The expert’s guide to the best ski destinations in Europe, from family-friendly resorts in France to the crowd-pleasing Verbier 4 Vallées in Switzerland.
With ski season starting, it already looks like this season will mark the highly-anticipated return to skiing following the you know what. But if you’re looking to hit the slopes this winter and your piste knowledge is a little rusty, our friends and travel experts at Booking.com share with us some of their favourite destinations for a picture-perfect ski experience.
Family-friendly, Les Portes du Soleil, France
As well as having some of the best cuisine and wines in the world, France also lays claim to some of the best ski resorts on the planet. With over 360 miles (580 km) of slopes connected by 172 lifts, Les Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world and home to about 12 village resorts, sprawling across the French-Swiss border.
Set on the French side, the area of Morzine is known for its long, wide, and not-too-steep family-friendly slopes, making it an ideal choice for family ski holidays. Nearby Avoriaz is a Mecca for snowparks and offers other family-friendly alpine activities, including ice skating and dog sledging.
The Portes du Soleil area is about an hour and a half drive from Geneva International Airport, easy enough for travellers to pick up a car as soon as they land. For travellers who prefer not to drive, there are direct buses and train options from the airport.
Where to Stay: Situated in Champéry, 656 feet (200 meters) from the cable car, Chalet le Petou is a Booking.com Travel Sustainable chalet, ideal for the whole family. With an occupancy of up to 8 guests, this cosy property has a big fireplace where guests can gather around with their loved ones after an active day on the slopes.
The property features a hot tub and a sauna to help relax and unwind. Chalet le Petou also has a sun terrace with a fire pit where the whole family can gather and relax, as well as a game room, which according to Booking.com guests, is perfect for kids. A ski pass sales point and ski storage space are also available.
Picturesque, Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria
Virtually every destination in the Austrian Alps has all the storybook charm of a mountain village, yet also the allure of a world-class ski resort. From wide and snow-sure slopes to Olympic-worthy downhills and massive powder fields, there are countless miles (kilometres) of slopes to discover.
Featuring 70 ski lifts and 167 miles (270 km) of pristine slopes for skiers and snowboarders, the Austrian Alpine resort of Saalbach Hinterglemm is a winter sports wonderland. Keep the camera ready as The Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, an impressive glacier in Zell am See – Kaprun, which stands 9842 feet (3000 meters) tall, is just 20 miles (32 km) away.
After a long day on the slopes or discovering the surrounding areas, travellers can relax in ski huts and laid-back restaurants serving delicious Pinzgau cheese dumplings and homemade Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes).
Where to Stay: AlpenParks Hotel & Apartment Sonnleiten is located directly at the ski slope Kohlmais in the centre of the winter sports area of Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn.
Featuring heated ski storage as well as a heated outdoor pool that is open throughout the year, this beautiful Booking.com Travel Sustainable property is just a short walk away from the Turm 6er chairlift and the Kohlmaisgipfelbahn ski lifts.
The property’s modern apartments have a terrace or balcony to enjoy the picturesque mountain views, while some apartments even have a private sauna for guests to relax their muscles after a long day skiing.
Every Skill Type, Val Gardena – Gröden, Italy
For a refreshingly relaxed approach to skiing, Italy is the place to go. Travellers can enjoy lazy espresso-filled mornings, cruise down quiet slopes, and have a full ski experience.
Divided into three areas, Val Gardena (Gröden) offers direct access to 108 miles (175 km) of piste in the Dolomiti Superski Area and is also recommended as a perfect ski area by locals travellers, who have visited the ski area in the past**. A network of 79 lifts enables travellers to easily pick and choose runs all over the valley – from long and lazy blues to rapid blacks used for world championships.
Val Gardena is a great destination for both ski beginners and those looking for a more challenging experience. Both beginners and families with younger kids will love the resort as it has three ice rinks, a whole ski area dedicated to kids, a variety of ski schools, as well as practice lifts. Travellers can reach Val Gardena via Bolzano airport, 20 miles away (33 km), or Innsbruck Airport, 74 miles (120 km) away. The closest train stations are Ponte Gardena, Chiusa, Bressanone, and Bolzano.
Bolzano is about a 40-minute drive away by car and is one of Booking.com’s Top Trending Destinations for 2023. Set amongst the stunning snow-capped mountains of the Italian Dolomite, Bolzano is a beautiful alpine destination with many medieval castles and pastel-painted houses, ideal for a day trip.
Where to Stay: Pra Palmer The Green B&B enjoys a quiet location right on the Palmer ski slopes, less than 2 miles (3 km) away from Val Gardena and only a short walk from the car-free centre of Ortisei, an alpine village highly endorsed by Booking.com travellers for scenery, mountains and relaxation. Guests can put on their skis and start skiing in front of the property.
Offering traditional wooden furnishings, a calm atmosphere and beautiful views, this property is a unique base to enjoy the beautiful Val Gardena Slopes. The property also has a Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge for the efforts it has taken to offer guests a more sustainable stay, as its building itself is energy-efficient, and the property keeps CO2 emissions to a minimum.
Popular, Verbier 4 Vallées, Switzerland
Famous for its seemingly infinite mountain terrain, Switzerland has a great variety of ski resorts. 4 Vallées is Switzerland’s largest ski resort, with 256 miles (412 km) of trails and 67 ski lifts. Most of the resort sits above the treeline, granting access to wide valley runs and steep slopes leading from the 10,925-foot (3,330 meters) peak of Mont-Fort.
Kids and beginners can enjoy the easy slopes, while the most experienced ones can try heli-skiing, an off-trail, downhill skiing experience where the top of the mountain is reachable by helicopter, and freeride skiing. The ski area is open for about 10 months every year, giving ski fans the opportunity to their heart’s content almost year-round.
Where to stay: Offering a south-facing terrace with panoramic views of the Dent Blanche and The Matterhorn mountains as well as the mountain valley of Val d’Hérens, Hotel La Cambuse sits in the centre of the resort of Les Collons, about 15,5 miles (25 km) from the medieval city of Sion.
Located right next to the slopes, this stay has ski-to-door access and traditionally decorated rooms overlooking the mountains. The hotel’s restaurant, “La Cambuse”, is ideally located at the start of the 248 miles (400 km) ski slopes of 4 Vallées, where guests can enjoy Valais specialities like cheese fondue.
Need more inspiration?
Our friends at Booking.com are on a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world – including skiers of every skill set and budget – and have created ski resort-specific landing pages for France, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland to help travellers plan their whole ski trip.
This includes tools to sort ski destinations by things like skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) or general vibe with filters for family friendliness, picturesque, Apres-ski, luxury, budget-friendly, and more.
From steep pistes, thrilling downhill slopes, or wide runs with beautiful scenery, discovering a perfect ski spot for every skill level is only a few clicks away.