If you love skiing, there’s a good chance that winter might be your favourite time to take a holiday. Waking up in the mountains, with the bright blue sky above you and crisp white snow all around, provides you with a unique sense of freedom – and zooming down the slopes is incredibly exhilarating. Luckily, Europe is the top skiing destination in the world, and the best ski resorts are only a short flight away from the UK.
But which are the best destinations for a skiing holiday? Whether you’re an expert on the slopes, skiing for the first time, looking to stay in a luxurious ski resort, or hoping for a more budget-friendly break; here are nine of the very best skiing holidays.
1. Courchevel, France
Let’s start with one of the most famous ski destinations in the world: Courchevel. Known as the world’s ski capital, Courchevel is the biggest and best-known ski resort of Les Trois Vallées (Three Valleys), which is the largest ski area in the world.
There are seven interlinked ski resorts and villages in Les Trois Vallées, but thanks to its unrivalled luxury and exceptional ski runs, Courchevel is the most popular. It has over 600km of ski slopes, and over 320 ski runs. Though, if that’s not enough, you can still explore the other six resorts with a single ski pass.
With altitude over 2,000 metres, annual snowfall of four metres, and excellent off-piste terrain, Courchevel is ideal for experienced skiers – but it has good terrain for beginners too.
However, the slopes are just a small part of Courchevel’s appeal. This is a ski destination known for glitz and glamour (and holidays here don’t come cheap!). So if you’re looking to enjoy some luxury, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants, fancy hotels, more than a hundred upscale boutiques, and (should you feel chilly while shopping) even heated pavements.
2. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
If you’d prefer to go skiing in Italy, then Cortina D’Ampezzo may be for you. Located high in the Dolomites in Northern Italy, just 40km from the Austrian border, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a historic and beautiful ski destination.
After the 1956 Winter Olympics were held here, the popularity of this resort rocketed, and it remains just as popular today. Plus, the exciting news is that the Winter Olympics will again be held here again in 2026.
The five jagged peaks of the Cinque Torri provide the perfect dramatic backdrop to Cortina d’Ampezzo – and because it’s part of the enormous Dolomiti Superski area, heading here for a holiday gives you access to nearly 750 miles of slopes. The skiing here is also exceptional: there are Olympic-grade steeps, high-altitude snowfields, gorgeous cross-country ski trails, and even a bobsled run that’s lit up at night.
Though Cortina d’Ampezzo is a smart and stylish ski resort, it has a friendly, low-key vibe, which makes it just as popular with families and new skiers as with experts and celebrities. There are chic shops, plenty of accommodation, and exceptional dining options – from upscale restaurants serving fine food to laidback mountain huts serving delicious local cuisine.
3. Gstaad, Switzerland
Switzerland isn’t short of fairy-tale ski resorts, but the best-known and most traditional is arguably Gstaad.
While some of the other larger Swiss resorts have succumbed to overdevelopment, Gstaad has retained its old-world Alpine charm, and with its traffic-free town centre, authentic Swiss architecture, and picturesque chalet villages, it can feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The ski areas here are joined by 61 cable cars, giving visitors access to 150 miles of pistes, sledge runs, and cross-country trails. The varied range of slopes also ensures Gstaad is accessible for all.
Even if you don’t ski, there’s plenty to do here – with over 100 miles of snow hiking terrain, 40 miles of snow-shoeing trails, and ten gorgeous winter biking trails.
As for Gstaad village, it was famously described by Julie Andrews (who’s had a chalet here for decades) as “the last paradise in a crazy world”. Gstaad is a working village, home to more than 9,000 people and 200 farms, and its rural ambience is part of its charm. But there are still all the Michelin starred restaurants you’d expect from a top Alpine resort – only they’re perfectly juxtaposed with cobbled streets, surprisingly modest chalets, and historic buildings.
4. Borovets, Bulgaria
If you’re on a budget or you’re a skiing beginner, you might want to think of heading to Bulgaria for a skiing holiday.
Borovets is Bulgaria’s first ski resort, and though it’s not as widely known as its Alpine counterparts (or as big), it’s ideal if you’re looking for a laidback ski trip that won’t break the bank. Plus, with the majestic forest-clad Rila Mountains as a backdrop, it’s utterly beautiful.
There are almost 40 miles of skiing here, spread across three different ski centres (Sitnyakovo Central, Markudjik, and Yastrebets), all of which are linked by lifts.
The wide, tree-lined slopes throughout the resort are perfect for beginners, and there are more than 200 instructors if you’re looking for guidance. Or, if you’re looking for height, Markudjik offers skiing up to 2,550 metres – though the best slopes are mostly in Yastrebets.
Located on the Northern slopes of Rila Mountain at the foot of Mount Moussala (the highest peak in the Balkans), sensational views are all around you at Borovets. The resort is also lively and fun, with plenty of excellent bars, restaurants, and cafes, most of which are very reasonably priced. Plus, there’s a traditional culture here too. So if you’re keen to soak up some authenticity, be sure to check out the folk music and Horo dancing at the local taverns.
5. Kitzbühel, Austria
Regularly ranked one of the most romantic and beautiful ski resorts in Europe, Kitzbühel is another obvious choice.
Just two hours from Munich and a little over an hour from Innsbruck and Salzburg, Kitzbühel is Austria’s most popular holiday resort for good reason. One of the most legendary sports destinations in the Alps; this is a place where international style meets traditional Bavarian charm.
Known for its unsurpassed skiing, here you can ski on some of the most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit; including the notoriously steep Hahnenkamm, where the terrain is 85% vertical in places. But with more than 100 miles of pistes, plus the 170 miles of slopes at the adjoining SkiWelt, there’s something for every level – and if you’re a beginner, there are eight great ski schools here too.
If you’re looking to enjoy history and culture on your skiing holiday, Kitzbühel certainly ticks the box. This historic walled village has a charming medieval old town, colourful frescoed houses, elegant Bavarian hotels, and winding alleyways that are a joy to explore. With over 60 mountain huts and restaurants, you’ll have plenty of options for a mouthwatering lunch on the slopes.
6. Zermatt, Switzerland
Known for having Switzerland’s greatest vertical drop and the towering Matterhorn as a backdrop, Zermatt is one of the most iconic ski destinations in the world.
This resort doesn’t only enjoy one of the most dramatic settings in Europe, it also has an altitude of over 10,000 feet, which means the skiing season here extends way past winter. Plus, its innovative facilities are second-to-none.
Known for its exceptionally long runs, Zermatt has over 200 miles of trails in four enormous ski areas. The state-of-the-art Matterhorn Glacier Ride is the world’s highest 3S cableway and transports thousands of people to the top of the glacier every hour. Zermatt’s Snow Park is also a must for freestylers and snowboarders – and if you’re a beginner, Wolli’s Park provides gentler terrain.
The village itself is far more than just a pretty face. But being able to admire views of the dramatic Matterhorn from just about anywhere is a major plus. The village is car-free, and horse-drawn sleighs are the preferred mode of transport, which gives Zermatt a lovely old fashioned feel – though the glamorous après-ski facilities are decidedly modern.
7. Val d’Isère, France
If you have plenty of experience on the slopes, France’s Val d’Isère is considered a skier’s paradise.
Located in a high valley encircled by dramatic 3,000-metre peaks, Val d’Isère is home to some of the best lift-accessed off-piste terrain in the world. And if you’re keen to get to grips with off-piste skiing, three are plenty of instructors here who specialise in this area.
Along with its neighbour Tignes, Val d’Isère provides nearly 200 miles of high-quality slopes that are served by over 150 ski lifts. Should the unthinkable happen and there be no snow, the resort also boasts the largest artificial snowmaking plant in Europe. So one way or another you can be sure of zooming down the slopes here, though you can usually ski on the Glacier du Pisaillas well into June.
If you’re looking for a quiet and unassuming place to stay, Val d’Isère probably isn’t for you, as the crowds and price tags reflect the star power and popularity of this resort! But the town is pretty, free of cars, and charming, and if you’re into fine food and wine, you’ll be in your element. Val d’Isère is known for its exceptional dining scene and buzzing, sophisticated bars.
8. Courmayeur, Italy
Another great skiing location in Italy is Courmayeur, which is located on the Italian end of Mont Blanc, the Alps’ highest mountain.
This is a resort that’s just as popular with serious skiers as it is with rookies – as well as people who are more interested in sipping wine on the slopes than actually skiing!
Courmayeur prides itself on its entertainment and exceptional Italian food, but the skiing is second to none. The fact that it sits in the shadow of Mont Blanc is a serious draw for Courmayeur, and you can travel up the ridgeline in the Funivie Monte Bianco cable car to admire breathtaking views from the highest point in Europe (it’s up to you whether you want to ski back down!).
Courmayeur also enjoys access to the famous glacial run of the Vallée Blanche, and there’s plenty of excellent off-piste ski terrain here too.
But while the skiing options here are excellent, this is a place to come if you also want to enjoy plenty of relaxation and entertainment on your skiing holiday. The cable car runs until midnight, which means you can enjoy sumptuous mountain-top meals in the evening, and there are fabulous wellness facilities here too, which allow you to rest and recharge while being immersed in nature.
9. Lech, Austria
If you’re not a fan of the in-your-face glitz that many ski resorts seem to embrace, Lech in Austria has a much more modest vibe.
Known for its high snowfall, staying in Lech gives you access to the huge Arlberg ski area and the famous White Ring – a circuit of 14 miles linking Lech, Zürs, and Zug. However, the slopes here are much gentler than the other resorts.
Lech is a resort that’s perfect for beginners and intermediates who want to enjoy some leisurely, laidback skiing, and the wide, tree-lined slopes are the ideal place to build your confidence.
If you fancy something more demanding, you can hop in the Rüfikopf lift to whizz down the steep runs from Zürs – and with speedy gondolas and heated chairlifts, getting around is both easy and comfortable. There are also miles of winter walking trails too, for when you want a break from skiing.
The tiny village of Lech still feels like an authentic mountain community and is home to humble wooden chalets, traditional farmhouses, and historic churches. Though there’s no real sense of glitz and glamour here, there are plenty of award-winning restaurants, as well as chic boutiques, stylish yet informal bars, and interesting art galleries – so there’s no chance of becoming bored!
Whether you’re a skiing expert or are just thinking about hitting the slopes for the very first time, there’s no denying that skiing is an exhilarating and addictive sport. From the mountains of Bulgaria to the French Alps, Europe is home to the world’s top ski resorts, and there’s something for every level and every budget.
As this article hopefully shows, a skiing holiday is about more than just skiing. You can also enjoy incredible food and drink, immerse yourself in the authentic culture, and simply enjoy the unique sense of peace and freedom that comes with being in such an idyllic mountain location.
For more ideas and inspiration for your next adventure, you might want to check out the wider travel section of our site.