Ski Holiday: Europe’s Most Popular Ski Resorts
BY - Tim Latimer, 11 April 2023, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 11 April 2023, ARTICLES
At Firefly Collection, our luxury ski chalets at ski resorts throughout Europe are adored by our clients. But with so many beautiful resorts on offer, it can be tricky to know where to start when planning your next trip.
There’s so much to consider when choosing a ski holiday resort. There’s the ski experience itself – including slope lengths, peak altitude and snowfall – combined with distance from the nearest airport and the overall resort atmosphere.
To help you pick the ski spot that ticks all the right boxes, we’ve looked at 19 resorts across Europe and ranked them using our own unique scoring system to discover which one comes out as the best overall. Keep reading to find out more.
Upon touching down at the airport, it’s likely you’ll be keen to get straight to the slopes – so which resort provides the best accessibility?
Nestled in the heart of the Portes du Soleil area, Les Gets takes the top spot for being the resort that’s situated nearest to an airport. Located 71km away from Geneva International Airport, and with an average transfer time of one hour and five minutes, you won’t have long to wait to hit the French alps.
Meanwhile, other ski resorts which lie in close proximity to the runway include Morzine in France which is just 79 km away from Geneva Airport, while Megeve is only slightly further away from Geneva Airport at 87 km.
If you’re not phased by a longer transfer time, Zermatt is buried deep in the Swiss Alps. Being one of the furthest resorts from its nearest runway, Zermatt can be found 230 km from Geneva Airport, with an average transfer time of two hours and 30 minutes. So while travelling to this Swiss resort may involve a more extensive journey, it’s definitely worth travelling the extra miles and taking in that stunning scenery that Zermatt is known for!
This being said, some resorts may have a slightly higher distance, but the route is direct and much easier. Our expert, Tim Latimer, recommends that those who may want to steer clear of mountainside driving to visit Chamonix, which is considered one of the most direct journeys and is a perfect alternative for those who want to get to the action without having to navigate windy roads. With an average transfer time of just one hour and five minutes, this is one of the quickest journeys for visitors.
When you’re visiting a ski resort, you want to be able to do just that – ski. Hitting the slopes is likely to be a top priority, so it’s important that the resort you’re heading to offers the scale and variety of skiing to keep you entertained.
Good snow can take your ski holiday from average to amazing. Tignes in France records the highest average snowfall at the summit with 555 cm on average per year. Val Thorens comes up slightly behind with an average snowfall of 537cm at the summit, so for those who want slopes adorned with fresh snow, Tignes or Val Thorens have plenty to offer.
When it comes to perfecting your ski technique, the more slopes, the better. Chatel, Les Gets and Morzine, all of which can be found in the Port Du Soleil ski area, share top place with the most kilometres of slopes at 650km. Meanwhile, La Tania, Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens, which are part of the Three Valleys ski area, have a total of 600km of slopes. However, although there is a 50km difference, our experienced expert recommends The Three Valleys overall due to the resort being better connected, allowing skiers easier access to more slopes. The Three Valleys is better connected however, so arguably has more kms that are easily accessible.
If you’re looking for snow-sure skiing, Zermatt is the place to be, with the highest altitude slopes. The Swiss resort offers the highest altitude skiing with its top lift venturing up to 3,899m, with Chamonix running up behind with a top lift altitude of 3,840m. The ski area of Tignes and Val d’Isere is also a high altitude playground with a top lift height of 3,456m.
But which resort offers the ideal combination of snowfall, the most slopes and highest peaks? French resorts of Tignes and Val Thorens – take joint first place as being the best resort for skiers, scoring highly across the board.
These days, many travellers post about their holiday experiences on social media, and it can be a useful tool in determining which resorts are the ‘place to be’. With this in mind, we’ve delved deeper to see which resort is the most popular based on the number of Instagram hashtags each one generates.
The hashtag ‘Chamonix’ is included in a staggering 1.5 million Instagram posts, with Swiss resort Zermatt falling just behind but with an impressive 1.1 million hashtags. Courchevel ranks next with 498,000 hashtags.
There’s a certain buzz that runs through a luxury ski resort. Aside from taking on challenging snowy pistes, there’s always something to experience, from fine dining at Michelin-rated restaurants, to enjoying some of the best après ski vibes in the world, but which locations come out on top as having the best vibes?
According to the online Michelin Guide, the chic French resort Courchevel 1850 boasts an impressive 10 Michelin-approved restaurants, placing it in the top spot when it comes to dining. Whether you decide to spare no expense at the two star rated Le Chabichou, or feast upon artistic three star rated cuisine at Le 1947 a Cheval Blanc, the choice is yours.
When it comes to après ski, six of our resorts stand out, including Chamonix, Verbier, Val d’Isere, Morzine, St Anton and Meribel. These resorts have a vibrant après ski scene with a good selection of lively bars choose from. It is it safe to say you won’t be short of things to do when you want a break from the slopes at these ski resorts.
So which European resort is the best overall? Switzerland’s famous Verbier is in the leading place, scoring well across all categories. Offering heavy snowfall, high peaks and plenty of slopes, the Swiss resort ranked ahead of other locations for being one of the best resorts for skiers. It also ranked highly for having one of the best vibes and was included as having one of the best apres ski scenes in Europe.
Which European ski resort is next on your travel bucket list? Let us know using #TopOfTheSlopes.
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