Villars is a ski resort close to Montreux and Saint-Maurice, which offers a reasonable range of pistes at a moderate altitude. Accommodation is largely of the chalet variety, although there are also some hotels, many of which are four- and five-star. The village has hosted the Snowbombing electronic dance music and snowboarding spring festival.
Villars is recognised by the Swiss tourist board under their 'Family Friendly' scheme having excellent facilities for children. Villars is served by the Chemin de fer Bex-Villars-Bretaye railway.
It is a traditional Swiss mountain village which has retained much of its old charm. If you are looking for a flashy ski resort with lots of bars and night life, Villars probably won't suit you. Have a look at the Villars website for more info.
However, if you prefer a resort which is predominantly visited by locals or are looking for a more traditional resort, then you are likely to have a good time in Villars. Plus, there are a few very nice restaurants and bars to visit as well! Remember to swot up on your French as most menus are in French and you'll get a much better reception if you make an effort when in the shops, rather than expect people to speak English, which most don't very well.
The metre gauge BVB (Bex-Villars-Bretaye railway) operated by TPC connects the village from Bex in the valley. Trains run roughly hourly and take 40 minutes. Bex is easily accessible by train from either Saint-Maurice or Montreux.
Villars-sur-Ollon has hourly bus connections from Aigle (35 min). During the summer months there is also a bus from Les Diablerets (35 min), but there are only three courses a day.
The easiest way to access Villars by car is from the south. Exit the motorway A9 either at Aigle or at Bex-Monthey and follow the signs. It is also possible to drive from les Diablerets via the Col de la Croix pass.
- Mountains: Grand Muverens, Mirroir d'Argentine, Petit Muverens.
- 1 Villars-Gryon-Les Diablerets (125 km, 33 lifts). This big ski area is linked to Les Diablerets and Gryon. You can either take the train from the village up to Bretaye (15 min) or the gondola to Roc d'Orsay higher up. There is a run all the way down into Villars, however it is only open when there's sufficient snow. Day pass Fr. 54/36.
Whilst in Villars you could also go bowling, ice skating or to the cinema, but expect the films to be in French!
There are many other restaurants in Villars many of which are in hotels; Alpe Fleurie, for example, has a lovely restaurant. It's advisable to have a wander around and go into these places to see what they have to offer.
- 1 Vieux Villars, Route des Hôtels 16, ☏ . Daily 17:15–22:00, Th F 11:30–14:00. For dinner, a must is to visit Vieux Villars restaurant and have the Charbonard (a large steel pot filled with hot coals), but you must give them 24 hours notice. You'll get a plate of beef which you cook yourself on the hot coals and together with this they will bring you plates of chips, salad and some sauces for the beef. It's a really fun thing to do if you are with friends, or as a couple. If beef is not your thing, you could try the Raclette, which is cheese (hence the name) heated by a fire and scraped onto a plate, served with baby new potatoes. The guy in the restaurant will keep replacing the cheese as you eat it! Fr. 30 for mains.
- 2 Le Sporting, Rue Centrale. Daily 08:00-00:00. If you want a traditional cheese fondue you could try this restaurant where they will bring you a cheese fondue and bread to dip in - very nice! Fr. 25 for mains, cheaper set lunch.
If you fancy some apres ski, you won't go far wrong heading for Le Sporting in the town centre, where you can sit outside with a hot chocolate and a warm blanket or go inside for a more intimate experience, as the bar area is quite small. Le Sporting also has a lovely restaurant at the back, if you fancy a nice night out. The views from the restaurant, across the mountains, are spectacular.
The nightlife is also great, there are a couple of bars around town, at the bowling alley, the sporting, Charlie's bar, and the late night club were all the locals and tourists gather, the Gringo.