Villars, set at 1,200m on a wooded, sunny plateau overlooking Mont Blanc, offers a wonderful family friendly skiing holiday with fantastic views. It has an excellent ski area with plenty of good skiing, particularly for beginners and intermediates.
The resort has grown up around a traditional Swiss village, which still has plenty of wooden Swiss chalets and not too many large hotels to spoil the old fashioned alpine atmosphere. At the centre of the village is a busy street, with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. Although it is not pedestrianised, it is still very pleasant to wander along after a day on the slopes.
There is an excellent ski area, with a wide selection of well groomed pistes, particularly suited to intermediates and beginners. There are 220km of piste to choose from, with the longest run being 14km. For those looking to enjoy a drink in the sunshine and take in the magnificent scenery, there are plenty of mountain restaurants around to stop at.
Experts and those looking for guaranteed snow can always visit the Glacier at Les Diablerets, which is linked to Villars. In all there are four glaciers in the region which are available for heli-skiing for those with an adventurous spirit. There are also excellent off piste facilities. The skiing area is served by a network of 74 lifts, made up of a mixture of cable cars, gondolas, drag lifts and chair lifts.
Along with a good range of runs, the resort has a family friendly reputation, not least due to its policy of free lift access for under 9s. It also welcomes snow boarders, with a dedicated and excellent snow park.
For non-skiers, or those looking for a day off the slopes there are plenty of other activities to choose from. Try your hand at cross country skiing with 44km of cross country trails. If you prefer keeping to your own two feet as a means of transport, there are 30km of winter walks to choose from. For the more adventurous paragliding is on offer. Day excursions are also available to Montreux and Lausanne.
Apres ski leisure activities are well catered for. For those who wish to try their hands at other winter sports, there is snowshoeing and curling or you could simply relax your muscles with a leisurely swim in the pool or visit the thermal baths at les Bains de Lavey, which boast the hottest thermal waters in Switzerland. Alternatively you could challenge your family or group of friends to a bowling match.
There are a wide range of shops available catering for everything you might need on your week away. If you are self-catering then there are supermarkets, for those looking to add to their ski equipment, there are plenty of sports shops offering a wide range of goods or maybe you would like to take back a small souvenir of your trip? There are also some smarter shops and boutiques.
Although many of the restaurants are in hotels, there is a good selection offering everything from pizza to gourmet meals. At the top end, the Hotel la Renardiere offers a very good menu, or for something a little cheaper try Le Francis for pizza or Le Vieux Villars which offers good French food and local specialities such as cheese fondue, raclette or rosti in a cosy interior.
Do be warned, however, if you are trying cheese fondue, that those who lose the bread off their fork into the bubbling cheese have to pay a forfeit.
As a traditional and family friendly resort, many of the cafes and bars have a cosy village feel, however, there are a few offering a livelier atmosphere such as Charlies, Le Sporting and Le Blues Bar at Rotisserie des Alpes.
There is a wide range of accommodation available at the resort. Hotels range from the traditional to large, more modern hotels. There are plenty of hotels in the three to four star bracket as well as several guest houses and also chalets, offering self catering facilities. The latter can have the advantage of being situated further up the slopes, making transfer time to piste in the morning much quicker.
At 1 hour 40 minutes from Geneva by coach, Villars offers an easy and relatively quick transfer time. Its position on a plateau means it attracts plenty of sunshine, which combined with the wide range of well maintained pistes and the policy of free lift access for under 9s make it an ideal choice for a relaxing ski holiday with either your family or a group of friends.
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