Some people's idea of the perfect vacation is relaxing in the sunshine, but this is not the ideal break for every traveler. There are others who want to spend their time outdoors in a stunning location enjoying physical activities and enjoying an adrenaline rush. If you fall into the latter category, then a skiing break is the ideal option, and there are multiple locations across the globe that have the right landscape for this type of vacation. If you are thinking of heading to Europe, there is a vast array of choices, and each location offers something different. Here are the 20 best ski towns in Europe that you might want to consider visiting.
20. Ischgl, Austria
Inghams is one of the best skiing destinations in Europe for guaranteed snow. This ski town is 1,400-metres above sea level, and it is one of Austria's most snow-sure resorts. There is access to a non-piste freeride terrain in the Fimbatal Valley via the Piz Val Gronda lift.
19. Cervinia, Italy
Cervinia is on the Italian side of the Matterhorn, and it is liked with the Swiss resort of Zermatt. There is a huge amount of varied terrain at the resort, with most areas geared towards beginners and intermediate skiers. However, there is a large enough area for advanced skiers that they can spend all day on the slopes without completing the same run twice. There are some five-star places to stay in this town, including the Hermitage Hotel & Spa and Saint Hubertus Resort.
18. Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier is a well-established ski resort, but it upped its came and became known as one of Europe's most glamorous resorts in 2008 when Richard Branson opened the luxury chalet The Lodge and Coco Club. There are almost 13 miles of Nordic trails, some backcountry terrain, and a good mix of expert and novice pistes. The village has accommodation to suit various budgets, and there is a great choice of restaurants.
17. Megeve, France
At Megeve, there are two ski areas that offer 250 miles of runs, and these are linked by cable cars. Away from the slopes, the car-free village has horse-drawn sleighs, smart boutiques, cobbled streets, and an open-air ice rink. It is one of the best places to stay in terms of dining, as there are 60 restaurants on the mountainside that serve various cuisines. One of the most popular restaurants is La Ferme de Mon Pere.
16. Lech, Austria
Some of the ski resorts in Europe are known for being glamorous destinations, but bling is not everyone's scene. If you prefer something that offers traditional charm, then Lech in Austria is an excellent destination to consider. It boasts traditional farmhouses and rustic chalets interspersed with award-winning restaurants, chic boutiques, stylish hotels, and art galleries. Two speedy cable cars have been added recently to improve access to the slopes. Lech is known for its excellent snowfall and for the White Ring, which is a 14-mile circuit that connects Lech to Zug and Zurs.
15. Flims Laax Falera, Switzerland
The Flims Laax Falera in Switzerland covers three mountains, and the varied terrain means there is something for all abilities. Alp Dado is best for beginners and families, while the descent from La Siala to Flims is ideal for those looking for a challenge. Approximately 70 percent of the slopes are between 6,500 and 9,800-feet elevation. This resort is also known for being one of the best destinations for snowboarding, and the slopes are open until 10 pm for snowboarding and night skiing.
14. Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Tourists head to Crans-Montana in Switzerland because the slopes are sun-drenched due to their position on the south-facing plateau of the Valais canton. They also love that there are 90 miles of slopes to enjoy. Experienced skiers who are fans of freestyling can have a fantastic time at this resort, as it is home to one of Switzerland's best snow parks, which features an Olympic-size halfpipe. There are 16 on-mountain restaurants, so there are plenty of dining options for visitors to this skiing town.
13. Gstaad, Switzerland
One of the more traditional ski towns in Europe is Gstaad, Switzerland. The town center has no traffic, and it boasts Swiss architecture and a promenade lined with chic boutiques. There are various ski areas surrounding the town, ad each of these has charming chalet villages at the entrance. There are 41 lifts to 125 miles of runs, with slopes for varied abilities. If visitors want some time away from the slopes, there are Michelin-starred restaurants to enjoy. One of the best places to stay is at the Alpina Gstaad, as the amenities at this hotel include two pools, a spa, and a movie theater.
12. Courmayeur, Italy
Conde Nast Traveler lists Courmayeur in Italy as one of the best ski towns in Europe. Courmayeur is on the sunnier side of Mont Blanc, and it shares access to the glacial run of Valle Blanche with Chamonix. An area previously used only by free-riders is now called the Arp slope, and it is open to skiers and boarders. In total, there are 20 lifts to 33 trails at this resort. One of the best restaurants in Courmayeur is Maison Vielle, which is a mountain-top restaurant that is accessed by cable car.
11. Grindelwald-Wengen and the Jungfrau, Switzerland
There are runs for skiers and boarders of all skill levels to enjoy at Grindelwald Engen and the Jungfrau. To travel up the mountainside the slopes, visitors can either ride the funicular or take the Jungfraubahn railway to Europe's highest railroad station. There are also cable cars to take you to the different starting points in the different ski areas. If you are a beginner, then it is best to stick to the slopes closest to the Alpine town of Wengen, while those who are experienced freestylers will enjoy the off-piste terrain and superpipe at Grindelwald-First.
10. Zugspitze, Germany
When thinking of skiing destinations in Europe, it is usually France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria that come to mind. However, Germany is also a fantastic skiing destination, and one of this country's best skiing destinations is Zugspitze, which is the tallest mountain in Germany. At the base of the mountain is the beautiful Bavarian town of Garmisch-Patenkirchen. A cable car takes visitors to the summit of the mountain, where there are panoramic views of the peaks in four countries. There are slopes for people of all abilities, and these span three mountains. Experienced skiers can take on the challenges of some of the runs used in the 1936 Winter Olympics.
9. Val Gardena, Italy
Valrdena is in the Dolomites, and it neighbors the better-known skiing town of Cortina D'Ampezzo. However, Val Gardena is a lower-key option that is more traditional and less expensive. It also has a more casual vibe that some travelers find preferable. Although it has plenty of its own trails, there are also lifts that connect the resort to the trails in nearby valleys that lie between the peaks of Gruppo del Sella. It is one of the better options for advanced skiers, as nearly two-thirds of the terrain is only suitable for those who are experienced on the slopes.
8. Kitzbuhel, Austria
One of Austria's most popular vacation destinations is Kitzbuhel and it attracts so many people because it has eight renowned skiing schools, a vibrant apres-ski scene, a quaint village, and posh hotels. It also boasts some of the most demanding ski courses on the World Cup circuit. There are 57 lifts for 92 runs, with slopes for all abilities. When skiers are not on the slopes, there are 60 mountain huts and restaurants where travelers can eat and drink.
7. St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is the world's oldest winter holiday resort. It has a Champagne climate, which means it has dry air, a cold climate, but the sun shines for approximately 322 days a year. The resort town is known for its award-winning restaurants, world-class hotels, and high-end shopping. Celebrities are drawn to the area to enjoy off-piste skiing and to stay in exclusive accommodations, such as El Paradiso mountain club or Badrutt's Palace Hotel.
6. St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
St. Anton is Austria's largest and the world's fifth-largest interconnected ski resort. It sits at the heart of the Arlberg region, and it is connected to Lech by the Flexenbahn gondola. Eighty-eight lifts take skiers to almost 190 miles of slopes and 124 miles of backcountry runs. The local dining scene makes St. Anton stand out from other Austrian ski towns. It is home to some of Austria's most outstanding restaurants, including Hospizalm on the St. Christopher ski slope. The restaurant is known for its amazing wine list, as the restaurant has a cellar of more than 2,900 bottles of Bordeaux.
5. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo first became famous as a ski destination after it was used as one of the venues in the 1956 Winter Olympics, which will return to this venue in 2026. It is a historic town in the valley of the Boite River, and as it is only two hours from Venice, it is not too remote. The town connects skiers to more than 750 miles of ski slopes, and it has a more low-key vibe than some of the comparable ski towns in the area.
4. Chamonix, France
At 4,807 meters, Mont Blanc is Europe's tallest peak. At the base of this peak, you will find Chamonix, France. Chamonix has some of the longest-lasting snow in the Alps due to the mountain's altitude and the glaciers. It is one of the most famous skiing destinations in the world, and it became famous for being the location of the first Winter Olympics. Chamonix is also known for having some of the world's most challenging terrain. There are six different ski areas, including Grands Montets, which boasts ski slopes with the world's most significant height differential.
3. Val d'Isere, France
Val d'Isere is probably the best known and most popular ski town in France, and it has been described as a mega-resort. The downsides of the resort's popularity are that it attracts large crowds and is also one of the pricier options. It is one of the most snow-sure slopes in Europe, but they also have the continent's largest artificial snowmaker as a backup. As the slopes are linked to the neighboring resorts of Tignes, they form France's largest skiing area. Val d'Isere is also known for its partying and dining scenes.
2. Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt is a pretty Alpine village that lies at the foot of the Matterhorn and is surrounded by the Alps' tallest peaks. There are four large ski areas with more than 223 miles of ski runs. Visitors will find plenty of modern touches, such as fancy apres-ski diversions and a state-of-the-art lift system. However, there are also some traditional elements, such as the horse-drawn carriages that transport visitors through the car-free ski village. At the end of the Sunnegra run, there is a tiny Champagne bar, and one of the most popular dining destinations is Chez Vrony, which serves gourmet burgers.
1. Courchevel, France
According to Planetware, the best ski town in Europe is Courchevel in France. It is one of the largest and most famous ski resorts, and it is part of an interlinked chain of resorts called Les Trois Valleys. There are 60 lifts taking travelers to more than 370 miles of interconnected ski runs, more than 90 miles of alpine runs, and four glaciers. In total, the skiing resort covers ten summits, and five separate villages have terrain for beginners and intermediate skiers. Courcheval is one of the best options for families who want to take to the slopes.
Written by Liz Flynn
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