Holiday homes in Switzerland: mountain village chalets for sale with year-round appeal and views worth the climb
Arriving in Grimentz, a mountain village at 1,500 metres, always provides a buzz.
First there’s the journey. The road up to the Swiss resort from Sierre has a series of alarming switchbacks complete with sheer drops, dark tunnels and vertiginous views of the route ahead.
Then there’s the old village itself, a total beauty of narrow car-free streets lined with tiny, crooked chalets, the wood darkened by centuries of sunshine.
Imagine the perfect chocolate-box Swiss mountain village and chances are it would look like Grimentz — winter or summer with scenic and challenging biking and hiking and soothing strolls through the valleys.
People have been making the perilous climb up to Grimentz since the 12th century, long before the road was tarmacked and safety barriers added, and it remains resolutely authentic.
Unlike glitzy Verbier, Grimentz has a 50-50 split of visitors between Swiss and foreigners who all appreciate the year-round appeal.
Once the snow has thawed visitors come to walk in flower-filled meadows, hike to the Moiry Reservoir and Glacier and admire the traditional village houses bedecked with red geranium and bike on 70 miles of mountain trails.
“Grimentz is high and snow-sure with one of the longest winter seasons in the Alps yet is equally appealing in summer,” says Alex Koch de Gooreynd of Knight Frank. “It’s well set up for families with snow parks and wonderful off-piste skiing in winter and beautiful lakes and mountain trails in summer.”
Then there’s the value. A four- to five-bedroom chalet by the piste is significantly more affordable than one in Val d’Isère or Verbier and comes without the crowds.
Grimentz’s year-round population of 550 stretches to 5,000 in peak season yet queues for lifts are rare.
Grimentz lies at the end of the Val d’Anniviers valley between Zermatt and Verbier. In 2013 a new cable car linked the ski area with Zinal, a neighbouring village in the Val d’Anniviers, bringing the total skiable area to 75 miles.
£650,000: Chalets des Crêts is made up of 23 chalets built on a sloping plot with 43 two, three and four-bedroom apartments
Homes by the Slopes
The sweet spot for British buyers in Grimentz is between £385,000 and £1 million, according to Knight Frank, a range that includes apartments at two new-build developments.
Chalets des Crêts is made up of 23 chalets built on a sloping plot with 43 two, three and four-bedroom apartments priced from £650,000 for 828sq ft.
The three completed and sold chalets are beautiful, built from old wood and local stone with thoughtfully planned interiors and cosy living areas focused on wide mountain views from balconies. Underground parking is £42,000 and annual running costs start from £3,800.
“Twenty-four apartments have sold with British families making up over half of buyers,” says Annabelle Common from Knight Frank’s local associate. “Owners can add their own internal details and that has proved popular. There’s no obligation to rent but if owners do they can expect to get up to £2,680 a week in high season for two bedrooms and £3,450 for four bedrooms.”
Immediately below Chalets des Crêts and a short walk from the lifts, the second phase of Les Rahâs has been launched: 10 apartments of 925 to 2,777sq ft, two- to five-bedrooms, fully managed by Swiss company Mrs Miggins.
These homes have super-sized windows in the living area, large terraces with jacuzzis and good storage. Prices start from £575,000 and furniture packages from £30,000 with completion planned for late 2020.
“The apartments in Phase One have been rented for three years, achieving superb ratings on accommodation websites,” says Ray Pritchard of developer Alpine Lifestyle Partners. “Phase Two will add a fitness and wellness area, a children’s play area and wine cellars.”
Simon Malster of Investors in Property has sold homes in Grimentz for 20 years and declares it one of his favourite resorts: “The Val d’Anniviers is truly special, a charming traditional resort with good skiing, fantastic powder and also lovely in summer. If you want somewhere that the skiing is more important than the nightlife, then Grimentz is the place.”
Investors in Property has resale property in Grimentz from £380,000 for a two-bedroom ski-in apartment and a three-bedroom chalet 10 minutes-walk from the centre for £650,000.