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Switzerland’s top tourist destinations include Verbier and St. Moritz. Those two places are popular for a reason; they’re both scenic and filled with interesting activities. Verbier vs. St. Moritz will be discussed in this article. Where should you stay when you visit Switzerland? Do we recommend staying in Verbier or in St. Moritz?
This guide will help you figure out where is best for you based on your preferences. I have visited both Verbier and St. Moritz, and both are beautiful. Both resorts are upscale mountain resorts in Switzerland. One is located in the western part of the country and speaks French, while the other is located in the eastern part and speaks Romansh and German. Both Verbier and St. Moritz have plenty to do, shops, and restaurants to choose from. While Verbier is located on a high terrace surrounded by higher peaks, St. Moritz is located in a wide open valley surrounded by mountains.
An idyllic mountain resort, St. Moritz offers a waterfront, fancy shops, and charming villages nearby. As for Verbier, it is a lively mountain resort village that offers a wide variety of sports all year round. It is better to visit St. Moritz if you want to explore the Engadine region. On the other hand, the Val de Bagnes is best accessed from Verbier.
Verbier and St. Moritz offer a variety of hotel options. Here is where they differ. Wooden upscale chalets are common in Verbier. On the other hand, St. Moritz has huge grand palatial-like hotels. Furthermore, most Engadine houses are concrete with sgraffito. They both provide luxury and mid-range accommodations.
From a geographical perspective, they are also quite similar. They are both high alpine towns with easy access to many mountains and good skiing possibilities, though St. Moritz is much higher.
Here we look at the differences between Verbier and St. Moritz, so you can decide which one you’d like to visit during your next visit to Switzerland if you have time for just one.
Key Differences: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
The key differences between Verbier and St. Moritz are as follows:
|Population: approx. 2,900||Population: approx. 5,200|
|Canton: Valais||Canton: Graubünden|
|Language: French||Languages: Romansh, German|
|Elevation: 1,490 meters (4,888 ft)||Elevation: 1,822 meters (1,427 ft)|
|Luxury alpine resort town in Val de Bagnes||Luxury alpine resort town in Engadine Valley|
|Highlights: Grand Combin, Mont Fort, Verbier Bike Park, Mauvoisin Dam, Mont 4 Zipline||Highlights: Diavolezza, Morteratsch Glacier, Piz Corvatsch, Bobsled Run, Segantini Museum|
|Lake: Lac des Vaux (Riddes)||Lake: Lake St. Moritz, Lake Staz|
|River: None||River: Inn|
There is no doubt that Verbier is one of the largest and best ski resorts in the world. Following wins in 2018, 2019, and 2021, Verbier was named the world’s best ski resort for the fourth time by the World Ski Awards1.
4 Vallées is Switzerland’s biggest ski resort, covering Verbier, Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, and Thyon. It’s a winter wonderland with 410 kilometers of slopes and 92 lifts, so there’s something for everyone. It is a large, high-altitude ski resort with a lively après-ski scene.
Mont-Fort, which towers at 3,330 meters, is the highest with breathtaking panoramic views of the Swiss and French Alps. From Mont-Fort, you can take in the breathtaking views of the ski resort, including Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. A visit to Mauvoisin, one of Switzerland’s largest dams, is also recommended.
It is impossible to run out of activities here in summer since you can bike, hike, climb, and many more. Together, Verbier, Val de Bagnes, and La Tzoumaz offer 800 km of cross-country, enduro, and downhill mountain biking trails. A total of 9 trails are available in Verbier Bike Park, including 19 kilometers of downhill trails. There is a BMX freestyle park in Le Châble that you can use for free. Those who enjoy road biking can try the Grand Saint-Bernard, La Forclaz, or Croix-de-Coeur passes.
Verbier is also a popular destination for hikers. The Tour de Bec de Sery, which includes a 190-meter-long bridge, allows you to enjoy the Corbassière Glacier and the Grand Combin. Alternatively, you can walk along the 3D Sculpture Park in La Chaux for a short and easy hike. In the village, there are treasure hunts available for the children; we did this and the kids received a Verbier goodie bag.
Additionally, there are 415 km of cross-country trails in the region. Climbers of all levels can find 560 climbing routes at 30 climbing sites. La Barme alone has 71 climbing routes. If you want to play a bit of golf, Les Esserts has a course that is open to players who have a handicap or course permit. There is also an 18-hole golf course in Les Moulins that is open to golfers with or without permits.
There are more sports to enjoy in Verbier, including paragliding from Les Ruinettes, Savoleyres, and Croix-de-Coeur. You can also go skydiving, take a mountain tour, enjoy the rope park, play tennis, go swimming, ride horses, or hurtle down the slopes with a push scooter. Additionally, Verbier and La Tzoumaz offer recreation parks and an indoor sports center (Centre Sportif de Verbier) with indoor climbing, squash courts, tennis courts, an indoor pool, and a fitness center.
In August 2020, a 1,400-meter zip line with a vertical drop of 383 meters opened. Mont Fort’s Mont 4 Zipline is located at a height of 3,300 meters.
St. Moritz has always stood for beauty and luxury. The town has five grand hotels and big buildings instead of the small wooden chalets present in Zermatt. It is also renowned for its skiing resorts. St. Moritz is a more upscale vacation destination. It offers modern amenities and architecture. St. Moritz is world-famous and among the first winter sports resorts in the world. It sits above Lake St. Moritz (St. Moritzersee in German) which turns frozen during winter.
In the village, there are many things you can do. You can visit the following:
- Leaning Tower – was part of the St. Mauritius Church
- Via Serlas – for shopping
- Kulm Park Eispavillon – used during the Olympic Winter Games in 1928 and 1948
- Chesa Veglia – a farmhouse from back in 1658
- Segantini Museum – houses the largest and most important collection of artist Giovanni Segantini
- Badrutt’s Palace – an iconic grand hotel in St. Moritz
- Olympia Bob Run – also still used regularly for Bobsleigh, Skeleton Championships, and other events
St. Moritz has 25 crystal clear mountain lakes adding to the beautiful Alpine scenery. Some of the nearest ones are Lake Staz, Lake St. Moritz, Lake Champfèr, and Lake Silvaplana. There are forests and glaciers to enjoy. Hiking, climbing, sailing, windsurfing, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and skiing are also possible here.
Places to Visit: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
Places to Visit near Verbier
There are many places to visit near Verbier. Some places to visit near Verbier are the following:
- 4 Vallées – The highlight of Verbier is its world-class skiing resort – the Four Valleys. It offers 400 kilometers of interconnected slopes.
- Mont Fort – The highest peak in the region where you can find breathtaking views of the Pennine Alps.
- Musée de Bagnes – With changing exhibitions on various themes, the Bagnes Museum is located in a historic building in Le Châble that has been refurbished over the centuries.
- Verbier Festival – In summer, the Verbier Festival brings together classical music performers from around the world.
- Mauvoisin Dam – One of the largest dams in Switzerland, Mauvoisin Dam is a concrete arch dam located around 40 minutes away from Verbier. It is known for its stunning alpine scenery and the turquoise color of the reservoir water.
- Bruson – A peaceful mountain village perfect for hiking in summer.
- Champex-Lac – A picturesque mountain village along the lake Lac de Champex.
- Great Saint Bernard Pass – A high mountain pass that connects Martigny in Switzerland with Aosta Valley in Italy. It is the third-highest road pass in Switzerland, at an elevation of 2,469 meters above sea level.
Places to Visit near St. Moritz
There are many places to visit near St. Moritz. There are many beautiful tourist attractions in the Engadine Valley. Some places to visit near St. Moritz are the following:
- Pontresina – a beautiful alpine village with Engadine houses and Belle Epoque hotels
- Guarda – a fairytale village famous for Schellen-Ursli, a children’s book by Selina Chönz
- Celerina – sunny village next to St. Moritz with excellent tourist infrastructure.
- Chastè Peninsula – a wooded peninsula surrounded by mountains, nature, and a lake
- Alp Grüm – offers a fantastic view of the Palü Glacier, the Lagh da Palü Lake, and the Bernina mountains surrounding it. From Alp Grüm, you will see Piz Varuna east of Piz Palü, a 3,453-meter-high mountain located on the border between Val Malenco, Italy, and Val Poschiavo, Switzerland.
- Fuorcla Surlej – amazing views of the following mountain peaks: Piz Boval, Piz Morteratsch, Bernina Massif, Piz Roseg, Dschimels, Piz la Sella, Piz Scerscen, and more.
- Muottas Muragl – a panoramic mountain in Pontresina with fantastic views of the lakes of Engadin valley
- Corvatsch – the highest mountain station in the region at 3,303 meters provides an impressive Alpine panorama
- Diavolezza – fantastic views of the highest peaks of Eastern Alps – Piz Bernina, Piz Palü, and Piz Morteratsch
- Val Roseg – a beautiful side valley accessible by foot or carriage from Pontresina
- Val Fex – a protected side valley accessible by foot or carriage from Sils
- Val Trupchun – the most protected park in the country – Swiss National Park
- Morteratsch – the place to see the third longest glacier in the Eastern Alps – Morteratsch Glacier
Accessibility: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
Depending on where you are coming from, you can get to Verbier or St. Moritz faster. While Verbier is closer to Geneva and Bern, St. Moritz is closer to Zurich.
The comparison table below shows how long it would take you to reach Verbier and St. Moritz from Zurich, Geneva, and Bern.
|Travel time from Zurich (fastest)||3 hours and 52 minutes||3 hours and 12 minutes|
|Travel time from Geneva (fastest)||2 hours and 20 minutes||5 hours and 54 minutes|
|Travel time from Bern (fastest)||2 hours and 47 minutes||4 hours and 7 minutes|
Skiing: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
The ski resort of St. Moritz has three locations – Corviglia, Corvatsch – Furtschellas, and Diavolezza – Lagalb. Corvatsch is the highest in Graubünden. Whereas Diavolezza-Lagalb has the most freestyle slopes and is ideal for night skiing.
4 Vallées is Switzerland’s biggest ski resort, covering Verbier, Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, and Thyon. It’s a winter wonderland with 410 kilometers of slopes and 92 lifts, so there’s something for everyone. It is a large, high-altitude ski resort with a lively après-ski scene. The World Ski Awards named Verbier the world’s best ski resort for a fourth consecutive year after winning in 2018, 2019, and 20211.
Below we have two tables comparing the slopes of ski resorts in Verbier and St. Moritz.
|Pistes (in km)||Verbier 4 Vallées||St. Moritz|
Corvatsch – Furtschellas
|St. Moritz |
Diavolezza – Lagalb
|Ski season||December to third-week of April||end of November to|
|end of November to|
Verbier is known as one of the world’s best ski resorts, but St. Moritz is also fantastic. These resorts are both world-class venues for prestigious events. Winter Olympics have been held in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948. Nowadays, St. Moritz hosts Ski World Cups, Snow Polo World Cups, White Turf St. Moritz Horse Races, Ski Marathons, and Freeski and Snowboard World Cups in Corvatsch. Meanwhile, Verbier is home to the most prestigious extreme skiing and snowboarding contest in the world – Xtreme Verbier. From 2005 to 2013, Verbier hosted the XSpeedski World Cup on Mont Fort.
Advantages: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
Advantages of Staying in Verbier
- Verbier is closer to Geneva and Geneva Airport. In case you are flying into Geneva from abroad, this might be the more convenient option for you. It is also closer to Bern.
- Verbier is surrounded by the high mountain peaks of Grand Combin (4,314 meters), La Ruinette (3,875 meters), Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3,870 meters), Petit Combin (3,663 meters), and many more.
- Verbier is French-speaking. Choose it if you prefer a French-speaking region.
- Verbier also caters to many English-speaking guests. Around Verbier, it’s common to hear people speaking English.
- There are excellent hotels and accommodations in both places, but Verbier is better known for alpine chalets, while St.Moritz is better known for grand hotels.
- The resort town of Verbier is home to boutiques carrying luxury brands such as Topox, Maison Lorenz, Zer0 Verbier, and Attitude Verbier. Additionally, there are Zadig & Voltaire, The North Face, Peak Performance, Bogner, JOTT, and Moncler stores there.
- During the winter, Verbier is the best resort for skiing. It is also part of Switzerland’s largest ski resort.
- Verbier prides itself on being an infinite playground, and I agree with that claim. There are many sports activities to choose from here; hiking, skiing, mountain biking, cycling, cross-country trails, paragliding, skydiving, swimming, tennis, squash, golf, and many more. For bicycle enthusiasts, there are 800 km of mountain biking trails in Verbier, Val de Bagnes, and La Tzoumaz.
Advantages of Staying in St. Moritz
- St. Moritz is closer to Zurich and Zurich Airport. In case you are flying into Zurich from abroad, this might be the more convenient option for you.
- St. Moritz is closer to the Albula Range and the Bernina Range of the Rhaetian Alps. Choose it if you want to visit the mountains around the Rhaetian Alps.
- There are excellent hotels and accommodations in both places, but St.Moritz is better known for grand hotels, while Verbier is better known for alpine chalets.
- St. Moritz has a lot of high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler, Cartier, Gucci, and Dior.
- The higher elevation and ski resorts of St. Moritz make it snow-sure. Although St. Moritz has a lot of ski slopes, it is not as large and connected as 4 Vallées.
- You’ll find a longer winter ski season at Diavolezza near St. Moritz than at Verbier.
- The cross-country ski track area around St. Moritz is much bigger than around Verbier. Engadin is the largest cross-country skiing area in Switzerland with 220 groomed kilometers of classic-style trails, 200 kilometers of skating slopes, and various night and dog trails.
- St. Moritz is surrounded by many lakes. In addition to St. Moritz’s lake, there are plenty of other bathing lakes nearby. Lake Silvaplana is popular for water sports and Lake Sils is the largest and most scenic in the valley.
Hotels: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
Verbier and St. Moritz offer a variety of hotel options. Wooden upscale chalets are common in Verbier. On the other hand, St. Moritz has huge grand palatial-like hotels. Furthermore, most Engadine houses are concrete with sgraffito. They both provide luxury and mid-range accommodations.
Verbier and St. Moritz offer a variety of hotel and apartment accommodations. Listed below are some recommended hotels in both regions:
Hotels in Verbier
- W Verbier (5-star) – Located in the center of Verbier directly beside the cable car, W Verbier is composed of 6 luxury chalets, a spa, pools, a gym, excellent food, and service.
- Chalet d’Adrien (5-star) – There’s nothing better than staying at Chalet d’Adrien, a beautiful hotel only 30 meters from Savoleyres ski lift in Verbier. Besides providing excellent value for money, this hotel offers a relaxing spa area and elegant Alpine-style rooms with mountain views from the balcony. Friendly and professional reception makes you feel right at home.
- La Cordée des Alpes SUP (4-star) – The Cordée des Alpes offers spacious and luxuriously decorated rooms with alpine-style furnishings, an indoor pool, sauna, gym, and hot tub. Belonging to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, it is the hotel’s friendly, attentive staff who keep guests coming back.
- Hôtel de Verbier (4-star) – Hôtel de Verbier is centrally located, has great amenities, including a spa, massages, and jacuzzis, and has comfortable rooms. A complimentary WiFi connection is available throughout the property, and room service and concierge services are also available.
- Hotel Les Chamois (3-star) – Located 150 meters from the ski lifts, it is a quiet, family-run hotel. With beautiful and spacious rooms, the hotel offers value for money without compromising quality.
Hotels in St. Moritz
- Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (5-star) – Due to the pioneering efforts of hotel founder Johannes Badrutt, St. Moritz became a winter sports mecca. This makes the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz a special part of the city’s history. There are 5 restaurants, a spa with a pool, a whirlpool, a children’s pool, an open-air pool, and more at this elegant hotel. Also nearby, the hotel has its 9-hole golf course with pitching, chipping, and putting areas. During the winter months, guests can skate and curl at the hotel.
- Badrutt’s Palace (5-star) – There are six restaurants, an indoor pool, a spa, and fitness center, valet parking, a tennis court or ice skating rink (depending on the season), and a free shuttle service to the train station at this elegant 5-star hotel in St.Moritz. Badrutt’s Palace is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, Swiss Deluxe Hotels, and Swiss Historic Hotels.
- Suvretta House (5-star) – Skiers will love this exclusive ski-in/ski-out hotel in Suvretta-Corviglia. There’s a regular shuttle service that takes you to other ski resorts and St. Moritz. They have a huge indoor pool, a fully-equipped gym, a sauna, gourmet specialties, and a kids’ restaurant.
- Hotel Steffani (4-star) – This well-priced hotel has 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a nightclub, and a spa area with an indoor pool. Just 300 meters from Corviglia ski area, it’s in the heart of St. Moritz.
- Hotel Waldhaus am See (3-star) – The Waldhaus am See is one of the leading 3-star hotels in Switzerland. A few steps from the train station, it features a breathtaking view of the Engadin Valley and is situated on the banks of St. Moritz Lake. With over 2,500 different kinds of whiskey, the hotel has the largest whiskey bar in the world.
- St. Moritz Youth Hostel (Hostel) – An affordable option is to stay at a hostel in St. Moritz where you’ll get everything you need – free breakfast, linen, security lockers, hot showers, microwave, a play area, and free wifi.
Final Thoughts: Verbier vs. St. Moritz
I would consider the following as a starting point: what kind of traveler are you? Does your style tend to be more relaxed and chill? Do you prioritize staying in fancy hotels and shopping in high-end stores? Then St. Moritz is the place for you. Besides this charming town, you can explore nearby mountains, lakes, museums, charming villages,
On the other hand, do you prefer an active day in the mountains cycling, hiking, or skiing? Instead of a big and lavish hotel, do you prefer fancy and cozy alpine chalets? If you answered yes, then go for Verbier.
In my opinion, if you’re thinking of skiing in the mountains, then you can choose either of those and be happy. There are excellent ski resorts in both regions. The best choice for skiers of all levels, especially extreme skiers, is Verbier. For cross-country skiers, St. Moritz and the Engadine region will be the better choice.
Whichever choice you make, you won’t regret it. The two locations are equally picturesque and well worth a visit. They both appealed to me equally.
Related Posts: Verbier
- Geneva to Verbier Train: All You Need To Know
- Lausanne to Verbier Train: All You Need To Know
- Zurich to Verbier Train: All You Need To Know
- Is Verbier Expensive? A Close Look at Its Price and Value
- 10 Best Day Trips from Verbier Switzerland
Related Posts: St. Moritz
- Zurich to St. Moritz Train: All You Need To Know
- How to Spend 1 Day in St. Moritz, Switzerland
- 8 Best Day Trips from St. Moritz
- Best St. Moritz Alternatives to Choose From
- Experience Alp Grüm At Least Once In Your Lifetime
- Visiting Pontresina, Switzerland: 8 Best Things To Do
- The Wonderful Lure Of Engadine’s Chastè Peninsula
- Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem
- Val Fex – One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Valleys
- 9 Best Things To Do In Sils, Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.