Top five European ski resorts

Top five European ski resorts

A rundown of our favourite ski resorts in Europe.

With European ski holidays gaining more popularity by the year, there’s no shortage of great resorts to visit. But when you start looking, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount that’s on offer.
Here, we share our top five European ski resorts. From the most beautiful mountains and the best learning slopes, to the most challenging runs and the perfect off-piste experiences – these are the best of the best.

Val Thorens

You can’t write a list of the top European ski resorts without mentioning Val Thorens. Not only is it regularly voted as Europe’s best ski resort, it’s also frequently cited as one of the best in the world.

With an altitude of 2,300m, the spectacular resort is the highest in Europe, meaning snow is pretty much guaranteed from November to May, and with 600km of runs, the variety is breath-taking. There’s the vast amount of red and blue runs, offering beginner and intermediate skiers endless opportunities to learn and improve, and then there’s the huge amount of off-piste opportunities on offer for more adventurous, experienced skiers.

The purpose-built village has seen a facelift in the recent years, catering for the increase of a more affluent clientele, so there’s no shortage of nice bars, restaurants and hotels. But even with this influx of wealth, the town still has so much to offer for the younger generation who want to let off some steam with some après-ski – including Le Malaysia, the largest nightclub in the Alps.

Where to stay: Club Med Val Thorens Sensations

Les Arcs

If you can’t make up your mind where to ski, Les Arcs always feels like the right choice. Linked with La Plagne to create the massive Paradiski area, linked by the Vanoise express chairlift, the resort truly offers something for everyone.

Experienced skiiers can take to Aiguille Rouge for an unforgettable 2km run to Villaroger, beginners have plenty of scenic options on the wooded routes lower down, and a stunning large terrain park full of jumps and rails makes it one of the world’s best playgrounds for freeskiers and snowboarders.

With 70% of the slopes starting at over 2000m, the conditions are reliable throughout the year – and a dedicated snowmaking factory takes care of the lower altitudes in the summer meaning there’s never a bad time to visit.

Where to stay: Club Med Arcs Extrême

Samoëns

Part of the Grand Massif alongside Flaine, Morillon, Sixt and Les Carroz, with 265km of north facing slopes, Samoëns is the sort of resort that you discover after years of skiing at other destinations, and then never go anywhere else again. Less touristy than its neighbours, staying in Samoëns feels less like a holiday and more like a home – with local shops and markets in the traffic-free town centre giving a warmth and charm that you rarely find in big resorts.

And then there’s the skiing. Intermediates head for the famous 14km Les Cascades blue run from Grande Platières to Sixt via the panoramic Lac de Gers, whilst experts take to the Gers bowl – with 800m of untracked skiing to test.

With more cosy bars than rowdy clubs, Samoëns is the resort for anyone who wants to relax rather than party – making it the perfect choice for anyone who’s serious about skiing.

Where to stay: Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon

Tignes

Some ski resorts grow over time, and some are made to last. Tignes, the sister site to Val d’Isère, is purpose built to offer the perfect skiing holiday. Sharing all 300km of mountainside with Val, a total of 78 lifts make the area one of the most impressive regions in the world – with pistes catering to every level and style across a terrain that stays open almost all year.

More modern than Val, Tignes village is made for holidaymakers, with everything you might need – day and night. Pubs, clubs and restaurants are busy and world-class, while families are kept entertained with activities to suit every age.

If you’re just starting out on the slopes, there’s also no better place to learn than Tignes. Progression from beginner to intermediate is quicker here than most other resorts thanks to a range of great schools, excellent starting slopes and the lure of the almost-accessible longer runs on the Grand Motte glacier.

Where to stay: Club Med Tignes Val Claret

St Moritz

St Moritz is known for style, wealth and decadence, but under the surface of all that glitz and glamour is a ski park with endless on- and off-piste ski opportunities, both for the experienced and the beginner.

The resort has been a favourite with the rich and famous for over a hundred years, and it’s not hard to see why. The beautiful scenery mixed with health and wellness, boutique shopping and high-end nightlife makes it an ideal location for jetsetters with deep pockets to experience a European ski weekend.

If the A-list high-life doesn’t interest you, and you’d rather be hitting the slopes than sipping champagne, the ski-lifts and railway can whisk you onto the slopes in no time. You’ll find 218 miles of ski runs, catering for every level of difficulty.

As well as being a great ski location, St Moritz is also a great place to experience a number of winter sports that you’d be pushed to find at other resorts. Most notably, the infamous Cresta Run, a 150-year-old toboggan known as the most thrilling ice run in the world, and the St Moritz-Celerina Olympic Bobrun, the oldest bobsleigh track in the world.

Where to stay: Club Med Saint Moritz Roi Soleil

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