Thinking about heading to Europe for your next ski holiday, but want to get off the beaten track? We’re diving into some of the hidden gems out there and putting them on our bucket lists. With some of the world’s best terrain and après lifestyle, Switzerland is a skier’s or snowboarder’s dream come true… now you just have to choose which resort suits you best.
And no, not the Harry Potter character. The village of Grindelwald happens to be the largest ski resort in the region of Jungfrau, and it’s one of the most popular resorts in the country. Beyond being absolutely gorgeous – boasting jaw-dropping peaks, glaciers, lakes, all the rest of it – Grindelwald has access to three different ski resorts (First, Kleine Scheidegg and Muerren-Schilthorn) offering up 160km worth of runs and 30 lifts that reach an altitude of 2500m. You can also explore 80km worth of winter walking trails and experience a 15km toboggan run, one of the longest toboggan runs in the Alps.
Try and time your visit to coincide with the World Snow Festival in January, which involves artists carving ice sculptures from snow blocks; or plan a trip for February to enjoy the Velogemel World Championship on snow bikes, a local favourite event that’s exclusive to Grindelwald.
This village is in central Switzerland, and will be perfect for history buffs or those looking for a holiday spot with great character and charm. Engelberg is partly famous for the local Benedictine monastery, which was founded in 1120; the monks still live, work and teach to this day. With classic Swiss architecture and a beautiful ski area, it’s an especially gorgeous spot to bring the entire family, with special kids programs and activities running throughout the year.
Go skiing or snowboarding on the variety of terrain, including a 12km run down to the Valley which is one of the longest in the area; take a guide and try some ski touring; test out a new adventure with sledding at night on Fridays and Saturdays; go cross-country skiing on 35km of trails; or hike 53km of winter hiking trails, all while enjoying those classic mountain views and winter sunshine.
The two resorts of Villars-Sur-Ollon and Gryon make up Villars-Gryon and offer up 44 lifts and 125km of slopes to explore. There’s also a glacier skiing area at 3000m, three snowparks and 44 km of cross-country skiing trails. Finish up your day on the mountain, your sledding or your winter hiking, and head for some drinks to embrace the local après spirit, or treat yourself to a visit to the Lavey thermal baths.
This area is perfect for those looking to do a lot more than just skiing and snowboarding; you can check out the nearby working salt mine in Bex, part of which is still open to the public; wander through the winter markets, shopping for souvenirs and sampling mulled wine; or even visit nearby Lake Geneva.
This unique spot is nestled into a valley that happens to be one of the most magical spots in Switzerland. Forming the crossroads of the mountain passes and an important water source, you also get some of the most reliable snow of anywhere in the country. The best part is that it’s off the beaten track, so if you’re looking for true adventure, you’ll find it here.
Choose from several different ski areas, including Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun, which offers up a wide variety of terrain; Gemsstock, perfect for adrenaline lovers and those looking for steeps; and Nätschen and Sedrun, geared towards families with their range of activities and mellower terrain. There’s also new lifts being built and new resort features, including one of the most luxury hotels you’ll find anywhere in the world, The Chedi.
Have you been to Switzerland? Any recommendations for us?