While some may be daydreaming of warm-weather destinations in the midst of winter, others just want to head out into the outdoors for a snowy ski trip. And this type of holiday is truly is hard to beat.
Imagine this combination: adrenaline-fuelled days on the slopes, wild après-ski parties in the afternoons and cosy evenings in. These are the best things that any winter holiday can offer - and it's what you can have on your next ski holiday too. Whether you're planning a ski holiday as a couple, a family or as a group of mates, you'll be in for an unforgettable experience this winter.
And, with cheap ski breaks in places like Bulgaria and Slovenia to luxury ski getaways at the resorts of France, Switzerland and Italy, skiing can be friendly to any budget. Take a look below for more on how to get the most out of your ski holiday.
Europe is home to some of the best ski destinations in the world. Some destinations, like Switzerland, Italy and France, have well-established ski resorts that have been welcoming holidaymakers for decades. Other countries, like the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Bulgaria, have been a bit of a local secret - until now that is - and you can find excellent holiday deals for these destinations.
Whether you're a ski fanatic or prefer a spot of snowboarding, check out some of the top ski destinations in Europe for more inspiration.
Europe’s culinary capital also delivers in spades when it comes to a perfect ski holiday. You can find some of the continent's highest peaks along Italy’s northern border. Fresh snow is practically guaranteed and you’ll have your pick of a wide range of ski runs that could keep you occupied for weeks on end. Off the slopes, you can dig into hearty Italian winter dishes and wines, and try out other winter activities like snowshoeing.
Best ski destinations in Italy:
France is home to a well-established and lively ski culture that draws many of the same die-hard fans year after year. Its reputation as an ideal country for skiing - having both the Alps and the Pyrenees certainly helps - is coupled with its reputation for a great ski atmosphere. You can find many top-tier resorts that cater to the super wealthy, while young people also flock to the mountainsides to party as the sun sets.
Best ski destinations in France:
With some of the most impressive mountains found anywhere in Europe, everything about a ski holiday in Switzerland is bucket list-worthy. And rest assured that the country's ski resorts are just as well equipped for beginners as they are for experts. Switzerland is a great place to seek out high-end ski resorts and catered chalets for the ultimate luxury ski holiday.
Best ski destinations in Switzerland:
This principality, nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France, is another well-loved ski spot. You're sure to get plenty of snow here, but without the crowds that are common in other popular ski resorts in Europe. Plus, for those seeking some winter sun, Andorra tends to get a decent amount of sunny days even in the heart of winter.
Best ski destinations in Andorra:
Soldeu el Tarter
El Pas de la Casa
A ski holiday in Austria offers plenty of understated charm. Far from the super high-end resorts and raucous parties of mega-popular ski spots in nearby Switzerland, the small towns of Austria are great for a family holiday or as a place to cosy up with your partner on a romantic getaway. As an added bonus, Austrian ski resorts are often a fair bit cheaper compared to ski resorts in Switzerland or France.
Best ski destinations in Austria:
While it may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a ski holiday, but you can find a wealth of excellent ski resorts in Germany - along with some stunning slopes. Picture quaint mountain villages and lovely views of the Bavarian Alps, complete with hearty German cuisine to warm you up in the evenings. When you're all skiied out, you can also try your hand at a number of other winter sports.
Best ski destinations in Germany:
Got a burning question about your next ski holiday? We answer three of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to planning a ski trip.
If it’s your first ski holiday, the logistics can be rather intimidating. A great way to avoid any unnecessary stress is to book a package holiday through a ski holiday provider.
A ski package holiday will usually cover everything you need, including your flights, transfers to the usually hard-to-reach ski resorts near the mountains and accommodation. In addition, many tour providers will allow you to add on things like equipment rental and ski lessons to your package.
Lastly, if it's your first ski or snowboarding holiday ever, we'd strongly recommend having some ski lessons before your trip or making sure that you can have them at your chosen ski resort. You might also want to make sure that there are some easier or beginner slopes located nearby. For those travelling with younger children, you'll want to make sure that there are some kid-friendly facilities and slopes too.
We get it. A ski holiday certainly requires way more equipment than most other types of holiday, but this is one trip where it really pays to be prepared!
If you're planning on snowboarding, you'll need a snowboard, boots and a helmet. For those wanting to ski, you'll need skis, boots, a helmet and ski poles. Keep in mind that ski boots and helmets are quite different to your typical snow boots or bike helmets. Ski helmets have thick padding inside and ski boots are designed to clip on to skis and snowboards.
If you don’t currently have any of your own ski equipment, don't worry! Most ski resorts will provide or recommend a few places where you can rent all the equipment you'll need. To make life easier for yourself, try to find an equipment rental spot that allows you to leave your equipment at the ski resort overnight so that you don’t have to handle transportation. If you’re renting a car on your ski holiday and want to transport your own equipment, make sure that the vehicle has enough space for all your gear.
While your first instinct might be to pack plenty of thick layers for a day on the slopes, skiing and snowboarding are very sweaty work. If you happen to get lucky and are on the slopes on a sunny day, you'll just end up roasting in that bulky jumper. Instead, pack a couple of base layers of wool or moisture-wicking athletic wear as well as some fleece layers on top.
You’ll also need a ski jacket, snow pants, a good pair of thick gloves and ski goggles. Snowboarders will also want to pack wrist guards and should try to find snow pants with a bum protector - this is especially true for complete novices who are more likely to take a few falls. If you don’t want to spend too much, especially on some of the pricier ski and snowboard items, try to borrow them from a friend or rent them from shops in the UK.
For more ideas on what to pack for your next ski holiday, check out our extensive winter holiday packing list, which includes all the items you'll need for winter sports.