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When it comes to skiing in Europe, Switzerland is often referred to as the crown jewel, and for a good reason. Two-thirds (over 60%) of the country sits on the Swiss Alps, which are notorious for their magnificent slopes, delicious food, and awe-inspiring landscapes.
Based on that information alone, as you can probably imagine, there are more than a handful of destinations that will make for perfect skiing holidays in Switzerland. That said, some destinations are pretty expensive, while others are significantly more affordable.
Before we introduce you to the best Switzerland ski resorts (in our opinion), we want to mention one thing. We won’t be covering destinations that are outrageously expensive (St. Moritz, Gstaad, and so on). Instead, we’ll focus on the skiing destinations that offer not only great slopes and scenery, but value for money too.
Laax is one of Switzerland’s largest, most popular, and snow-sure ski destinations. Located in the Graubünden canton, Laax is situated about 140 km (87 miles) away from the Zurich airport. Transfers to Laax take around two hours by car, which isn’t bad at all.
When it comes to skiing, Laax is home to over 235 kilometres (146 miles) of slopes. Yes, even we were surprised to find that out. When it comes to the difficulty of the slopes, there are plenty of skiing opportunities for everybody, regardless of your skill level.
The majority of slopes are blue (for beginners and families with young children), however, there are at least a few dozen red and black (even double black-lined) slopes where intermediate and advanced skiers can shred through the snow freely.
As far as accommodation is concerned, Laax is home to hundreds of hotels, apartment buildings, and chalets. So, whatever your budget or preference is, you’re sure to find something that works for you.
When it comes to food and beverages, you won’t have a difficult time finding a good place that serves the food and drinks you’re after. What you will have trouble with is picking where to sit as most places offer stunning views and great value for money. Ustria Lags is one such example and it’s not that expensive to eat there, so we definitely recommend you pay them a visit if you choose to go to Laax.
Saas-Fee is a charming small village situated in the Valais region of Switzerland (right on the border with Italy). The closest airport to Saas-Fee is the Geneva airport, which is approximately 180 kilometres (112 miles) away. This journey takes around three hours by car, but it’s definitely worth it, and here’s why.
In total, Saas-Fee is home to around 100 kilometres (62 miles) of slopes. The large majority of the slopes are for beginners and intermediate skiers, making it perfect for families with children and people who ski for fun every once in a while. If you’re an advanced skier, don’t lose hope just yet. There are a handful of black slopes that you can enjoy too (around 20 kilometres or 12.4 miles in total).
What makes Saas-Fee so unique is that the village is completely car-free. That’s right, you won’t see a single car in the village itself. Saas-Fee is also known for its picturesque setting as it is surrounded by thirteen towering 4,000-metre peaks that you can look at when going down the slopes.
As for accommodation, the village of Saas-Fee is filled with luxury and budget-friendly hotels, chalets, and apartments, allowing everyone to find exactly what they’re after, regardless of their budget and taste.
When it comes to cuisine, there are a handful of great restaurants, bars, and cafes. Each of them offers a mix of Swiss and international cuisine (Brasserie 1809 is our favourite). Some of the hot spots in town even offer a stunning view of the mountains, adding to the dining experience.
Engelberg is renowned in the skiing community for being one of Switzerland’s best destinations for intermediate and advanced skiers that are looking for a serious challenge. That said, there are also a handful of beginner-friendly slopes, so don’t worry if you’re not that experienced of a skier yet.
Situated in the Obwalden canton, Engelberg is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) away from Zurich airport. The average time it will take you to get to the skiing destination from the airport by car is around 90 minutes, which isn’t bad at all.
The village of Engelberg is home to around 80 km (50 miles) of groomed and off-piste slopes, making it a favourite amongst normal skiers and those who love freestyling off-course. The beginner-friendly slopes make up around 21 kilometres (13.2 miles) or 26% of the total slopes, while the intermediate slopes make up around 45 kilometres (28.1 miles) or 56% of the total slopes. And as for the advanced slopes, those make up around 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) or 18% of the total slopes.
The accommodation in Engelberg varies quite a bit. In the centre, you’ll mostly find apartments while on the outskirts of the village, you’ll mostly find chalets and hotels. The cost of accommodation also varies depending on when and where you decide to stay, allowing everyone to have a blast on the slopes regardless of their budget.
Like most other skiing resorts in Switzerland, Engelberg is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars. If you look around, you’ll be spoilt for choice both in terms of cuisine and quality of food. What we found most interesting is that fine dining in this part of the Swiss Alps is particularly popular.
Arosa-Lenzerheide is another charming skiing resort located in an Alpine valley in the Graubünden carton. Situated 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Zurich airport, it will take you around 2.5 hours to reach this stunning village.
The resort consists of two connected ski areas (Arosa and Lenzerheide) hence the name. Combined together, these two resorts offer skiers over 225 kilometres (140 miles) of mixed slopes that are suitable for families with young children as well as experienced skiers.
To break down the slopes, 110 km (68 miles) or 49% of the slopes are beginner-friendly. The intermediate slopes cover an area of 87 km (54 miles) or 39% of all slopes, while the black slopes cover an area of 28 km (18 miles) or 12% of all slopes.
As far as accommodation is concerned, you won’t have a hard time finding exactly what you’re looking for. In Arosa-Lenzerheide, you’ll find anything from 5-star hotels with stunning views out to the slopes to more budget-friendly apartment complexes in the heart or the outskirts of the destination.
When it comes to food, you won’t be disappointed. There are dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars scattered all over the place (including the centre as well as at main points at the slopes). The food and drinks vary greatly from place to place. While some focus on Swiss beverages and cuisine, others offer more international menus.
Located in the stunning Valais region of Switzerland, Crans-Montana is one of the best skiing destinations in the country for getting those panoramic views of the surrounding Alps while skiing down the slopes.
Situated 180 kilometres (112 miles) from Geneva airport, it will take you around 2.5 hours by car to reach this part of the country. The resort features a total of 140 kilometres of slopes, which equates to around 87 miles.
And although the slopes are mostly suited for beginners and intermediate skiers (which make up 89% of the slopes), there are around 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of black slopes for the more experienced skiing enthusiasts.
When it comes to accommodation, you will be spoilt for choice. From luxury chalets overlooking the Alps to 5-star hotels and town centre apartments, there is something for everybody, regardless of your budget and needs.
When it comes to food and drinks, you’ll find that there are a ton of restaurants offering fresh, mouth-watering food. From La Rôtisserie (a grill restaurant) to Restaurant Le Thaï du Pouchkine (a Thai restaurant), there’s a place to go that will satisfy everyone’s palate.
Aside from skiing, Crans-Montana also offers a ton of other activities that you can do during the evening or on your days off from skiing. These include golf, paragliding, hiking and mountain biking, and more, which is what makes Crans-Montana one of the most complete and best Switzerland ski resorts.
The Swiss Alps are home to some of Europe’s best skiing destinations. There’s no doubt about that. But just because it’s the Swiss Alps, that doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank to go skiing and have a blast in the snow.
From our research, we found a handful of fantastic destinations that offer incredible scenery, delicious food, a wide variety of slopes to suit everyone’s skill and abilities, and most importantly, value for money. Hopefully, after reading this article, we’ve managed to pique your interest and have helped you find just the right destination for your next skiing holiday in Switzerland.