When it comes to skiing, Europe can undeniably offer some of the very best resorts in the World. Here are Europcar’s 5 favorite ski resorts for snow quality, accommodation, scenery and of course, après ski.
Chamonix has a long skiing history as the first ever winter Olympics were held here in 1924. Today this French ski resort is popular amongst skiers of all levels. At over 2,000m above sea level, Chamonix has guaranteed snow in winter, spectacular scenery (all year long) and an exciting range of different slopes. Many skiers come here to experience skiing at the base of Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Europe. And with a vast choice of restaurants, ski schools, nurseries and plenty of accommodation, Chamonix is a great choice for any kind of skiing holiday.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
If you’re looking for a ski resort in Europe with an upmarket feel and the charm and romance of Italy, Cortina (as the locals call it) is the place for you. This classic Italian ski resort offers a unique ski experience with its exclusive feel and chic atmosphere. Cortina is located in the southern Alps, in the beautiful Dolomites region (definitely worth further exploration if you have enough time and a car). Suitable for all levels of skiers, Cortina is particularly popular with beginners as there is a vast range of gentle slopes. The resort sits at 1,224m and hosts 140km of ski areas.
Located at the foot of the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, is Germany’s best-known ski resort. With 43 pistes and 38 ski lifts, you can even ski over the border into Austria. Popular with both skiers and snow boarders, Garmish-Partenkirchen is easily accessible, located within two hours’ drive of four different airports. The après ski is well catered for here and there’s plenty of entertainment in the form of discos, bars and restaurants, and even a casino.
This is one of the best places to ski in Spain (maybe even in Europe), located in Catalonia in Val d’Aran. This Pyrenean resort spans the villages of Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua and its highest peak is 2,510m. Snow is reliable here and the season runs from November through to March. Although still relatively unknown, Baqueira-Beret is becoming more popular each year as King Juan Carlos of Spain has a holiday home here. One of the main benefits of this ski resort in Europe is that prices are cheap and it maintains its traditional Spanish character. Compared to the expensive resorts of France, a menú del día (3 courses and wine) for between 10-15€, is excellent value.
For a varied range of ski terrains, Courchevel is the resort to visit as it’s part of the largest linked ski area in the world: the Trois Vallées (Three Valleys). With 600km of pistes and easy access to the nearby resorts of Méribel and Val Thorens, Courchevel offers a fantastic skiing experience for all levels. At 2 1/2 hours from Geneva airport (and 1 hour 15 minutes from Chambery and 1 hour 45 minutes from Grenoble, which are only open on the weekends) this is a popular ski choice for visitors from all over Europe and also home to the skiing holidays of the rich and famous.