Europe is very popular among every type of tourist. City person, history geek, architecture lover, outdoor enthusiast, foodie - everyone would find amazing places in this interesting continent.
In this case, which are the best places to visit in Europe?
Let's forget about cities and focus on the mountains in Europe. There are many reasons to visit them:
- amazing landscape
- well-developed infrastructure
- variety of trails
- lots of mountains shelters
- clean air
- friendly and open-minded people
Let's have a look at top twelve European mountain resorts which you just have to put on your bucket list. They are the most beautiful places in Europe and ideal mountain getaways for every nature lover. 💙
Table of contents
1. Moena, Italy
This mountain town is recommended by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World.
Moena province in Italy © lpictures / Adobe Stock
Italy has to be on the top of this list - it's one of the most beautiful countries in Europe!
One of Italy's top mountain resorts is Moena. Located in Trentino, at the heart of the Dolomites, it is a lovely place to visit in any season.
During the winter months, it provides access to some excellent ski slopes in the region. During the spring and summertime, it is a fantastic starting point to enjoy all the most beautiful hikes in the Dolomites and to access the best viewpoints in the region, such as that of Sass Pordoi, where an easy cable car ride goes all the way up the mountain to allow visitors to appreciate the breathtaking views of the Dolomites.
The view from Sass Pordoi located 30 min drive from Moena © EKH-Pictures / Adobe Stock
The village itself is a pleasant place to visit and walk around. It is very small, with no more than 2500 people regularly living there, but it can get busy with tourists. The historic center is a maze of narrow, beautiful alleys - the nicest area is the Turkish Quaters, named after a legend according to which a lost Ottoman soldier ended up in the area and decided to live there.
There are plenty of small local shops, delicious restaurants and many bakeries where we can try all the local specialities, especially the famous regional apple strudel. The overall atmosphere is quaint and relaxed. It is a perfect place to spend a few days!
2. Sierra Nevada, Spain
© 1tomm / Adobe Stock
Spain isn't only about sunny beaches and palms - if you're thinking about hiking in Europe then the Spanish mountains should be on your bucket list!
The Sierra Nevada is a breathtaking mountain range in southern Spain in the Andalusia region. These mountains belong to The Baetic System (also known as the Cordilleras Béticas or Baetic Mountains).
The Sierra Nevada mountains are less popular than the Pyrenees, however, they are the highest mountain area in continental Spain. The highest peak is Mulhacén - it reaches 3479 metres. Besides Mulhacén, there are 15 other mountain peaks which reach over 3000 metres.
The Sierra Nevada is a perfect place for every mountain lover. It is ideal for skiers and snowboarders who like snowy slopes but also like warm summer - the Sierra Nevada allows you to combine winter sports with sun and walk under the palm trees.
© Werner / Adobe Stock
Ski season starts in December and ends in April. Ski slopes are well-maintained and sun-exposed. In the summer Sierra Nevada mountain resort becomes a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers.
The most popular hiking trail leads to Veleta mountain (3398 metres) - the second highest peak in the Sierra Nevada. Veleta is one of the easiest over-3000-metre mountain peaks to climb in Europe. The gravel trail which leads almost to the mountain top is wide and technically easy to hike.
What is great about those mountains is that the trails are far less crowded than other mountains in Spain but the views are spectacular!
The main mountain town in the Sierra Nevada is Pradollano to which leads an impressive mountain road from Granada. The base of the mountain village is located at 2100 metres but the highest point is on 3300 metres. Pradollano might not be the biggest mountain resort but there is everything that is needed for a great mountain trip - hotels, restaurants, ski lifts, shops and, most importantly, the unforgettable mountain landscape.
3. Grandvalira, Andorra
This mountain resort is especially liked by Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl.
View on the Canillo town in Grandvalira © allard1 / Adobe Stock
Andorra is the perfect place to visit for any outdoor lover. In the summer there are several hiking trails you can explore and in the winter you can head to the slopes of Grandvalira ski resort which many travelers consider one of the best ski resorts in Europe.
Andorra doesn't have an airport. The easiest way to get there is by flying into Barcelona and then you can take a transfer bus to Andorra in about 3,5 hours.
There are a lot of accommodation you can choose from in Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp. The towns are well connected by a ski bus as well.
Granvalira has 210 km of slopes, which can keep visitors busy for weeks. Everyone will find suitable slopes for their ability. There is a possibility to buy lunch vouchers with your ski passes, which can save you a lot of money.
Cable car lift in Encamp © Sergey Novikov / Adobe Stock
We spent 5 days skiing in the resort and we had a lot of fun! We had great luck with the weather as we were greeted with sunshine every morning.
The ski resort also has a mobile application, that has a map, and it can also show you how many km you skied each day and what was your top speed. Equipment hire was also very easy and most lifts didn't have a queue during our stay.
So choose Andorra for your next skiing holiday before it gets too popular!
4. Zermatt, Switzerland
This mountain town is favourite place of Clare from Epic Road Rides.
Zermatt resort town © OliverFoerstner / Adobe Stock
Looking for best hikes in Europe? Choose Switzerland!
Zermatt is one of Europe’s best-known mountain resorts. It’s located in Switzerland and occupies an iconic location at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn, an ever-present snowy pyramid on the skyline.
The town is chocolate-box-beautiful, full of wooden chalets, boutique shops and eye-catching window displays. Compared to the more brutal concrete architecture of some French resorts I’ve been to, Zermatt is heaven. The centre of the town is also, mercifully, car-free.
I love to ski in Zermatt - I think it's one of the best ski resorts in Europe! 💙
Cable lift from Zermatt © Sergii Figurnyi / Adobe Stock
There is 360 km of pistes including the Matterhorn glacier, which is Europe’s largest and highest summer ski region; it attracts many national ski teams during those summer months. One of my favourite runs in winter, is over the glacier and into Italy. There you can enjoy wide-sweeping pistes and a delicious lunch, before heading back into Switzerland.
In summer, the town fills with walkers, cyclists and climbers looking to conquer the 4,000m summits nearby. If heights are your thing, this is the town for you. You can take a cog railway from Zermatt up the 3,089m Gornergrat mountain. There there are spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the Monte-Rosa massif. Alternatively, why not visit Europe’s highest cable car viewpoint which will take you to 3,883m and treat you to some stunning vistas.
If you love the mountains, you’ll love Zermatt!
5. Val d'Isere, France
© Jan / Adobe Stock
Val d'Isere together with neighbouring Tignes create one of the best ski resorts in Europe. There are over 300 kilometres of ski piste, 88 ski lifts and 2 underground trains - Funival and Funiculaire Grande Motte.
The ride in those mountain funiculars is an adventure itself - they lead through a 3.5-kilometre tunnel an up to the glacier providing astonish views along the way.
Val d'Isere is a lively mountain resort popular among tourists all year long. Along its main street, there are countless pubs and restaurants. There's also a modern sports centre with swimming pools, climbing walls and fitness centre,
Despite the numerous attractions this mountain town has preserved its traditional Alpine character. Houses of Val d'Isere are built in the long-established style with characteristic stone columns which hold the sheer roofs.
© beatrice prève / Adobe Stock
One of the most popular attractions high up in the mountains is La Folie Douce. It's a restaurant serving delicious food which can be enjoyed outdoors. But La Folie Douce isn't only about food - there are the best parties in the area! There are dancers and singers performing on a high platform.
However, Val d'Isere isn't only a ski paradise - it's a perfect destination for hikers, mountain bikers and climbers.
Great thing is that the lifts are free of charge in the warm season.
One of the most popular hiking destinations is Le Lac de L'Ouillette - a beautiful mountain lake located at 2500 metres. The lake can be reached by bike, car, gondola lift or on foot from the mountain resort.
For adrenaline junkies, there are two via ferrata trails which start in Val d'Isere: Plates de la Daille and Roc of Tovière.
6. Courmayeur, Italy
This mountain resort is recommended by Gemma from A Girl And Her Dog On The Road.
I think Italian Alps are the most beautiful mountains in Europe and Courmayeur is my favourite mountain location.
A very popular ski resort in the winter and a stop-off point along the Tour De Mont Blanc hiking trail in the Summer months.
Scratch beneath the surface though and it is so much more than this. You won't find any high rises or concrete apartment blocks here. It is full of Alpine charm with old slate roof houses, dramatic mountain scenery on all sides and a relaxed and friendly village vibe.
In the Summer months, along with spectacular hiking, why not take the cable car up to Plan Checrouit to enjoy the open air, heated swimming pool - complete with views on Mont Blanc.
For a family-friendly hike with amazing views, why not try the walk through Val Veny and up to Lago Miage. This glacial lake is pretty spectacular with the ice cliffs surrounding it and usually with two colours in the water.
In the winter, it is not just the skiing that makes this a great place to visit. There are lots of traditional Christmas Markets around the Aosta Valley, or why not try a bit of snowshoeing.
If you enjoy a bit of Apres-Ski, Courmayeur is full of high-quality eateries to try. My personal favourite is Ristorante Chalet Plan Gorret, a ten-minute walk out of the village centre. With a cosy alpine atmosphere, traditional food with a modern twist and super friendly staff, this family-run restaurant is well worth a visit.
7. Bansko, Bulgaria
This one is preferred by Sarah from A Social Nomad.
Bansko, Bulgaria is not just the biggest ski resort in the country (and the cheapest in Europe), but a fabulous spot for hiking and summer festivals in the old town.
Just 2 hours from Bulgaria’s capital, the mountain town of Bansko is a great place to get away to. There’s great downhill and cross-country skiing as well as superb snowshoeing trails in winter.
From Spring onwards the Pirin National Park, which Bansko is located on the edge of, provides for gorgeous day and longer hikes with a series of camping huts available for overnight stays.
The area is surrounded by natural hot springs, so you can pay a few euros to head to the official pools, or walk to the natural pools in the National Park. There’s also horse riding, a huge mountain biking community and off-road touring available too. Summer in Bansko provides a range of free music and cultural festivals – from opera to jazz, rock and ballet.
Great local food is plentiful and cheap as is the local wine. It’s a Mediterranean lifestyle without the price tag!
8. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
© Jan / Adobe Stock
Kranjska Gora is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia! Located in the heart of Julian Alps in Zgornjesavska valley it's a paradise for all nature lovers.
In winter Kranjska Gora attracts winter sports aficionados - there are over 30 kilometres of ski piste, 40 kilometres of cross-country skiing routes, 19 ski lifts and several slopes prepared especially for snowboarders. For skiers looking for the adrenaline rush, there is Snow Park Kranjska Gora.
The mountain resort is a paradise for outdoor folks - there are countless possibilities to spend time actively. You can try climbing a frozen waterfall, riding in a sledge pulled by a reindeer, try mountain biking at Kranjska Gora Bike Park or hiking in Triglav National Park (Slovenia is a small country but there are definitely some of the best hikes in Europe!).
The most popular hiking trail in the area is Triglav - the highest mountain in Slovenia (2864 metres). The best option for hikers who look for an adventure are via ferratas which start in Vrata Valley (located near Mojstrana village in Kranjska Gora).
Another challenging but very rewarding via ferrata trail leads to Prisojnik mountain (2547 metres). Other popular mountain peaks close to Kranjska Gora are Razor (2601 metres) and Škrlatica (2740 metres).
After a day spent on the trail, tired hikers can relax at wellness centres or casino situated in the centre of the mountain resort.Kranjska Gora is also well known for the festivals and sports events:
- World Championships in ski jumping at Planica
- Vitranc Cup - ski slalom competition
- X-plosion of Fun - concerts and performances after Vitranc Cup
- International Film Fest Kranjska Gora - movie festival in the summer
- Russian Weekend - cultural event, where you can see performances of top Russian artists in the Vitranc Hall
- Triple Border meeting - every second Sunday in September hikers from Slovenia, Austria and Italy meet at Peč Mountain (1508 metres) known as Triple Border
9. St. Moritz, Switzerland
This alpine resort is recommended by Priya Vin.
St. Moritz located in Switzerland is a beautiful mountain resort that has a bounty of summer and winter activities. Swiss Alps are considered by many hikers as one of the best places to visit in Europe.
St. Moritz, the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism. It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice and guests from all over the world appreciate the modern Alpine lifestyle and winter sporting opportunities the area provides.
It is a glamorous and elegant mountain resort synonymous with privilege and old money. If you want to vacation like royalty Badrutt's Palace Hotel St Moritz is the place to stay. After all, they have a few Rolls Royce as house cars and don’t skimp on any extravagance!
It was the hotelier Johannes Badrutt who launched winter tourism here, with a daring bet.
Stroll the around the lake, get lost in the views of the snow-specked mountains that surround the town, listen to the cowbells as they graze on the meadows filled with wildflowers, enjoy lunch at the alpine huts in the mountains after lovely hikes in summer.
For winter sports enthusiasts there are 350 kilometers of pistes with a state-of-the-art infrastructure in the surrounding area.
St. Moritz’s ‘house mountain’, the Corviglia, boasts the steepest start slope in Switzerland with the Piz Nair Wall’s 100 per cent vertiginous drop. This chic Swiss town offers lots of fun things to do in St Mortiz.
10. Jasná Nízke Tatry, Slovakia
One of the hotels in Jasna © Vlada Z / Adobe Stock
Have you ever thought about skiing in Slovakia? If so, you need to head to Jasná Nízke Tatry resort!
This beautiful mountain village is located in Low Tatras National Park - the biggest National Park in Slovakia.
This mountain resort is nestled at the foot of Chopok mountain - impressive summit which reaches 2024m. It is a true paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
In summer there are many hiking trails suitable for all kinds of hikers - experience backpackers as well as families with children.
In winter Jasná Nízke Tatry becomes a popular ski resort. There are 46 kilometres (28 miles) of piste, back bowl, a 6 kilometre (4 miles) home-run, terrain park, many off-piste slopes and tree runs.
Cable car Chopok mountain © dragunoff / Adobe Stock
Some slopes are very steep, some are beginners-friendly and some can even get you in the middle of a forest - there are several freeride zones.
There's also a snow park and fun zone prepared for advanced skiers to keep them entertained.
Besides hiking trails and ski piste, there are other attractions in the area. For adventure lovers, there is Demanovska Cave of Liberty - a beautiful cave with outstanding rock formations.
I consider Jasná Nízke Tatry one of the best ski resorts in Europe for families. If your little ones get tired, you can relax in a nearby waterpark - Tatralandia in Liptovský Mikuláš being the biggest one in the area. There are lots of water slides, jacuzzis, and pools with hot mineral water rich in nutrients.
Zakopane resort city © Nightman1965 / Adobe Stock
Zakopane is currently one of the best-known places in Poland.
It's not surprising - located at the foot of scenic Tatra mountains, it offers lots of tourist attractions. Museums, restaurants, SPAs, pubs and discos make Zakopane great place for city people.
But it is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. In summer Zakopane is the starting point of the best trails in Poland - Tatra mountains are the highest range in the country and the only mountains of Alpine characteristics in this part of Europe.
Let's just remember Tatra mountains are a National Park and this region deserves our respect.
Tatra National Park trails vary in difficulty and length - if you prefer easier hikes there are Koscieliska and Chocholowska valleys waiting for you. If you are looking for a bit of adrenaline, climb Rysy peak in High Tatras.
The Cable car of Kasprowy Wierch mountain © kosmos111 / Adobe Stock
In winter Zakopane becomes ski resort - there are several resorts, each with a few pistes:
- Kasprowy Wierch
- Polana Gubałówka
- Polana Szymoszkowa
After tiring day on the slope, you can relax in nearby water parks. There are a few modern water parks close to Zakopane:
12. Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria
This Alpine resort is recommended by Josie from Josie Wanders blog.
Many travelers consider Austria to be one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. So, which are the best places to visit in Austria? It's definitely the Austrian Alps! 🧡
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is a small region about 90 minutes from Salzburg in central Austria.
It is best known as a winter ski location, claiming over 270km of piste runs, 70 lifts and 60 mountain huts. The villages of both Saalbach and Hinterglemm have every facility to create the perfect winter holiday. You will find cute little cafes and pubs with roaring fires to warm you up after a day on the slopes. The towns are also small enough to offer plenty of ski-in/ski-out style accommodation too.
Only recently the area has also started to be “open for business” over summer. Some of the lifts are now running for a summer season, where the hiking in the Alps is just magical.
Make sure to grab a snack or drink at one of the many traditional mountain alms as you hike to any of the peaks for stunning views. There are also plenty of other summer activities for both adults and children, from mountain biking to a water park. Hire an e-bike and cycle through the area enjoying the many trails.
During both seasons there are many events occurring in the region to offer even more entertainment and value, from concerts, dance parties and sports carnival, to charity events and Christmas markets.
Saalbach-Hinterglemm may be one of Austria’s top ski resorts, but it’s also laid back and relaxing. You will not find huge crowds here, just plenty of space to enjoy the best of the Austrian Alps.
Safety in the mountains
Before going into the mountains, we need to prepare well. Even if we choose short trail which seems to be easy to hike we should remember about safety.
Here are a few articles with hiking tips: