The quiet and unassuming town of Samnaun gives access to some of the most unique holiday experiences in the European Alps. Samnaun is situated on the Swiss side of the massive Silvretta ski area, which comprises both Samnaun and Ischgl. Due to the remote nature of the resort's location, the Swiss government has designated the village as a tax-free oasis, making it a shopping paradise for visitors of all ages. More than 100 years ago, there was no road to Samnaun via Switzerland, meaning the town had to rely on supplies from Austria. Because the costs for a customs office would have been higher than the revenues from customs duties, the town was turned into a duty-free zone and the decree is still valid to this day.
The village has first-class services which are designed to provide the optimum holiday experience. There is a superb selection of dining, shopping and outdoor activities, as well as over 40 tax-free boutiques and a local mountain railway. The atmosphere is charming and relaxed, with the town spread across four small hamlets; Samnaun-Dorf, Ravaisch, Laret and Compatsch. The main focus of these is Dorf, which offers the most up-market hotels and shops.
Resort Altitude: 1,377m
Resort Skiing: 2,872m
Total Ski Area: 240km
Blue Runs: 47km
Red Runs: 150km
Black Runs: 43km
Nearly 240km of groomed pistes are connected by an ultra-modern high-speed lift system which is comprised of over 40 lifts. The combined Silvretta ski area is comprised of Samnaun and Ischgl, and is one of the largest interconnected ski areas in Tyrol, offering a very versatile range of terrain and guaranteed snow cover. Samnaun is the perfect base from which to explore the Silvretta area, thanks to its fantastic lift system and a quieter environment in comparison to Ischgl.
Samnaun's towering position as one of the ten highest elevated resorts in Grisons provides excellent snow coverage all season long. The large vertical difference between summit and base also means that most of the runs are relatively long, whilst with pistes facing in every direction you can chase or avoid the sunshine as you wish. Alp Trida is a hub of blue runs well-suited to beginners, whilst more advanced skiers will enjoy the expert territory of the famous Smuggler's Routes, the longest of which is 37.5km.
Snowboarders flock to Vita Ischgl, which is one of the largest snowparks in Europe offering 1,100m of piste and 30 facilities including a half-pipe, boxes, jumps and more. The park is divided into three areas; the King Park for pro's, the Public Park for intermediates and the Beginner Park which offers some novice options. There is also plenty of off-piste to explore with a guide, such as around the Piz Val Gronda area. Beginners can practice their technique in the learning area next to the Idalp complex.
The Swiss snowsports school in Samnaun offers ski, snowboard, cross-country and freeride lessons for students of all abilities. Lessons are carried out within the Samnaun-Ischgl ski area, whilst their office is located in the centre of town underneath the El Rico restaurant and bar. A variety of private lessons and off-piste guiding sessions can also be booked in the area, and this is the recommended way to explore the region's off-piste territory.
The Swiss snowsports school offers the Bobo Kid's Club, which takes care of younger winter sports fans with a fun-filled itinerary featuring the Bobo penguin mascot and a free mini-ski lift. A team of specialist children's ski instructors will guide them on their first encounter with the snow, and ensure they have an action-packed week on the mountain.
Samnaun has a fantastic selection of restaurants. The Alpenhaus is one of the most stylish ski huts in the Alps, offering a gourmet eatery with a lounge and sun terrace on the first floor, and a large self-service area on the ground floor. Another spectacular option is La Marmotte which is just beside the slopes in Samnaun, serving speciality gourmet food from two sun terraces. In the town, you will find traditional local fayre at the cosy Stubli La Grotta, or family-friendly pizza at Restaurant Pizzeria Camona.
Samnaun is much quieter than its neighbouring village of Ischgl, however, there is still a range of cosy bars to relax in after a day on the slopes. Start your evening at the Schmuggler-Alm which offers rustic slopeside ambience, or head to the Sport Bar which has a relaxed atmosphere and music from 3pm. During the season there are some joint events with Ischgl, such as the annual Spring Snow festival, and the Top of the Mountain Festival which has open-air stages on the Idalp and the Alp Trida.
Samnaun's main attraction for non-skiers is the fantastic range of shopping on offer at duty-free prices. There is certainly enough to satisfy a long weekend, with a range of boutiques selling everything from cosmetics to clothing and local delicacies. In addition to this, there are around 49 hikes in Samnaun which can be explored by outdoor enthusiasts who don't want to miss out on the resort's spectacular views.