Ski season is upon us and snow lovers around the world are headed to the European slopes for a ride down some of the continent’s best powder-topped mountains. Whether you enjoy ski vacations for the actual skiing or the après-ski activities, there’s something for every style here.
The best ski resorts in Europe are an eclectic mix of remote hangout, high-altitude hotspots, and some of the absolute most stunning resorts in the entire world. From the Italian Dolomites to the French Alps and all the way over to the Matterhorn, we’ve got the lowdown on the best spots for skiing in Europe in 2020.
Gather your gear and prepare to head out onto the slopes. Whether you’re a beginner on the bunny slopes or are looking to sample some of the world’s most perfectly groomed pistes, you’ll enjoy a visit to the 25 of the best ski resorts in Europe for 2020.
Best Ski Resorts In Europe 2020How do these rankings work?
St. Anton is easily one of the most famous ski resorts in Austria, with a legendary aprés-ski scene. There are 305 kilometres of marked ski runs and superbly prepared slopes for all ability levels. You’ll also find 200 km of off-piste and challenging steep slopes and deep-snow ski runs. The longest downhill piste in the Arlberg is in St. Anton, perfectly named “The White Thrill.”
It’s hard to resist the charming allure of Zermatt. The impressive pyramid of the Matterhorn towers over the city and is visible from pretty much any one of the mountain’s 360 kilometres of trails. Zermatt is without a doubt Switzerland’s greatest ski mountain, featuring altitudes of between 2,500 and 3,900 metres. You can ski or snowboard here 365 days a year, making it easily one of the best ski resorts in Europe for 2020.
Avoriaz is a completely pedestrianised resort with guaranteed snowfall from December to April. In short, it’s a hugely popular destination for a skiing holiday in France. Skiers here have easy access to a high-altitude ski area, with opportunities every day to enjoy the magnificent views on offer from the Portes du Soleil. And, it’s one of the best ski resorts in Europe for skiers of varying ability levels.
Nothing beats the absolutely jaw-dropping views of the Dolomites under a fresh layer of snow. If a stunning backdrop complete with dramatic drop-offs are your idea of the perfect ski vacation then Val Gardena is a great choice for you. You’ll get to enjoy lots of lift-linked intermediate trails. That is if you can break away from snapping photos for your Insta feed for a second.
Courchevel is based in Les 3 Vallées, the largest interlinked ski area in the world. It’s a stunning setting for skiing your heart out in a variety of landscapes. From perfect pistes to forests high in the mountains, variety truly is the spice of life here. Plus, it’s suitable for all types of skiers no matter their ability. The Alps’ most exclusive resort is also known worldwide for its extraordinary spas. So, plan on pampering yourself here.
This luxury resort offers easy access to Salzburgerland’s Ski Circus, with family-friendly activities as well as lively bars. With 70 cableways and lifts, more than 60 cosy ski huts, numerous snow parks, freeriding park, floodlight slopes and toboggan runs, Salzburg’s skiing region is one of the most diverse and best ski areas in the Alps. Saalbach is one of the best ski resorts in Europe for 2020 to experience this at its best.
As a two time host of the Winter Olympics, St. Moritz is no stranger to ski events. The Olympic-style ski-jumps and slopes are frequented by professionals and beginners alike looking to tread through some of the world’s most famous snow. The resort’s 20 lifts are well-connected to lots of different terrain for all skill levels. So, you don’t have to be an Olympian skier to get the most out of this European ski resort.
Grandvalira does a great job of selling itself as one of the best ski resorts in Europe. As they put it, “your mountain paradise is in Andorra and its name is Grandvalira.” Really, however, they don’t have to sell this spot at all. It’s the largest resort in the Pyrenees, with 128 trails and 62 lifts. You’ll also find lots of other activities to indulge in. From mushing to snowmobile or even night-time adventures, they’ve got plenty to do.
For partygoers, you can’t beat Val d’Isere. The hotspot for die-hard clubbers is, of course, La Folie Douce. Those with stamina can start at lunch in the mountain restaurant of the same name (easy to remember), accessible by the new La Daille cable car. It also boasts the highest cabaret in the world (2,400m) where DJs, dancers and musicians come to perform all season.
Chamonix is one of the most classic ski towns in the French Alps. In the streets of this high-mountain town, you’ll encounter people from all kinds of different cultures who are visiting just to get a chance to witness the stunning Mont Blanc in person. Les Houches is easily one of the best resorts in the area. And, after a full day of skiing, you can check out the pop and rock-focused Musilac Mont-Blanc. Festival-goers ditch their poles to hear the biggest names on the current music scene.
This charming resort town in the heart of the Kitzbühel Alps offers everything you could possibly want from a ski holiday. Think: amazing ski courses, mountain restaurants and family-friendly accommodation. As well as the world-famous Streif downhill ski racecourse on the Hahnenkamm mountain, the area is also home to a total of 57 ski lifts for fun on the slopes for both beginners and more advanced skiers.
The largest ski area in the French Pyrenees, Le Grand Tourmalet is actually two villages: Barèges and La Mongi. With its 69 pistes, extending over more than 100km, there are beginner slopes and thrilling freerides. Grand Tourmalet offers camps and lessons for complete beginners, as well as a fun freestyle area with snowpark. Want to be the first one to create those snow trails? You can have the opportunity to open the station with the ski patrollers!
Ski experts recently awarded Saas-Fee a Best Ski Resort Award for the quality and dependability of the snow you’ll find on the slopes. However, it’s also pretty primely located to nearly everything in the region, including Dom (the highest peak in Switzerland). While it’s pretty well-known for its beginner slopes, experienced skiers will love the chance to head out onto the 23 kilometres of black-diamond trails here.
Like Courchevel, Val Thorens is located in the Les 3 Vallées region of France. It’s one of the best ski resorts in the Belleville valley. And, it’s also Europe’s highest-altitude resort. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, then you’ll love the fact that there are lots of great après-ski options here. Party-goers love relaxing at Folie Douce or Cafe Snesko after a full day of hitting the slopes.
Looking for a challenge this ski season? Verbier is a great ski resort for experienced skiers after some serious long-distance skiing and quality backcountry terrain. Really, for expert skiers, there are endless steep slopes and prime powder for you. However, if you’re really just headed out for the après-ski scene, Verbier is also pretty spectacular. There’s a lively après-ski culture and lots of dramatic mountain scenery in the background for impressive holiday photos.
As one of the top ski resorts in France, Les Arcs is mostly known for the sheer amount of runs available. With 150 runs over an area of 1,280 acres, you’re definitely not strapped for choice here. It’s pretty comparable to Alpe D’Huez, which also made this list. But, it’s more suited to intermediate and experienced skiers. Enjoy epic long runs and lots of off-piste here.
This superb ski region is home to some of the most impressive ski mountains in Austria, such as the Schladming Four-Mountain Ski Area and the Dachstein Glacier. There are 100 traditional ski huts and around 230 km of perfectly groomed pistes, which are some of the first in Austria to get proper snow each year. Ready to party? Choose from 34 aprés ski parties as well as a great choice of accommodation, from luxe lodges to family resorts.
If you prefer cross-country skiing, this resort is a great place to go. 600 kilometres of pistes are connected via the summits of this popular resort, offering more than 62,000 vertical meters of skiing for experts, novices, families and keen sportspeople alike. If you’re trying to enjoy more than one resort on your ski holiday, staying in Courchevel provides you with great access to Méribel as well.
As mentioned above, Alpe D’Huez is pretty comparable to Les Arcs. However, Alpe D’Huez has frequently been described as the more family-friendly stay, offering a friendly atmosphere and totally unpretentious vibes. And, as the fifth-largest ski resort in France, there’s definitely lots to do here. 2200 metres of vertical drop ensures that even the most experienced family will enjoy something with their littles ones both on and off the slopes.
Hinterstoder is an authentic and traditional ski resort set in the charming mountains of Pyhrn-Priel. It’s the only ski world cup venue in northern Austria, so expect champion-worthy slopes, with 40km of piste up to 2,000 metres. You can also enjoy cross-country skiing and lots of non-ski activities. There are all sorts of lodgings, some right at the ski trail, as well as vibrant bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Andorra is one of the best ski spots west of the Alps. And, Pal-Arinsal offers 63 kilometres of impressive slopes for beginners and families looking for a laidback good time. You’ll find some of the region’s best ski schools here, making it one of the best ski resorts in Europe if it’s your first ski holiday as a family and you and your little ones need some extra coaching.
Mayrhofen is famous for its insanely steep Harakiri piste and its huge snowpark. Explore over of 139km of ski slope trails here. And, don’t worry if it’s not actually snowing; all of the slopes are equipped with artificial snow-making machinery! Off slopes, there’s winter hiking, cross-country skiing, tobogganing and relaxing saunas to enjoy. Advanced skiers will find endless trails here, but there are also some gentle runs for beginners and families.
After a bit more of a remote trip? Livigno is one of the most remote ski areas in Italy, offering travellers the chance to enjoy exploring three of the region’s quaintest cul-de-sac villages without too many other tourists. Reliable snowfall ensures that you’ll definitely enjoy their superb terrain parks, which guests frequently rank as the best in all of Europe.
When heading to the Italian Dolomites for a skiing trip, you simply can’t pass up the chance to stay at Cortina d’Ampezzo. It’s well-known as one of the top Dolomite ski resorts, in part due to the fact that they held the Winter Olympics here in the 1950s. You’ll find slopes and pistes for all kinds of skill levels to enjoy as you fly down the sparkling snow and enjoy the view of the Cinque Torri towering above you.
Saint Lary Soulan is one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the Pyrenees. It’s a charming ski village where you can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. One of the big advantages of Saint-Lary is in the way it was designed so that the whole family, whatever their skiing ability, can enjoy everything in the whole resort.
Looking for more vacation ideas after the ski season is over? Check out our guide to the 50 Bucket List Places You Need to Visit This Decade.