Hit the Slopes: Europe’s Top Ski Destinations
If you’re thinking of hitting the slopes this winter, Europe is the envy of the world when it comes to destinations where things go downhill fast. With this in mind, we’ve picked out five fabulous ski destinations around the continent that offer snow-filled fun for any budget.
There’s one thing you can’t miss when you visit Zermatt – the iconic peak of the Matterhorn which towers over this pretty Swiss town. The other thing you’ll immediately notice is the lack of cars. They’re entirely banned from the town, and in fact you’ll be fined if you accidentally drive your car within its limits. No need to worry about getting around though - you can easily make your way across Zermatt on foot, by electronic taxi, or even by horse-drawn carriage. The lack of traffic certainly makes for a uniquely relaxing atmosphere as you stroll around the town or relax on an outdoor terrace in one of Zermatt’s many fine dining spots. If you’re a foodie, Zermatt might be the best ski resort for fine dining in the world, boasting no less than four Michelin-starred restaurants. The town also has the highest ski lifts in Europe, which means you’ll have access to guaranteed snow all year-round.
St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
If you’re looking for a lively après ski scene, then St. Anton has few rivals anywhere in Europe. This bustling Austrian town has a host of excellent bars and restaurants, and an authentic Tyrolean charm typified by the town’s most prominent landmark - the 17th-century church. The resort also has one of the most impressive ski lifts anywhere on the continent, a spectacular Ferris Wheel-style system based in a stunning glass building with 28 gondolas which can hold up to 24 people each. If you want to soothe your tired limbs after a long day on the slopes, St. Anton also offers some impressive spa facilities. Pick of the bunch is the stunningly designed Arlberg Wellness Centre, which offers an array of saunas, gym facilities, swimming pools (including a slide to keep kids occupied) and some excellent dining options.
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Just a couple of hours from Venice lies Cortina d'Ampezzo, an ancient and beautiful town beloved by experienced skiers and Hollywood stars alike. Cortina has one of the most spectacular scenic backdrops in Europe, with the distinctive pinkish hue of the Dolomites coming alive at sunrise and sunset. Perhaps the town’s most distinctive feature is the “rifugi” which scatter its slopes. Originally built to shelter shepherds tending their flocks, these refuges have now been converted into pubs and restaurants where you can recover from the chill of the mountain next to a roaring fire. Even if you don’t manage to spot George Clooney catching some powder, Cortina offers a seriously chic skiing experience and slopes to suit experts and amateurs alike.
Val d'Isère, France
For a truly varied range of skiing, this French favourite is one of the best in Europe. Whether you’re a total beginner or fancy yourself as a contender for the next Winter Olympics, with 300km of pistes surrounding the resort, you’ll find perfectly groomed slopes to suit your skill level. Val d’Isere can be a tad on the expensive side, but makes up for those slightly higher prices with an impeccable snow record which makes it ideal to visit at almost any time of the year. The lively town centre also hosts a weekly pedestrian evening where ice sculptors, buskers, and more entertain crowds into the night.
Looking For Cheap Travel Insurance?
If you’re thinking of hitting one of Europe’s top resorts this ski season, give yourself peace of mind with a Travel Insurance policy from AIB that’s tailored to your needs.
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