The ski season has begun and if you hope to hit the slopes this winter, you should start planning your trip very soon. But instead of going to your usual place, why not make your next trip a real adventure by skiing in Europe! After all it’s the birthplace of the popular winter sport and many of the world’s best ski resorts are all within a single train ride from one another. To save you valuable time to figure out where to go, here are five of the best ski European ski resorts for you to consider.
Via Marconi 15b
32043 Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
0039 0436 869086
Consistently named Italy’s best ski resort, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a fairy tale-like community affectionately known as the Pearl of the Dolomites. A popular winter destination since the 1930s, it achieved elite status after hosting the 1956 Olympic Games then decades later, its distinctive mountain range was proclaimed a UNESCO World Natural Heritage area in 2009. Cortina d’Ampezzo offers nearly 70 miles of ski runs for varying levels of ability including “baby slopes” and has among the highest ski ratings for beginning and intermediate skiers. The fashionable ski resort also offers a large number of excellent lodging, from boutique hotels like Hotel Alaska Cortina and Faloria Mountain Spa resort, as well fabulous vacation rentals, speciality lodging and B&Bs.
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6370 Kitzbühel, Austria
+43 5356 66660
Surrounded by the soaring mountain range that bears its name, Kitzbühel is frequently honored as the world’s best ski resort and in 1893, the site of the first alpine ski run in Austria. A charming medieval village blessed with cobblestone streets, quaint buildings with Old World charm and a population of less than 9,000, Kitzbühel is as luxurious and romantic as it is affordable and family friendly. There are two primary ski areas in this magical Tirolean hamlet and it averages six months of skiing annually, across 110 miles of skiable area, including the legendary Streif, the site of what’s known as the world’s most difficult downhill ski race. Yet even still, this world renowned ski resort is also regarded as one of the world’s best for intermediate and beginning skiers. For the past four years, Kitzbühel has been named the best ski resort in the world by Skiresort.de, the highly respected and world’s largest ski resort test portal.
A-6580 St. Anton am Arlberg, Tirol, Austria
+ 43 544622690
A legend is its own right, St. Anton am Arlberg is part of the exclusive Arlberg group of ski resorts that form the largest ski area in Austria, with 189 miles of pistes and an additional 125 miles of marked ski routes. Easily one of the world’s finest ski resorts, St. Anton am Arlberg, is located in the enchanting Tyrolian Alps and is described as the “cradle of alpine” skiing. That’s because the Arlberg, a ski technique devised in the 1930s by local ski instructor Johann “Hannes” Schneider, set the standard for modern downhill skiing and dramatically helped increase the popularity of the sport in the U.S. Today, the ski resort village perhaps better known as St. Anton, has a impressive collection of luxury resorts and hotels and is equally recognized for its vibrant and trendsetting après-ski entertainment as its world class skiing suitable for all levels.
Val Thorens, 7344, France
+33 0(4) 79 00 08 08
Nestled within the Tarentraise Valley in the Savoy region of the French Alps, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe and unquestionably among the world’s finest. A repeat winner as Best Ski Resort in Europe and Best Ski Resort in France, Val Thorens is Thorens is part of the enormous Three Valleys (Les Tros Vallées) region in southeastern France, which collectively, represents the world’s largest ski area and includes the equally famous ski resorts of Courchevel and Méribel. As part of the Three Valleys ski area, Val Thorens offers more than 370 miles of linked ski runs (pistes), with separate or shared areas that are suitable for all levels of skiing ability. A winter wonderland full of upscale lodging, restaurants, family friendly attractions and an exciting nightlife, opening day for the winter ski season is just a few days away.
3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
+41 27 966 81 00
With spectacular views of one of the world’s most famous mountain peaks, Zermatt is quite simply, a skier lover’s paradise. The magical ski resort offers skiing all year long across two countries (Switzerland and Italy) and provides 125 miles of skiable areas and remarkably, more than 12 miles during the summer months. But what makes Zermatt an iconic destination is its premiere and most visible attraction – the Matterhorn – Switzerland’s most famous landmark which achieved further mythical status after a similarly named amusement ride opened in Disneyland in 1959. Suitable for skiers of all levels of ability, Zermatt also offers snowboarding, snowshoeing and country skiing, as well as mountaineering, mountain biking and attractions like the Matterhorn Museum and the observation platform at Gornergrat.
Related: 5 Best European Resorts