Budget Friendly Ski Resorts In Europe
By Lauren Noakes
Published 5th December 2022
Last modified 14th December 2022
Last modified 14th December 2022
Skiing holidays can be as expensive and as outlandish as you want them to be. But most of us want the best value for money when we take our families skiing for a week.
In our quest to provide you with the best winter sports travel insurance, we have also compiled a list of budget-friendly ski resorts in Europe. Visiting any of these destinations this winter will allow you to get your snow fix for less.
Pamporovo ticks all the boxes for a great skiing holiday thanks to reliable snow cover, lots of sun, and wide open spaces. It’s not the most famous Bulgarian ski resort. Still, it is surrounded by picturesque forests in the Rhodope mountains, creating a lovely experience. You can expect uncrowded runs, which provide the perfect environment for beginner skiers and snowboarders. But there are some great off-piste areas and more challenging slopes, so those with more experience won’t feel left out.
This Bulgarian ski resort is one of the cheapest in Europe. This means it is more accessible than most, but the fact that everything here costs less means that you can enjoy more of what Pamporovo has to offer. For example, you can experience its lively après scene, go dog sledging, or ride snowmobiles and still have enough cash for ski lessons.
Grandvalira in Andorra hosted the 2018 Ski World Cup’s European Cup Finals, so you can be sure it has everything you need for a budget-friendly ski trip. In fact, it has the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, giving you access to 200km of marked ski slopes. If this isn’t enough for you, don’t worry, as Grandvilira is connected to another five ski resorts.
There’s also plenty to do when you want to rest your legs, such as the alpine coaster and zip line. But if you fancy a day trip, you can pop to Barcelona or Toulouse, as they are both just 3 hours away by bus. Andorra is notoriously cheap for shopping, too. The principality has a low tax level, making buying your new ski outfit much more manageable than in other countries.
Les Houches in France is often overlooked as a budget-friendly ski resort. This is understandable, as it is in the iconic Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley. While Les Houches may not be the cheapest resort to visit on this list, it is a more affordable alternative way of experiencing gorgeous slopes in a prestigious area. It also has stunning views of Mont-Blanc dominating the views.
Les Houches is a great ski area with wide tree-lined, and uncrowded runs. It also has a good après scene to celebrate your day on the mountain. But if you feel like you want to visit the main ski areas of Chamonix, you don’t have far to go for a day trip.
Sauze d’Oulx is one of those rare ski areas that straddles an international border. The Milky Way ski area is massive and sits on either side of the French-Italian border, giving you 440km of groomed runs to enjoy.
The runs around the Milky Way are mainly on the Italian side of the border and are easy to get to from Sauze d’Oulx. Two-thirds of the ski area is made up of red runs, making it ideal for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Also, due to its size, there’s a good chance you’ll find some fantastic uncrowded tree-lined slopes. Sauze d’Oulx village is still charming, even though it is in such a large and modern ski area. This is helped by the local cuisine and wine, all served with Italian hospitality.
You don’t need to head to glitzy resorts such as Val D’Isere or Courchevel for a French ski holiday.
Val Cenis offers a budget-friendly French ski experience, but with the added bonus of being on the Italian border… authentic pizza for lunch and fondue for dinner? Val Cenis also has a fantastic selection of pistes covering 125km. Many of these slopes are blue runs; therefore, beginners can explore most of the area with ease. They can even get from the area’s highest point at 2,800 meters, all the way down into the village.
If you’re used to going to the Alps, why not make a change this winter and head to the Dolomites. Livigno is an excellent Italian resort right on the Swiss border. It experiences excellent snow cover and provides plenty of opportunities to celebrate your powder day or have a more relaxing evening if you wish.
When you combine these elements with inexpensive Northern Italian food, you’re on to a winner. As an extra bonus, the lift pass entitles you to a free half-day of skiing in the upmarket resort of St Moritz.
The 3 Valleys isn’t known for being cheap, but if you want the most affordable way to ski in the world’s largest interconnected ski area, head to Les Menuires. This family-friendly ski resort shares the same ski area as Courchevel, Val Thorens, and Méribel. But the accommodation is much cheaper and has a more down-to-earth atmosphere.
You can even stay in a chalet for much less than the more prominent resorts of the 3 Valleys. Therefore, you have a cosy place to spend your evenings after a day on the slopes or enjoying the excellent après scene.
Flachau is one of Austria’s ski resorts that doesn’t get a massive influx of foreign tourists like the more prominent resorts such as Kitzbühel and St Anton. With the wide open slopes and extensive Skiwelt ski area, the slopes around Flachau are often quiet. The slopes snake through thick forests and wooden shacks scattered throughout the area, creating an authentic Austrian mountain atmosphere. This is made even better when it snows heavily.
You can pop into various quaint mountain restaurants to refuel on inexpensive food such as fondue, rösti, and goulash. The après scene is limited but lively, so you can enjoy a few cheap pints accompanied by Europop and be fresh as a daisy for first lifts every morning.
With these fantastic budget-friendly ski resorts in Europe, you may still get your snow fix of winter sports this year. But remember to get your winter sports travel insurance before you go for peace of mind.