Zermatt or Verbier: 10 reasons why Zermatt is better than Verbier
Switzerland is home to some world famous ski resorts and arguably the best known are the resorts of Zermatt and Verbier. Both destinations have legions of fans that return year after year and there is often a heated debate about which resort is best.
We agree that Verbier deserves its status as a world class ski resort, but it isn’t quite as good as Zermatt and here is why:
1. The ski area
Let’s start with some facts about the ski areas of both resorts. Zermatt has over 360 km of piste in comparison to Verbier’s 177 km.
The vertical drop in Zermatt is 7,477 ft, which is nearly 1,500 ft more that its rival and Zermatt’s highest point is almost 2,000 ft higher at 12,792 ft. It also has more runs and more lifts.
2. The Lift System
Verbier has long been associated with lift queues, and although this is changing, it is still a long way behind the huge investment that Zermatt has ploughed into its lift system.
Since 2002 there has been £200 million invested into the lift system alone which translates into fast, uncrowded lifts and very few queues.
3. The Longest Run
The legendary Mont Fort in Verbier may be too steep to get a piste basher on but it’s a mere 8 km long. That’s just a warm up in comparison to the leg-burning 20 km that is Zermatt’s longest run, taking you from the top of the Klein Matterhorn all the way back to town.
4. The Gastronomy
Zermatt is renowned across the globe as destination for foodies. Verbier has some lovely restaurants and you won’t go hungry but the choice and quality are nowhere near what Zermatt can boast.
Zermatt currently claims four Michelin stars among its numerous fine dining restaurants and more are on the way. Take a look at our blog on the ‘Best Mountain Restaurants in Zermatt’.
5. The Town
Both resorts have distinct architecture that helps to give these Swiss villages a very different ambiance. Zermatt has almost entirely traditional ‘alpine style’ hotels and chocolate-box luxury chalets that look stunning set in such a dramatic valley.
Zermatt is also car-free, meaning that walking is the main way to get around – even with a free bus service – and nothing seems to far away. Verbier, on the other hand, is much more sprawling.
6. Better for Mixed Groups
If you are a group of mixed ski ability and are looking to book a Swiss ski holiday then you will probably want to put Zermatt on your list.
The wide range of skiing in the area will be enough to satisfy the beginner all the way up to the more experienced piste-pounder. Verbier has a reputation among advanced skiers – as does Zermatt – with much of best skiing on red and black runs.
7. Great for Non-skiers
Zermatt is popular with skiers in the winter, and climbers, mountain bikers and hikers in summer. Unlike any other resort (apart from possibly Chamonix) it is popular with sightseers all year round.
People come to soak up the atmosphere, catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn and just visit the town. It is this that makes it stand out if you are looking to be entertained when not on the slopes.
It doesn’t just beat Verbier but all of the resorts in Switzerland when it comes to activities for non-skiers.
8. The Piste Maintenance
Some people say that part of the joy of skiing in Verbier is the lack of attention the piste-bashers give the slopes. This isn’t completely true as the resort does look after the runs, just not as well as in Zermatt.
There also aren’t anywhere near as many big, wide, fun pistes that you can find in the Matterhorn Ski Paradise.
9. The Spectacular Location
From the moment you arrive in Zermatt you are wowed by the dramatic location. It is situated in a sweeping valley that heads up to the ski area that also frames one of the world’s most iconic mountains.
The Matterhorn is as inescapable in Zermatt as Mont Blanc in Chamonix or Everest in Basecamp and Verbier just has nothing that competes in terms of imposing natural beauty.
10. The Snow
Zermatt has both a glacier and superb snow-making facilities, which puts it leagues ahead of Verbier and makes it a guaranteed snow resort. The glacier that is open 365 days a year, allowing a longer ski season as well as skiing in the summer.
Verbier’s snow record also doesn’t compare well to Zermatt. Historical snow records show that, on average, Verbier receives an annual snowfall of 141 inches. Zermatt can expect over double that amount with yearly snow records of 300 inches.
Luxury Accommodation in Zermatt
If you’d like to ski in one of the world’s best resorts with us, then Matterhorn Chalets offers a selection of luxury catered chalets, as well as hotels and self-catering apartments.