Winter sports tour
Brace yourself, winter is coming...
Were you doubting that you'd get your annual dose of adrenaline this year? Well doubt no more because we've put together a list of Europe's best winter sports destinations, with something for every type of thrill-seeker, whether you're into a classic ski trip, or after something a bit more magical. Find the best Interrail Pass for you and go explore these destinations!
Davos is a small Swiss town with an international appeal that has pretty much always extended beyond its slopes. Its reputation sprang from the tuberculosis sanatoriums that were built here in the belief that the crisp, clean mountain air could provide a respite from the disease.
Davos is a special place because while some winter destinations in the Alps might have to create their snow, being high in elevation, Davos gets plenty from the sky during the ski season. The slopes are linked to those of the neighbouring village Klosters, and have in total six separate ski sectors covering 300km of pistes and good terrain parks.
Winter can often be associated with endless nights and ice-cold winds, frozen lakes and vast emptiness. But those features are exactly what makes Lofoten a true wonderland at this time of year – a calmand quiet collection of islands, waiting to be explored.
Winter in Lofoten is exciting. Activities range from winter kayaking and RIB boat tours, to eagle feeding and taking in the beautiful scenery.
The promise of northern lights and snow-covered cliffs that drop off directly into the fjords – where the Arctic water shimmers in all shades of dark blue and almost black – this is what gets visitors hearts beating. It’s the perfect place to spend the long nights in a cosy cabin – light a fireplace or plunge into a hot tub.
Short days mean that you have a good chance of seeing the northern lights. Sometimes they show themselves as a veil of warm green tones, while at other times they are across the sky as a colour inferno that goes from white to a reddish-purple. Suddenly they’re there, and just as suddenly they might disappear – a natural firework display.
Mount Fatra, Slovakia
The Tatra Mountains, which are an eastern extension of the Alps, form the natural border between Slovakia and Poland and provide amazing conditions for many winter activities.
Head downhill with your skis or snowboard, experience skiing in the deeper powdery snow while admiring the beauty of the countryside with cross-country skiing, go dog sledding with some cute huskies, build an actual igloo and then head to the oh-so-hot outdoor thermal pools to relax after a day in the snow.
St. Anton, Austria
The slopes at St. Anton offer pristine and reliable conditions. There's a great selection for skiers and snowboarders of varying levels. It's just over 1 hour by train from Innsbruck, making it an easy choice for your next snow holiday.
It's a great family option with the opportunity to send your kids to a high-quality ski school. No kids? No problem, head over to the summit of Valluga mountain, where you can see mountain peaks of five countries: Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany!
Furthermore, next to loads of off-slope activities and family-friendly hotels and restaurants, we recommend taking a scenic ride to this amazing vantage point on a clear day.
Champoluc is the largest resort in the Monterosa ski area, with great glacier views, uncrowded slopes and fabulous off-piste. You will find roughly 200km of freshly groomed powder and spectacular scenery, accompanied by a low key, local vibe. This destination is the ideal spot for individuals looking for a non-touristic area to have some fun. You can reach it from the city of Turin, with a 1h 22m train to Verres, then 40 minute bus into the mountains.
The resort is perfect for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, however, with its extensive off-piste runs like Gressoney and Alagna, experts can find some interesting terrains to get their adrenaline pumping.
The town and resort are charming, with several craftshops, an ice rink, and good restaurants serving delicious Italian classics. Of all the villages in the Monterosa ski area, it’s the best place for après-ski cocktails and live music, although still relatively quiet compared to other Alpine resorts.
Tip: The advantage of a destination such as Champoluc is the local vibe, which means more bang for your buck when it comes to food and drinks, in comparison to its better know competitors.
If you want the classic igloo experience, it’s hard to beat Kakslauttanen, the original glass igloo resort in Finnish Lapland, opened in 1999. The modern domes set the stage for a kaleidoscopic tendril, with skinny, snow-dusted pines perfecting the setting for your private evening.
What’s even better are the Kelo-Glass igloos, which fuse the two concepts under one crystal roof. Stay here for your winter break where you will not only have a charming cabin with views which may include aurora sightings, but also the opportunity to enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, reindeer rides and snowmobile safaris.
You can reach the resort with an 8h train from Helsinki, followed by a 3h bus after stopping at the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. This destination is definitely worth braving the Arctic cold for!