Best ski resorts in Europe

by Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders

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The second best thing about Winter, after Christmas, is the fact it is the season for skiing! I have been every year since I was 4, bar one, and it’s fair to say I am a little obsessed. All of these trips have been to Europe ski resorts. So I wanted to put a post together on the best, in my opinion, ski resorts in Europe.

image of cervinia, best ski resorts in Europe

Which ski resorts in Europe should you visit?

St Anton, Austria

It has been a fair few years since I skied in St Anton, in fact it was a school ski trip. But I had to include it as a best ski resort in Europe because it’s blooming amazing! It is voted as one of the top ski resorts in the Alps for very good reason.

image of st anton

It is said to be one of the snowiest places in the alps, has over 340km or pistes, and then tons more off piste to boot! Definitely a better resort for more advanced skiers. There are nursery slopes, but you will definitely miss out on what this place has to offer.

It is said to be the proverbial birth place of the modern ski. And even more importantly, where après began! It’s also a very pretty town, with the centre pedestrianised. Lots of quaint wooden buildings, and full of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants.

Meribel, France

Meribel is absolute favourite of all the ski resorts in Europe. It has been far too long since I was there, hence the bad quality and lack of photos! Vast, fast paced and beautiful.

Perfect for all ranges of ski abilities. For the more advanced – it is part of the largest connected ski area in all of the world! For beginners it has lots of lovely pistes through the trees. There are over 600km of pistes, which covers areas from Val Thorens, the highest ski village in Europe, through to La Tania at 1400km.

image of Meribel, best ski resorts in Europe

One of the reasons I rate Meribel, is it’s location. It is right in the centre of the ski area. If you are staying in the extremes – Val Thorens or Courchevel – you will struggle to cover the entire piste map area. By the time you manage to get over to the other side of the Three Valleys, it will be time to go back. No time for long lovely lunches! The location of Meribel means you are perfectly situated to tackle either side. Pick a day for the Courch side, indulge in some champagne drinking and expensive lunches. Next day head over to Val – and visit the Folie for some après!

One of my other highlights of Meribel is the après! I have spent hours in the Rond Point (The “Ronnie”) dancing away to all the bands performing that season. I’m not sure which are the current favs, but I will always fondly remember Bring your Sisters! You can even get the bus up and down to the Ronnie from Meribel, if you just can’t make the ski back. Also head to Meribel Village, for a trip to LDV for yet more amazing nights out!

Courmayeur, Italy

This isn’t the largest resort by any means, but its close proximity to Geneva means it is perfect for a shorter ski trip. Only an hours drive from the airport really makes this feasible. Again, this resort is great for beginners. I visited here a few years ago for three days skiing with my Dad and my Brother. We are all advanced skiers, and to be honest, by the end of the first day we felt we had skied all the pistes Courmayeur had to offer.

image of courmayeur, best ski resorts in europe

However, the great thing about this resort is that as part of the 3 day lift past you also get a days pass to the nearby resort of La Thuile. From here you have access over into France – to the village of La Rosiere. We didn’t manage to ski anything near the entirety of this ski area, so perfect to mix it up for a short ski break.

The other very attractive thing about Courmayeur is the off piste, for advanced skiers. Particulary the Vallee Blanche, which is the incredibly difficult off piste run on Mont Blanc. I have skied it. It may have been the most exhausting thing I have done. But also one of the most incredible!

Val d’Isere, France

This resort runs a very close second to Meribel for me. It is a very picture perfect resort, lots of good shops and yummy restaurants. But, be prepared, it is an expensive resort! There are also some amazing restaurants up the mountain. Peau De Vache is my absolute favourite.

image of val d'isere

At an altitude of 1850km it is high enough to be a good option for skiing in the spring. A lot of skiing is between 2300 and 3400m and the slopes are north facing, so the snow is also likely to hang around for a bit longer. It’s not renowned as a beginners resort, a lot of the slopes into the village are harder reds. If you are after some excellent, fast paced skiing this is resort for you! There is also some amazing off piste skiing to be found, but make sure you take a guide

image of tignes

Home to the Folie Douche, the original and best, après ski bar. Located at the top of Daille lift, it is the best place to head for some afternoon drinks. Who doesn’t love dancing in ski boots, open air with the background of beautiful mountains! Just remember, you do have to ski down to the resort afterwards…

image of the folie douce in Val D'isere

If you want to access the huge ski area of the Escape Killy, but not pay the price tag, Tignes is an excellent option. The second large town in the ski area, but much less picturesque!

Cervinia, Italy

The second Italian ski resort to make it on my top ski resorts in Europe list!

The Matterhorn is probably one of the most famous mountains in Europe, the ‘Toberlone’ Mountain. This is often associated with Zermatt – which comes with quite the hefty price tag. However, Cervinia is part of the same ski area, and linked with Zermatt. Meaning you can ski and see the Matterhorn without the same cost. One word of advice, if you going in the middle of season when the days are shorter, the lifts do close quite early. Make sure you check the times of the last lift! I write this from experience, is was incredibly touch and go! A night in Zermatt could have been expensive…

image of the Matterhorn

It is definitely not the prettiest village in the alps, but is one of the most snow steady. You are usually guaranteed good snow for all of the season.

Verbier, Switzerland

If you’re looking for somewhere elite to ski, this is the place! Verbier is the main town in Switzerland’s largest ski area, the 4 valleys.

It definitely attracts a young, sporty crowd. Often sunny, with exciting terrain, beautiful scenery and lively nightlife – you can see why.

image of Verbier in Switzerland

As it is quite a high resort it is safe to book later in the season, when the days are a bit longer and you have more chance of enjoying those beautiful outdoor mountainside lunches.

Easily reached from Geneva, it’s definitely a resort to visit!

Have you been skiing in Europe? Which are your favourite ski resorts in Europe?

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Clare Shaw December 20, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Ahhh. This made me laugh. Good times Charlie!

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders December 21, 2018 - 9:39 am

EXCELLENT times. I want to come this year 😭😭 see you sat. Xx

thesmilingfoodjournal January 7, 2019 - 7:12 pm

Ah this really makes me want to learn to ski! 🎿

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders January 8, 2019 - 10:46 am

I love it!!!


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