The European continent has been blessed with some of the most beautiful mountain areas in the world, and this winter is the perfect time to explore them! For lovers of adventure and snow sports, Europe is the heaven of ski resorts, because their list is very long (so everyone will find a suitable place, whether we are talking about beginners in this sport or even experienced ones), and if you know what to you choose, you will only have pleasant surprises. Some of the most popular places are in Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy, Bulgaria, countries that know how to take advantage of nature's gifts to set up modern resorts with excellent conditions and top services, sometimes even at surprisingly low prices.
And to make it easier for you to find the perfect location, let us narrow down your search area with a top ski resorts in Europe:
- Val Thorens, France
- St. Moritz, Switzerland
- Courmayeur, Italy
- Kitzbühel, Austria
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Bansko, Bulgaria
Val Thorens, France
Located in the south-east of France, 2 and a half hours from Lyon (where we recommend you land if you come by plane), the beautiful ski resort in the French Alps reaches every year in any international top of the resorts, being brought to the top thanks to its size, the highly developed infrastructure, the quality of services, the various attractions (including for those who do not dare to do winter sports), and as you probably expected, the beauty of the absolutely spectacular landscapes. Val Thorens is located at an altitude of over 2,300 m (the maximum being at 3,600 m), which is why a holiday here is suitable from November to May. In addition, the resort also carries the label "Famille Plus", being perfect for families with children, who can find here places where the little ones can be left, ski schools for children and facilities in the accommodation units.
The ski slopes of Val Thornes
Val Thorens has 68 pistes totaling 150 km, served by 30 chairlift installations, but the resort is part of the Les Trois Vallees region, where there are 318 pistes (over 600 km) and 172 cable installations. With such an impressive number, it's natural that anyone can find a suitable slope here, whether we're talking about beginners or professionals (most slopes are marked with a red or blue band). Tourists who love adventure should not miss the highest peaks: Pointe du Bouchet (3220 m) and Cime de Caron (3200 m).
It is also worth noting that Val Thorens is also among the most expensive ski resorts in Europe, so a holiday here quickly adds up to several thousand euros. The price of a one-day ski pass is €63, and for 5 days you will pay €286. You can consult the detailed tariff here. Ski equipment rental is also quite expensive, the rate being around €40 per day, but if you rent for several days you can benefit from certain discounts.
Being a very large resort, everyone can find something to their taste, whether we are talking about hotels, guesthouses or apartments. It is certain that everywhere you will find a lot of facilities, but this is also reflected in the somewhat higher prices, a night starting from €150 for 2 people. One of the hotels we recommend is:
- Alberta Hotel & Spa a 3-star hotel located right in the heart of the resort. The rooms also have a balcony, so you will always be able to enjoy the spectacular landscape of the Alps, and the price for a room starts on average from €200 per night, depending on the period chosen. You can find other accommodation options here.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
The oldest mountain resort in the world, St. Moritz stands out for its well-preserved elegant atmosphere, which blends perfectly with the modern facilities, being among the resorts especially preferred by the high class of society. Located at over 1,800 m high, it is the perfect place to enjoy the snow! Not only skiing is the main attraction here, but you will also be able to explore other sports, such as skating, climbing or bobsleigh, and afterwards you can enjoy a few hours to explore the city of St. Moritz, itself a tourist attraction.
The ski slopes of St. Moritz
The resort is divided into several ski areas (3 main areas: Corviglia, the largest, Corvatsch and Diavolezza, but also several small areas), totaling a total of 326 km of slopes, to which you have access through 53 facilities on modern cable, ski lifts, chair lifts and cable cars. Most slopes are for experienced skiers (about 50%), but there are also plenty of places suitable for beginners. Not to be missed for the experienced is the Olympic slope Highspeed Nr. 7 on Corviglia, where you will find your own descent time displayed. For the quieter there is the Paradiso slope in the Suvretta domain, the world's first yoga slope.
And this time we are talking about an accessible resort for tourists who can afford to spend a few thousand euros, being a luxury resort. The price of one ski pass it differs depending on the date chosen, but also on the domains you want to have access to, but on average for one day you will pay around €70. For equipment rental you will pay approximately €45 per day.
There are 2 accommodation areas for tourists: either the area near the slopes, where you will have a direct view of the mountains (where the prices are quite high), or you will be able to stay directly in the city. Expect to pay at least €180 per night for a room for 2 people (but the facilities of the accommodation units will live up to the price claims). Our recommendation is:
- Hotel Piz St. Moritz rated with 3 stars, an option characterized by refinement and elegance, making you feel the center of attention. You will have at your disposal a sauna and a steam bath that guarantee your relaxation, and the hotel is very close to the cable transport facilities. A room here starts at €200 per night, even with breakfast included. You can find other accommodation options, depending on your needs here.
Courmayeur is perhaps the most beautiful Italian mountain resort, located at an altitude of over 1,200 m on the majestic Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, and is part of the Aosta Valley ski area, one of the largest in Europe. It's 80 km from Geneva airport, so it's also easy to get to. The resort is also known as the pearl of the Alps, due to the beauty of its mountain architecture that surrounds it, thus always being on the list of the most popular resorts. The facilities do not disappoint either, the city being a mountain paradise, where tourists can find ski schools, restaurants, relaxation centers, and various entertainment options.
The ski slopes of Courmayeur
The resort boasts almost 50 km of slopes, more than half of which are suitable for intermediate skiers, but beginners and advanced skiers will also find suitable slopes. They are served by 18 cable installations with which you can reach a height of 2755 m. However, it also takes into account the entire Aosta Valley ski area, which has 352 km of skiable terrain organized into 180 slopes, served by 62 ski lifts. The most popular slopes and routes are the famous World Cup Downhill, with a length of 6 km, and for the experienced La Palud, which gives you the opportunity to descend vertically 2000 m.
Courmayeur is another luxury resort (although not as expensive as the first 2 resorts shown), so expect to spend quite a lot. a ski pass for one day it costs €56, but the price drops if you choose a longer period, for example for 5 days of skiing you will pay €243, giving you access not only to Courmayeur, but also to other resorts in the Aosta Valley. Renting a complete ski equipment starts from only €22 per day.
Accommodation is one of the rather expensive things here, but all hotels have very good reviews due to excellent conditions and services. The main areas where tourists can stay are either the city or in the direct area of the slopes, and prices start from €180 for a room for 2 people in season. Our recommendation is:
- iH Hotels Courmayeur Mont Blanc a famous 4-star hotel in the area, very close to transport facilities, with wellness center for tourists, where they can enjoy spa, massages and sauna. The rooms are very welcoming, with a picturesque setting, and a night here starts on average from €200, with breakfast included. You can find more options here.
The small picturesque town of Kitzbühel is home to the Alpine Skiing World Cup every year, so rest assured that this is a resort where skiing is practiced at the highest standards! Its altitude ranges from only 700 m to 2000 m, between the beautiful Kitzbüheler Horn and Hahnenkamm mountains. The town has a romantic air, with cobbled streets, elegant buildings and refined shops, so you won't be bored if you need a break from skiing.
The ski slopes of Kitzbühel
In Kitzbühel you will find 60 slopes suitable for all types of skiers, with a total length of 170 km. Also consider the neighboring resort, SkiWelt, which adds another 280 km of skiable terrain. The resort is very well equipped in terms of infrastructure, access to the ski areas is made with 54 cable installations, almost equaling the number of slopes. The most popular slope is the experienced Streif, where the famous competitions are held annually.
Prices in the resort are medium to high, but considering the amenities you won't be unhappy with what you spend here. ski-pass for one day it costs €65, and for 5 days €287, having the possibility to ski in several small resorts in the surroundings. To rent a complete ski equipment you will take out of your pocket another €23 per day.
In the city you will find quite a lot of accommodation possibilities, whether you are looking for luxurious hotels or traditional guesthouses, and the price for a room for 2 people starts from 170€ per night, depending on the chosen period. We recommend:
- Hotel Garni Entstrasser a small but very welcoming hotel with excellent services. It even has an indoor pool and sauna, and the rooms have a refined air. A night here starts from €190. You can find other similar variants here.
Switzerland has gained worldwide fame when it comes to mountain resorts, so a recommendation here could not be missing. Zermatt is a place of superlatives, being the resort with the longest ski slopes in the world, the highest ski area in the Alps (with altitudes reaching 3,900 m), the most popular resort in Switzerland and one of the best from Europe. The modern and very diverse slopes, but also the superb natural setting, make it a perfect destination for mountain sports enthusiasts.
The ski slopes of Zermatt
The ski trails extend over 350 km, with more than 70 slopes, suitable for any type of skier. Access is via 32 cable installations. And as I mentioned earlier, here you will find the longest slope in the world: the Matterhorn Glacier Ride, 25 km long, and if you have a little experience, venture on it. Slow Slopes should also be mentioned, the perfect slope for those who are not looking for speed, but want to enjoy the scenery. And if we have snowboarding enthusiasts among us, here is Gravity Park, a place that will challenge you!
Zermatt also falls into the category of mid- to high-priced resorts, but the experience is really worth it! Comparing it with the more expensive resorts, you will find that you have more facilities here. The price of one ski pass in high season it is 85€ per day (the price drops if you choose a longer period, so for 2 days you will pay 140€, and for 6 days only 360€), and for renting complete ski equipment you will add another 35€ per day .
In terms of accommodation options, Zermatt is a very diverse resort, as you will find both 5-star hotels and guesthouses, apartments and even hostels with shared bedrooms, so the prices differ depending on what you prefer. For example, for a bed in a shared room you will pay only €60 per night. We recommend two options, but you have a wide variety of accommodations that you can find here.
- Zermatt Youth Hostel is an example, which also offers breakfast, but for a hotel room for 2 people the prices start from 160€.
- Annex Antika a small hotel that offers tourists to relax in a wellness center with spa and sauna, in a simple but pleasant setting, for €180 per night.
Returning to the somewhat closer areas, we cannot forget a hidden treasure of Europe, located right next to us. The resort of Bansko in Bulgaria is located in the Pirin Mountains, at an altitude of up to 2600 m, and you can practice mountain sports here from December to May. It is a surprisingly well-developed resort, compared to other resorts in eastern countries, where very large sums have been invested in recent years to modernize and expand the area, which is clearly visible. How can you put it that it is only 500 km from our border!
The ski slopes of Bansko
The ski area has almost 20 prepared slopes in 70 km, and 16 cable transport facilities waiting for tourists. Tomba is the longest slope, 2.5 km, suitable for experienced skiers. Beginners also have the opportunity to ski on a 2 km slope: Shiligarnika.
If you expect the prices here to be very affordable, you are right! Bansko is a very cheap resort, so anyone can choose it, and despite the low prices, the conditions are very good. a ski pass for one day it costs only 40€, and for 5 days 195€. Full ski equipment rental costs €18 for one day (€78 for 5 days).
Being a developing resort, the accommodation offers are very modern and well-equipped, and new places are constantly opening. The prices are very low, and you can find a room for 2 people in a hostel for only 35€, you can find more options here.
- Guest house Kiritsov rated at 3 stars, you can find a room for 2 people for only €35 per night.
- St George Ski & Holiday, a 5-star all-inclusive hotel with swimming pool, gym, wellness center, spa and sauna, in a modern and elegant setting. A room for 2 people starts from 110€ per night, and surely if you choose this place you will be tempted to stay here longer than on the ski slopes.
So pack your bags and venture into the world of winter sports! Europe is home to some of the most beautiful resorts, and whether you're looking for sophistication, luxury, adventure, affordability, modernity or nature, you're sure to find a resort to suit your taste to plan your getaway this year. Winter.