Each resort in our top 10 ski resorts in Europe has all sorts to boast about. It might be the best après and the coolest bars, perfect off-piste and snow-sure peaks, or the most luxurious hotels and iconic mountain views. Whatever you’re after. You can’t go wrong with this fine-tuned list of some of the best European ski resorts out there.
It’s not just the extensive skiing on offer in Val d’Isère that puts it in our top 10 ski resorts in Europe. Linked to Tignes (the whole ski area was formerly called Espace Killy), skiers have 300km of pistes at their ski tips, including the snow-sure slopes of two glaciers. Superb off-piste terrain as well as a plethora of varied groomed runs means all levels of skier and boarder are catered for. But as we say, that’s just the start. Throw in fabulous restaurants both on the mountain and in resort, plus a hip and happening après scene (and great nightlife), and it’s no wonder Val d’Isère frequently tops most charts for best European ski resorts.
One of the highest ski spots this side of the pond, and certainly one of the best ski resorts in Europe, Tignes is like the fun younger sibling of Val d’Isère. Made up of five villages, Tignes sits on the doorstep of fantastic snow-sure skiing across the Espace Killy ski area, including lovely runs down to Val d’Isère. A little more down to earth than Val, purpose-built Tignes offers up accommodation to suit every budget. Plenty of cool après spots and lots of sunny places to stop for lunch make it a lively place for groups to enjoy, and it suits families too, with swimming pools, excellent ski schools and child-friendly hotels on offer.
Picturesque and buzzing with energy all at once, it’s no surprise that much loved St Anton makes our Top 10 ski resorts in Europe. The ski area is particularly good for advanced skiers, with lots of challenging runs and off-piste terrain. But the extensive Ski Arlberg ski area does include terrain for all levels, with links to Lech and Zürs. Amazing tree-lined runs. Mountains of powder to play in. And that’s just for starters. But it’s worth eventually tearing yourself away from the snow, because the après scene here is legendary (make sure you visit the renowned Mooserwirt). Fantastic restaurants, great shops and some lovely spas are all par for the course too in this stand-out European ski resort.
Comprised of four exclusive villages, Courchevel is nestled in the world’s largest ski area, the Three Valleys. With 600km of runs covering all ski levels, this alone puts the resort in our top 10 ski resorts in Europe. Accommodation is plentiful and varied, depending on where you stay. Choose from peaceful Le Praz at 1300m, easy-going Courchevel Village at 1550m, Courchevel Moriond at 1650m and uber-chic Courchevel at 1850m (where you’ll find posh boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants). As well as great skiing and glamorous living, you can also try out ice skating and snowmobiling in this superb European ski resort, as well as a bit of post-skiing indulgence at its state-of-the-art wellness and spa facilities.
Entering Zermatt is like stepping into a ski postcard you’ve seen a million times. With the majestic Matterhorn as its iconic backdrop, this beautiful Swiss town accesses 360km of pistes that make up the Zermatt-Cervinia ski area. With slopes right up to 3,883m (the highest ski point in Europe), in Zermatt you are ruler of the world. Best for more advanced skiers, there are still plenty of easier runs nearer the town itself. There’s all sorts on offer after ski hours, too – from traditional Swiss shops and charming bistros to buzzing bars and a lively nightlife. Zermatt makes for the perfect chocolate box skiing experience, with a big slice of cool added in. Definitely one of the top ski resorts in Europe.
Also nested in the vast Three Valleys ski area, Méribel is a traditional village bursting with life. Intermediate and advanced skiers will love the expansive terrain higher up the mountain, swiftly accessed via the Saulire Express gondola. Meanwhile, beginners have plenty to enjoy nearer the village. We love a good tree run at the end of the day back to the centre and the bars – and this is one of many reasons Méribel makes our top 10 ski resorts. You’ll find cheery après here (check out the Folie Douce) and great nightlife that’s ideal for groups looking for a vibrant atmosphere, live music and fun times. Excellent restaurants, plenty of alternative on-snow activities and accommodation to suit all budgets also add to the mass appeal of popular, buzzy Méribel.
For powder hounds with a penchant for a bit of luxury, you can’t do better than Lech. Frequented by A-list celebrities and even the odd royal, this upmarket resort is one to tell your friends about. But more importantly, the skiing is fantastic, which is why it’s considered one of the top ski resorts in Europe. Part of the Ski Arlberg ski area shared with St. Anton, Zürs and Stuben, you’ll find miles of tree-lined runs and fabulous off-piste, all efficiently linked by modern, speedy lifts. Off the mountain it’s pure class all the way, from stylish bar to chic boutique hotel and uber-cool après.
A classic Italian village with a medieval centre and car-free cobbled streets, Courmayeur is in the Aosta Valley, at the base of the imposing Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain. At 1,224m it’s a relatively low resort, but 80% of the main ski area is covered by snow cannons, so you needn’t worry about the weather. Celebrating its prime time view of Mont Blanc, one of the reasons it makes our top 10 ski resorts in Europe is the magnificent revolving glass gondola you can take a ride in, for unforgettable views from the sky. The Courmayeur ski area features the 22km Valle Blanche run – perfect for expert skiers looking for a challenge.
One of Switzerland’s most notorious party towns, Verbier is a sun-facing Mecca for those looking to ski hard and play hard. The resort itself is as large and sprawling as the surrounding Four Valleys ski area – so there’s lots to explore both on and off the mountain. Experienced skiers will love the world-famous off-piste available here. While for beginners there are plenty of lovely blue runs, and for everyone else there’s everything in between. As for the après scene, that too is world class. Funky bars and late-night clubs are in abundance. As well as fabulous places to eat, from traditional Swiss bistros to hip cafés and diners.
If it’s dramatic backdrops you’re after, Cortina D’Ampezzo tops the chart. One of our favourite ski resorts in Europe, Cortina is nicknamed ‘queen of the Dolomites’. Framed as it is by the iconic, dragged mountain range. The resort is on the Sellaronda circuit, and part of the Dolomiti Superski ski area. On the mountain it’s hard not to keep stopping to admire the incredible views. But if you can keep up your momentum there are plenty of great piste runs for all levels. Including Italy’s finest black runs, as well as gorgeous tree runs and challenging couloirs. Off the mountain, Cortina is as classy as it comes. Fabulous boutique shops line the streets, as well as cool wine bars and traditional Italian restaurants.
To find out more about the best ski resorts in Europe, speak to our ski experts for more information. Call us on 02074717700