Did you know that Switzerland is the birthplace for winter sports? Yes, Switzerland is one of the best places to have your skiing/snowboarding holiday.
It’s full of picture-perfect villages and mountain sceneries to enjoy. Other sceneries melt away in comparison to what Switzerland has to offer. In addition to this, Swiss hospitality is the best there is. The terrain is first class and the mountain cuisine is more than delicious – your taste buds will thank you.
But before you up and leave for the snowy Swiss mountains, it’s important that you get all your facts right. For planning purposes, you should know how you’ll get there, where you’ll stay, the best ski resorts to visit for the best experience and how much the entire trip will cost you. Figuring all this out beforehand will ensure you have a great time.
Unfortunately, doing all this research on your own can be hectic and at times even impossible. For this reason, we’ve compiled a guide to help you get the best of everything and make great memories.
But before we dive into the fine details, here are some reasons why Switzerland is a great destination for ski and snowboarding holidays:
This is no secret. Switzerland is home to some of the best slopes in the skiing and snowboarding world. Every ski/snowboard season, thousands flock in the resorts scattered all over the country. Some of these slopes are ranked the best in offering excellent skiing experience and others for their breathtaking views and beauty. If you plan on taking a ski/snowboarding holiday on a budget, there are loads of options to take advantage of in Switzerland.
Think about it. Would the best skiers and snowboarders frequent slopes that were substandard? Of course not. Several top skiers, freestylers and snowboarders frequent these slopes and participate in competitions. The Ski World Cup, The Brits and The Freestyle Championships are some of the tournaments that have been held on these slopes.
Many of the ski resorts in Switzerland boast of having almost guaranteed snow throughout the ski/snowboarding season. This is a big deal since as the temperatures rise and the weather becomes unpredictable, most resorts can no longer guarantee snow at 1000m throughout the winter season. But fortunately, there are still a lot of resorts in Switzerland that can guarantee the snow throughout the ski/snowboarding season.
Whether you are a pro on the slopes or a newbie courageous enough to give the snowy slopes a chance, there are loads of ski schools that will help you master ski and snowboarding techniques. Children can also have a go at the slopes with the help of accredited and professional coaches. Additionally, many resorts in Switzerland have an excellent mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert slopes to practice on.
The Winter Olympics have been hosted in St. Moritz twice; in 1928 and in 1948. Though it’s the only resort in Switzerland to have hosted the Winter Olympics and that was eons ago, it is still respected and appreciated by many.
Being a ski holiday, you obviously want to ski or snowboard. But let’s face it, you’ll not be on the slopes 24/7. Every now and then, you’ll want to take a break. And when you do, you’ll have fun indulging in the non-ski and non-snowboarding activities. You can put on your snowshoes and trek through the snow enjoying the beautiful Alp scenery. And if you are a speed junkie, you can hop into a bobsleigh. Simply put, there are loads of things you can do in Switzerland when you are not sliding down the slopes.
Aside from the snow slopes, there are lots of activities and cultural events that you can be a part of and have loads of fun. The season being winter doesn’t mean that Switzerland restricts you to ‘cold’ and ‘icy’ activities. Some of these events include races in Valais, a Balloon festival, and music and ski festivals.
After hitting the slopes hard all day, you will want something to help you regain your energy. For this, Switzerland has great cuisine. Some of the famous cuisines you might know include cheese fondue, chocolate, and wine. You also get to check out all the latest ski jackets / ski pants fashion trends while out partying with like-minded revellers!
Nothing is better than speeding fast down the slopes and having a great view of the Alps in the distance and the valley below. It’s in Switzerland where you’ll come across some of the most moving and impressive views.
Scattered across Switzerland and close to the ski resorts are beautiful and budget-friendly hotels. There are some with a modern theme and some with a more cultural theme. You can choose whichever meets your fancy
A ski/snowboard holiday in Switzerland can be expensive. However, this is not always the case. There are some budget-friendly options you can take advantage of.
If your restaurant doesn’t include breakfast in its offer, you should expect to pay anywhere between €5.94 and €9.90.
For lunch, there are numerous joints that serve casual meals at budget-friendly prices. The prices range from €7.92 - €14.85.
For dinner, take away options will set you back anything between €17.82 and €24.75.
A bottle of wine will cost you anywhere between €6 and €7 or more. Lots of options are in the range of €13. At a grocery store, a 6-pack beer will cost between €6.5 and €8.5.
In restaurants and bars, a draft beer costs between €3.5 and €4.5 while a bottle of wine and a shot of liquor cost €22 and €8.9 respectively.
The prices vary depending on the comfort levels and location of the hotel. However, the prices start at €36 and can go up to €555.
Budget: On average, assuming you get the best hotel deals and spend sparingly on food and don’t travel a lot, you should spend about €70 every day.
Midlevel: If you are looking for a mix of budget-friendly deals and comfort, you’ll spend about €150. With this price, you’ll have decent enough meals and sleep in an Instagram worthy hotel.
VIP: If you are looking to splurge, there is no limit on how much you can spend. Some VIPs can even spend €25,000 on a bottle of Champagne (coated with gold). However, for VIP treatment, most clients spend €500 per night.
The biggest airport in Switzerland is Zurich followed by Geneva and Basel. Most people get into Switzerland through Zurich.
The cost of tickets in Europe varies depending on location. From different cities, the flight costs will be as follows:
From Paris - €160 From London - €180 – €200 From Berlin - €110 - € 130 From Prague - €160 - €250
If you live in Europe, you can travel to Switzerland by train or by car. For instance from London to Zurich, you can take a train through Paris. The journey will take about 5 hours and 23 minutes and cost you about €70 for a one-way ticket and €130 for a two-way ticket.
You can also get to Switzerland by car. For instance, Paris is 606 km away from Zurich. Aside from fuel costs, you’ll have to pay a toll fee of €40.
Now that you know what to expect from a ski/snowboarding holiday in Switzerland, let’s have a look at some of the best ski resorts available.
Note: this list is in no particular order. Every ski resort made into the list based on its uniqueness. Your choice of which to choose ultimately boils down to your needs and preference. But that doesn’t mean one is necessarily better than the other (and if one is indeed better than the rest, we’ll let you be the judge of that).
Verbier is best known for its awesome nightlife, night skiing, and versatile slopes. The resort has a beginner, intermediate, and expert slopes that cater to everyone regardless of their skiing abilities.
Verbier is a party town. It’s apres ski reputation precedes it. And actually, its nightlife comes close to beating its skiing experience. Verbier has 12 bars. These bars have great DJs and music. Speaking of music, you’ll appreciate the fact that it’s not excessively loud. You can always hear each other speak. If you please, you can go all night without getting bored.
If you are not skiing, Verbier has a lot of activities you can indulge in. Some of these activities include helicopter sightseeing, fitness retreat on the mountains with great views, paragliding, snowshoeing, rock, and ice climbing, sledding and spending your day at the spa.
Verbier is located only 167 km from the Geneva International Airport. It takes about 2 1/3 hours to get to Verbier by road and 3 hours by rail. The closest airport to Verbier is Sion Airport which is 61 km away. By road, an airport transfer will take only 1 hour 10 minutes. However, this airport has fewer flights.
Parsenn is famous for its wide slopes with runs that feature scattered traditionally styled huts. It has slopes for all skiers (beginners, intermediate, and expert). On the mountain are 15 restaurants that will attend to your every culinary wish.
And last but not least, it has the longest run. The run was discovered in 1895 by 4 English tourists.
It’s also perfect for families and persons into cross country skiing.
Before you hit the adrenaline filled valley run, you should pop into the Scheebar Total to relax under the palm trees. Once you’ve had enough of the palm trees, you can take the party down to the valley in Davos and Klosters. In Davos, the bar options are so many. You can keep partying all night. In Klosters, try the Gotschnabar and Gaudy’s Grastroechni umbrella bar.
The off ski activities in Parsenn include ice hockey, ice skating, speed skating, winter walking, curling, wall climbing, indoor tennis, hang gliding and swimming.
The nearest airport to this resort is St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport. The two are only 116 km apart. By road, it will take 1 hour and 37 minutes and by train, it will take 2 hours 30 minutes depending on the departure times.
St Moritz has diverse ski slopes. The slopes cater to beginners, intermediate and experts. And with so many restaurants, it’s perfect for families and kids. Last but not least, the trail journey from Zermatt is breathtaking.
The apres ski starts on the snowy slopes. The best spots include Alpina Hutte and Schirm Bar. In the town below, there are other lively bars including the Pitz De Tsechna. This bar has live music. The nightlife is good given the wide selection of nightclubs, casino, and cozy bars.
If you are not on the slopes skiing or snowboarding, you can go snowshoeing, curling, ice skating, playing squash or indoor tennis. In addition to these activities, you could also go sight-seeing on helicopter rides, paragliding or sleigh rides.
St. Moritz is only a few hours away by train or car from Milan and Zurich. Zurich airport is 229 km away while the Milan Malpensa Airport is 251 km away which translates to.
Though it has slopes for all skiers, experts have quite a short slope to run on. For the beginners and intermediates looking to advance their skiing skills, there’s the option of two ski schools. This makes it even great for kids. In addition to the school, there are care centers that offer half day or full day care to kids up to 7 years.
More to this, it has a great view overlooking the Rhone valley.
There are a variety of apres ski bars to choose from. These include Murphy’s Le Petit Chalet and L’Arrivée.
Note: the action is in the town and not the mountain.
Aside from skating, you can enjoy any one of the below off ski activities as you won’t be on the slopes all day:
You can get to Villars by road or train from Geneva airport which is 120 km away. You can also get to it from Sion airport which is 61 km away.
Murren is right in the middle of the breath-taking scenery. There are slopes for experts, beginners, and intermediate skiers. More to this, the resort is family friendly. Kids between 3 and 5 years can take classes at the informal ski school. Kids can learn how to ski in a fun way.
You can bring your day to an end in Gondelbar or one of the mountain huts. The apres ski atmosphere is calm and dignified. However, it’s not the best we’ve seen. We doubt you’ll party all night.
Other activities aside from skiing and snowboarding include curling, ice skating, fondue evening, wellness, mountain biking, tobogganing, and winter walking.
The closest airports to Murren ski resort are Zurich and Bern Airport. Getting to Murren from these airports involves traveling by rail or road to Lauterbrunnen and catching a cable car ride to Murren.
This is a ski region consisting of 4 ski resorts. The resorts are:
This region is known for its panoramic views and versatile slopes perfect for the beginner, expert, and intermediate skiers. The area is great for families and kids as well courtesy of the ski school available. There are also guided custom guided tours available lasting for 8 days.
There are many places you can unwind after a long day on the slopes. The party can start at the Tipirama. You can also choose to celebrate in the cozy apres ski huts along the runs to Wengen and Grindelwald.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, you can also go Paragliding and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Alps and valleys, go on a romantic trail walk with your loved one or join a ski school
You can drive to this region from Bern Airport. It’s only 69 km away and 1 hour and 3 minutes away by road. You can also drive from airport Basel, which is 173 km away.
Zermatt has more than 200 km of slopes with sufficient lifts to serve them. These slopes are perfect for intermediates, experts and families. On the slopes, you are treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the Alps.
You should expect loads of lively and fun Apres and parties in Zermatt. The live music and drinks are more than welcoming. Some of the best Apres to try out include Hennu Stall, Cervo, Pollux bar, Papperla pub, and Harry’s ski bar.
While in Zermatt, you can also go ice skating, curling, swimming, and winter hiking. Moreover, you can take a helicopter ride and enjoy the view or go and relax at the spa.
The nearest airport is Geneva which is only 230 km away (2 hours and 40 minutes away by road. By train, you’ll take about 3 hours and 50m minutes.
This resort is a beautiful, calm and serene village located in one of the scenic areas in the Swiss Alps. The ski area is linked to Grindelwald and has a variety of ski terrains perfect for intermediates, beginners and experts alike. It’s amenities including restaurants and bars reel in middle-aged couples and young families. There are also a couple of ski schools where your kids can learn to take their firsts steps.
The Apres ski starts on the slopes with several venues which bring life to the slopes with live music and DJs. The nightlife is more of chic lounges and comfy café bars. There are also a couple of nightclubs you can unwind in.
You could also go curling and ice skating, tobogganing, go swimming or take a steam bath. More to this, you can enjoy winter walking and a movie in the cinema.
The closest airports to Wengen are Zurich and Bern. By road, it’ll take you about two hours from Zurich. By train, it’ll take 3 hours.
Saas-Fee is known as one of the best family-friendly resorts in Switzerland. It has nursery slopes and many flat slopes for beginners to get started on. There are also loads of ski schools that run supervised training and activities for kids. The slopes are also great for intermediate and expert skiers. The slopes are snow sure throughout the winter season and the scenery is impeccable.
The party crowd is well catered to by the Saas-Fee ski resort. If you are looking to have a good time with half the noise nightclubs have, the bars in the upmarket hotels are perfect. However, you should prepare to pay a premium for these.
There’s a lot to do in Saas-Fee aside from skiing and snowboarding. You could opt to go winter walking, snowshoeing, ice climbing, gorge adventure, tobogganing and enjoy a day at one of the spas.
The nearest airport to Saas-Fee is Sion airport which is only 78 km away. By road, this is approximately a 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive.
Adelboden ski resort is known as one of the most loved ski resorts. The resort is located amidst beautiful Alpine scenery. The resort has an old and rustic charm to it. It’s popular with families given its many family-oriented facilities including in-house childcare. The slopes are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers.
There are some little joints with occasional DJs and live music. The Arte Lounge and Time Out Pub are the most popular in the area.
But even with these joints, you shouldn’t expect to be partying all night.
Aside from the slopes, this resort has loads of activities and attractions including wellness and beauty spas, hotel pools and sports centers with wall climbing, bowling, curling and ice skating rinks.
The nearest airports are Bern, Basel, and Zurich which are 70 km, 160km, and 180 km away. By road, Bern is only 45 minutes away.
The resort has long and extensive slopes perfect for intermediate, beginner and expert skiers. In addition to this, many people love it for its panoramic views from the top slopes. And given it has a ski school, it’s the perfect place for kids to learn ski basics.
At Laax/Films/Falera, there is something for everyone looking to unwind after a hard day on the slopes. Some of the Apres ski joints you should try out include crap bar Laax, Legna bar, and Tegia Larnags. You will party till late in the night.
You can enjoy winter treks which will take about 2 hours. You can also visit the Mirasteilas observatory or visit Parc la Mutta and the Yellow House.
The resort is about 13/4 hours from Zurich airport by road. Unfortunately, Laax doesn’t have a train travel option.
In Val d’Anniviers, there are 3 ski resorts. These resorts include Grimentz, Saint Luc, and Vercorin.
It is known for its slope diversity. The slopes can accommodate skiers of all levels. Additionally, there are ski schools to help kids and beginners get a hang of the basics pretty fast. At high altitudes, the view of the valley below and the horizon is breathtaking
Unfortunately, the nightlife here isn’t exciting. Val d’Anniviers isn’t a party place. However, to chill and unwind after hitting the slopes, the Chez Florioz at the foot of the slopes is perfect.
Activities that don’t involve skiing include taking walks and ice skating at the ice rink (it’s free). You can also go up the slopes at night for some tobogganing.
The quickest route is to through Sion Airport. It is only 29 km away (a 30 minutes’ drive). However, there’s also the option of going through Geneva airport. Geneva airport is only 2 hours away through A9 or A1.
This is one of the best freeride and top powder destinations. It experiences freak storms which heap fresh snow on the slopes and create perfect runs for beginners, experts, and intermediates. When the sun shines the views from the slopes are exquisite. There are a host of off-ski activities and family-friendly facilities including restaurants and a ski school where kids can be watched and taught ski basics while you cascade down the slopes.
In comparison to other Swiss resorts, Apres ski bars are great. On the mountain slopes, there is the Iglu bar which is sensational. The Core Irish and Chalet are excellent options as well.
If you are not quite into skiing and snowboarding, then you can take a cable car ride over the glaciers, go paragliding, ice walking and walk on a suspension bridge on a cliff.
The closest airport to the resort is Zurich. It’s 100km away which is only 2 hours by train and 1 hour 20 minutes by road.
Crans-Montana has many off-slope amenities as well as beautiful sceneries to enjoy. In addition to this, the ski area is sizeable and features slopes perfect for intermediate, beginners and experts. Its snow park adds to its perks and makes it popular with freestylers and snowboarders.
Apres ski amenities are sophisticated instead of rocking. This makes them perfect for couples and mature clients who’d want to relax in the tea rooms or cafes. However, for those who would prefer a more upbeat and lively venue, there are loads of apres ski joints with live music and DJs.
Other fun activities include snow tubing, tobogganing, ice skating, swimming, winter walking, shopping and taking wellness spas sessions.
The closest airports to Crans Montana are Sion Airport and Bern Airport which are 14.95 km and 68.43 m away from.
This is by far one of the oldest and prettiest resorts in Switzerland. It is famous for its large ski area – one of the largest in the world. With such a vast ski area, it’s bound to have something for everyone beginner and experts alike.
If you don’t have enough of skiing during the day, you can continue at night on Wednesdays and on Saturdays. It has loads of family-friendly facilities including a ski school and swimming pool for kids.
It also has beautiful scenery.
Mitchell’s bar is the main apres ski. It features modern décor and has comfy seats. But generally, it’s Apres ski scene is not busy.
Though skiing would be your first option. There are several activities you can try out. These include playing darts, pony trekking, farm visits, Snowshoeing and curling.
The closest airports are Geneva and Sion. Sion is 62 km away while Geneva is 130 km away. You can travel by road or rail.
Gstaad has a great ambiance. It has quite a large ski area with slope options for experts, beginners, and intermediates. It has an excellent sports center with world-class off-slope amenities.
It is family friendly. Kids aged 9 and below can use ski lifts for free. There’s also a ski kindergarten for kids aged 3 and below. Moreover, the resort also features a ski school.
Gstaad has joints for all kinds of persons. However, you should note that the best night spots aren’t cheap. With that said, you can enjoy the night to the fullest.
Aside from skiing, you can spend your time bowling, sleigh riding, and tobogganing. You can also visit the casino or the cinema.
The closest airport to Gstaad is Bern airport. The airport is only 51.69 km. However, few flights are available. The next best option is Geneva Airport, which is 94.06 km away.
It has a ski school and nursery slopes where kids and beginners will undoubtedly spend their first couple of days learning the basics. In addition to this, the resort has slopes for intermediates and experts as well. While kids are having a blast at the nursery adults will enjoy the scenery from the slopes. There is also a long list of restaurants to choose from. You’ll find Swiss, French, Italian, Japanese and Chinese meals served in these restaurants.
With so much happening at night, the bars are pushed to the side. Nonetheless, there are establishments that offer live music and keeps you entertained all night long.
For the times you’ll be tired of skiing, you can hike in the trails or go tobogganing.
You can get to this resort via car or train from Zurich airport. The journey is only 1 hour and 55 minutes.
Note: When arriving by car, there is little information or signs to direct you to the car parks or railway stations. As such, if you are driving yourself, you should contact the resort in advance for travel advice. When traveling by car you’ll take 2.5 hours on the road and by train, you’ll take 3 hours.
Arosa has a beautiful setting in the wooden basin that’s surrounded by rugged mountains. It is sizeable and its snow is reliable.
It is great for intermediate, expert and beginner skiers. If you are a free rider, you can enjoy the off-piste routes.
The Arosa Junior Club features many activities suitable for kids in addition to lots o discounts. This alone makes it great for families.
Its apres-ski environment is relative. It’s not the best we’ve seen and neither is it the worst. It has loads of great clubs and bars to keep you entertained and having lots of fun. Some of these clubs include Nuts Club and Kitchen Club.
You can go ice skating on the lakeside or enjoy sleigh rides between Inner Arosa and the resort. In addition to this, you can also opt to spend your day at a spa getting pampered and soothing the sore muscles.
Arosa is 160 km from Zurich. You can get to Arosa by road or rail from Zurich airport. However, the final climb to Arosa is laden with bends (365). In addition to this, once you get to the resort, you’ll not need the car a lot. For this reason, many people prefer traveling by train.
From Zurich airport, the journey by road should take about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Other close airports include Friedrichshafen airport and Memmingen airport, which are 155 km and 195 km away respectively.
Well, now that you know how much it’ll cost you and the best resorts, you should start planning. Lay out everything you need for the ski holiday. Make plane, hotel and resort bookings in preparation for a great time ahead. Don’t forget to pack your ski/snowboarding gear.