Take advantage of Europe’s beautiful mountain scenery and plentiful winter activities: Alpine and Nordic skiing, ice climbing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating and more await those with a penchant for outdoor sports. If you prefer a calmer approach to winter, plenty of firesides and cozy chairs invite occupants with a hot drink and a book!
What comes after ice fishing, dog sledding, or a snow mobile safari in Scandinavia? A relaxing sauna followed by an ice water plunge or a roll in the snow. You’ll feel vibrant from head to toe!
Sweden accommodates all skill levels at family-oriented resorts featuring both special attractions for kids and adult-oriented challenges. A snowmobile tour is a thrill for all levels of fitness, so everyone can exult in the gorgeous winter wilderness, and perhaps the Northern Lights washing the sky with colour, if you’re lucky!
Norway has some of the world’s best-loved snowboarding areas, carefully groomed for maximum fun. Need more adrenaline? Snowkiting combines a high-performance kite with skis or snowboard to whisk you to the top of the run. Fantastic speed and thrills going up and coming down!
Finland embraces winter with all kinds of snowy fun. Try kick sledding, an early 20th century fad making a comeback. A dogsled safari ride behind beautiful dogs who sweep you through the sparkling countryside is unforgettable —and you can try taking control and guiding them yourself!
Imagine touring a glacier by snowmobile or skiing on volcanic mountainsides in Iceland. Afterwards, soothe those well-worked muscles in a natural hot spring surrounded by glittering snow!
The Carpathian Mountains are the longest European mountain range after the Alps and afford opportunities for winter sports a bit off the beaten path. When you ski, snowboard, or trek in the Czech Republic, you’ll almost always be in a protected area or national park. Slovakia knows that variety is the spice of life, no matter how good the skiing—so try snowtubing, snowrafting, bungee catapult, or bobsledding! A mixture of ski touring, mountaineering and high-mountain skiing, ski mountaineering is popular in Slovakia. Abundant opportunities to snowboard, ice skate, and go dog sledding are yours as well. The Mazury region in Poland offers both Alpine and Nordic ski facilities. Romania’s dozens of ski resorts offer tracks of varying difficulty.
Which Alps? This majestic range runs through Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, France, and Austria.
Top-notch winter sports in the unspoiled scenery of Switzerland are accompanied by an unpretentious, down-to-earth welcome. Imagine snowshoeing in the hush of a snowy forest, or the breathtaking mountain vista at the top of a piste! Try a romantic horse-drawn sledge ride on Lake Sils, or the delights of Bettmeralp—accessible only by cable car. Don’t forget some Swiss chocolate for a pick-me-up on the slopes.
Italy has major ski resorts throughout “the boot”: From Gran Paradiso to the Matterhorn, and from Mont Blanc to Monte Rosa, you’ll find terrific Alpine resorts and the Dolomites’ “Dolomiti Superski” network features 12 different skiing areas. The Gran Sasso, east of Rome, is home to the Campo Felice ski resort, with 16 lifts. In Calabria, the Sila Massif offers 35 km of cross-country skiing.
Skiing in Austria is rivaled only by the charm of its mountain villages. Kitzbühel, with brightly painted 13th century houses, or Tyrolean Innsbruck, nestled in a gorgeous mountain bowl, make enticing ski breaks. Austrian ski-schools and instructors such as the legendary Hannes Schneider are renowned; he and others have founded ski-schools in Austria, Canada, and the United States.
The Garmisch-Partenkirchen ski area in Germany’s Bavarian Alps is well-suited for beginner and intermediate skiers, with terrific sightseeing in easy reach, from romantic castles to the Glockenspiel of Munich. The greatest variety of slopes and excellent Nordic trails are at Kleinwalsertal, Germany’s largest ski area.
The annual Men’s and Women’s World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom competitions take place in Slovenia—a good indication of great skiing! The Cerkno Ski Centre, with terrain for every level, is perfect for families. The recently renovated Vogel Centre is one of the highest ski centers in Slovenia, and thus a great option for late season skiing.
Skiing in France? Consider ski touring, a combination of climbing and wilderness skiing. Not skiing in France? Try a wintertime adventure course among the trees at Métabief, spelunking in Rousses Fort's underground network of tunnels, or ski-joëring, where a horse pulls you on skis in a flat field.
Skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Spain puts you within an hour of a warm dip in the sea! Catalan Pyrenees ski resorts, such as Baqueira Bere, require great skill, while those n the Aragonese Pyrenees are well-suited to intermediate and young skiers.
Mount Olympus is protected as a National Park, where, thanks to modern infrastructure development, they are ideal for winter activities including skiing and hiking.