Where to ski 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 one of the recommended winter resorts in Europe. Check out the amazing ideas on the best winter resorts in Europe, part 2!

Traveling Livigno - eat, ski, snowboard and have fun in the Italian Alps

Livigno, Italy

Our first love in the Alps will always be Livigno. With all the perks that come with skiing in the Alps and those of simply being in Italy, it’s hard to question why you should ski in Livigno at least once in your winter sports career.

Livigno is quite close (a few tunnels by car and a few runs by ski away) to St. Moritz in Switzerland and many people come to enjoy the variety of runs and facilities on Caroselo 300 and Mottolino Fun Mountain. With plenty of slopes and lifts to choose from, you won’t get bored easily. There’s an amazing cross-country ski track that will reward you with the best views of the town and the mountains.

Many people enjoy the duty-free price tag shopping options in Livigno as well. However, for us, the Italian food was the game-changer as there’s nothing better than a delicious meal before and our ski and snowboard adventures.

There are many hotels and guesthouses to stay in and near the town, and you can get all the info and practical advice from our two visits so far in the special article about Livigno.

Zugspitze, Germany

By LeAnna | Wander in Germany

One of the most alluring factors of skiing on the German Zugspitze is that it touts the title of the highest mountain in Germany. That means that you’ll find almost 90 lifts and over 200 kilometers of slopes, making it the perfect place to ski in Germany!

With it being the tallest German mountain, the wide variety of challenging slopes make it perfect for advanced skiers and snowboarders alike. Granted, with it being one of the most popular mountains comes crowds so some people prefer to go to nearby Mittenwald or Oberamagau where there aren’t as many people, the slopes aren’t as challenging, and they are more suitable for beginners and moderate ability levels.

Most people choose to find lodging in the town of Garmisch or nearby Mittenwald. However, if you are also planning on going to Neuschwanstein Castle in the winter, skiing the Zugspitze makes for a perfect day trip from there. Alternatively, some people even make it a day trip from Munich.

And if you aren’t into skiing, the Zupgspitze also has tobogganing now, which is fun for all ages, and perfect lodges where you can grab a warm drink and meal and just enjoy the stunning Alpine views!

Ski resorts in Europe, Zugspitze, Germany

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Grand Valira, Andorra

By Karen | Travel Mad Mum

Andorra is a micro-country nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. Despite being in Europe and using Euro as the local currency, it is not part of the EU, meaning it’s a tax haven attractive to shopping enthusiasts. 

Unfortunately, Andorra does not have its own airport. That said, both Toulouse in France and Barcelona in Spain are within driving distance. You can hop on a bus from both airports throughout the day, however, Barcelona has more frequent services. 

Being in the Pyrenees the most obvious thing to do is ski holiday. It homes the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees, Grand Valira with 210km of ski slopes it has something for all abilities. 

Just a short ten-minute drive from Grand Valira resort is Park Piolets. It is a luxury hotel with stunning large bedrooms, a beautiful spa with indoor and outdoor facilities. There are regular buses departing from outside the hotel for skiers and snowboarders, so it is the perfect place to stay in.

If you get fed up with skiing then there is still a lot to explore in the surrounding area. You could try your hand at mushing, also known as dog sledding. You can wrap up warm in the blankets provided and dash through the winter wonderland.  

After a long day skiing or exploring you will want to spend some time relaxing. Skiing and spas go hand in hand and it’s no doubt Andorra houses one of the best facilities in the world- Caldea!  

The perfect time to visit for a ski holiday is in winter or springtime. However, with so much to do there, you could visit any time of year.

Ski resorts in Europe - Andorra

Flachau, Austria

By Lara | The Best Travel Gifts

Flachau is one of the best ski resorts in Austria, and Europe as a whole. It is part of the enormous Salzburger Sportwelt Ski Amadé. However, Flachau itself already contains 350 km of marked slopes at an altitude of around 930 meters.

What makes Flachau such a great place to ski is that is directly linked through ski lifts to other great ski resorts such as Wagrain, Flachauwinkl, Zauchensee, Radtstad, and Alpendorf. Plus your ski pass to Flachau is also valid for the entire Ski Amadé of Salzburg (a total of 740 km of downhill slopes, and 270 lifts). Meaning that you can ski different slopes every day and see different stunning white mountains every day!

For the adrenaline seekers, there is a fun park at Flachauwinkl-Kleinarl of 1,5km long with over 100 different obstacles for skiers and snowboarders to take.

Besides great and many slopes, Flachau is also one of the best places to go for Aprés ski fun. With many bars on the slopes or down the valleys, there is always a place to grab a beer or schnapps after a full day of skiing. The bars in Flachau ate, as the Austrians would say, very gemutlich (cozy and relaxed).

Flachau is located only an hour away from Salzburg which has an international airport (in good driving conditions). And about three hours from other major airports such as Munich, Ljubljana, Linz, and Innsbruck, making it easy to reach the destination from anywhere!

Ski resorts in Europe - Flachau, Austria

Tignes, France

By Katja | Places and Notes

Tignes, one of the most known and renowned ski resorts in the French Alps, actually consists of five villages. Les Boisses and Les Brevieres are older settlements, located further down the valley while Val Claret, Le Lac, and Lavacher lie at around 2000m above sea level and are a great base for everyday adventures in the snow.

Together with the neighboring Val d´Isere, Grande Motte glacier, and other surrounding peaks, the ski slopes in Tignes form one of the best and largest European ski areas called “Espace Killy”. Ideal snow conditions from late October to May, amazing views on the mountains surrounding the villages, and over 300 kilometers of pistes for beginners and experienced skiers make it a paradise destination for all who love winter sports and activities.

There is a lot to do besides skiing and snowboarding as well, for example snowshoeing, ice diving, horse riding, paragliding, ice climbing, snow tubing, dog sledding, and snowmobile driving to name just a few. Also, countless bars, restaurants, Après-Ski offers, and shops make sure we are not bored in the afternoons and evenings. There are many options regarding accommodation, from cozy wooden chalets and hotels to cheaper small apartments. 

The nearest airports are in Chambéry, Annecy, and Lyon, the nearest TGV train station is in Bourg St Maurice, which is 40 minutes bus or taxi drive from Tignes, and of course, you can arrive with your own vehicle with proper winter tyres.

Ski resorts in Europe - Tignes, France

Gausta, Norway

By Aga | Worldering Around

Gausta ski resort is a small ski center located in the picturesque part of south Norway. This is the place where you can ski on all levels, without long queues and crowds of people. There are 35 slopes, three children areas, and two snow parks for everyone to enjoy. Traditional wooden cabins can be rented for an overnight stay, or you can stay in Gaustablikk hotel that offers comfortable and stylish accommodation nearby.

Gausta Ski Center is located near a town called Rjukan, around 3 hours drive from Norway’s capital – Oslo. Skiing is only one of many things to do in Rjukan Norway, such as ice climbing, hiking, discovering local history, and more. The ski resort can be found at the foot of Gaustatoppen, the highest mountain in southern Norway. On a clear day, from the top, you can see 1/6 of the country. The sweeping views are worth a climb.

If you don’t have that much time and want to try something different, hop on Gaustabanen – the railway that travels inside the mountain and brings you to the top. Gaustatoppen also offers challenging off-piste opportunities for adventurous skiers, and the surrounding area has prepared cross country tracks every winter.

After skiing, you can warm yourself up in the floating sauna or go for a delicious meal at the restaurant in Gaustablikk hotel.

Ski resorts in Europe - Gausta, Norway

Ruka, Finland

By Nichola | Globalmouse Travels

Ruka has to be one of the best places in Europe to ski – it is magical and there’s something fairytale-like about this town. Situated in Finland, right on the border of Lapland and only 40 minutes drive to the border with Russia, this is a brilliant ski resort that is perfect for all abilities to get out and about on the slopes. The nearest airport is Kuusamo and the resort is only 25 minutes transfer from there.

If you’re looking for holidays to Lapland to combine with a ski trip then Ruka is perfect. Alongside the traditional skiing and snowboarding, there is also a chance to try out husky dog sledding and take a reindeer sleigh ride. The resort is small but perfectly formed and there are some fantastic restaurants to try the local food including the delicious cloudberry jam.

We stayed in the Ruka Suites, right in the center of the town which were perfect – little self-catering apartments that came with their own sauna for warming up afar a day out on the slopes.

Come to Ruka for the skiing – which really is wonderful – but find a town that’s packed full of activities and fun in the most magical of settings.

Ski resorts in Europe - Ruka, Finland

Levi, Finland

By Veronika | Travel Geekery

Finland is a flat country and downhill skiing or snowboarding cannot be done just about anywhere. Levi in the North of Finland, way above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, is the no. 1 skiing spot in the whole country.

You can look forward to 43 world-class slopes, together 6km long. Most of them are red, but you can find all levels in the large resort. 27 ski lifts range from cabin and seat lifts to more basic ones.

Given what a prime location Levi is for skiing, championships often take place there including the World Cup.

I loved the vast array of different slopes – there’s enough to choose from for anybody. Trees beautifully frame individual slopes and once dusk sets in (quite early given you’re way up in the North), the atmosphere is magical.

Apart from skiing and snowboarding, you can engage in all imaginable winter adventures. Cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking – often to chase the elusive Northern Lights, are a popular activity there too. Plus, you can enjoy long rides on snowmobile crisscrossing frozen lakes, go for a husky safari, or reindeer-pulled sleigh. Sauna is an absolute must – you’re expected to roll in the snow!

As for accommodation, Hotel Hullu Poro (Crazy Reindeer) has a great location, looks beautiful and is well rated.

To get to Levi, you can fly to nearby Kittilä and take a bus from there. Most tours offer a pickup, so you don’t need to rent a car. Travelers to Lapland in winter often fly into Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle, with the Santa Claus village as the main draw, and then rent a car and explore from there. The driving distance between Rovaniemi and Levi is 2-3 hours.

Ski resorts in Europe - Levi, Finland

Ischgl, Austria

By Melinda | Mel on the Go

Want a ski vacation in the Alps with great nightlife? With multiple runs, almost 3000m above sea level and a less than 3-hour drive from Munich, Ischgl pleases skiers who equally love the après scene. 

The Silvretta ski area covers 239 km with multiple blues, reds, and blacks up to 11km long. Your pass includes ski slopes in Austria and Switzerland.

The best spot for après ski is the bottom of the hill and excellent for people watching. Have a gluhwein or beer at Kitzloch while watching the last runs of the day. Later head into the charming village for a full range of choices for dinner, then hit up a pub and/or disco. Ischgl is the party capital of the alps with annual events like the Top of The Mountain rock festival.

Visit the Adventure Pool, sauna and baths to soothe your body. With a huge hot pool up to 28C, multiple saunas, and steam baths, you can spend a few hours relaxing and detoxing before the next night out. Have kids? They’ll enjoy the bowling alley and outdoor swimming pool.

Need more? How about skiing to Switzerland for a traditional fondue lunch? Ambitious explorers can hop a bus to other nearby ski resorts or try to ride all 45 lifts in the Silvretta range.

You can rent an apartment in the family-run hotel Garni Kardona, which is postcard pretty with lots of amenities, and an easy walk to the ski lift. Use the sauna and steam room to unwind after a day on the slopes, and don’t worry about carrying your gear because each apartment comes with a locker at the mountain so you can save your energy for skiing and partying. 

Where to ski in Europe - Ischgl, Austria

Kaltenbach, Austria

By Steph | A Nomads Passport

Kaltenbach in the Zillertal is a great ski destination in Europe when you plan a longer ski trip or just a winter weekend getaway in Europe. Officially called the SKI-Optimal Hochfügen-Hochzillertal ski resort, the area has a total of 90.7 km of slopes. Therefore, it is perfect for every skill level, and as 29.7 km of blue slopes, even skiing newbies get to enjoy new runs as they learn.

It is the perfect destination if you want to ski for several days without having to ski down the same slope again and again. And scenery wise it is a definite highlight as the mountain views are stunning. It is amazing to take in the amazing mountain views from the ‘Kristallhütte’ (Crystal Hut) or the ‘Wendelhütte’ as you take a break from skiing.

The ski resort offers two valley runs including the popular Kaltenbach Stephan Eberharter gold slope. From late December to mid-March it is possible to night-ski down this slope on Fridays. Additionally, Kaltenbach offers some unprepared routes for free riders.

After a long day of skiing, you can après-ski in Kaltenbach or just enjoy a relaxed evening drinking Italian Chocolate in one of the many hotels.

There are many things to do in the area aside from skiing including winter hikes, a fixed rope climbing route that is open year-round, some cross-country ski runs, and a 5.5 km long sled run all from the mountain station down to the middle station.

If you are already in Germany or Austria, you can take the high-speed train right to Kaltenbach-Stumm station. And if you have to fly to the area, Innsbruck is the closest airport. Alternatively, you can drive there yourself, but a car is not necessary. As long as you have a lift pass, there is a free ski bus that connects all ski areas in the Zillertal area.

There are many great places to stay in Kaltenbach, but the Wohlfühlhotel Kerschdorf right at the ski lift is amazing.

Where to ski in Europe - Kaltenbach, Austria
Photo credit: Ski-Austria

Don’t forget to check out the exciting ideas in part 2 of the best places to ski in Europe. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Responses

  1. What a great post – so many amazing places to visit, I love ski trips in Europe, there are some great resorts.

    • Thank you, Nichola!
      Now we can only cross our fingers and hope most of those amazing resorts in Europe will open this winter.