Can't decide between a city trip and a ski holiday? Why not combine the two? The Alps have plenty of charming towns within easy reach of a ski area. We've chosen five of the most interesting and convenient destinations for a combined city-ski-holiday. What's your favourite one?
The first place that comes to mind when you try to conjure up images of a city close to the mountains is naturally Innsbruck. This Tyrolean hotspot is basically the capital city of the Alps - just look out the window when you're landing and you'll soon see why! Nestled in a beautiful setting among the Austrian mountain peaks, Innsbruck is within easy reach of more than one ski area. But that doesn't make it any less of a city. Wander along the Maria-Theresien-Straße, check out the Golden Roof in the old town, take some selfies with the animals in the AlpenZoo and enjoy the marvelous views of the city from the Seegrube restaurant. During your time in the city, you'll see people walking through the streets with their skis and snowboards like it's nobody's business. You might be joining them, as Innsbruck is just 20 minutes away from the ski areas of Innsbrucker Nordkette, Axamer Lizum and Stubai Glacier, as well as within easy reach of half a dozen more ski areas.
This city in the south of France is perfect for combining with your ski holiday. While the ski resort of Isola 2000 is cold and snowy, Nice is capable of being lovely and warm. This Mediterranean city boasts stately and colourful houses, gorgeous parks and many markets to explore. A must-see is the Cours Saleya flower market, a real treat for the senses! The nearby Isola 2000 ski area is one of the southernmost ski resorts in the Alps. It has around 100km of pistes and is blessed with a high percentage of sunny days, as well as decent snow cover.
This former Olympic host city is a no-brainer when you're considering combining a ski holiday with a sneaky city break. Turin lies at the foot of the Italian Alps and is the capital of Italy's Piemonte region. Marvel at the Baroque palaces, sip an espresso in one of the outdoor terraces and visit a museum to admire the ancient art on display. Turin is one of the most important cities in the slow food movement, so while you're here be sure to take some time to appreciate the pleasure that comes from a relaxed aperitivo. Plan around an hour to get to your ski resort - from here, it's easy to reach Bardonecchia, Via Lattea and Breuil-Cervinia.
The second Austrian city that comes to mind for a ski-city trip is Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the bonus is that the city centre is so small, you can easily see it in a few days. Stroll through the old town centre, visit the Hohensalzburg fortress and admire the Mirabell Palace. Nearby ski resorts include Hochkönig, Skiregion Dachstein-West and Salzburger Sportwelt as well as Werfenweng, a family-friendly ski resort just a half-hour from the city.
Perched on the Aare river, Bern is the capital city of Switzerland and the old city is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Don't miss a visit to the Bundeshaus, which houses the government and parliament of Switzerland. And if you get a chance, take a peek at the Zytglogge, a 13th-century tower with an astronomical clock that dates back to the 15th century. Poor weather? Not to worry, Bern has 6 kilometres of arcades to explore. And when it's time for skiing, the train will whisk you up to Jungfrau Region or Gstaad.
Astronomical clock in Bern image widget
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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