Europe

13 Top Places to Ski in Europe (Perfect for Winter Adventures)


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Europe is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world. Resorts are packed with pistes to enjoy as well as other activities to enjoy when off the slopes. So if you’re a skiing enthusiast looking for new adventures then look no further than the stunning slopes of Europe! With its varied terrain, picturesque scenery, and world-class resorts, Europe is a dream destination for skiers of all levels.

Below, I will take you on a journey through some of the biggest and best ski resorts in the continent, from the iconic slopes of France and Switzerland to the hidden gems of Austria and Italy. So start planning your trip, grab your skis and let’s hit the powder!


Skiing in Europe

Skiing has been a popular winter pastime in Europe for over a century, and for good reason. With its towering mountains, pristine snow, and charming alpine villages, the European ski experience is an unparalleled blend of adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the continent offers a range of slopes to suit all levels of expertise. From gentle bunny hills to heart-pumping black runs, Europe has it all.

One of the biggest draws of skiing in Europe is the variety of scenery. Skiing in the Alps, for example, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, sparkling glaciers, and lush forests. Skiing in the Dolomites, on the other hand, presents a dramatic landscape of jagged cliffs and rugged terrain. No matter where you go, you’re sure to be awed by the natural beauty of the European mountains.


Benefits of skiing in Europe

Aside from the stunning scenery, skiing in Europe has a host of other benefits. For one, the continent boasts some of the biggest ski resorts in the world, meaning there’s always plenty of terrain to explore. As well as this, European ski resorts are well-equipped with state-of-the-art lifts, groomed trails, and other amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

Another advantage of skiing in Europe is the après-ski culture. After a long day on the slopes, there’s nothing better than cosying up in a bar with a beer, a glass of mulled wine or even just a hot cup of chocolate.

European ski villages are known for their quaint architecture, lively nightlife, and delicious cuisine, making for a truly immersive and memorable ski vacation.


Factors to consider when choosing a ski resort in Europe

With so many ski resorts to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a ski resort in Europe:

  • Location: Do you want to ski in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, or another country? Think about factors such as travel time and cuisine when choosing your destination.
  • Terrain: What kind of skiing do you enjoy? Do you prefer gentle slopes or challenging black runs? Make sure the resort you choose has terrain that matches your skill level.
  • Amenities: Are you looking for a resort with a spa, a pool, or other amenities? Do you need childcare or ski lessons? Consider what services are important to you when selecting a resort.
  • Budget: Skiing in Europe can be expensive, so it’s important to consider your budget when choosing a resort. Look for package deals, early bird discounts, and other promotions to save money. If you’re travelling from the UK you may also find some of the best ski package deals will often be for France and Austria.

The biggest and best ski resorts in Europe

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the best ski resorts Europe has to offer. Here are some of my top picks:

1. Val Thorens, France

Located in the French Alps, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, with an altitude of 2,300 meters. The resort is part of the 3 Vallées ski area and boasts over 600 kilometres of ski runs, making it part of one of the largest ski areas in the world. You’ll find a variety of ski runs here which are perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Val Thorens is also known for its lively après-ski scene, with a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from.

For those looking for other winter activities in Val Thorens you could enjoy zip-lining, fat biking, ice climbing, karting, paragliding, skating and lots more.

Val Thorens ski resort
Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

2. Zermatt, Switzerland

Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is a world-renowned ski resort with stunning views of the Matterhorn (a mountain). The resort is part of the Matterhorn Ski Paradise and offers over 360 kilometres of ski runs, as well as opportunities for off-piste skiing and heli-skiing. While here why not try one of Europe’s highest toboggan runs which starts at 2813 meters and offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes? Zermatt is also home to some of the best restaurants and spas in Switzerland.

Matterhorn and ski slopes
Photo © Pljvv | Dreamstime.com

3. Tignes, France

Another French gem, Tignes is a popular ski resort for its varied terrain and reliable snow conditions. The resort has over 300 kilometres of ski runs which include both the runs of Tignes as well as the linked resort of Val d’Isère. You’ll also find a glacier here too. The runs here comprise of a good mix for beginners through to more advanced skiers and boarders. When visiting Tignes you can also enjoy sledding, biking, hiking, ice climbing, snowtubing and even ice diving. Tignes is also known for its lively nightlife, with a range of bars and clubs to choose from.

Tignes ski resort
Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

4. Bad Gastein, Austria

Nestled in the Austrian Alps, Bad Gastein is a charming ski town with a rich history. The resort offers over 200 kilometres of ski runs, as well as opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Bad Gastein is famous for its thermal spas, which have been attracting visitors for centuries. You’ll also find a 140-meter-long suspension bridge which is great for capturing some selfies of just crossing and enjoying views of the resort and landscapes.

Ski runs in Gastein
Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

5. Alpe d’Huez, France

Located in the French Alps, Alpe d’Huez is a popular ski resort for its sunny weather and varied terrain. The resort offers over 250 kilometres of ski runs, as well as a boardercross zone, slalom and late-night ski run. When not skiing or boarding there’s skating, swimming pools, ice climbing, dog sledging, hiking and more to enjoy. Alpe d’Huez is also known for its lively après-ski scene, with a range of bars and clubs to choose from.

Mountains and pistes in Alpe d'Huez
Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

6. Mayrhofen, Austria

Mayrhofen is a picturesque ski resort located in the Austrian state of Tyrol. The resort offers over 142 kilometres of ski runs, as well as challenging off-piste routes and a snow park for freestyle enthusiasts. As well as this Mayrhofen is part of the Zillertal ski area offering an even bigger ski area with over 500km of slopes. Mayrhofen is also home to a range of restaurants and bars, as well as a vibrant music scene. As well as this you’ll find opportunities to go cross-country skiing, snowshoe trekking, ice skating or even try your hand at curling.

Zillertal ski area
Photo © Erix2005 | Dreamstime.com

7. Les 2 Alpes, France

Another French gem, Les 2 Alpes is a paradise for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. The resort offers over 200 kilometres of ski runs which go up as high as 3,600 meters, as well as a snow park with jumps, rails, and half-pipes. When not skiing you’ll find a good variety of other activities to enjoy such as spending some time in a spa, bowling, skating, hiking, tobogganing or mountain biking. Les 2 Alpes is also home to a range of restaurants and bars, as well as a lively nightlife scene.

Les Deux Alpes ski resort
Photo © Pavel Dospiva | Dreamstime.com

8. Ischgl, Austria

Located in the Austrian state of Tyrol, Ischgl is a world-renowned ski resort with over 230 kilometres of ski runs. They also offer a good selection of blue, red and black runs to suit various ability levels. Outside of skiing you could enjoy tobogganing, ice skating, fat biking and snowshoe hiking. The resort is also known for its lively après-ski scene, with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. Ischgl is also home to a range of high-end hotels and restaurants.

Ischgl ski in the winter
Photo © Natalipopova2011 | Dreamstime.com

9. Grindelwald, Switzerland

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, Grindelwald is a charming ski town with stunning views of the Eiger. The resort offers over 200 kilometres of ski runs, as well as opportunities for tobogganing, snowshoeing, skating and curling. Grindelwald is also known for its cosy chalets and delicious Swiss cuisine.

Grindelwald
Photo © Eva Bocek | Dreamstime.com

10. St Anton, Austria

St Anton is a classic Austrian ski resort with over 300 kilometres of ski runs. The resort is particularly popular with advanced skiers, thanks to its challenging off-piste routes and steep black runs. St Anton is also known for its lively nightlife, with a range of bars and clubs to choose from.

St Anton ski resort
Photo © Ingus Kruklitis | Dreamstime.com

11. Meribel, France

Located in the heart of the French Alps, Meribel is a popular ski resort for its varied terrain and lively après-ski scene. It is part of the Three Valleys ski area therefore giving you access to over 600 km of slopes to enjoy. The ski area offers a mix of runs for all abilities as well as opportunities for off-piste skiing, snowshoeing, an ice rink, snowmobile rides, hiking, spas and wellness and more. Meribel is also home to a range of restaurants and bars, as well as a vibrant music scene.

Meribel ski runs
Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

12. Zell am See-Kaprun, Austria

Nestled in the Austrian Alps, Zell am See-Kaprun is a charming town with over 400 kilometres of ski runs. These are across Schmitten, Kitzsteinhorn and Saalbach. The resort is also home to a range of activities, including ice skating, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. Zell am See is also known for its picturesque lake and relaxing spa hotels.

Ski runs up Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See
Ski runs up Schmittenhöhe

13. Selva Val Gardena, Italy

Nestled in the Dolomites, Selva Val Gardena is a charming ski town with over 175 kilometres of ski runs. The resort is particularly popular with intermediate skiers, thanks to its wide, open slopes. Selva Val Gardena is also known for its delicious Italian cuisine and cosy chalets.

Selva di Val Gardena
Photo © Nikolai Korzhov | Dreamstime.com

Other ski destinations worth exploring in Europe

While the above ski resorts are just some of the best Europe has to offer, there are plenty of other destinations worth exploring. Here are a few more to consider:

  • Chamonix, France: Known for its challenging off-piste skiing and stunning views of Mont Blanc.
  • Verbier, Switzerland: A world-renowned ski resort with over 400 kilometres of ski runs.
  • Kitzbuhel, Austria: A charming ski town with over 170 kilometres of ski runs and a lively nightlife scene.
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy: A picturesque ski resort with over 120 kilometres of ski runs and a rich cultural heritage.

Tips for planning your ski trip to Europe

Now that you have an idea of where to go, here are some tips for planning your ski trip to Europe:

Book early: Ski resorts in Europe can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. Book your accommodations, lift tickets, and other activities as early as possible to ensure availability.

Pack smart: Skiing in Europe can be unpredictable, weather-wise. Make sure to pack plenty of layers, including a wind and waterproof jacket, gloves, and a hat. Also, don’t forget to bring sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.

Consider a package deal: Many ski resorts in Europe offer package deals that include flights, transfers, accommodation, lift tickets, and other amenities. These can be a great way to save money while enjoying a seamless ski vacation. You’ll find some recommendations of ski companies via the link below.

Learn some basic phrases: While many ski resorts in Europe cater to English-speaking visitors, it can still be fun to learn some basic phrases in the local language. This can make it easier to communicate with locals and navigate the ski resort. Plus it also makes travelling a little more fun too.


Summary

Skiing in Europe is a bucket-list experience that every skiing enthusiast should have on their list. With its varied terrain, stunning scenery, and world-class resorts, the continent offers a ski vacation like no other. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s a ski resort in Europe that’s perfect for you.


Author

Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of TravelAndDestinations.com. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website... [Read full bio]

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