Europe is home to some incredible ski destinations. Skiing in Europe is characterized by thick, soft snow, jaw-dropping scenery, and fantastic après ski food and fun. With so many fabulous options, you might be finding it tough to pick just one. That’s where we come in! From the best nightlife to family-friendly vacations and the highest ski town in Europe, we’ve got the lowdown on the best slopes on the continent. Here are our picks of the best places to ski in Europe.
Val Thorens, France
Best for: family skiing in Europe
We’re starting off with a classic. Alongside such accolades as being the highest ski town in Europe (2300m up, to be precise), Val Thorens is one of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Europe. From the age of 6, children are welcomed onto the slopes with a program of activities designed to inspire a love of winter sports. Along with safe and supervised skiing, kids can enjoy winter wonders such as snowshoeing, a skating rink, dog sledding, and outdoor tobogganing. There’s plenty for the grown-ups to do too. World-class slopes for skiers of all abilities criss-cross the beautiful Alpine landscape, with ice-driving, zip-lining, and paragliding also on the adventurous agenda.
Val Thorens is located on the France-Switzerland border, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s also a great place for a ski vacation if you want to branch out to visit some of the amazing sights of South-East France. Historic Avignon, several national parks, and traditional towns of Provence are all within a scenic 3-hour drive. If you want to combine a few days on the slopes with a vacation in the South of France, Val Thorens is one of the top family ski resorts in Europe.
Best for: advanced skiing in Europe
Skiing in France doesn’t get more iconic than in Chamonix. The star attraction here is the imposingly beautiful Mont Blanc, the Chamonix peak etched into the hearts of winter sports lovers worldwide. The Chamonix-Mont Blanc Valley is a stunner at any time of year, but in the winter, covered in a thick fluffy blanket of snow, it’s extra special. Chamonix ski resort is the place to go if you’re seasoned on the slopes. It’s one of the best ski resorts in France for advanced skiers, with countless off-piste, rugged, and glacier slopes. A ski vacation in Chamonix is not for the timid, but for slope experts, it’s rated as a top experience in Europe.
It’s not only world-class skiing that catches the eye here; Chamonix snowboarding is also top class. Adventurous types can also try their hand at ice climbing, dog sledding, and cross country skiing topped off with a relaxing session in one of Chamonix’s famous spas. Chamonix weather during the winter is perfect for skiing and other snowy sports. The high altitude means that the resort gets an average of 27cm of snow each month between December and February.
Best for: Après ski and nightlife
In the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn mountain, Zermatt ski resort is a seriously impressive winter destination. You can’t fail to be impressed by the sight of the great Zermatt mountain rising above the quaint alpine cabins in the Swiss resort. The skiing in Switzerland holds legendary status, and Zermatt is one of the best European ski destinations to get a taste of the whole winter sports experience. During the day, guests can busy themselves on some of the finest red, blue, black, and yellow runs on the continent. Zermatt elevation means that there is a guaranteed covering of thick snow, so other winter sports, such as snowboarding, dog sledding, and tobogganing are easy to organize. For a truly unforgettable vacation memory, you can take to the air on a parasailing trip for jaw-dropping views of the Swiss Alps.
Zermatt is just one of the finest Switzerland ski resorts during the day. It also lays claim to some of the best ski nightlife in Europe. The après ski scene in Zermatt is fantastic. The town has numerous clubs, bars, and restaurants offering an excuse to party the night away. Zermatt itself is a tourist hotspot, and one of the busiest Switzerland ski resorts. This means that you’ll never be short of places to go once the sun goes down.
Best for: Skiing in Europe with incredible scenery
Italian ski resorts are not short of a stunning mountain view or two, but Courmayeur takes the crown in terms of natural splendor. Skiing in Italy takes place in the beautiful Dolomites Mountains. Courmayeur ski resort makes the most of the wonderful mountain landscape that it calls home. The skiing in Courmayeur is, of course, fantastic, but it’s the easy access to incredible trails and viewpoints of Mont Blanc, alpine lakes, and mountain valleys that set it apart as one of the best ski resorts in Europe. Those views are just the thing to tempt you away from fine Italian Alps skiing. So fire up your camera and prepare to fill your Instagram feed with snaps of beautiful mountain vistas.
Highlights of the region around Courmayeur include Lago Combal. It’s an alpine lake cradled by mountain peaks and is truly remarkable for its vivid emerald green color. The hike to Lake Combal is pretty challenging. However, seasoned hikers who make the journey concur that it’s worth the effort. Another must-visit sight in Courmayeur is Val Ferret, regarded as the most beautiful valley in all of the Alps. Stunning in summer or winter, Val Ferret is one of the most photographed spots in Europe. It’s a vacation highlight for any photographer or nature lover.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Best for: non skiers
The best European ski resorts offer something for everyone. If you’re not a fan of hitting the slopes, you want somewhere that you can explore while your friends and family practice their runs. Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort is the ideal place for a winter vacation compromise. There’s fantastic skiing for those who want to hit the powder and plenty of other attractions for more laid-back vacationers. Cortina d’Ampezzo in winter is a fabulous destination for enjoying all manner of outdoor activities. Ice skating, dog mushing, and snowshoeing are just some of the fantastic things on offer.
If rest and relaxation is more your style, Cortina is also home to the highest Finnish spa in the Dolomites. At Rifugio Lagazuoi, you can kick back in the comforting warmth of a bubbling hot tub, sipping on champagne against a breathtaking mountain backdrop. Speaking of which, The Dolomites area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, revered as an area of outstanding beauty. A vacation here is ideal for keen photographers. The views are so beautiful, they’ve bagged starring roles in several big Hollywood movies. Perhaps most famously, they co-starred with Roger Moore in the 1981 Bond movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’. It’s not often your vacation lets you stand (and ski) in the footsteps of James Bond!
Why book your vacation home for skiing in Europe with Top Villas?
Here at Top Villas, we offer an incredible range of beautiful vacation homes ideal for ski breaks in Europe. In beautiful locations such as Lake Como and Avignon, they are ideal for combo vacations, when you want to spend a few days on the slopes but also explore the surrounding region. They are brilliant for large groups and family trips, with ample space for everyone to enjoy. Our villas also have fantastic facilities, including private pools, gyms, hot tubs, and game rooms. Choose from traditional villas in France, cozy vacation rentals in Italy, and many other homes in Europe.
We make your ski vacation so easy to organize. Choose from a whole host of Travel Extras to make your time on the slopes completely unforgettable. Equipment hire, transfers, private chauffeurs, ski passes, and insurance can all be arranged for you*. Our brilliant Guest Experience team is on hand to ensure your stay is as smooth as the snow beneath your skis.
*Availability is determined by region, dates of travel, and supplier.