Europe is home to some of the best mountain terrain in the world. The Alps spread across central and southern Europe and boast hundreds of lift-accessed ski areas, each unique in their own way. From the glitz and glam of Meribel to the all-out adventure of La Grave, there is a resort for every type of skier.
One of the hardest parts of booking a skiing holiday is planning. Where to go, how to get there, even the question of who to go with! Not to mention getting the necessary insurance. According to a study, for every 1 million tourists go skiing, as many as 17,000 come home on crutches. So it is vital you get your paperwork in order before you set off.
But before you get to that stage, let’s look at five of Europe’s best resorts:
A beautiful medieval Austrian town which is home to unquestionably one of the greatest ski resorts in the world. The name alone conjures up images of the great ski racers, testing themselves against the most feared downhill course of them all. The World Cup circuit comes to town every January, but if you can avoid that time of year, you will find this stunning resort has something for everyone, from the most testing black runs to something altogether more genteel for those of you looking to learn the sport.
Val Gardena, Italy
Another legendary resort in the sport, Val Gardena in Northern Italy is also one of the most visually beautiful ski parks you will find. When you buy a ski pass here you gain access to more than 1,000km of slopes across 12 skiing areas. Val Gardena was named Italy’s best ski resort in 2017 and it has incredible variety: from the downhill that has, for many years, been the site of World Championships and World Cups, to the delightful fresh powder lower down that makes it the ideal place to learn to ski. And of course, once you’ve finished skiing for the day you have the incredible Italian hospitality and cuisine to enjoy.
For many years the choice of the Royal Family, Courchevel has it all. Prince William and Kate took Prince George and Princess Charlotte on their first family holiday together to Courchevel in 2018 and who can blame them? With its many luxury villas and quality hotels, it caters for the super-rich as well as those with a more modest budget who just want to escape with the family. It’s famous for its beautiful setting and has some exceptional skiing too.
Livigno is a stunning skiing destination, with a ski area that boasts 115km of pistes. It has 12 black slopes and 37 red (which suggests it is better suited to more advanced skiers) while the village itself is lively, vibrant and great fun in the evenings.
Skiing in Switzerland is hard to beat and this resort is particularly special. Dominated by the sight of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is one of the most picturesque resorts you will find anywhere in the world. With 350 km of trails and pistes, you will enjoy Zermatt’s famously long runs which allow you to ski right into the village itself.