You’ll want to know of some top winter sports locations in Europe if you’re thinking of taking to the slopes for a spot of skiing or snowboarding. There are hundreds of winter sports resorts in Europe across countries as far apart as Iceland and Norway in the west to Bulgaria and Slovenia in the east. What’s more, the facilities and the types of skier/sportsmen they cater for are bewildering in range and complexity. It’s important that you pick a resort that matches your skiing/boarding ability, has plenty of the society and entertainments you enjoy, and also fits your budget. Maybe one of these top winter sports locations in Europe fits your bill.
Standing at the foot of three impressive alpine peaks, Interlaken is the crème de la crème of winter sports locations in Europe. The pretty Swiss town is packed full of convenient amenities and boasts easy access to an enormous ski and winter sports area. Skiers will want to head to Murren, where downhill skiing first became a sport. In fact, Interlaken has such as long history as a winter sports destination that tourists have been flocking to the region for over 200 years. Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder, you’ll stay busy when visiting Interlaken. In town there is a large ice skating rink and closer to the slopes kids and kids at heart can partake in tobogganing.
Courchevel in France lies at the heart of the largest ski area in the world and is also known for unbeatable nightlife, luxury shopping and chic hotels. Head here to experience one of the most luxurious and glitzy winter sports locations in Europe. Après-skiing, ice-climbing, heli-skiing, ice-skating and more are all within arms reach here. Once you’re good and worn out from a day in the snow, take a break at one of the town’s luxury spas or sample wine at a trendy piano bar.
If you fancy a little culture with your winter holiday, look no further than Innsbruck. The Austrian city has a lot of things going for it, including the fact that it’s one of the easiest ski areas on this list to reach. It also happens to be very near to several major ski resorts offering a variety of runs ranging from bunny hills to Olympic-level slopes. Patscherkofel is a great well-rounded resort with excellent skiing, a large snowboard terrain park, tobogganing runs, and even an bobsleigh track.
Norway doesn’t get enough attention as one of the top winter sports locations in Europe. The village of Geilo, located midway between Oslo and Bergen, is a true winter paradise. Boasting 39 downhill slopes, over 500 kilometres of marked cross-country skiing pathways, 5 snowparks and a dedicated children’s area, you’ll never want to leave once you arrive. Waymarked trails in and around Geilo are dotted with adorable little huts serving hot chocolate and other warming treats to keep you going as you ski your way around the area. Off the slopes, sleigh rides and trips to nearby national parks make nice addition to any holiday itinerary. Geilo is also one of the few places in the world where you can try out snowkiting!
Cross-country skiing under the northern lights? Yes, please! Of all the major European winter sports destinations, Lapland is the most unique. Lying largely within the Arctic Circle, this is not a place where you have to worry about guaranteed snowfall. While the region is probably best known for cross-country skiing, downhill enthusiasts are definitely not left out. The ski resorts of Olos, Ylläs and Levi offer a combined 120 runs accessible via 60 separate lifts. On flatter ground, you have your choice between snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and sleigh riding. Visitors arriving in the weeks leading up to Christmas may even get to meet a certain man in a red suit. Thanks to Lapland’s arctic locale, it’s also an ideal place to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, which is something few other winter sporting destinations can offer.
In the past few decades Vallnord has gone from relatively unknown to one of the most well respected all around winter sports destinations in Europe. Located in Andorra, a tiny country nestled between Spain and France, snow bunnies can enjoy access to three major ski areas with plenty of runs suited for all ability levels. In addition to racing down the breathtaking Pyrenees, there are plenty of other winter activities to try out at Vallnord, including freestyle skiing and snowboarding, dog sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. The villages calling Vallnord home are all lively, possessing all the charm of a traditional mountain resort with a Catalonian twist.
Bansko is an up-and-coming winter destination that beginner and intermediate skiers loves. If you’re new to winter sports and aren’t keen on splashing out a lot of cash on holiday, then Bansko fits the bill. The town can be reached via rail and is linked to the slopes by a gondola, which gains you access to over 70km of runs. Most of the runs here are geared towards less experienced skiers, and Bansko après-skiing attracts a young a lively crowd.
It was hard choosing so few of the top winter sports destinations in Europe but I’ve given you a taster of what you can expect. Are you taking a winter sports vacation?
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