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Villars, Les Diablerets and Leysin, Switzerland

Charming resort, great scenery, great for a stress free family holiday.

Perched on a wooded, sunny plateau above the Rhône Valley about halfway between Martigny and the Chateau de Chillon end of Lake Geneva, Villars offers activities that find the fine balance between recreation and relaxation.

Ever since the famous Orient Express arrived here, visitors to Villars have enjoyed the healthy air to be found on the natural balcony it rests on. At about 1,300 meters (4,225 feet) in the heart of the Vaud Alps, this idyllic setting has stunning views stretching from Lake Geneva to Mont Blanc.

Winter sports fans can enjoy the wide range of attractions the area offers, including 125 kilometers (78 miles) of skiing terrain. In all, there are 52 runs which are 50 percent beginner, 42 percent intermediate and eight percent advanced. Sports enthusiasts wanting to be challenged can try the glacier at Les Diablerets, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) from Villars. In all there are four glaciers in the area available for heliskiing.

Those in search of relaxation can enjoy the facilities and wellness benefits of the thermal baths (Lavey-les-Bains). Children can enjoy the family programs that cater to adults and kids.

What’s Great

  • Pleasant, relaxing year-round resort
  • Fairly extensive intermediate slopes linked to Les Diablerets
  • Good beginner areas
  • Quite close to Geneva airport
  • Good range of off slope diversions

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Unreliable snow cover
  • Over crowded mountain restaurants
  • Main lift a bus-ride from the town center