Best winter resorts in Europe

As we watch the first snowflakes falling down and gently touching the ground, the winter sports buffs in us awaken. We enjoy winter so much and skiing and snowboarding are an essential part of the fun! As we’re always looking for ideas for winter resorts in Europe, we decided to ask fellow bloggers and winter sports aficionados to recommend the best places to ski in Europe.

Without further ado, here comes part two of the recommended winter resorts in Europe. Check out the amazing ideas on where to ski in Europe, part 1!

Serbia, Stara planina, winter ski resort Babin zub

Babin Zub, Serbia

Babin Zub is a relatively small and yet unspoiled winter resort in the heart of Stara Planina in Serbia. It still stays in the shade of the biggest Serbia ski resort – Kopaonik, and that is actually good if you aim for fewer crowds and a more authentic experience. Babin Zub features blue, red, and even black runs, as well as practice facilities for beginners. We have a very detailed article about Babin Zub and how you can enjoy the winter resort the best.

Getting to Babin Zub is best done by car, it takes approximately 1 hour from Pirot or a few hours from Belgrade. The last 30 kilometers will present you with tough road conditions, especially if it’s snowing, so get prepared with proper winter tires and snow chains. The views are gorgeous starting from the way to get there, as well as when you go up the mountain and enjoy the surroundings.

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The nearest village where you can stay is called Crni Vrh and it has many guest houses and hotels with restaurants to accommodate you and cater for your before/after-ski experience. You can also stay at the four-star Stara Planina hotel right at the bottom of one of the lifts.

Serbia, Stara planina, winter ski resort Babin zub

Malbun, Liechtenstein

By Steve | Ski Austria

The next time a friend tries a bit of one-upmanship with the ski resorts they visited last winter, drop the name of Malbun in Liechtenstein into the conversation.

One of the tiniest countries in Europe, the principality can boast a decent ski area with a good snow record up in the Rätikon mountains at 1602 meters.

The village of Malbun can be reached up a winding road from the Liechtenstein capital Vaduz. Tourism started here at the turn of the 20th century but the first ski lifts were built in the Sixties and accommodation swiftly followed to fulfill the demands of visiting skiers.

Still, Malbun has the romantic air of skiing in days gone by and ski trails meander through the private chalets and farmhouses on the way back to the few hotels.

The ski area can boast three chairlifts (one six-seater and two quads) as well as a couple of draglifts for beginners. The highest point is on the Sareis at 2000 meters, with a variety of intermediate runs linking back to Malbun and the other lifts.

The ski area is not crowded, nor is it challenging. There is little in the way of après ski, while a winter walk on a cleared trail through the snowy meadows is an option if looking to take a break from skiing.

Accommodation is of a generally high standard – the Hotel Turna gets rave reviews from visitors – and access to the resort is by private car (winter equipment definitely obligatory) or public bus service.

The closest airport to Malbun is actually Friedrichshafen in Germany on the other side of Lake Constance. Zurich in Switzerland and Innsbruck in Austria are also viable options.

But the resort is also a favorite day trip for skiers in the neighboring Austrian ski resorts of the Vorarlberg,  with a relatively easy drive via Feldkirch.

Ski resorts in Europe - Malbun, Liechtenstein

Zakopane, Poland

By Jacquie | Flashpacking Family

Zakopane ski resort is located about 70 miles south of Krakow in the Tatra Mountains.  It is easily reached by car or public transport from Krakow. It is a small resort and is mostly suited to beginner skiers with the best beginner slopes being Polana Szymoszkowa and Nosal. For more advanced skiers, Harenda and Kasprowy Wierch are where you will find the more challenging slopes.

If you want a change of scenery from the slopes in Zakopane, the Tatry Super Ski Pass gives you access to a number of other ski slopes in and around Zakopane and is of great value. In fact, the great thing about Zakopane ski resort is that it is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe (taking into account lift pass price and accommodation).

There are several excellent thermal baths in this region of Poland with numerous water slides as well as the traditional hot tubs and saunas. There is one in Zakopane, but the best one is in the neighboring resort of Bialka Tatrzańska.

Zakopane has a good choice of other winter sports and activities. You could visit the Wielka Krokiew ski jump which is just on the south edge of town near the Nosal ski area. It is worth taking the ski lift to the top to see the perspective of a ski jumper and also to have a fantastic view of the town below. On competition day, it is fun to go along and watch.

In the same area of town, you will find Snowlandia, a winter wonderland with a giant ice maze, tobogganing, and a huge pyramid made of snow with carved sculptures inside. There are also a couple of ice rinks, horse and cart rides, and cross-country skiing so there is something for everyone.

We can recommend Szymoszkowa Residence apartments which are close to the Polana Szymoszkowa ski lift, although there are lots of places that are more centrally located.

Ski resorts in Europe - Zakopane, Poland

Gudauri, Georgia

By Baia | Red Fedora Diary

If you are looking for less crowded and hidden resorts to ski in Europe, consider Gudauri, one of the most famous winter sports destinations in Georgia. 

As the resort faces the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range featuring breathtaking panoramic views of snow-covered peaks while skiing, Gudauri makes one of the most beautiful places in Georgia to visit in winter. Nestled at 2,200 meters above sea level, the resort gets maximum sun exposure and the slopes here are above the tree line. Besides, Gudauri is also perfect for free-riders and extreme sports lovers as it’s also an avalanche-safe zone. 

Moreover, it’s quite close to the capital Tbilisi, taking around 2 hours to get there. The ride takes you through Georgian Military Highway where you can stop over ad admire some historic and natural landmarks of the country. 

The ski season in Gudauri starts in December and lasts till April, with the closing date varying each year. Check the resort’s official website to get up-to-date weather information, ski passes, and other relevant info you might need to know. 

Getting to Gudauri is possible through public transport from Tbilisi’s Didube Bus Station, renting a car, or getting a transfer straight from the Tbilisi airport through a travel agency. However, note that when taking public transport, the driver doesn’t stop at tourist places along the Highway.

Apart from skiing or snowboarding, you can enjoy tobogganing, paragliding, or a helicopter tour with views of the Great Caucasus Mountain range.

Ski resorts in Europe - Gudauri, Georgia

Bakuriani, Georgia

By Baia | Red Fedora Diary

Bakuriani is another ski resort located around a 3-hours drive from Tbilisi, the capital. Nestled at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level, the ski resort is surrounded by coniferous forests, making it a beautiful summer and winter resort that is ideal for families and beginners. Because of forest-covered slopes, the air is freshest here, so spending your ski vacation in Bakuriani is beneficial for your health too. 

The resort sees approximately 2052 hours of sun during the year and has long snowy winter lasting until March. Snow cover here reaches 64 cm on average featuring ski runs for any level skiers, from 25 meters for beginners and kids to Tatra and Didveli for advanced and professionals. 

Getting to Bakuriani is easy with public transport or a shared minivan from Tbilisi’s Didube Bus Station. However, for a more scenic, winter wonderland-like journey, go for the Borjomi-Bakuriani train ride that starts from the Borjomi spa town just below Bakuriani. 

Other activities you can enjoy here are toboggan, visiting parks for kids if you are traveling with family, or exploring Borjomi spa town as a day trip. 

As the ski resort is popular all year round, there are plenty of accommodation options too, from mid-range hotels to guesthouses, and apartments that cater to any budget traveler. 

Ski resorts in Europe - Bakuriani, Georgia

Bansko, Bulgaria

By Sarah Carter | A Social Nomad

Bansko in Bulgaria is regularly cited as one of the top places to ski in Europe – especially as it’s regularly one of the cheapest!  You’ll find Bansko just 2 hours drive from Bulgaria’s capital city, Sofia, but it’s also accessible directly from the country’s two main airports in Sofia and Plovdiv.  While there are public buses and ski season buses, the easiest way to go from Sofia to Bansko is by private transfer – it helps that it’s not expensive!  

Bansko is a great mountain town, with not just skiing on offer – the mountain has many beginners and intermediate runs and local guides can help with off-piste mountain exploring, however with 48 kilometers of slopes and 8 kilometers of runs as well as numerous mountain restaurants, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. A day ticket costs around 30 euros and there are ski lessons and junior ski clubs available throughout the season. 

You’ll also find cross-country skiing, ice skating, hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding in the area.  Bansko is also famous for its traditional mehanas (restaurants) in the old town and for the naturally heated hot pools that you’ll find in the area.   There are many apartments to rent in Bansko as well as hotels and bed and breakfasts – the best-located hotel is the Kempinski, a surprisingly affordable five-star hotel right on the edge of the slopes!

Ski resorts in Europe - Bansko, Bulgaria

Poiana Brasov, Romania

By Ingrid | Ingrid Zen Moments

With so many ski resorts in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, Poiana Brasov stands out as the most popular, especially for people traveling from the capital Bucharest. Because of its perfect location, but also because of the fact that snow sports passionates can choose between 7 slopes of different difficulties ranging from easy to difficult, Poiana Brasov can get crowded during winter.

Even though snow lasts here between 4 and 5 months every year, all the main slopes have artificial snow machines operating when needed, and you’ll find also hip apres-ski bars around.

When you’re not on the slopes, the charming town of Brasov offers a lot of wonderful attractions and delicious and hearty Transylvanian food. Drive a bit further away and discover the small villages with fortified churches, the charming Christmas Market in Sibiu, or the medieval city of Sighisoara where Vlad Dracul (Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula) was from. Find more about our road trip in Transylvania.

The perfect hotel option for Poiana Brasov is Hotel Escalade set right next to the ski slopes and the skating rink in Poiana Brasov, where you will have the chance to relax in the pool or at the sauna after one full day spent in the cold. 

Where to ski in Europe - Poiana Brasov, Romania

Valdesqui and around Madrid, Spain

By Paulina | Paulina on the road

Skiing in the mountains reminds people of Spain and no place else. One of the popular places around which you can go mountain skiing is Madrid. There are several options at a small distance from Madrid where you can enjoy this winter sport. Perhaps, some popular ski resorts include Baquiera, Sierra Nevada, and Formigal, but if you are in Madrid, you do not need to travel much distance for skiing. From Puerto de Navacerrada to Navafria, La Pinilla, and Valdesqui, you have plenty of options to choose from. 

One of the nearest ski areas to the capital is Puerto de Navacerrada. It has a large number of frequent visitors including mountaineers, hikers, and day-trippers. However, it is the most popular among skiers. You can reach there by visiting the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. It is at a short distance of 55 kilometers from Madrid and is the smallest area near the capital. The best part about skiing near Madrid is that you can enjoy the beautiful landscape that is unbelievably stunning. 

Some other activities that you can enjoy here include throwing snowballs, going snowboarding, or riding a sleigh. Along with snowy winter sports, you can enjoy a hot cup of Spanish lentil soup at the nearest restaurant. 
Another ski resort near Madrid is Valdesqui Madrid. You can reach there by taking a bus or a train as it is merely 70 Kilometres from the capital. People consider it the best resort for learning the spirit because most of its runs are green and blue.

If you are planning to stay after skiing, you can find the nearest hotel to the resort. Central Palace Madrid can be one of the best options.  

Where to ski in Europe - Madrid, Spain
Image by Carabo Spain from Pixabay

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

By Elina | Empnefsys & Travel

Kranjska Gora is a town on the eastern side of the Julian Alps and has one of the largest ski resorts in Slovenia. The resort offers 20 trails of varying difficulty, summing up to 20km in length. Most of the slopes are labeled as easy, which means that the resort is great for beginners and families. There are also 7 cross-country skiing trails for more experienced skiers. In total, there are 14 lifts from magic carpets for kids to drag lifts for beginners to chair lifts.

Visitors also have the option to experience night skiing. Every Thursday to Saturday from 7 pm to 10 pm, there is a couple of slopes open (different each evening). The restaurant/bar and one of the ski rental companies are also open, so it makes a great night out.

The easiest way to get to Kranjska Gora is to fly to Ljubljana and then rent a car from there, as public transport is not very convenient. Having a car will also allow you to explore the resort in its full length as some of the slopes included in the ski pass are in nearby villages.

One of the best places to stay in the area is the Ramada Resort by Wyndham in Kranjska Gora. It offers comfortable rooms, an indoor swimming pool, and free parking. The hotel is right in the center of Kranjska Gora and is only a few minutes away from the ski resort on foot.

Where to ski in Europe - Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Zieleniec, Poland

By Gemma | Families Can Travel

Poland is not one of the most obvious ski destinations in Europe and yet there are so many reasons why it should be. One of our favorite places to ski in Poland is Zieleniec Ski Arena. 

Tucked away near the town of Duszniki-Zdrój, Zieleniec benefits from a large amount of snowfall and around 150 days of snow coverage per year.

It has 22 kilometers of slopes and is perfect for families with long, gentle slopes for children and beginners, and more challenging slopes for intermediates. There’s also plenty of ski schools with English-speaking instructors available.

Zieleniec Ski Arena is less well known to tourists and tends to attract more Polish visitors. For this reason, the prices are really cheap, often more than half the price of more well-known ski destinations in Europe. For up-to-date prices, click here.

Getting to Zieleniec is less than two hours by car. Pick up a hire car from Wrocław Airport or take the train from Wrocław to Duszniki-Zdrój and then a taxi to Zieleniec. There is also a ski bus that leaves early from Wrocław on the weekends.

There are plenty of hotels and guest houses to choose from. It is best to contact them directly to book. We stayed in a lovely, family-friendly hotel called Absolwent Zieleniec, located close to one of the ski lifts. All meals were included in our stay as well as free childcare.

For more detailed information on Zieleniec Ski Arena and how to go skiing on a budget, click here.

Where to ski in Europe - Zieleniec, Poland

Don’t forget to check out the fascinating ideas in part 1 of the best places to ski in Europe. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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