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Spotlight on Nendaz: “The thinking man’s Verbier”

Neighbouring Verbier might be better known but with its wealthy terrain, fabulous slopes and authentic feel, Nendaz is equally beautiful but less frenetic. By Maggie O'Sullivan

| Travel Inspiration

Dubbed "the thinking man's Verbier," Nendaz sits on a sunny terrace in Switzerland's 4 Valleys ski region. The resort has grown up around a traditional Swiss village of timbered houses and ancient barns, and retains a genuine mountain ambience.

With easy access to more than 412km of pistes, this is the perfect resort for winter sports enthusiasts of all abilities. But it isn't only snow bunnies who are well catered for. The region is also extraordinarily beautiful and when the snow gives way to a carpet of Alpine flowers, Nendaz becomes an ideal base for hiking, biking and other mountain pursuits.

What to do

Ski by moonlight
Restaurant de Tracouet, at the top of the Tracouet gondola, organises a full moon party once a month. The price includes a welcome drink, dinner and as many descents as your ski legs can take (non-skiers can take the gondola down). Book on 0041 (0)27 289 52 00

Go barefoot
Kick off your boots and take the dedicated 'barefoot discovery track' over sand, stones, pine cones and grass, with plenty of picnic spots along the way. Further information, Nendaz Tourist Office

Make your own Swiss chocolate
Spend an afternoon learning the basics of chocolate making with master chocolatier Philippe Leleu. For further details and to book, contact Chalet Etoiles de Montagne. Tel 0041 (0)79 104 12 31

What to see

Japanese Garden
You can hike up to this natural 'garden' of meandering streams, and what appear to be deliberately placed boulders, in about an hour. The site is unique to the region and even has its own ecosystem. Further information, Japanese Garden

Ancient larch trees
It isn't only tree-huggers who appreciate these extraordinary larches on the slopes of Balavaux. At between 300 and 800 years old, they're among the oldest trees in Europe, not to mention the most imposing: the largest has a diameter of 320cm

Sunrise from Mont-Fort
From Mont-Fort, you can watch the sun rise over more than 20 peaks, including the Matterhorn and Mont-Blanc. Organised excursions, followed by breakfast at the Gentianes Pass, take place in July and August. Further information, 0041 (0)27 289 55 89

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