Why not go on winter holidays, even if you don't enjoy skiing or snowboarding (anymore)? Plenty of people enjoy winter holidays in the Alps off-pistes. If your family plans to spend a day on the slopes, it is handy if you also have something to do. You can enjoy a nice walk, relax on a sunny terrace and meet your friends or family for lunch! There are many villages in the Alps with much to offer to non-sporters. Below you can find a list of ten resorts where you can have fun both on the slopes and in the village itself.
In Ischgl, you won't get bored for a second as there's plenty to do. From several shops and nice wine bars to exuberant après-ski, where you can end your day with the rest of the group. In the afternoon, you can join your skiing friends in one of the restaurants on the slopes of the Silvretta Arena Ischgl - Samnaun ski area, namely the Idalp-Panorama, the Alpenhaus or the Pardorama, accessible by cable car directly from the village. You can also try your courage on the Ischgl SkyFly - a long zipline that reaches speeds of over 80 km/h. Besides, you can take beautiful winter hikes or enjoy the 7-kilometre-long night toboggan run.
The village of Königsleiten is located close to Gerlos in the well-known Zillertal Arena. In this charming village, many chalets are located on the slopes. This allows you to enjoy beautiful walks along the groomed hiking trails or meet your skiing friends for lunch or drinks. At the end of the afternoon, you can unwind together in the Hannes Alm, a cosy après-ski bar. If you wish, you can also go up the mountain with the Dorfbahn cable car that departs from the village. In the neighbouring Wald im Pinzgau, you can relax in the Kristallbad spa.
Bettmeralp is a true family paradise. This cosy Swiss village is located in the middle of the Aletsch Arena ski area and is car-free. It is undoubtedly one of the most atmospheric places in the Alps. While strolling through Bettmeralp, you will be surrounded by beautiful wooden chalets covered in snow. The village can be reached from Betten via cable car and is in the middle of the ski area. Next to great slopes, this destination also boasts beautiful hiking trails and other fun winter activities, such as snowshoeing, paragliding and fatbiking.
Ortisei is the first village you encounter when driving into Val Gardena. This charming destination is not only excellent for skiers and snowboarders but also for people who like hiking and other winter activities. Ortisei feels very authentic and cosy, with several bars and shops to explore. The Val Gardena ski area also includes the villages of St Christina and Wolkenstein, which winter hikers can reach within a two-hour walk. The ski area itself is home to many excellent mountain huts - a perfect place to meet your family for lunch. Cross-country skiers will also enjoy themselves here as Val Gardena boasts over 100 kilometres of trails.
5. Maria Alm
The cosy village of Maria Alm is nestled within the Hochkönig ski area. Non-skiers can head to Kaprun and relax there in the wellness centre. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a drink in one of the bars, but don't expect an exuberant après-ski. Maria Alm is an excellent starting point for beautiful hikes. There are several hiking trails to choose from - from short walks to full days of hiking. Maria Alm also boasts two floodlit toboggan runs - one is two kilometres long and the other a kilometre and a half.
It is hard to get bored in Hinterglemm. Three cable cars can take you up the mountain, where you can set out for a walk or spend a lovely time in one of the mountain huts. But there is also plenty to do in Hinterglemm itself; the village is charming and has many great après-ski bars. Moreover, many accommodation facilities are located near the slopes, so you can do almost everything on foot. Ice karting, quad biking and paragliding are also available. A walk to the Golden Gate bridge ( not the one in San Francisco, of course) is also a lovely experience.
Chamonix is very well known due to its location at the foot of Mont Blanc and the first Winter Olympics that took place there. French villages are generally known to focus mainly on active skiers and snowboarders. But in fact, there are several cosy villages, including Chamonix, where non-skiers can also have a great time. For example, on the L'Aiguille de Midi (3,842 metres), you can test your courage in the 'Step into the Void' glass box that offers fantastic views of Mont Blanc.
Châtel is centrally located in the Les Portes du Soleil ski area near the Swiss border. In this charming, cosy and family-friendly village, everyone can feel at home. The streets get very lively around noon, but by 8 p.m., everyone retires to a restaurant or their own chalet. If you feel like joining your ski group for lunch in the afternoon, you can be at the top of the Super Châtel ski area in no time.
Kitzbühel is located in the heart of the Kitzbühel Alps, next to the popular village of Kirchberg. Compared to Kirchberg, Kitzbühel is somewhat larger, more romantic and more luxurious. The town boasts a large shopping street, more than 80 restaurants and cafés, as well as many (luxury) shops. So there's always plenty to do. You can even drive around the town in a carriage! Kitzbühel becomes most lively during the yearly Hahnenkamm race. Cross-country skiers can enjoy around 60 kilometres of trails, while swimming and wellness can be enjoyed in the Aquarena.
Zermatt is a fairytale village set at the foot of the Matterhorn, surrounded by beautiful hiking trails. It boasts more than 150 restaurants, cafés and bars, so you can readily find a sunny terrace or enjoy a drink in the après-ski. By train and cable car, you can also head up the mountain and relax in one of the mountain huts. Most hotels in Zermatt have a spa, so you can easily relax in a jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath, swim or get a massage.