A guide to visiting the Swiss region of Nendaz in every season

While mountainous Nendaz in the southwestern canton of Valais is well-equipped for an exciting range of winter activities, it also has a lot to offer all year round, from gentle hikes with the entire family to more adventurous treks.

By Nendaz Tourism
Published 14 Mar 2021, 15:00 GMT
The beautiful panorama from Mont-Fort, the highest peak in the 4 Valleys area.

The beautiful panorama over the Alps from Mont-Fort, the highest peak in the Four Valleys skiing area.

Photograph by Arolle

Located at the heart of the Four Valleys ski region, Switzerland’s biggest skiing area, Nendaz might conjure up visions of powdery slopes, white forests and cosy dinners by a fireplace. But the resort is also an exciting year-round destination, with opportunities for hiking, trail running and beautiful nature walks awaiting visitors of all ages once the snow has thawed. From the best local haunts for traditional apres-ski to where to admire the area’s changing colours in autumn, here’s a guide to Nendaz through the seasons.

Winter

With snow guaranteed from December to April, Nendaz is a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities who can zigzag down some 250 miles of blue, red and black slopes, as well as almost 10 miles of tracks dedicated to ski touring. Don’t miss Mont-Fort, the highest point in the area at 10,919ft: here, enjoy 360-degree views of the Alps — including the pyramidal Matterhorn peak — or fly over the Tortin Glacier on the world’s highest zip-line, a new adrenalin-pumping descent that reaches eye-watering speeds of up to 100mph. Non-skiers are well catered for, too, with 60 miles of signposted winter walks and numerous snowshoe hiking routes to choose from. Finish the day at the luxurious Spa des Bisses, which awaits tired bodies with its pine sauna, steam bath, float pool and jacuzzi.

Family fun in the area, which has been designated as a Family Destination since 1997.

Photograph by Etienne Bornet

Spring

Designated as a Family Destination by the Swiss Tourism Federation since 1997, Nendaz is the perfect spot for a spring family getaway, offering everything from treasure hunts and paragliding to wall climbing and hiking. There are eight trails along local bisses — Valais’ historic irrigation channels, carved out of or suspended from the rock face, still used to water crops — allowing visitors a glimpse of the region’s struggle against droughts. The oldest is the Bisse de Salins, which can be explored on a hike that also takes visitors across the torrent of Ojintse and through a humid forest. Families looking for a cultural fix can instead learn to play the Alphorn, an extraordinarily long wooden musical instrument used by Alpine mountain dwellers. 

The Bisses de Salin, the oldest bisses in Nendaz. Some of these irrigation channels are still used to bring water to the region. 

Photograph by Florian Bouvet-Fournier

Summer

Immerse yourself in nature along Val de Nendaz’s 155 miles of marked footpaths and 14 different trail-running routes through verdant forests, across meadows and up to summits. To best enjoy the area’s summer scenery, book a three-day, full-board hike around Val de Nendaz, bedding down in cosy mountain cabins between Nendaz and Veysonnaz along the way. During this tour, you’ll pass numerous mountain lakes, walk along the Bisse de Chervé and hike on mountain ridges paths offering breathtaking views of the Alps and Rhone Valley. The itinerary, which is well-marked and has few technical difficulties, can be completed at each group or traveller’s own pace. For a guided hike of mid-mountain areas, contact the guides’ office.

During the Nendaz Trekking tour, travellers can hike on mountain ridges paths offering views of the Alps and Rhone Valley.

Photograph by Florian Bouvet-Fournier

Autumn

Autumn brings out the magnificent colours of the region’s flora, making for a brilliant time to visit Nendaz for outdoor adventurers, nature lovers and budding photographers. Highlights include the Balavaux larch trees, a collection of giant trees aged between 300 to 1,000-years-old — among the oldest in Europe — that turn golden at this time of year. To find them, take the intermediate-level hike from Tracouet towards the Balavaux cabin, before continuing on along the Bisse de Saxon and the beautiful Pra da Dzeu meadow. Another unmissable spot is the Cleuson Dam, a lake known for its almost mythical-looking turquoise colour, reachable via an easy walk through the Tortin Alpine meadows.

Autumn is a great season to admire the picturesque colours of the region's nature. 

Photograph by Florian Bouvet-Fournier

Top four night-time adventures, according to the locals


1. Moonlight skiing
In winter, moonlight skiing is the ultimate adventure. Available on certain evenings during the season, the experience includes a meal and party in a restaurant at 7,217ft followed by a unique, dark descent down the Tracouet slope.
Suggested by Julien, economics student

2. Snow-shoeing under the stars
Opt for this package to snow-shoe through white woods by nightfall: set off on a guided hike in the late afternoon, enjoy a dinner of melted raclette cheese and wine around a fire and return after sunset with the help of headlamps.
Suggested by Yvan, mechanic

3. Apres-ski
This is a must after a day on the slopes, with happy hours, live music and club nights hosted at local bars including The Cactus, The Edelweiss and The Gallery. With both indoor and outdoor stages, Nendaz nightlife pulls in top global acts such as Afrika Bambaataa and Bob Sinclar.
Suggested by Virginie, nurse

4. Diamonds in the sky
In summertime, stargazers shouldn’t miss this Saturday-night experience featuring a ride in the Tracouet gondola, a sunset-watching session at 7,200ft and an astronomy workshop — plus a traditional Swiss meal of dried meats, cheeses and, of course, unlimited raclette.
Suggested by Maeva, physiotherapy student, and Sabrina, social worker

How to get there

Two hours from Geneva airport by car, Nendaz is located in the Valais region and the 4 Vallées ski area, which links Verbier, Nendaz, Thyon and Veysonnaz. Car hire is highly recommended. For more information, visit nendaz.ch

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