Europe has some of the world’s most fantastic skiing resorts, whether it is in the picture-postcard Alps, Dolomites, or in the lesser-known destinations that are as beautiful as Myrkdalen in Norway, Baqueira-Beret of Spain, Pamporovo of Bulgaria, or Levi in the Lapland of Finland. The scenery, skiing infrastructure, facilities, attractions, and activities around the resorts… everything is awesome.
Here are our top 10 skiing European destinations you cannot miss
Zermatt, Switzerland – Zermatt offers the highest winter sports area in the Alps. You will have the Matterhorn as the backdrop. Zermatt offers you long runs and fantastic vertical drops. The Matterhorn Glacier Ride is the world’s highest 3S cableway. It can carry 2000 skiers every hour to the glacier, which allows skiing around the year. Wolli’s Park is for less experienced skiers. The terrain is gentler here, but with stunning views.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – This beautiful town in the Dolomites hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. It has since emerged as a chic destination with stylish entertainment and boutique stores. Skiing is still the main draw. Half of the terrain is for intermediate skiers. You have miles of scenic trails and downhill routes. There are many resorts here, including some very intimate ones. Lifts link 400 kilometers of skiing area.
Courchevel, France – The world’s largest ski area. The six interconnected villages of Courchevel are glittering. It is popular with celebs and thousands of other skiers who come from all over the world. There are more than a hundred upscale boutiques here and many top resorts. The dining scene with 7 Michelin-starred restaurants is impressive.
Levi, Finland – Not as famous as the top 3, but the setting is more exotic. Levi is inside the Arctic Circle, in the Lapland of Finland. You get to see the Northern Lights, see igloos, visit the village of Santa Clause and his own post office, go on a reindeer safari, experience dog sledding, horseback riding, and ice fishing. Levi Holidays have surprised and pleased all. The skiing is fantastic too, with miles of beautiful scenic trails. Levi cabins have the most scenic locations. Click here to know more about Levi Finland.
Val d’Isere, France – This is a high valley is surrounded by many 3000-meter peaks. Together with the neighboring Tignes, you will have more than 300 kilometers of skiing terrain here. It is good for skiers of all levels. There are gentle downhill slopes for the kids. The skiing infrastructure is the best in the world. The car-free town has many good restaurants.
St. Anton, Austria – The Austrian village of St. Anton is at the heart of the skiing area of the Arlberg. The region is sometimes referred to as the ‘cradle of alpine skiing’. Ski gondolas to Lech and beyond makes it the world’s fifth-largest ski resort. Take cable cars and lifts to reach the slopes of Rendl and Valluga. There is also the lively après ski mile with many restaurants and bars.
Kitzbühel, Austria – You won’t find a prettier ski town in Europe. Kitzbühel is a small, walled village close to the German border. It is close to Salzburg and Innsbruck. This fashionable winter resort hosts the annual Hahnenkamm downhill race. The racing terrain sometimes gets very steep, up to 85 percent vertical. The medieval center of the village has many cafes and shops. Sometimes costly, but there are provisions for budget travelers and skiers too.
Andermatt, Switzerland – Andermatt was relatively unknown in the skiing world, but that changed in 2013 when a billionaire from Egypt opened the 5-star Chedi Andermatt hotel. Located between St. Moritz and Zermatt, Andermatt is small. There are only 13 trails across 2 mountains. But you have a varied terrain here. Sedrun has family-friendly slopes. There are challenging trails for advanced skiers. For entertainment, there is drinks and music.
Zugspitze, Germany – At 2960 meters, Zugspitze is the highest mountain of Germany. It is right on the Austria-Germany border. The stunning Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is at the base. The cable car takes you to the summit, from where you get a glorious 360-degree view. See up to 250 kilometers on a clear day. Experienced skiers can ski from the top of the glacier. It is so high that sometimes you are above the clouds. There are 40 kilometers of trails across three mountains. Kandahar Downhill is an extreme challenge.
Val Gardena, Italy – A small valley in the Dolomites, Val Gardena is an alpine meadow with stunning pine forests. Nearby Cortina d’Ampezzo is more famous, thus attracting more skiers and tourists. Gardena is the better option if you prefer a low-key, casual experience, and a stunning location. There are 160 kilometers of trails here, with lifts connecting them, and the adjacent valleys. There is no vibrant nightlife here. What you will find instead is friendly and authentic Alpine hospitality.
There are many other awesome skiing areas too in Europe, like Verbier of Switzerland, Sölden and Zell am See-Kaprun of Austria, Morzine and Tignes of France. They are all wonderful choices where you can have the best skiing vacation.
Best Time for Skiing in Europe
Pick the right time of the year to make the most of your skiing holiday. You want to have plenty of snow. You want all the facilities and infrastructure open. You want the resort to be busy, and yet, not too crowded.
Usually, most ski resorts in Europe open after the middle of November and close down in late April. The only exception to this is Levi, Finland. It is in the Lapland region inside the Arctic Circle, so there is a lot more snow. You can ski at Levi till early June. For most other European resorts, the general rule is that you must go early to have more snow.
Prices – The prices tend to peak around the Christmas and New Year time, and also during the school holiday breaks. It will be usually cheaper at other times. Often, the best deals are available in January.