Road Trip in Switzerland
Discovering the Vaud Alps
After travelling through it during the summer, we were able to enjoy the joys of winter in the Canton of Vaud, during our one-week road trip to Switzerland. During our stay in 3 destinations – Villars, Les Diablerets and Leysin – we tested several extra-ski activities. These tourist resorts are just a 1 hour drive from Lausanne, the capital of the canton of Vaud.
This resort was the first step of our road trip in Switzerland. During 3 days and 2 nights, we visited Villars-sur-Ollon, village located at 1300m of altitude. It has a large ski area with 112 km of slopes, with the connections Villars – Bretaye – Gryon – Les Diablerets. Apart from skiing, there are many other activities in Villars.
1) Snowshoeing in Villars
The snowshoe trail is magnificent. It is available as a one-way trip by train or as a round trip for the brave. For our part, we took the train from Villars-sur-Ollon station to go to Bretaye, or more precisely to Les Bouquetins, in only 15 minutes.
Once there, the path will be well indicated and the walk begins at the edge of the railway tracks. Then begins an idyllic walk in the middle of the fir trees, without any noise. You feel isolated, in the middle of nature.
The snowshoe walk in Villars is really accessible to all, no major difficulty and not too much elevation change. In 30 minutes, you can go to the Col-de-Soud to have lunch.
At the inn, we tried the Röstis, typical Swiss German potato pancakes. It was delicious and the service is really great! After this break, at the halfway point, you can finish the walk to Villars-sur-Ollon, or return by train in less than 10 minutes.
Practical information for the snowshoeing tour in Villars
Price : 17€ for a day’s snowshoe rental
Time : 2h round trip or 1h one way.
2) The fat bike
For those who love the thrill, it is also possible to rent a fat bike. These are bikes with big tires. They have the specificity of not sinking into the snow. Trails are provided for this purpose. Unfortunately, we were not able to test the activity because the snow that fell the day before was too heavy.
Practical information for fat biking in Villars
Price : 55€ for a day or 40€ for a half day
There is a marked trail between Bretaye (accessible by train) and Villars.
3) The Baths of Villars
To relax after a day of hiking or skiing, there is nothing like going to the Villars Spa. This complex has a swimming pool (indoor and outdoor) and wellness area. Saunas and hammams are at your disposal. The outdoor pool is equipped with massage benches and bubble seats. Its temperature is 36 degrees and the breathtaking view of the mountains is a must!
Practical information about the Villars Spa :
Price: 22€ the entry fee
4) Sled dogs
We finally realized our dream (to go for a ride with sled dogs). We highly recommend this activity in Villars. The dogs are loves and they are more than happy to take you for a ride.
5) Enjoy the slopes at L’Étable
In the commune of Gryon, a snowshoeing (or cross-country skiing) tour leads to the restaurant L’Étable. It is located on the slopes and serves delicious food. The setting is very nice, the welcome pleasant and the food of quality. To get there, park at the parking lot of Les Frasses and follow the cross-country ski trail for about 30 minutes. Signs will show you the way.
Remember to book in advance, even outside the school vacations, this establishment is very popular.
6) Dinner at the Solalex refuge with snowmobile access
A real experience not to be missed! For this, you have to go to the plateau of Cergnement and make an appointment with the refuge of Solalex to have a snowmobile driver. Remember to cover up well for the 10 minute ride and enjoy this unique ride, in the middle of nature under the stars. This is one of the moments that marked us the most during our stay in the Canton of Vaud.
The welcome at the refuge is great. We highly recommend the raclette on a wood fire, a delight. It is also open in summer and it is possible to sleep on the spot.
The road-trip in Switzerland continues in Les Diablerets
Les Diablerets is a ski resort in the Canton of Vaud, close to Villars, located at 1128m of altitude. Famous for its glacier and its variety of slopes, the resort is linked to the ski area of Villars-Gryon by a chairlift.
What to do in Diablerets in winter ?
1) Discovery of the Glacier 3000
From the Col du Pillon, you can reach the Glacier 3000 in less than 30 minutes of ascent. Once at the top, head for the only gateway in the world linking 2 summits: the Peak Walk by Tissot. The panorama is truly exceptional and the stability allows everyone to enjoy it without fear. To eat, you can reserve at the table at the Botta restaurant, which offers a magnificent view of the reliefs and the footbridge.
On the Glacier 3000, it is also possible to ski, hike and walk with sled dogs. We did not have time to go to the refuge l’Espace (2h walk round trip), but we heard a lot of good things if you have time and motivation. The place has a lot of charm and its exceptional panorama.
Practical information to enjoy the Glacier 3000
In season: one departure every 20 minutes
Parking at the Pillon pass: free
Pedestrian access price: 70€ round trip (Peak Walk included)
Price of the sled ride: 25€ per person for a 5 minute ride
2) Tobogganing in Les Diablerets on 7 km
This activity is a real pleasure for everyone, day and night (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). The wooden sleds, made in the valley, are of excellent quality. We recommend you to take the top of the range model in order to have good sensations. What is nice is to eat a fondue at the restaurant Les Mazots at the top of the gondola and to go back down on the 7 km track!
Practical information for sledging in Les Diablerets
+ 41 77 523 45 62 (from 09 :00 am)
Rates for the ski lifts: €7 for children aged 6-15 and €13 for adults aged 16 and over. The ascent to the gondola is free for holders of a valid package and equipped with their own sled.
Last climb at 8 pm
Price for sled rental: from 11 to 17€ depending on model
Departure from the Diablerets Express
We tasted for the first time a tomato ?fondue at the Auberge de la Poste, in the center of the village of Diablerets. It was too good! It is different from traditional fondues and it is easier to digest.?
If you are interested in a road trip in Switzerland in summer, we let you see our article on Villars-Diablerets from last August. It is also beautiful in summer.
Going to Leysin for your road trip in Switzerland
Leysin was the third stop of our road trip in Switzerland. It is a resort in the Vaud Alps too. It is located at 30 minutes drive from Les Diablerets.
1) Tobogganing Park
Sensations guaranteed! Go down the slopes, equipped with an inflatable buoy. The Tobogganing Park has a dozen tracks, with different levels of difficulty. The most daring can try to throw themselves into the big air bag or the looping at 60 km/h. The tracks can be descended by several people, for more fun.
Practical information for the Tobogganing Park in Leysin :
Open from December 15 to March 17, 2019
Opening hours and prices : click here
2) Dinner in an igloo in Leysin
If you are looking for an unusual activity in Leysin, you must go to the snow village right next to the park. These are several igloos, connected by tunnels. The fondues are excellent! The decoration is beautiful and the reception by the mistress of the place very pleasant. Provide warm clothes, there is no heating.
Practical information for eating in an igloo
Closed on Mondays
Booking +41 79 508 54 28
Would you like to visit Leysin in summer? See our article: what to do in Leysin in summer!
As you may have read, it is impossible to get bored in these stations in the Canton of Vaud. Add to this a few sessions of skiing, ice rink, climbing, tennis, squash, fitness and you will have a week rich in winter activities. We hope we have given you some good ideas for your road trip to Switzerland. A car trip to Switzerland is a great way to discover the wonders this country has to offer.
This article is the result of a collaboration with the Tourist Office of the Canton of Vaud, which in no way changes our opinions and experiences shared with you!