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There are plenty of choices to be made for anyone planning a ski trip in Europe. France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and more – how are you supposed to choose? Italy stands apart from some of the other big alpine names in a few ways that make it a great option for many.
The rich culture and history of Italy are found even amongst the ski resorts. Excellent skiing, world-famous food and wine, great pricing, and breathtaking views all make Italy a strong contender for any European ski trip. The range of experiences for ski resorts and hotels in Italy also makes it the perfect location for everyone, ranging from young adults to families.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when planning a ski trip and some of the best reasons to consider Italy as your next trip.
Top 6 Reasons to Ski in Italy
There are plenty of reasons why the Italian Alps should be considered for your next ski trip. From the beautiful scenery to the world-renowned Italian cuisine. There is definitely something about skiing in Italy that will work for the whole family.
Beautiful Italian Weather & Geography
Italy is an exceptionally beautiful country. You will find gorgeous weather and views in almost every region you visit, from the Amalfi Coast to the Italian Alps. And what’s better? The chances are it will usually be accompanied by beautiful weather.
For anyone wanting to visit Italy, a longer trip that includes skiing, as well as the traditional sightseeing, should be considered. This is another perk of skiing in Italy, there is plenty to do other than just go skiing.
If you’re interested in visiting Italy only to ski, rest assured. The Italian Alps are also incredibly beautiful in their majesty. Mountains like the Dolomites are known across the globe for this very reason.
You might even see the iconic Matterhorn if you visit resorts like Cervinia.
The weather even plays a role in how good the ski season is in Italy. Typically, you have the ability to ski much longer than in other countries – from November to April usually.
Snow-capped alpine peaks and lush spruce forests are a staple of the regions that are most popular for skiing in Italy.
Wide Variety of Slope Difficulties
You will find slopes that are appropriate for everyone in Italy, regardless of their skill level.
There are plenty of resorts that focus on a more family-friendly experience, which definitely carries over to the difficulty of their runs. Resorts like Madonna di Campiglio are great choices for families wanting a more relaxed skiing experience.
The majority of the groomed runs in Italy fit into the intermediate category, but experts won’t be left wanting more. There are some very challenging groomed runs and off-piste trails to be undertaken in Italy.
Courmayeur and Cervinia are two of the most notable resort that experts should definitely check out. Both of these feature steep verticals and highly technical runs that will get the adrenaline surging.
Off-piste skiing is fantastic in Italy as well. This is especially true when considering Italy has some absolutely massive resorts like Via Lattea Ski Area which spans over 400 km.
Freestyle skiers and snowboarders also won’t feel left out. Most ski resorts offer world-class terrain parks, most notably the Mega Fun Park 2 found at Livigno and the Indian Park found at Cervinia.
Whatever type or level of skiing you or your family are after, Italy has what you’re looking for.
Exceptional Italian Cuisine and Wine
This should come as no surprise – Italian cuisine. It is by far one of the most revered styles of food in the entire world, and for good reason. People often travel to Italy just to experience the food and wine, let alone add incredible skiing on top of the trip. Italy’s take on Après-Ski is unique.
Pizza and pasta fanatics will most likely never feel more at home than in Italy. Now imagine coming from a long day on the slopes to enjoy such wholesome foods.
This is possible at every resort, but places like Corvara and San Cassiano go the extra step as they are home to Michelin-Star restaurants. If you prefer a modest dining experience, you’ll still be blown away by the quality of most restaurants’ food.
And if you talk about Italian food, you cannot forget the exquisite Italian wine. Bombardino and Limoncello are also hugely popular perks of visiting Italy. What could be better than sipping on a warm Bombardino while basking in the beautiful Italian sun?
Coffee also holds a special place in the hearts of Italians. If you aren’t particularly interested in sampling the regions’ different wines, perhaps you will find your new favorite coffee in Italy.
A quick espresso is a perfect pick-me-up before you hit the slopes, and who better to get one from than the country that basically invented them?
Great Value – Especially for Europeans
Italy is also incredibly well-priced when compared to its other European counterparts like France and Switzerland. You will be able to get the full alpine experience in Italy, without breaking the bank.
Lift passes are generally much cheaper than in other European countries. This means you have more money for things that matter like shopping and dining experiences. It also makes Italy a great option for those wanting to go on a family ski trip.
Food and wine can be very affordable. There are of course some of the best fine dining restaurants in the world in Italy, and of course, they come at a premium cost. However, the majority of restaurants you’ll come across will be pretty wallet-friendly.
Another aspect of skiing in Italy that Europeans will find attractive is the cost of travel. Being in Europe means you don’t have to face hefty air travel tickets just to get to the slopes.
And for anyone living in Europe trying to decide between North America or Europe, Italy will not disappoint.
Shopping can also be relatively affordable, depending on where you go. Places like Livigno offer a special duty-free shopping experience throughout the town that shouldn’t be passed up.
Rich Italian Culture & History
When you think of Italy, you typically think of places like Rome, the Colleseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, right?
That’s because these are some of the most iconic tourist destinations in the world. Italy actually sits at about the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world and a huge part of this is people flocking to see the vast and captivating culture that has spanned centuries.
There aren’t many countries where you can plan a trip to visit some of the most iconic world landmarks and hit great slopes all in the same trip.
Towns like Bormio and Gressoney are rich with art and architecture that you can’t really get anywhere else in the world. A bonus of little Bormio is the thermal baths you’ll find here, which make for a great addition to any ski resort.
You will be surrounded by the beautiful Italian culture everywhere you go. Coupled with the warm and welcoming attitude Italians generally have towards tourists, you cannot go wrong.
A Range of Accommodation – Small Town to Boutique Hotels
Yes, Italy can be very expensive like most European countries, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost the earth. Unlike a lot of the other big tourist destinations in Europe like France and some of the Scandinavian countries, you can get away with skiing in Italy on a budget.
As mentioned, there are definitely more affordable options available when it comes to food, wine, and even ski lift passes, but these choices can extend to ski resorts as well.
It comes as no surprise that there are some exceptional luxury ski resorts in Italy. Of course, there are, it’s Italy after all. There are also more budget-friendly resorts that still offer you a great experience, though.
Another important feature to note about most of the accommodation and lodging available is that they generally boast long, interesting histories.
Regardless of what price range you choose for accommodation, you will generally find amazing amenities and extras, clean facilities, and excellent service.
5 Best Resorts in Italy
There are a lot of great ski resorts in Italy, so choosing where to go can be daunting. Here are some of the best options to help simplify things for you. That being said, there are far more than five ski resorts that should be considered.
The Courmayeur resort rests at the Italian foot of the Mont Bianco – otherwise known as the iconic Mont Blanc. The beautiful town of Courmayeur offers a real big mountain experience.
Skiing ranges from beginner to advanced. While there are definitely larger resorts out there, Courmayeur excels in just how diverse the runs are. Beginners won’t feel too out of place, but experts can still tackle some really challenging all-terrain runs.
Alpine spas, delicious cuisine, and great shopping are all part of the off-slope experience at Courmayeur.
There is also a selection of luxury hotels for you to choose from, although this does mean Courmayeur can be more expensive than some of our other choices.
4. Alta Badia
Alta Badia is a great resort for those wanting an authentic ski experience in Italy. Here you’ll get to experience the rich culture that has spanned many, many years.
Skiing is great for the whole family here, as you’ll find a huge variety of slope difficulties across 130 km of trails. Kids and beginners will definitely find something they can happily tackle here.
Alta Badia also boasts incredible assets in the cuisine department. Wining and dining to the gorgeous backdrop of the Dolomites draws in a lot of tourism.
There is even a 3 Michelin-Star restaurant for those who want the ultimate dining experience on their ski trip.
Found deep in the Alta Valtellina mountains, Livigno is an awesome ski resort for younger crowds that value a good apres-ski. It might just be the top contender when it comes to Italian apres-ski.
Although the party scene is legendary, that doesn’t mean the skiing quality is an afterthought. You will still find great snow quality and perfectly groomed runs.
The skiing and snowboarding in Livigno are mostly for beginners and intermediates, with some black runs for the more advanced. There is also absolutely epic freestyle skiing and snowboarding to be had at the Mega Fun Park 2 – one of the best in Europe.
Livigno is also great for those on a budget as it holds a duty-free status across the entire town. On top of that, you even won’t find a 5-star hotel here.
Located on the Italian side of Monte Cervino, or the Matterhorn, you’ll find Cervinia Ski Paradise. Here you’ll find one of the most budget-friendly options for skiing in Italy. It’s also linked to the Swiss town of Zermatt.
Skiing here is also amazing. There is very reliable, good-quality snow, beautiful piste trails, and an epic learn-to-ski area. Slopes are also great for beginners and intermediate skiers, but there is some seriously challenging off-piste action for the more advanced.
Off-slope activities are also great at Cervinia. Kids can visit the Wild West Playground, while adults can hit the pubs for apres-ski happy hour specials.
1. Val Gardena
The valley of Val Gardena is a collection of several villages, including Ortisei, San Cristina, and Selva. It is one of the most popular ski resorts in Italy and the biggest resort in all of the Dolomites.
Skiing here is generally geared towards the more advanced, but you can find something for everyone here. It’s also home to one of the longest slopes in Italy, running more than 10 km.
Both the lifts and piste are intertwined with neighboring resorts Alta Badia and Val di Fassa. The whole network forms about 400 km of some of the most beautiful skiing in the world.
Is Skiing Better in France or Italy?
Italy and France are two of the most popular choices when it comes to skiing in Europe. After all, they both boast true alpine skiing and you can even ski from one to the other. Which is better for a ski holiday, though?
The skiing itself is a tough one to answer. They both offer relatively similar true alpine experiences as both are part of the Alps. Both offer their own distinct twist and diverse runs.
France does offer higher altitude skiing with panoramic views of your surroundings. On the other hand, Italy is still incredibly beautiful with views of iconic mountains like the Dolomites, Mont Blanc, and the Matterhorn.
There are other considerations to be made besides the skiing itself. Italy is generally cheaper than France, so that’s something to bear in mind.
Both countries are superstars in the cuisine world, but some can find French food to be a little too formal, whereas almost everybody loves an authentic pasta dish or a good slice of pizza. The food alone in Italy is a good reason to travel there, skiing or not.
France definitely takes the win in terms of apres-ski in my books. Italian apres-ski is generally more casual and reserved, with some exceptions like Livigno. Conversely, France has cultivated the popularity of piste-side parties accompanied by live music and raucous drinking.
The best way to decide between France and Italy is to consider your budget and what you want out of the trip. That should give you a good idea on which route to take.
Is Skiing in Italy Expensive?
Like all skiing in Europe, Italy can make for an expensive ski trip. Where Italy goes against the likes of Switzerland, France, Austria, and many others, is that you can get away with an amazing ski trip on a budget.
The three main costs when it comes to any ski trip can be broken down into food, accommodation, and of course, lift passes.
You can definitely eat for much less in Italy than in other countries, and it’s still amazing authentic Italian food. Pizza, pasta, and amazing wine are all part and parcel of the Italian experience, but there’s more.
A lot of places will offer apres-ski snacks and tapas for free. That isn’t something you’ll find in many other places.
Accommodation can be very well-priced based on the area you go to. Obviously, some areas are geared towards higher-end clientele, but there are places like Livigno where you can get great deals on lodging.
Finally, lift passes are famously cheap compared to other countries that are situated amongst the Alps. Again, it depends on the ski resort you choose, but in general, Italy has very good prices for lift passes.
Skiing in Italy is a must for anyone that loves the authentic alpine experience. It also helps that skiing in Italy is considerably more affordable than in its alpine counterparts like France and Switzerland.
Italy also has an incredibly rich culture and history that make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, without even considering its potential for great skiing.
From the beautiful scenery and exquisite food to a huge range of skiing options, you’ll find absolutely everything a person could need for an amazing ski trip that will be remembered for years to come.