With the skiing season now upon us, the time is here for all of the snow bunnies to head abroad and immerse themselves in some good old winter fun. But, just where are the best winter sport destinations to visit in Europe?
In the following blog post, you’ll find out the answer to this question as we run through our list of top winter sport destinations on the continent. So, let’s not delay things any further and get to it!
La Plagne, France
Spread across 11 separate villages, La Plagne just so happens to be the most popular ski resort in the world. More than 2.5 million visitors travel to this spectacular winter sport destination each year. So, this just goes to show it must be something truly special! Altitudes at this particular location range between 1,250m and 3,250m, so there’s something to suit all levels of ability.
La Plagne is also home to one of the world’s fastest cable cars too – capable of reaching up to 25mph! What’s more, the 1992 Winter Olympics location of Albertville is also within striking distance – complete with a bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track!
With guaranteed beautiful landscapes and high quality snow, Finnmark is well worth a visit if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure. Huge fjords, a whole host of fantastic Alpine peaks and breathtaking views of the horizon make this place truly special. What’s more, Finnmark is also famous for its dog sledding – making a visit to this magnificent destination all the more worthwhile.
It might be quieter than other skiing destinations in Norway, but that doesn’t make it any less exhilarating. Ski summits range from 800m-1000m in height, although the highest alpine peaks measure up to around 1200m above sea level.
Saint Moritz, Switzerland
A truly picturesque skiing hotspot, Saint Moritz is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for true adrenaline junkies. Not only is this the perfect place to get your fix of skiing action, there is also plenty of other things going on throughout the year too. This includes the likes of the Cresta Run – a toboggan run which guarantees heart-racing speeds of up to 86mph!
There’s also the Saint Moritz to Celerina Bob Run too, which happens to be the world’s last remaining natural ice run – stretching out to 1,722 metres in total! In 1928 and 1948 respectively, Saint Moritz hosted the Winter Olympics events, in addition to plenty of winter sport events over the years.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Based in an alpine valley next to the Boite river, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a truly wonderful winter sport destination – complete with skiing trails, picturesque scenery, and so much more. This particular resort is so popular in the winter season, that the population increases exponentially – from 7000 to around 40000!
Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1956, and has since been the venue of choice for a whole host of other world winter sport events. The centre of the town is placed at an elevation level of 1,224 metres – with the highest summit measuring up to a whopping 3,224m.
One of the best known skiing resorts in Switzerland, Zermatt is a winter sports lover’s paradise. Attracting visitors from all over the world, this resort provides the perfect setting to admire truly outstanding scenery, whether it’s taking part in climbing, hiking, skiing, or biking! Zermatt is also home to one of the world’s finest mountains in the form of the Matterhorn.
Combined with the fact there are 38 summits above 4,000m, you’ll have 200km of pistes at your disposal – with an extra 160km if you choose to head on over the border to Cervinia, Italy, where you’ll find an additional 160km of pistes with great links provided by lift and piste.
Austria is undoubtedly one of the finest winter sports destinations in the world, let alone Europe! From impressive medieval architecture to atmospheric nightlife, Kitzbühel really has it all. Spread across three sectors, this particular location is perfect for intermediate and experts alike.
None of the mountains are above 2,000m, so this most definitely isn’t the highest ski resort you’ll find in Europe. However, Kitzbühel has been a hugely popular amongst winter sports fans since the late 20th century. 215km of slopes are at your disposal at this wonderful destination – this includes the Hahnenkamm downhill which is a must for all skiing fans!
Vall de Núria, Spain
Located in the Núria valley in Catalonia, Vall de Núria is a truly wonderful winter sports destination – placed perfectly in the Eastern Pyrenees. Peaks surrounding the area measure up to a staggering 3,000m. Natural heritage is certainly something which isn’t in short supply either, with deep narrow gorges, the Núria river, and so much more.
Vall de Núria might not be the biggest ski resort in Europe, but its sheer charm and beautiful landscapes makes it one of the best ski resorts you’ll find in Spain. It is only accessible via the rack railway too – an unusual yet unique journey in which you’ll reach an incline of more than 1000m!
Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort, Russia
Based in Krasnodar Krai, the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort is Russia’s premier skiing location and is within striking distance of Sochi too – 30 miles away to be exact! Made famous for its role in the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, this particular destination is perfectly placed next to other ski resorts including Gazprom and Gorki Gorod.
So, it’s definitely well worth paying a visit to if you’re in search of the ultimate winter sports adventure! The base elevation level measures up to 940m, with the top elevation reaching heights of up to 2,320m in total.
Kotelnica Białczańska, Poland
A hugely popular winter sports destination, Kotelnica Białczańska is located in the Białka Tatrzańska ski resort. This particular destination features a total of 14km of slopes which range in difficulty. While the ski slopes are more suited towards beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, this wonderful location is well worth a visit.
You could even visit the two other ski resorts in Białka Tatrzańska – Kaniówka and Bania. All of the resorts can be visited with one ski pass. Across the whole of the Białka Tatrzańska resort, the elevation level ranges between 680m – 910m.
Val Thorens, France
Placed perfectly in the French Alps, Van Thorens is known as the highest ski resort in the whole of Europe and is located at an altitude of 2300m. It forms part of the Trois Vallées ski area – equating to over 600km of piste, although Val Thorens itself features 140km of pistes. Due to its high elevation level, snow cover is guaranteed between the months of November and May.
Dramatic peaks surround the area, which means you’re guaranteed spectacular panoramic views throughout the year. There’s something for all ability levels at this charming venue, and you can even choose from a whole host of other activities besides skiing and snowboarding. This includes ice diving, ice driving, fat biking, and so much more!
Geronigo has now taken a look at our top picks when it comes to winter sports destinations across Europe. Do you think we’ve missed out any locations which deserve a spot on our Top 10? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming blog in which we’ll look at top winter sports destinations in the rest of the world.
In the meantime, you can get your fix of winter sport action right here on home turf by visiting one of our awesome snowboarding or skiing venues! You can find out more information about your nearest venue by visiting the following link.