIP Pass: It's worth mentioning that many of these activities, including hiking and cycling tours, can be combined with the ski lifts and buses, which are free with Verbier's VIP Pass. As a reminder, with a night booked in the destination, visitors obtain a one-day VIP Pass (and more if more nights) which gives them access to public transport, almost all the ski lifts and certain activities at reduced prices.
Go to verbier.ch for more info about visiting Verbier in the autumn.