The top 5 ski resorts for Christmas
Can't decide where to spend Christmas this year? Let us help with our guide to the top five resorts for a Christmas to remember.
If you are looking for a guaranteed white Christmas this year then where better to get festive than on the slopes? Whether you are looking for festive fun, glitz and glamour or wild parties, these destinations offer an atmospheric setting, plenty of snow and lashings of Christmas cheer.
Zermatt, Switzerland - for a fairytale Christmas
With sparkling Christmas lights dotted along the car-free streets, a warm glow from the many shops, bars and restaurants, the occasional clip clop of hooves from a passing horse and carriage and the magnificent Matterhorn looming overhead, you can’t fail to feel festive in the enchanting village of Zermatt. Keen skiers can enjoy snow-sure slopes at over 3,000m and with a brand new lift system linking Trockener Steg to the Klein Matterhorn, queues will be a thing of the past. Zermatt is renowned for its wonderful mountain restaurants so you certainly won’t miss out on festive feasting and there are a number of great bars where you can enjoy an apres-ski tipple or two. Still available for Christmas week is the wonderful Chalet Les Anges, a luxurious seven-bedroom mountain retreat with unbeatable views of the Matterhorn, an enviable private indoor spa area and incredible service.
Lech, Austria - for traditional Alpine charm
With the scent of biscuits and mulled wine wafting through the air, choirs singing Christmas carols and wooden chalet-style stalls selling local goods, few places are as atmospheric during the festive season as Lech and its wonderful Christmas markets which take place in the church square. Whilst the destination is associated with Royal visitors, Lech remains true to its farming origins with plenty of alpine charm. Despite its modest altitude of 1,450m, Lech often receives twice as much snow as some its French rivals. Linked to the Arlberg ski area, Lech combines well-groomed pistes with excellent backcountry skiing and 305 km of marked slopes. Off the slopes you can enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides through the local forests, ice skating and rejuvenating spa days. Perfectly positioned in the heart of Lech is the brand-new Nidus Penthouse which still has availability for Christmas week. The apartment sleeps up to ten people and has a sophisticated living and dining area - perfect for relaxing and entertaining friends and family.
Val d’Isere, France - for party goers
Developed around a 17th century church, the town of Val d’Isere combines traditional Savoyard architecture with a fun party atmosphere. During Christmas, the town hosts a variety of festive events to get you into the Christmas spirit. Ice-carving elves will be working away from 4pm-7pm creating a series of icy masterpieces and seven snow sculptures will be dotted around the village. Expect giant Christmas baubles and even a visit from Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. This world-class resort sits at an impressive altitude of 1,850m, making it one of the most snow-sure destinations in the Alps. Famous for its après options, make sure you stop by the infamous Folie Douce, located at the top of the La Daille gondola, for top DJs, dancing and entertainment. Cocorico with live music on the terrace is another popular choice and there are plenty of great spots in the village with a more sophisticated ambiance. Stay at Chalet Himalaya, a ski-in/ski-out chalet with four unique bedroom suites and an incredible indoor-outdoor pool with a wave machine and Jacuzzi. A former monastery dating back to the 17th century, Himalaya offers cosy luxury with a full team of staff meaning you won’t need to lift a finger during your stay.
Megeve, France - for style and sophistication
Founded in 1916 by Baroness Noemie de Rothschild, Megeve is like a French version of St. Moritz. Gleaming boutiques, bars and restaurants line the ancient cobbled streets and the giant Christmas tree towers above the village square. The lighting of the Christmas tree on the 8 December is a main event. Each year there is a different theme - previously the tree has been adorned with special Swarovski crystal ornaments and exquisite hand-painted baubles. We wait in anticipation for this years theme to be revealed. Megeve is home to five Michelin-star restaurants, nine five-star hotels and some of the finest luxury chalets in the Alps. Try the three-Michelin star Flocons de Sel, located just outside the village, for something special. There are three main ski areas - Rochebrune, Mont d’Arbois and the quieter Le Jaillet - which are all reached by cable cars from town. Families will find plenty of gentler slopes to satisfy the younger skiers and off-piste skiers can take their pick of some wonderful ungroomed runs if the snow has fallen. Living up to the resorts’ reputation for sophisticated and stylish accommodation is Chalet des Sens, a seriously impressive five-bedroom property with the plushest of furnishings. A whole floor is dedicated to relaxation and entertainment - enjoy a dip in the indoor swimming pool complete with adjustable floor, counter-current and mirror TV, get competitive in the games room or put your feet up in the cinema room whilst enjoying a glass of wine from the chalet’s own cellar. This chalet really does have everything you could ever wish for.
Les Gets, France - for families
Les Gets, in the expansive Portes du Soleil ski region, is a great choice for families. Aside from visiting Father Christmas and his grotto in the enchanted forest, children can get creative at a chocolate workshop and visit the mechanical music museum for a ride on the wooden horse carousel . The picture-postcard village is draped in fairy lights and on the 24 December a spectacular firework display announces the arrival of Santa and his elves in the village. As part of one of the largest ski areas in the world, keen skiers have an unbelievable 650 km of runs across 12 interconnected resorts at their fingertips. With gentle nursery slopes and more challenging terrain including the infamous Swiss Wall, one of the toughest mogul fields in Europe, there is plenty of skiing to amuse the whole family whatever your level. Apartment Aviemore is an ideal retreat for a cosy family Christmas. Whilst it has ski-in/ski-out access onto Les Chavannes slopes, the apartment is just a stone’s throw from the town centre.