Closest Airport to Nendaz, Switzerland

Church in Nendaz
Nendaz

Nendaz a popular place to visit in Switzerland. With loads to do and see all throughout the year, the town is particularly popular for skiing in the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Thankfully, getting there is easy due to the proximity of several airports. The closest airports to Nendaz are as follows:

Sion Airport (SIR) is located 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) by road from Nendaz, making it the closest airport to the town and the easiest to fly into when you are visiting. It only takes 25 minutes to drive to Nendaz from the airport, making transfers quick and easy. There are seasonal flights to Sion Airport from a number of European cities during the winter ski season in the Swiss Alps.

Geneva Airport (GVA) is the next closest airport to Nendaz. It is 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the town, and is easily accessible by train from the airport station, or by car. If you take the train, you can alight at Sion station and transfer to a bus for the rest of your journey. More details about this option can be found here. If you drive, the trip takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Geneva tends to be the most popular airport for Nendaz because it is not far away and is well served by many European and international airlines.

Turin Airport (TRN) in Italy is the third closest airport to Nendaz. Located 220 kilometers (137 miles) away from the town, it can be reached by car in just over 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is a good option if you can get a cheap flight to Italy on a low-cost airline and travel to Switzerland from there.

Top 5 Things to Do in Nendaz, Switzerland

Hills and Flowers in Nendaz
Hiking in Nendaz

The Swiss town of Nendaz is one of the best places to visit in the canton of Valais. From winter sports to summer activities, from festivals to cow fights (really!), there is something to do in this pretty town in the Swiss Alps during every season of the year. As such, here is my list of the top 5 things to do in Nendaz:

1. Go skiing. Nendaz is part of the 4 Vallees ski domain, which is one of the biggest ski areas in Europe. The 412km (256mi) of ski runs, most of which are above 1,700m (5,577ft) in altitude, and the 92 lifts operate from December to April each year. All ability levels are catered for, from the beginner slopes on the lake at Tracouet to the steep pistes of Mont-Fort.

2. Hike. Nendaz has some of the best hiking in Switzerland, with a range of trails for every kind of hiker. The flat paths along the bisses, or manmade waterways, are perfect for leisurely walks, and the steep mountain terrain leading up to the gondola station at Tracouet are great for those that want a challenge. There is even a barefoot hiking trail in Siviez that offers an alternative style of hiking in the Swiss Alps.

3. Attend the annual International Alphorn Festival (Festival International Cor des Alpes). Every summer the festival takes place in the Swiss Alps, and people from all over the world come to watch and compete in the festivities. Parades, songs, dances, and music fill the air, and the atmosphere is one of celebration and fun for all ages.

4. Take the gondola to Tracouet. Nendaz has a gondola station right in the heart of town, and no visit would be complete without a ride to the top. Stunning views and fresh mountain air are on offer year-round, and there are plenty of opportunities for winter skiing and summer hiking and biking at the top.

5. Watch cow fights (combats de Reines). Nendaz is famous for its fighting cows. The Herens breed is characterized by its bellicose streak, and every year the cows fight amongst themselves until a Reine, or queen, wins the leadership of the group. There is a festival to celebrate the cow fights in Nendaz each spring, and it attracts spectators from all over the world.

International Alphorn Festival in Switzerland

Alphorn Players in Nendaz
International Alphorn Festival

The International Alphorn Festival (Festival International Cor des Alpes) takes place every summer in the Swiss Alps. For three nights and two days, the town of Nendaz comes alive with the sound of the famous regional instrument.

The festival begins on a Friday night, when people gather in a large tent in the center of the town for live performances and traditional Swiss food and drink. Alphorn players from around the world take to the stage to entertain locals and visitors alike, starting off the festival with energy and sound.

The following day is an important one for the alphorn players themselves. Throughout the day they compete for the grand prize at the International Alphorn Festival, which is awarded annually to the best alphorn musician. Over in the tent, entertainment carries on during the afternoon in anticipation of the evening’s parade.

The parade starts at the gondola (telecabine) station in Nendaz and winds its way down the main street to the tent in the center of the town. Dancers, musicians, animals, and floats all make their way along the road to the cheers of the crowds around them.

At the end of the parade, everyone gathers in the tent for an evening of musical entertainment. Alphorns, bands, singers, and yodelers all perform while vendors around the tent sell food and drinks. Throughout the evening, a famous procession of men yoked with giant cowbells winds its way in and out of the tent, a loud but beloved local tradition.

On the Sunday of the festival, everyone takes the gondola up to Tracouet for a big celebration by the lake. Vendors sell local arts and crafts as well as food, and live bands entertain the crowds. Traditional Swiss wrestling takes place beside the lake as well.

The event culminates in the finale of the festival: a giant circle of alphorn players in concert with the mountains in the background. It is a beautiful sight to witness. Afterwards the final round of the competition from the previous day takes place, and a winner is announced. That is followed by another ensemble of alphorn players, after which the festival ends.

If you are going to go to the International Alphorn Festival in Switzerland, make sure to book your accommodation in advance. Nendaz is a small town and hotels and guesthouses book up well ahead of time every year.