A Guide To 10 Of Europe’s Top Ski Resorts

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Europe offers up some of the finest slopes in the world combined with picturesque alpine villages and spectacular mountain views. From the Alps to the Dolomites, the Sierra Nevada to the Pyrenees, there are plenty of ski resorts that offer you challenging slopes, fine food and hospitality that will ensure you never want to leave. In this article we’ve put ten of our favourites together, some are well known, whereas others offer you an escape from the hustle and bustle of busier spots.
Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt offers you everything you could ever expect from a European ski trip. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Matterhorn, one of Europe’s highest mountains, this resort offers a variety of slopes for all levels, including lessons to help you get to grips with the basics.
What makes Zermatt so iconic is the après-skiing culture it evokes. The alpine village, set at the foot of the Matterhorn is pedestrianized and brimming with cosy cafes, bars and fine dining restaurants. The high altitude means that you can ski here right into the summer season, which gives you the perfect excuse to come back all year round.
Jasna, Slovakia
When you think of a skiing holiday Slovakia doesn’t always come to mind, but Jasna offers you unexpected luxury without the high price tag.
Located in the Low Tatras Mountain Range, this ski resorts offers over 49 km of skiing routes, 28 cable cars and lifts making the whole mountain range accessible and alpine skiing options. The highest slope is not for the faint-hearted, reaching 2024m above sea level at its peak, but there are options for all abilities, with easier terrain located on the south side of the mountain range.
Chamonix, France
This resort is famous for all the right reasons! Set against the backdrop of Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Blanc, Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and is popular with advanced skiers who want the challenge of tackling steep slopes and glaciers. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a pro, they also offer beginner’s lessons and four ski areas that cater to a variety of abilities. Expect panoramic views of the mountainside, alpine villages and non-stop skiing.
Pas de la Casa, Andorra
Pas de la Case is popular with those looking for a party as well as hitting the slopes. Known as a party town, there is a big selection of restaurants, bars and nightclubs to dance the night away. Set in the Pyrenees, this resort is set high up in the mountains at an altitude of 2080 m above sea level. With over 210km of piste to discover, all abilities are accounted for, with a beginner’s ski school renowned for its English-speaking teachers and plenty of slopes for intermediate and advanced skiers. If you’re looking for fun on and off the slopes, then this is the place for you.
Bansko, Bulgaria
Bansko is one of the top ski resorts in Eastern Europe and has recently claimed the prize of the best ski resort in Bulgaria from the World Ski Awards. Set in the Pirin National Park, this resort offers a fantastic setting for both skiing and snowboarding, with runs getting up to 2000 – 2600 metres above sea level. There is a rich après-ski culture, with plenty of traditional Bulgarian restaurants known locally as, ‘mehana’ available in the village to while away an evening after hitting the slopes. Runs are available for all abilities with routes catering for beginners and intermediates. Snowboarders can try out the half-pipe and there is a 5km route for those keen to try out cross-country skiing.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Situated a stone throw away from the picturesque mountains and lakes of Triglav National Park, Kranjska Gora Ski Resort is the oldest resort in Slovenia. Here you can try out a variety of winter sports from night skiing, ski tours, ice climbing, snowboarding and even the bobsleigh! For more advanced skiers you can test your stamina and enjoy the thrills of the Alpine trail, set against the backdrop of the National Park. This is for those who eat, breathe and sleep the slopes. If you fancy a day of exploring, then make sure to include a visit to the Russian Chapel, a wooden church constructed by POWs from World War Two and Lake Jasnal, a popular tourist spot where you can bask in the beauty of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps.
Ruka, Finland
This award-winning ski resort is one of the best in the Nordics. It was voted Finland’s best ski resort in 2016 at the World Ski Awards and offers visitors a variety of activities all year round. The resort has snow for at least 200 days a year, so you can visit during peak and off-peak season. There are 34 slopes that cater for all abilities and a welcoming ski school to help beginners get to grip with the basics. Its rural location in Northern Finland gives you the chance to take part in many other outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting, biking, fishing and the chance to see plenty of arctic wildlife. If that’s not all, there’s also a Santa’s cottage year-round for the kids & from November to March the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights; nature’s greatest show on earth.
Sierra Nevada Ski, Spain
Spain is the perfect destination to hit the slopes one day and then top up your tan at the beach the next! The Sierra Nevada Ski Resort is located just 32km from Granada, deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It is Europe’s best kept secret ski resort. Set high up in the mountains at an elevation of 3,300m above sea level, with over 106km of slopes and 124 runs suitable for all abilities. There is also a snowboarding park with a 6-metre half pipe, gentle cross-country skiing for beginners and a snow park for children.
Kitzbuhel, Austria
The picturesque Kitzbuhel Ski Resort in Austria is often touted as the best ski resort in the world and the most beautiful ski resort in Europe. Located in the Alps between Salzburg and Innsbruck, this a luxury destination with plenty of boutique hotels and shops. Amongst skiers, it is most famous for the Hahnenkamm, a hair-raising ski race with the route reaching 85% vertical drops in some spots! But it’s not just for the high-flyers, there’s plenty of pistes for a variety of abilities and if all that exercise gets too much there are plenty of cabins to stop off and rest for a bit with some hot chocolate.
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