Europe's Top 5 Value Ski Resorts

It’s time to get the skis out. Snow has been falling across Europe’s mountain resorts, resulting in ideal deep snow conditions usually reserved for the end of January. But with ski holiday prices at the big five – Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland – notoriously expensive, which is the best-value resort to head to?

We take a detailed look at five of the best European ski resorts as named in the Post Office Travel Money Ski Resort Report, which revealed that it’s not just snow falling at the continent’s mountains – prices are too, especially in Italy.

Livigno ski1. Livigno, Italy

Located on the Swiss border, this central Alpine resort offers fantastic ski and snowboard slopes for people of all abilities. Spread over four villages, Livigno is Europe’s highest permanently-inhabited resort at almost 6,000ft.

There are 110km of slopes to explore, with the longest stretching for approximately 7km. Most are beginner and intermediate-friendly, though there 13km of pistes for more experiences skiers and snowboarders.

Part of Livigno’s appeal is its tax-free status – Italian VAT is not paid here – which has encouraged 250 duty-free outlets to set up shop at the resort. And while prices have historically been kept relatively low, they’re approximately 10 per cent lower still this year.

According to the Post Office, the cost of equipment hire, ski passes, ski lessons, meals and drinks comes to £361.85 per person, making it the fourth-cheapest ski resort in Europe.

How to get there: Fly to either Milan or Zurich (both are about 200km away) and transfer via train, bus or hire car.
When to go: Late November to early May.

> Discover more with KOMPASS-Verlag’s Bormio-Livigno map

Bansko ski2. Bansko, Bulgaria

Eastern European resorts are famously cheap, but they have suffered a poor reputation thanks to rickety ski lifts and a lack of facilities. Fortunately, neither is the case at Bansko – a resort boasting modern lifts and first-rate hotels.

Located in the scenic Pirin National Park, Bansko offers excellent accommodation, fast lifts and an interesting town to explore. But most important are its slopes – considered the best and certainly the longest in Bulgaria, they’ve hosted Super-G and World Cup Women’s downhill races; testament to the resort’s facilities and credibility. While the most challenging slopes will be a doddle for experts, there is some excellent tree skiing and opportunities to go off-piste with an instructor.

Snow reliability and management is excellent in Bansko by Bulgarian standards, with the north-facing slopes resulting in favourable conditions throughout the season.

Central to the resort’s appeal are its prices – according to the Post Office, prices per person for the purchases mentioned above came to £264.52, making it the cheapest ski resort in Europe.

How to get there: Fly to Sofia (160km away) or Plovdiv (180 km) and transfer via car or private transfer. While the train journey to Bansko from Sofia is worth it for the views, it does take seven hours – twice as long as travelling by road.
When to go: Mid December to mid April.

> Discover more with Domino’s Bansko (with ski routes) map

Soldeu ski3. Soldeu, Andorra

Located 1.5km from Soldeu is the small village of El Tarter, home to one of Europe’s most respected ski schools. If you’re skiing with the family, this is one of the best resorts to head to – not only will the kids be taught by some of the best instructors around (there are 200 speaking a multitude of languages), a ski holiday here won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Soldeu and El Tarter are home to 16 family-friendly hotels and 75 rental apartments, all within easy reach of the resort’s 86km of trails (spread over 52 runs, the longest of which, Gall de Bosc, stretches for 8.2km). All slopes are accessed via a gondola or chairlift.

According to the Post Office, a stay in Soldeu this winter is a whopping 18 per cent cheaper than last year, costing a relatively modest £1,121.14 for a family of four – less than £3 pricier than the Slovenian resort of Kranjska Gora, one of the cheapest in Europe.

How to get there: Fly to Carcassonne, Barcelona, Girona, Reus or Toulouse and transfer via car, shared airport transfer or private transfer.
When to go: Mid December to mid April.

> Discover more with IGN’s St Gaudens-Andorra map

Sestriere ski4. Sestriere, Italy

The second Italian destination to make the top five list, Sestriere, which hosted the World Alpine Championships in 1997, is described by the Post Office as “the bargain choice” among the country’s world-class ski resorts.

Here, the cost of equipment hire, ski passes, ski lessons, meals and drinks comes to £418.85 per person – 73 per cent cheaper than the £725.73 you can expect to pay at Zermatt in Switzerland. So what do you get for your money?

Well, some of the most reliable snow in the Alps (Sestriere is located in the Vialettea region on the French border) and challenging-to-advanced slopes for starters. There’s access to 400km of slopes spread over 146 runs in the Milky Way region, the longest of which stretches for 5km.

Because Sestriere is a purpose-built result, it’s geared up perfectly for skiers and snowboarders. There are almost 3,500 beds to choose from in various accommodation types, while the 40 shops, 30 bars and dozens of restaurants keep visitors entertained.

How to get there: Six airports are relatively close by, but the closest is Turin (90km to the east). From here, it’s a 1hr 40min train journey to Oulx, where buses operate to the heart of Sestriere.
When to go: Mid December to mid April.

> Discover more with IGC’s Sestriere – Claviere – Prali map

Slovenia ski5. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Among the best ski resorts for beginners and young families, Kranjska Gora – located in the Zgornjesavska Valley section of the Julian Alps – also happens to one of the best value.

Not far from the Austrian and Italian borders, Kranjska Gora boasts inescapable Alpine charm and excellent accommodation options, with nine hotels and a plethora of apartments to choose from. Its well-groomed runs stretch for over 30km on the north-facing section of Mount Vitranc, with visitors having the opportunity to try night skiing.

Part of the destination’s appeal is that holidaymakers aren’t limited to a single resort – the more adventurous can head to nearby Planica, a location famed for its ski jumping (the first ski jumping hill was constructed here in 1930; the location of the first jump over 200m in 1994).

According to the Post Office, Kranjska Gora is this winter’s second-cheapest continental ski resort, with the average cost of the above purchases coming to £324.56.

How to get there: Fly to Ljubljana, which is 66km away (a 45-minute drive). Alternatively, fly to Klagenfurt in Austria or Trieste in Italy.
When to go: Mid December to late March.

> Discover more with the Triglav National Park map

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