7 of the Best Ski Resorts in Europe
Europe may be the second smallest continent in the world but it still has a large area covering 10 million km² and a population of 745 million people. With all these people and places to visit, it is no wonder why so many people love to travel here. One of the best things about Europe is that there are plenty of things to do, one of which is skiing.
Skiing in Europe is an experience like no other. The mountains are bigger and steeper, the snow is more powdery, and some resorts have a reputation for being more challenging than others. Europe has some of the best ski resorts in the world, and there is something for everyone. From modern, family-friendly resorts to historic villages that have been turned into winter playgrounds, Europe has plenty of options when it comes to having fun on the slopes.
The best ski resorts in Europe offer something for everyone, from beginners to experts. They have excellent facilities, friendly staff, and plenty of amenities to keep you entertained. The ski season in Europe is from November to April as the colder winter temperatures mean the snow covered mountains are at their best. Whether it is your first time skiing or you are an expert looking for something new to conquer, below are some of the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe.
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Zermatt is located in the Swiss Alps and is one of the best European ski resorts. It is a small village but it sees hundreds of thousands of visitors annually during the winter season. Zermatt is situated at an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level and winter temperatures can get as low as -7 degrees Celsius. The resort has hundreds of kilometres of runs, including some challenging terrain for experienced skiers. Not only does Zermatt have an excellent skiing variety, but it is also renowned for hiking and climbing activities.
Zermatt is home to the Matterhorn, one of Europe’s most iconic mountains. The Matterhorn is a pyramid-shaped mountain peak that towers up above the surrounding area. It stands 4,478 metres high (14,690 ft) and is one of the most photographed mountains in Europe. The Matterhorn is a very popular destination for skiers and hikers because it offers some of the best views across Switzerland, France and Italy.
Once you are off the slopes there is still plenty to do in Zermatt. The main street is named Bahnhofstrasse, from here you will find cobbled streets lined with bars, restaurants, shops, cafes and a bustling après-ski scene. There are many other winter based activities to take part in such as ice skating.
Zermatt has various accommodation options to choose from. A hotel recommendation is the Mont Cervin Palace. This 5 star rated luxury hotel that has an alpine style and a beautiful rustic-chic decor. Its central location means everything is on your doorstep and the nearest ski lift is within 1km. The rooms are comfortable and spacious with mountain views. There are plenty of amenities on-site including three restaurants and a bar serving until late. You will also find a spa, sauna, indoor pool and hot tubs.
The best way to get to Zermatt is to fly into either Zurich or Geneva airport and then take a train up the mountain. The town is a car-free zone and many of the roads leading to Zermatt can be dangerous from the snow or even closed during the winter months. If you do decide to drive you will have to leave the car in one of the parking facilities outside of the ski resort in Täsch.
Accommodation near Zermatt:
Val Thorens, France
Val Thorens is Europe’s highest ski resort which opened in 1971. It boasts a massive amount of skiable terrain and some of the highest lifts in Europe, so it is not for the faint-hearted! If you are an intermediate or advanced rider looking for some serious vertical, Val Thorens will not disappoint. Although one of the most expensive resorts to visit, this high-altitude mountain also has excellent snow conditions and sunny days that allow for plenty of sunbathing after your runs.
Being one of the best European ski resorts, Val Thorens has it all. You will find every type of winter sport available plus more, such as snowboarding, tobogganing, paragliding and zip lines! The resort has some of the best views in the Alps and is surrounded by beautiful mountains. With many restaurants, bars and shops it is easy to find something to do after a day on the slopes. If you are looking for a ski holiday with incredible verticals, Val Thorens is the place for you!
To get to Val Thorens there are a couple of options. The main airport is Geneva Airport but there are a few smaller airports such as Chambery closer to the ski town. From the airport, it is approx a two and a half hour drive. Whether you choose to hire a car and drive yourself or get a private airport transfer is up to you.
Accommodation nearby Val Thorens:
Val d’Isère, France
Val d’Isère is a great choice for skiers with intermediate level skills and above. It is one of the best ski resorts in The Alps. Nearby the ski resort is the steep slope of Face de Bellevarde, this is a black-rated ski slope for the advanced skier. However, if you are travelling with children or wish to have a calmer time on the slopes, there are ample green runs available too! The ski area has 300 km of pistes and trails including an 1800 metres vertical drop, making it a great place for advanced riders to explore. It is also one of the largest in France, so there is plenty of variety here.
Val d’Isère is one of the best places for European skiing. It has all the slopes and more. Outside of the ski slopes, you will find a buzzing scene for nightlife and apres-ski. The town is very lively and you can find many bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Some top venues for apres-ski include La Folie Douce, Bananas and Petit Danois.
Located in the French Alps, within the Tarentaise Valley, Val d’Isère is part of the Three Valleys ski area, which also includes Meribel and Courchevel. The town itself is small and has a very classic feel to it. In order to get to this ski resort, the closest main airport is Geneva Airport. From there you can get a transfer up to the town, this takes approx three and a half hours.
Val d’Isère is one of the best ski resorts in Europe for families so it is best to book your accommodation early. There are lots of chalets available for rent in Val d’Isère; these are perfect for families and larger groups.
Accommodation nearby Val d’Isère:
Courchevel is a French ski resort, located within the Tarentaise Valley. It is the largest ski resort in the Three Valleys ski area with 600km of slopes. Courchevel 1850 is known as an exclusive destination for its luxury hotels. Forget 5 star hotels, this ski resort has two 6 star rated hotels! It is one of the most expensive ski resorts in Europe and is well known to host many flash celebrities. The streets of Courchevel attract several wealthy and prestigious individuals with its designer boutiques, trendy cocktail bars and gourmet restaurants.
Courchevel has a variety of activities apart from skiing such as ice skating, snowshoeing and dog sledging that can be enjoyed during your stay. The resort has a busy nightlife and is perfect for those that love après-ski activities too. Some highlights for apres-ski venues include VIP Slopeside Apres Ski, Waikiki Beach Bar and Copina Cocktails & Tapas.
To get to the Courchevel ski resort, the best airport is Geneva Airport which is a two and half hour’s drive. An alternative is to get the high-speed train that stops 24km away (20 minute drive) at the Moutiers station. This train runs from nearby capital cities, London and Paris.
Accommodation nearby Courchevel:
This highly rated and popular ski resort is located on the border between Italy, France and Switzerland. Situated at the base of Mont Blanc which is the highest summit in the Alps, it is an excellent destination for a skiing vacation. The resort itself is a small village that offers excellent facilities for skiers and snowboarders. The ski area has a variety of slopes and trails for all levels, making it an ideal destination for families with children or beginners. There are also plenty of activities for non-skiers, including bowling, ice skating and snowshoeing. The resort also has a large selection of restaurants to choose from as well as shops selling ski equipment and other necessities.
The main attraction in this area is the Monte Bianco cable car. This cable car route takes you from Chamonix in France over to Courmayeur in Italy. The experience of riding the cable car is fantastic as you are suspended high up over the mountain peaks where you can get unrivalled views of Mount Blanc. It opened in 1958 and consists of three stations.
In order to get here, the closest main international airport is Geneva Airport. A transfer from here takes around 90 minutes. There is public transport available but the route is long around the mountain range and can take up to four hours.
Accommodation nearby Chamonix:
Val Gardena, Italy
One of the best winter resorts in Europe, Val Gardena is located in northern Italy in the Dolomites. It is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and just about everyone who visits this part of Italy for the first time is pleasantly surprised. It is also part of the Dolomiti Superski region which is made up of 15 ski resorts. Other resorts include Alpe Luisa, Civetta and Val di Fiemme. The Dolomites have a breathtaking and picturesque landscape that is perfect for skiers and snowboarders. It has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.
The town has a number of hotels, apartments and chalets that are ideal for those who want a relaxing holiday after a long day of skiing. The town also has a number of restaurants, bars and shops that are perfect for those who want to explore the area off the slopes.
In order to reach the Val Gardena ski resort, you have a few options. You can use the closest airport which is Airport Bolzano which is less than one hour’s drive away. Get the train to Ponte Gardena or drive most of the way there on the Brenner motorway.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
If you are looking for a ski resort that is not too crowded, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a great choice. It is a perfect place to spend some time on a family skiing holiday. Cortina d’Ampezzo also lies in the Dolomites mountain range in northern Italy. Being part of the Dolomiti Superski area means it equally has impressive ski routes and stunning views to match.
The 2026 Winter Olympic Games are due to be held here which has brought a lot of excitement and regeneration to the area. This ski resort is a very up and coming destination, so if you want to experience it before it becomes too popular, now is the time! As well as the multiple ski areas, there is plenty to do in this town including Parco Avventura, a treetops amusement park. There are several bike and hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints and many green parks and gardens to enjoy.
The closest airports to Cortina d’Ampezzo are located in Venice. Venice Marco Polo and Venice Treviso airports are both a two-hour drive away. There are also bus routes that you can take to save on costs. The closest train station is 20 miles away called Calalzo di Cadore.
If you are after the best skiing in Europe, the above ski resorts will not disappoint. The snow is always great, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views, and the hotels offer top-notch service. These resorts offer something for everyone whether you want to spend your days skiing or exploring quaint villages nearby. The ski resorts above offer a wide range of activities to keep you busy. Whether you want to spend your time doing some cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or hiking through the mountains, there is something for everyone.
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