Winter holidays in Europe are an excellent option for those of us who love the outdoors. Read on to discover where to go snowboarding in Europe, when to go, how to choose the accommodation that’s right for you and more.
When is the Snow Season in Europe?
The snow season in Europe runs from Christmas to March, depending on the resort’s altitude and the weather that particular winter. Christmas is a beautiful time to visit with trees and decorations in the resort villages and hotels. Christmas and New Year tend to be the most expensive weeks to visit, followed closely by February school half term.
Spring typically sees much lower prices. Spring is also a great option for beautiful riding conditions; imagine blue sky sunny days with heaps of snow underfoot. Our favourite things about snowboarding in Spring is being able to wear far less winter layers than during the winter months.
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How Long Should I Go For?
When it comes to snowboarding holidays in Europe, one week is the ideal length for your trip. A week is long enough to really get into the sport, giving muscles enough time to work out what is going on and really practise the new skills you are learning (or remembering).
In addition, a week is also short enough to not burn those muscles out completely. When you are a beginner snowboarder, muscles will ache that you didn’t even know you had! Most snowboarding holiday packages are one week long.
Don’t forget to check your travel insurance covers winter sports. Alternatively, purchase special winter sports travel insurance before you go.
Accommodation Options in European Resorts
When it comes to accommodation in Europe’s beautiful mountain resorts, you have a variety of choices. The one you pick should be based on your party’s needs, ages and overall group size. Choose from:
- Chalets – ski chalets are serviced apartments where food is made for you by chalet staff. They are a traditional favourite for many but not a good option if you like your privacy.
- B&Bs – local bed and breakfasts tend to occupy the most charming buildings available. It’s a good idea to check whether a dietary requirement can be accommodated in a bed and breakfast where all local food is likely to be served.
- Ski-in-ski-out Hotels – these properties are usually owned by package holiday companies. They typically have excellent and varied facilities, making them a good option for groups and families.
- Hostels – as is common in other areas of the world, hostels are a great choice for solo travellers. Use hostel communal areas as a way to meet other snowboarders. They are often the most cost effective option too.
- Apartments – small and simple apartments with kitchenette facilities are our go-to option. Apartments allow you to cook your own food which is cost saving. Plus, visiting local supermarkets is a great holiday experience. Apartments are also great for couples and privacy-lovers.
- Luxury Hotels – at the upper end of the price spectrum, nearly all European resorts offer luxury mountain-side hotels where you’ll find some of the best views, high end decor and unbeatable service. These make an excellent choice for celebrating special occasions. We love the brand new Hotel La Tovière in Val d’Isere.
Should I book a Package Winter Holiday?
If you are planning a snowboarding in Europe holiday, you will want to think about whether to book your travel independently or arrange everything in one package with a reputable winter holiday company.
The travel advice given here is for travel from the U.K.
U.K. Package Snowboarding Holidays
Packages are a great option if it’s your very first snowboarding holiday because you’ll benefit from lots of package perks. For example, on your coach journey from airport to resort, a friendly ‘rep’ will be on hand to give you information about the snowfall, the ski area, how to book lessons and more.
The price of a package holiday will depend on a) when you travel and b) when you book. For example, a package winter holiday can be the most expensive option at Christmas, whilst it may be the most cost effective option if you snag a late travel deal.
When it comes to U.K. winter sport package holidays to Europe, you are spoilt for choice. The main companies offering these week long package holidays are Mark Warner, Crystal, Neilson and Inghams. We have travelled with Crystal and Neilson and now choose Neilson every time. Neilson are excellent value for money, often have the most competitive prices and we’ve always experienced friendly and passionate reps.
You may also be interested in Neilson’s COVID-19 Customer Promise.
Driving to Europe from the U.K.
If you choose to travel independently and drive, you’ll want to consider the costs of crossing the English Channel and car parking in resort. You can cross the channel in multiple ways including car ferry, passenger train or the Eurotunnel. Our preferred option is to buy tickets for the Eurotunnel.
Be aware that not all hotels in resort will offer parking so you’ll need to check this before booking your accommodation. Booking.com have excellent search tools to help you do this and clear icons that show information on things like parking.
Booking Conditions & COVID-19
With COVID-19 travel restrictions and last minute changes, it’s very important to check the cancellation and change policies of either your package holiday or the individual booking elements you make i.e. hotels and Euro Tunnel bookings.
You should also check with (or consider) a travel insurance company. Be aware that the insurance policies currently covering COVID-19 specific delays or cancellations vary greatly. The travel industry is changing at the moment and some companies can no longer afford to protect customers from travel disruptions.
Here are our top tips for booking your winter holiday this year:
- Booking last minute may help to avoid disruption
- Consider higher priced flexible crossings with Eurotunnel
- Book with Neilson’s COVID-19 Customer Promise
Remember, companies will have different rules to each other and could be subject to change. For travel insurance during these unpredictable times, we recommend Coverwise.
Where to go Snowboarding in Europe
For your snow holiday in Europe, it’s important to think about which resort will work best for you.
- Who’s coming? You might need day care for a toddler, lessons for beginners or alternative activities for non-skiers/snowboarders.
- What do you want most out of your winter holiday? Nightlife might be a low priority, whilst vegan friendly restaurants might be high on your wish list.
- How long are you willing to travel? Whilst most European airports are a short flight from the U.K., transfer times in your destination are often lengthy. Consider that resort access will involve slow and often steep mountain roads.
To help make your decision a little easier, here are our favourite resort recommendations in Europe.
European Resorts We Recommend
We’ve been on a number of winter sports holidays. Here are our favourite ones for snowboarding in Europe.
Zell am See, Austria
Zell am See in Austria has buckets of European charm with quaint buildings and locally run hotels and B&Bs. It’s a fantastic option for ski or snowboard school and the views from the runs are outstanding. Zell am See also offers other outdoor things to do if you need to take an afternoon to rest your snowboarding leg muscles.
You may also like this Winter in Zell am See Guide.
Les Deux Alpes, France
Les Deux Alpes is an excellent value for money option in the French Alpes with brilliant apres too. It’s not too big and not too small with plenty of interesting options for dinner and shopping; a very sociable resort with a nice vibe.
Snowboarders will love that the shops here have a mix of modern and traditional snowboarding gear available which is sometimes a struggle in other French resorts. Lex Deux Alpes also offers a variety of interesting runs and the glacier gives it a longer season than nearby locations.
You may also like this Les Deux Alpes Travel Guide.
The Three Valleys, France
Val Thorens, Mirabel and Courchevel are all good options if you want to cover large distances on the mountains. Commonly referred to as The Three Valleys, these resorts (and more) link up easily on the piste map with shared lift systems. This is a good option for stays of more than one week and for advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Snowrental is the ski hire specialist in France and Europe: 800 shops for your ski and snowboard rental in over 400 resorts in major ski destinations
Snowrental offers up to 60% discount on walk in shop prices !
Val d’Isere, France
Val d’Isere in France is a picture-perfect winter escape. Here, you can enjoy a little luxury, fantastic lessons, excellent runs for snowboarders and party high in the mountains at the popular La Folie Douche.
Got a great snowboarding resort recommendation in Europe?
Let us know in the comments below.
Snowboarding in Europe
Getting outside in the fresh air and sun is just as important in the winter months, yet somehow feels more challenging. Our remedy to this is finding fun, outdoor winter sports. Our favourite is snowboarding. When it comes to choosing where to go snowboarding in Europe, the choices are endless. Our last piece of advice? Try more than one.