If you are looking to get away for the Winter months then one great option to consider is a skiing holiday. Whether a novice or an experienced skier, taking to the slopes during the Winter time is a fun and exhilarating way to spend some time away. European destinations offers the traveller some of the best skiing around and for most people its quick and easy to get to most ski destinations. Below are 3 of the best destinations on offer in central Europe that will offer facilities for every level of skier so what are you waiting for, grab your skies and start hitting the pistes.
Zermatt – Switzerland.
Lying in the south of Switzerland, Zermatt is part of the German-speaking region . The town itself lies at the foot of Switzerland’s highest peaks which range up to 1620 meters making it the highest ski resort in Europe. For a long while it has been known as one of the best places to go for skiing and mountaineering. Lying at the southern end of the Malter Valley, Zermatt is surrounded almost completely by the Pennine Alps.
Known throughout Switzerland as the country’s most famous resort, Zermatt is excellent for intermediaries, skiing experts and for families.
This famed resort has guaranteed snow from the end of November right the way through until the end of April and with over 350 km of pistes and boosting several high altitude stations that reach up to 3820 meters, it is easy to see why it is such a popular skiing destination.
The town is also a draw for anyone looking for a winter break. Zermatt has no cars running through it, if you do arrive by car, you will have to park outside of the town itself and take public transport to the center. This makes it a delightful place to walk around and as a small town it is easy to take the whole place in. Zermatt consists of three main streets and several side streets running off them and the majority of amenities that Zermatt has to offer tend to be gathered around the main shopping street. There are plenty of cafes and bars, restaurants and shops, so even if you are not taking to the slopes everyday there is plenty to keep you entertained.
Skiing is what Zermatt is all about though and has major amenities on offer. It has a very slick and impressive lift system to take skiers up to the even the highest slopes, the Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 m, with pistes that offer the perfect skiing for every level and plenty of places to stop for a rest and something to eat right next to the pistes.
Courchevel – France.
Courchevel is a fabulous resort set in the French Alps and part of the Trois Vallies, a group which lay claim to being the largest linked ski resorts in the world and also seen as being one of the most prestigious skiing resorts in the Alps. When talking about Corchevel is needs to be explained that it is in fact four distinct and separate resort areas not just one place.
The names of the resorts were changed in 2011 but most people still refer to them by their old names; Corchevel 1850, 1860, 1550 and 1300. Their new names are Corchevel, Moriond, Corchevel Village and Corchevel Le Praz and they are all linked by a road which comes up from Le Praz through Moriond by passing Corchevel Village to the highest resort Corchevel and also pistes and lifts link them as well.
Travelling between each of the resorts is very easy as a free and frequent bus service travels between each of the resorts. For those arriving at the resorts in a bit more style, an airport is located on the slopes of Corchevel for small aircrafts and helicopters though travelling from major airports from other European countries is very easy with short flying times from most places.
Corchevel is seen as a premier skiing destination and has over 600 km of pistes and well over 170 air lifts servicing it. The slopes are well maintained and in impeccable condition and the snow and skiing is regarded as some of the best around. Regardless of your level of skiing, you will find slopes and pistes to suit you in Corchevel from beginners to experts, everyone is well catered for.
The four resorts all differ and offer different skiers different amenities. The premier resort without a doubt is Corchevel(1850). This is the pace to come if you want to ski with some of the best connected and wealthiest people to hit the slopes during the Winter skiing season. The place is frequented by rich French and Russians and the amenities reflect this with many first-rate restaurant and hotels as well as exclusive shopping. It is well served with lifts and gondolas placed well in the center of the resort and spreading out in three different directions up the mountains.
Courchevel is not just for the super rich though. The other resorts offer many great amenities for a more modest budget. Moriond on the main road up to Courchevel is a lovely village which has lots of good shops and restaurants and a great lift base to take skiers up to the pistes. It also has a fantastic watersports center, Aquamotion, which has indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and fitness facilities an ice rink and gym.
Courchevel Village is the quieter resort which caters for a more individual skier, small individual chalets and with not as many facilities but still linked by a fast lift and gondola system to Courchevel.
Finally, Corchevel La Praz at the bottom of the resort, has a much more rustic feel to it. Although this resort doesn’t have as much to offer as the others as far as amenities go, there are still some good restaurants and shops and it still has it’s famous Olympic landmark from 1992, the ski jumping hill which is still in use today.
Kitzbühel – Austria.
Kitzbühel situated in Austria has many accolades to its name that makes it attractive to skiers from all over the world. It has been voted “the best ski resort in the world” in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It is where you will find The Streif, the most famous ski run in the world and it is also the place where skiing was invented, with skiing having taken place here since 1893. As well as that there are a large number of luxury hotels and award-winning restaurants as well as an impressive collection of upmarket shops. All in all Kitzbühel is one of the premier ski resorts in the world and attracts many celebrities and famous faces to its slopes to enjoy skiing and many other things that are on offer.
This internationally renowned ski resort which is situated in a large valley is mainly car free making it a really pleasant place to wander around when not taking to the slopes and for many people this stunning medieval town is the most captivating and beautiful ski town in the whole of Europe.
It generally has 180 days of skiing each year and is a resort that is guaranteed snow making it the ideal destination for snow enthusiasts to travel to all through the Winter months. The skiing is spread out over 179 km of slopes and there are 36 km of ski routes available to its skiers. There are a large selection of lifts on offer and it is the ideal destination for skiers of every level. There are a large number of ski schools and over 500 ski instructors available to help you when you first take to the slopes.
If you book a holiday throughout January then you will be there in good company as this is when Kitzbühel entertains some of the biggest names in the skiing world with the Hahnenkamm, the infamous down hill race on the World cup circuit. This nail biting race is the biggest and meanest of them all and draws huge crowds to watch the skiers compete for their taste of fame and infamy.
Away from this crazy weekend of daredevil skiers and risk takers, Kitzbühel offers its visitors that best place to take to the slopes in a beautiful setting. Book for the end of January and through February to guarantee the best times snow-wise on the slopes and you won’t be disappointed.
Final words – Skiing in Europe top resorts.
As far as Winter holidays go, skiing has to be one of the most popular ones to take. Yes heading for the warmth and sun is always appealing during the winter months but nothing quite beats the exhilaration and excitement of taking to the slopes. Europe offers skiers some of the best resorts in the World without a doubt and you will have to search long and hard to find many that will beat Zermatt, Courchevel and Kitzbühel as they offer the skier absolutely everything that they could need.