The breathtaking beauty of the Alps is unlike any other place in the world. Most areas are so elevated, there is year-around snow capped mountains blanketed in dense forests. Here, skiing is a one of a kind experience as you not only have world-class snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing, even snowmobiling, you also have picturesque towns and villages that date back to medieval times. From historic castles and chalets to cozy pubs and inns, you can take a break from the slopes in some of the most scenic places in the world. So if you are looking for a ski vacation of a lifetime, you should consider some of these popular destinations to ski Europe.
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
This beautiful ski town is nestled high in the alpine mountains of Switzerland and is one of the most popular destinations for both skiing and mountaineering. So though it may have more crowds then other places, and is also one of the most expensive places to stay, there is a reason why it’s so popular, it’s breathtaking. The famed Matterhorn peak resides here with its peak of over 10,000 feet enticing mountain climbers all year around. There are many options for skiing for all skill levels.
The entire village is banned from having cars to protect the pristine nature. Though you can get to the resort town by train, the lack of cars makes this place even more amazing and tranquil so you can really relax. The few cars that so exist here are entirely powered by batteries only so take a deep breath of the truly clean air. Accommodations here can be pricey but there are a variety of mid-range and luxurious hotels and chalets to choose from. Some local people even rent out their homes during peak season as well, which may give you a chance to eat a few meals at home and save a little cash at the same time. Plan early and you will have more options of places to stay because this town books up early!
2. Kitzbuhel, Austria
This medieval town in Austria is one of the most romantic ski villages in the Alps with narrow, cobblestone streets and horse drawn sleighs, it may be the perfect place for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. It’s outside of the larger ski town of Innsbruck and has a long history as it was originally settled around 800 BC. Aside from phenomenal skiing, there are historic gothic churches and museums to visit if you are looking to give you tired legs a rest from the slopes. The town is renowned for its food, fashion, and the world famous ski legends that frequent this ski village.
The two largest mountains are the Hahnenkamm at 5616 feet and Kitzbuhler Horn at 6548 feet that have hosted the World Cup Ski races. There are a wide variety of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and chalets to suit nearly every budget making this one of the most popular destinations in the Alps.
3. Fellhorn, Kanzelwand, Germany
This beautiful mountain resort town in southern Germany, and on the border with Austria, is one of the largest in the country and is a very popular ski and mountain destination all year around. One of the reason it is so popular is that there are slopes from beginner to expert and the area host world championship ski jumping competitions. There are snowboarding slopes as well. It’s high altitude means that you can rely on good snowfall every winter. It also features a cableway that greatly shortens the time you stand in line to reach the slopes. There are even two fun parks in the resort area for great family fun.
There are many slope side hotels, chalets cabins, and private vacation houses that you can choose from along with a restaurants and pubs. There is even a restaurant situated so that there is a breathtaking panoramic view. There is an ice skating rink open to the public on the outskirts of the town as well.
4. Levi, Finland
The major resorts of France, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria all are also some of the most crowded and expensive. If you are looking to venture to a ski resort town a little off the beaten track then consider the Scandinavian country of Finland. The town of Levi is certainly not unknown though as it is popular with the Finnish people and is well known for not only the superb skiing but also the immensely friendly people. Due to the far northern location, you may even get a chance to experience the splendor of the northern lights as well.
The ski season is very long here in the arctic lasting from October to nearly May each year. There is a wide range of slopes for all skill types and over 25 lifts that keeps the lines to a minimum. The area has a few tracks that are light at night if night skiing is something that interests you as well as miles of cross-country skiing and snowboarding. Authentic food and Scandinavian culture are also a bonus of visiting this land in the north and the area has an active nightlife as well.
5. Chamonix, France
This is a very famous ski resort area in the Alps and is visiting by millions of slope-loving tourists every year. This area is very big so there are slopes that will entice both the beginner as well as the experts. There are also great snowboarding pistes as well. There are enough lifts to accommodate thousands of skiers per hour so the lift lines are extremely short, if not non-existent. Many of the resorts here are historic and world-famous so take the time to take in the sites.
The town itself has loads of restaurants catering to a very international crowd and also has great nightlife as well. There are bowling alleys, casinos, shops, pubs, you name it, giving you plenty to do when you are in need of a break from the snow. There are also a huge range of hotels, apartments, hostels, and vacation homes to suit your budget as well. So pack you bags and get ready to hit the mountains on your next ski vacation.