12 Best Ski Destinations in Europe
Skiing in Europe is a near-unbeatable experience, with sprawling resorts, world-class restaurants, and hotels for every style of traveller. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced skiier, or simply looking to experience the après ski scene, there is ski resort suited to your needs.
Europe is the center of skiing, with half of the world’s best ski resorts. With so many ski destinations in Europe to choose from, deciding on one can be challenging. Most regular skiers have their favouriates. However, if you are new the scene or want to try something new – maybe skiing in Spain or skiing with the Norther lights in the background? Here are some of our recommended best ski destinations in Europe.
When is the best time to go skiing in Europe
Traveling to Europe during the winter months provides some of the best skiing in the world. In general, most European mountains open towards the end of November and close in mid to late April.
February-March trend to be the peak season for skiing with great après-ski events. The earlier in the season you visit, the quieter the slopes tend to be making it ideal for novices who are less confident on the slopes. If you decide to go later into the season, the days will be longer and more chances of sun shinnng. Longer daylight hours means longer lift operating hours, and therefore more opportunity to enjoy après-ski and other activities.
It is good to bear in mind the elevation of the resort you choose beacause, the higher the elevation of a skiing region, the colder it is, and thus the snow lasts longer.
Nestled in the heart of Les Trois Vallées (Les 3 Vallées), as the largest ski area in the world, Courchevel takes pride in being referred to as the “ski capital of the world.” Offering one of the longest ski seasons and an impeccable snowfall, Courchevel boasts outstanding skiing conditions and is one of the best places to ski in Europe. Home to four interconnecting resorts, with 600 kilometres of runs, all ski levels are covered.
Courchevel also offers multi-level skiing with easy access between each resort. Choose from the serene Le Praz at 1300 metres, the laid-back Courchevel Village at 1550 metres, the Courchevel Moriond at 1650 metres, and the ultra-chic Courchevel at 1850 metres. Enjoy 360° panoramic views at every moment, snow is guaranteed from the beginning of the season to the end of season thanks to the ski area’s considerable portion being positioned at an elevation of 1,800 metres and the largest artificial snow system in France.
Courchevel attracts a variety of affluent groups, from oligarchs to British Royals. As one of the most luxurious ski destinations, Courchevel also features plenty of luxury hotels, in fact, of the 50 five-star hotels in France, 15 of them are here, along with award-winning spa experiences and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. Courchevel pulls out all the stops to create the most opulent destination complete with heated pavements, designer boutiques and fine art galleries making Courchevel the ultimate luxury ski destination.
Where to stay in Courchevel: L’Apogée Courchevel – opulent and extravagant as you would expect and offers direct and private ski slope access. Cheval Blanc Courchevel – home to Courchevel’s only three-michelin starred restaurant.
Discover: More Hotels in Courchevel
2St. Moritz, Switzerland
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Renowned as the town that founded winter tourism, this elegant destination in Switzerland’s Engadin Valley is home to the world’s oldest ski resort. As the most famous ski destination, St Moritz, is an exclusive winter playground for the rich and famous. A destination popular with celebrities, billionaires and royalty, St Moritz is as prestigious as ski destinations get.
This magnificent alpine town boasts year-round sunshine, the perfect conditions for navigating the three different ski regions totalling 350 kilometres of slopes across three dramatic mountains. Skiing at St Moritz offers access to 5 main areas; Corviglia, Corvatsch, Furtschellas, Diavolezza and Lagalb. This European ski destination is also known to offer what is called “Champagne climate” due to the sun shinning 322 days a year along with the dry air. St Moritz has a lot to offer in addition to skiing with winter activity taking place on Lake St Moritz, the frozen centrepiece to the town hosting ice skating, polo and horse racing on ice.
St Moritz also boasts gourmet restaurants, excellent shopping, it also has somewhat of a reputation for its parties, with some of the world’s most exclusive reservations and the best apres-ski atmosphere. Head to Dracula for the exclusive parties, King’s Club if you want to let loose, and El Paradiso mountain club has been St. Moritz most exclusive reservations.
Where to stay in St. Moritz: Badrutt’s Palace – this luxury hotel has been the staple with the celebs and A listers since 1890’s. Carlton Hotel St. Moritz – Overlooking Lake St. Moritz and the Swiss Alps, it enjoys a prime location.
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When it comes to the best ski resorts in Europe, Megève is one that seems to have come straight from a storybook. Located right in the heart of the Mont-Blanc massif. With just over an hour away from Geneva, this ski destination in Europe features charming landscapes, cobbled streets, horse-drawn sleigh, small boutique shops, and baroque architecture, this car-free city oozes vintage charm and a fairytale French vibe. One of the most idyllic ski resorts in Europe, Megève offers multi-level pistes with the stunning views of Mont Blanc.
Megeve was the first purpose-built French resort and the epitome of rustic elegance, created in the 1920s as a rival to Switzerland’s St. Moritz. The perfect introduction into skiing in Europe, Megève is the ideal ski destination for both beginners and intermediate alike. There are three main ski areas; Mont D’arbois, Rochebrune and Le Jaillet, which offer 400 kilometres (250 miles) of pistes and 235 ski runs. The majority of the skiing at Megeve (Megève) is on lovely slopes with tree-lined runs and breathtaking views of Mont Blanc due to the resort’s low elevation. Megève is also one of the most abundant winter destinations for dining with an exceptional selection of impressive restaurants to choose from including La Ferme de Mon Père, Flocons de Sel, La Dame de Pic – Le 1920
Where to stay in Megève: Four Seasons Hotel Megeve – builds on the legacy of the legendary Rothschild family. Zannier Hotels Le Chalet – Set in the mounatins, features 12 suites offering alpine views from the balcony.
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4Val d’Isere, France
A haven for experienced skiers, Val d’Isere is one of the most challenging and exciting places to ski in Europe. This world famous European ski resort in the French Alps is home to the iconic slopes used annually for the biggest event in the Alpine Ski World Cup. One of the most snow-sure skiing destinations, Val d’Isere not only has an exceptional snowfall, the resort is also home to La Snow Factory, the world’s largest artificial snow making centre, to ensure that snowy slopes are always guaranteed. Skiers have 300 km of pistes at their fingertips, including the snow-sure slopes of two glaciers, at this ski area connected to Tignes (the entire ski area was once known as Espace Killy).
After a thrilling day of navigating the slopes, Val d’Isere comes alive as Europe’s best apres ski scene. Incredible dining options and a vibrant nightlife makes Val d’Isere one of Europe’s leading ski destinations for an all-round experience.
Where to stay in Val d’Isere: Le Refuge de Solaise – offer sweeping view of the mountain, Formerly a cable-car station, Le Refuge has been turned into an opulent ski hotel.Airelles Val d’Isère– sister hotel to the famous Les Airelles with ski-in, ski-out location.
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Arguably the world’s most romantic winter destination, the charming Swiss village of Zermatt boasts a landscape of horse-drawn carriages, dreamy chalets and quaint cobbled streets. Tucked into the base of the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt offers a charming atmosphere with a dramatic backdrop. With a high elevation, this Alpine village has a reliable snowfall creating a picturesque winter wonderland. At 1,620 metres, the snow-covered hamlet resembles a scene from a fairy tale and due to the elevation the village pretty much always covered in snow during the winter months.
The lively apres ski scene features outstanding restaurants, bars full of character and an abundance of outdoor ice rinks. Of course, it is the skiing opportunities that are the star attraction in Zermatt with 230 miles of fresh slopes. This skiing paradise is one of the few skiing destinations worldwide open 365 days a year and is renowned for its year-round skiing opportunities. In addition to skiing, try the picturesque Gornergrat railway, which ascends to Klein Matterhorn, Europe’s highest cable car station at 3821 metres.
Where to stay in Zermatt : Riffelalp Resort 2222m – touching distance of the Matterhorn, including Europe’s highest pool and tramway. Riffelhaus 1853 – suites offer full view of the Matterhorn and you can even treat yourself to a jacuzzi session facing the magnificent Matterhorn after a day of skiing.
Discover: More Hotels in Zermatt
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The magical town of Gstaad is one of elegance and glamour, a luxurious winter destination that is one of the best European ski resorts. One of Europe’s most understated ski destinations, Gstaad has attracted a wealth of famous names for decades. Ernest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn and David Bowie all regarded Gstaad as their favourite winter destination whilst the likes of Paris Hilton and Madonna still frequent this fairytale ski destination.
Three impressive ski areas take over the tree-lined peaks and interconnect to offer scenic slopes. 200km of pistes are connected by over 40 lifts at altitudes of up to 3,000m in the Gstaad. Gstaad is ideal for beginners, intermediates and families in particular, with the ski areas of Schonreid and Sannenmoser.
The best way to describe this European ski destination is a blend of old-world glamour and Alpine vibe. Traffic free cobbled street lined with traditonal swiss chalets, luxury boutiques. The ski scene in Gstaad is nothing short of A-list with palace hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and impeccable skiing opportunities. As the night falls, the buildings light up and create a magical setting.
Where to stay in Gstaad : Gstaad Palace – Set on a hill overlooking town of Gstaad, and view of the majestic Swiss Alps. Le Grand Bellevue – located in a park in the centre of Gstaad and is home to Michelin-starred restaurant.
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Located just 2 hours from Munich the captivating winter resort of Kitzbühel is Austria’s most popular skiing destination. With over 145 miles of ski slopes, Kitzbühel is one of the best places to ski in Europe for both complete beginners and advanced skiers. Home to eight impressive ski schools, Kitzbühel is the best ski destination in Europe for those just learning the ropes.
In contrast, Kitzbühel also features challenging and steep slopes with gradients of up to 70%. Below the breathtaking pistes, the enchanting town of Kitzbühel is a foodies paradise with a staggering selection of award-winning restaurants and laid-back lounges boasting exquisite menus and memorable dining opportunities.
Where to stay in Kitzbühel: Tennerhof Gourmet & Spa de Charme Hotel – smaller yet charming hotel offering that exclusive feeling with panoramic views of Kitzbühel. A-ROSA Kitzbühel – Surrounded by the scenic panorama of the Tyrolean Alps, focus on spa and wellness.
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8Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
At home in the Italian Alps, the charming resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo can be found just two hours from Venice in the north of Italy. Host town of the Winter Olympic Games 2026, this breathtaking mountain destination is renowned for its magnificent landscapes, rich history and outstanding winter sport community.
This winter wonderland outshines rival ski destinations in Europe, catering for skiers of all abilities and boasting three of the world’s leading ski destinations with over 750 miles of snowy slopes. As one of the oldest and most prestigious resorts on the planet, Cortina has a long history of attracting the rich and famous including celebrities like George Clooney. When it’s time to take a break from the thrill of the slopes, Cortina’s idyllic mountain huts are there to greet you with hearty, wholesome menus of Italian cuisine.
Where to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo: Grand Hotel Savoia – Newly renovated surrounded by the Dolomites. Cristallo – Set in an elevated position overlooking Cortina, and surrounded by the stunning Dolomites.
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9Lech Zürs am Arlberg (Lech) , Austria
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A favourite of Dutch Royalty, Lech is the chicest and most exclusive ski destination in Austria that has also attracted the likes of Princess Diana and A-list celebrities. A town overflowing with fine dining, incredible shopping and luxury hotels, Lech is an impressive winter destination of glamour. Whilst Lech may be a destination to see and be seen, the town still retains the authentic Alpine vibe of a traditional mountain community. As the biggest ski region in Austria, Lech boasts 220 miles of slopes with unrivalled backdrops whilst catering to all levels and abilities.
Where to stay in Lech : Burg Vital Resort – offers outstanding views and is located just a stones throw away from the Petersbodenbahn Cable Car Station. Severin*s The Alpine Retreat – favourite of the Princess of Wales, offering an intimate feeling with just 9 suites.
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Nestled on the Italian side of the highest mountain in the Alps, Courmayeur is a breathtaking Italian village and a leading ski destination in Europe. At the foot of Mont Blanc (Europe’s highest mountain), Courmayeur is perfectly located with stunning Alpine scenery and an iconic cable car ‘Skyway Monte Bianco’ which is a revolving glass gondola that which gently rotate a full 360 degrees for the duration of the ascent treats you to exceptional panoramic views over Mont Blanc stretching to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa.
When it comes to skiing, Courmayeur boasts outstanding ski terrain and is famous for its phenomenal off-piste opportunities. At 1,224m it is a relatively low ski destination in Europe, however, at least 80% of the main ski area is covered by snow canons, do you the lack of snow is never a worry. The classic Italian resort is one full of character with mediaeval architecture, cobbled streets, enchanting chalets and the added benefit of being car free.
Where to stay in Courmayeur : Grand Hotel Courmayeur Mont Blanc – brand new property consisting of four chalet style buildings.
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11Levi Ski Resort, Finland
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Located in Lapland, Finland Levi is the leading ski resort in Lapland, surrounded by pure scenery, extensive wilderness areas and if you are lucky, views of Northern lights. Despite the remoteness of Finnish Lapland, the little airport of Kittilä is only 15 minutes away, which has charter flights from the UK, making this one of the shortest journeys to any ski resort and an easy alternative to the Alps.
With 38.5 km of slopes for skiing and snowboarding, and a further 6.2 km of ski routes available, Levi Ski Resort is Finland’s largest ski resort providing snow-sure, uncrowded skiing in a location of outstanding natural beauty. Ski in the day and also during the mist of winter nights, thanks to the floodlights located all around. What makes Levi so unique is not only only the possibility of spotting Norther lights whilst skiing but also the off pitse acitivies such as ice fishing, snowmobile, dogsledding, and of course around Christmas there is the opportunity to visit Santa. Most ski resorts in Europe close by mid April, Levi however stays open until early June.
If you’re looking for one of the world’s most unique hotels whilst in Levi, add the Golden Crown Levin Iglut to your list.
12Sierra Nevada, Spain
Spain may not be everyone’s first thought as a ski destination in Europe. While Spain is well-known for its sunshine, Granada, Sierra Nevada in Spain provides one of the widest and most appealing ski slopes in Europe. Located right at the southern tip of the country and offers excellent views of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The winter season has 110.4 ski km distributed in 131 pistes with the largest ski slope in Spain. Sierra Nevada is the highest and most snow-sure ski resort in Spain.
The ski resort is divided in 6 ski areas: Veleta, Laguna de las Yeguas, Borreguiles, Loma Dílar, Parador y Río. The resort’s base is located at 2100 metres, while the summit station is located at 3300 metres. There’s much to do away from the slopes, including saunas, a gym, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and lots of shopping. There is a vibriant près ski scene which means partying into the early hours.
Where to stay in Sierra Nevada : El Lodge, Ski & Spa – charming alpine style hotel with magical views, skiing for all levels.
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