The Swiss Alps are the preferred ski holiday destination for many members of the royal family and the jet-set. And although prices can be steep, it's increasingly possible to find good deals even at the big-name resorts. Ski holidays in the Swiss Alps offer top-notch cuisine, impeccable service and high-altitude skiing with modern lifts. The following ski resorts are all within easy reach of Zurich Airport, one of the major hubs to the Swiss Alps.
Engelberg may just well be Switzerland's best-kept secret. It's a modest-sized ski area, with just 90km of pistes, but it's the perfect destination for beginner and intermediate skiers. Engelberg is also renowned for its off-piste terrain, including the 1000m-drop from Titlis. The rather high-altitude slopes lie above 1800m for the most part, and there is a glacier that guarantees reliable snow cover all throughout ski season.
One-and-a-half-hour drive, 100km
This little-known resort is a hidden gem with 65km of slopes, up-to-date facilities and fantastic off-piste skiing. Snow cannons ensure adequate snow cover, and there are plenty of mountain huts where you can stop to take a break and enjoy the scenery. Families will love Flumserberg for the quiet, peaceful atmosphere and profusion of blue runs, decent daycare and competent ski school instructors. And everybody will enjoy the lack of queues!
One-and-a-half-hour drive, 100km
Andermatt was purchased in the early 2000's by an Egyptian billionnaire who poured money into making this the next jet-set destination in the Swiss Alps. Swanky new accommodation and modern infrastructure have transformed the face of the erstwile tired ski resort, and even the ski area has increased in size. Fortunately, the village centre is still picturesque and welcoming. Andermatt is a go-to destination for expert skiers who want to tackle the black slopes on the glaciers or the excellent off-piste areas.
One-and-a-half-hour drive, 125kmPhoto: © Andermatt-Urserntal Tourismus GmbH
Interlaken doesn't have its own ski area, but this charming Swiss city is located within easy reach of the Jungfrau Region, reachable by train. The city lies between two mountain lakes and it's difficult to find a more spectacular setting! A nice idea is to combine your ski holiday with some days tooling around the beautiful Swiss Alps, perhaps paying a visit to the romantic town of Mürren. The Jungfrau Region offers almost 225km of slopes.
One-hour-forty-five-minute drive, 130km
Flims gives access to the combined ski area of Flims, Laax & Falera, which has around 200km of slopes that reach altitudes of up to 2810m. This is a popular ski area for snowboarders, who come for the two snow parks, halfpipe and off-piste terrain. The Vorab Glacier guarantees good snow cover on the higher slopes and the ski area benefits from a particularly sunny orientation.
One-hour-forty-five-minute drive, 140kmPhoto: © Weisse Arena AG
A favourite with the British royal family, Davos-Klosters is a world-class ski area with plenty to offer the most discerning of guests. Klosters has its roots in a 13th-century monastery and has retained its historic charm, while nearby Davos offers a more modern take on luxury ski holidays. Despite its pedigree, Davos-Klosters is a down-to-earth ski area with a welcoming vibe, and everybody is welcome to enjoy the 300km of slopes and more than 100km of cross-country skiing trails, even if you aren't royalty.
Two-hour drive, 150km
Lively Lenzerheide was established as a winter sports destination back in 1936, with the inauguration of a lift for sledge riders. Today, it's a part of the vast Arosa - Lenzerheide ski area. The well-laid-out ski area has a wide choice of runs for all levels, making Arosa-Lenzerheide an optimal choice for mixed-ability skiing groups. The abundance of mountain restaurants and the possibility to go night skiing complete the offer.
One-hour-fifty-minute-drive, 150kmPhoto: © Arosa Tourismus
If you're really looking for skiing off the beaten path, try Mellau, a small ski resort sheltered behind a rocky massif. This Austrian ski resort is heavy on tradition and still organizes traditional events like folklore nights. Mellau joined forces with the Damüls – Mellau – Faschina Schneereich ski area a few years back and now offers access to around 100km of slopes. For its part, Mellau is known for its abundance of natural snow and its ski mountaineering routes.
Zurich Airport has a major advantage when it comes to booking flights to the Alps: it's the home of Swiss Airlines, which grants free ski and snowboard luggage allowance with every standard ticket. EasyJet and British Airways also have direct flights to Zurich from the UK. Once you land in Zurich, the efficient Swiss railway network should get you easily to your destination.
Check out other gateway airports to the Alps:
Ski resorts easily accessible from Grenoble Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Chambéry Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Turin Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Innsbruck Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Salzburg Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Geneva Airport >
Ski resorts easily accessible from Lyon Airport >
Or check out our article on the best airlines for flying to the Alps >
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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