Best winter resorts in Switzerland- from the breathtaking high peaks to the great spas
Can you imagine the stories they could tell us, if mountains could talk? They would have so much to say about the crazy skiers, the free riders’ snowboarders, the celebrities who want to enjoy the sun at the spa, or the adventurous hearts that want to climb the high peaks. So many stories, one feeling – the love of winter sports and mountains.
Since we couldn’t stay away from the snow, we had to put together a list of top Swiss ski resorts. From the high peaks, steep slopes, adrenaline filled off-piste and amazing après-ski bars and parties, these are the best places to spend your time during winter.
** during Covid times strict rules are enforced to prevent the spread of the virus. Après-ski bars and parties are closed, and there are restrictions in restaurants, spas, swimming pools, gyms. Please check the cantons rules beforehand. However, looking at the bright part, slopes are open and functional! And hopefully, soon we will get back to our normal well-deserved after ski drinks.
If we talk about ski resorts in Switzerland, it’s probably obvious that number one is St. Moritz. Probably the most famous ski resort in the world, it is the ‘it’ place for everyone around the world. 321 km of slopes (yes, you read it right!), 87 pistes, 7 gondolas, 19 skichairs and 22 ski lifts, St. Moritz is paradise for anyone who loves winter sports. Nowadays, the resort attracts trend-setters from everywhere around the world, charming with its amazing slopes, hotels, spas and upscale restaurants.
Though St. Moritz is the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism in 1864, what many don’t know is that actually it was famous a long time before due to its mineral springs. Thus, at first St. Moritz was a summer spa resort. It was ‘only’ 154 years ago when the owner of the nowadays famous luxury hotel Badrutt, decided to invite his guests in the winter, promising sunny weather and betting on it.
St. Moritz became incredibly famous in the 30’ when Coco Chanel, Conte Rossi, Jacque Cartier and Philippe de Rothschild establish the Corviglia Ski Club. The resort very fast became the rendez-vous place for everybody who is anyone.
For winter lovers, aside the vast area of skiing (worth mentioning is Piz Nair Wall which is the steepest slope in Switzerland, the resort offers over 200km of cross-country skiing tracks, 150km of walking trails, snowboard parks and bob track. The snow safari is also a nice experience in this area (99km of slopes and 22 huts will make for a great journey). And probably my favourite, the famous horse racing at White Turf. And lets not forget about the first YOGA on the slope – yes, the only place in the world with yoga classes on the slope!
There are also plenty of activities during summer: from horse riding to sailing, rowing, windsurf, and even ice-skating as Ludains Ice Arena is open all-year round. For the golf lovers there are four breath taking courses.
The highest winter sports area in the Alps, Zermatt is probably the coolest tech-linked resort in Switzerland. Over 2,300 meters of vertical drop, 360km of slopes, Zermatt is none of the most beautiful areas in the Alpes, home of the most iconic peak of Switzerland, the Matterhorn.
The Theodul Pass is a must if you are a true snow lover. It links the Swiss part to the Italian ski rails, linking the two countries. Just take care at the end of the day on which side you are versus where you’re supposed to be, as the drive around is not that easy as the skiing down.
I said tech-linked resort because Zermatt offers a Skiguide app linked to GPS that would tell you at any time where you are and suggest trails or slopes for your level of skiing. So, you will not get stuck anywhere that could make you uncomfortable coming down. The ski pass is also great since you pay only for the areas you actually ski in, so you don’t have to pay a full pass for all the regions.
Even more, since 2019, the highest 3S cable car in the world, the Matterhorn glacier ride is functional and can take winter sports lovers to Zermatt highest peak, at 3,900 meter altitude. And guess what? You can ski here all year long! So, if you want to plan an all-season holiday this is your place -skiing on the peak, bathing in swimming pools in the resort, or horse riding in the forest.
After ski, don’t forget to stop at the Riffelhaus 1853 hotel, up on the slopes of Riffelberg, to enjoy a well deserve drink with an epic view of the Matterhorn
If you are a more experience rider this is certainly the place for you! Part of Switzerland largest ski area, comprising of 4 valleys, joining Veysonnaz, Nendaz and Thyon, Verbier has over 410 km of slopes with 93 ski lifts. The Mont-Gelé summit at 3.023m is the starting point of the beautiful vast ski area.
Probably one of the most famous resort for off-piste, including Croix de Coeur, Col de Mines and Couloir de la Banane and Marlenaz. The insanely steep valleys, cliff drops, and narrow paths would definitely make your heart skip a beat. The pistes are also good for adventurous intermediates, but on the other side beginners will struggle a bit here.
Part of the Freeride World Tour, every year the Snow Park hosts the most ‘crazy’ competitions, including the Verbier Ride freestyle event and the Verbier Xtreme free ride competition.
Cross-country skiers and hikers will also find this place amazing. And of course, you can always try heli-skiing or paragliding. One of the longest toboggan slides down for around 10km making it a lot of fun for everyone. In case you don’t feel like hitting the slopes, you can check out one of the great spas in the area, climbing indoor facilities, alpine museum or simply just to walk around, Verbier is a great place to spend your day.
In the afternoon, you can hit one of the apres-ski bars or clubs (W Off Piste is always a good choice coming down and on the slope you should not miss the lively DJ music at Le Mouton Noir). Verbier is quite famous for the lively life, attracting everyone, from people like us to royalty and celebrities - so keep your eyes open, you may never know who you meet.
The biggest ski resort area in central Switzerland, Engelberg-Titlis is just an hour drive from Zurich. With over 80 km of slopes, Engelberg is great for beginners and intermediate skiers, which makes it one of the most preferred ski resorts for families and group of friends. If you are more advance skier, there is also something for you - the glacier has a great 600m vertical drop, with a 13km trail. And of course, we cannot leave the off-piste not mentioned. Though one should be careful and go only into the known off-pistes, as being on the glacier there are also crevasses. However, the advantage is that the off-pistes is easily accessible from the lifts.
The revolving cable car takes winter lovers up on Mount Titles, where snow can be found from October to May. You can also enjoy the scenery during summer, as the cable car work all year-round.
If you don’t feel like hitting the slopes, you can always have a walk in the Engelberg village, where you can visit the Benedictine Monastery, founded in 1120 A.D. Or you can try ice-skating, or simply relaxing at the spa. If you have a learning nature, probably one of the coolest thing you can do around is to get an avalanche course or a deep snow one.
One of the largest ski areas in Europe, 268km total skiing trails, divided in 80 slopes, Davos makes anybody who loves winter sports excited. Five sledge runs, with a length between 2.5km and 8.6km, complete the fun, making children very excited about this place.
Being the highest town in Europe, Davos is located in Graubünden, at 1.560m, surrounded by an idyllic scenery. Lost in history, Davos’ roots stretch all the way back to 1.213, being an immigration spot for the Rhaeto-Romans. Though it became popular in the 1900s, Davos is not as popular as its siblings more ‘in-fashion’ resorts we mentioned before, its advantage is that is not flooded with people. And the best thing is that it has slopes for everybody, from beginners to advanced adrenaline seekers.
One of the most famous events in Davos is the Red Bull legendary homerun on Jakobshorn, where everybody dresses up and comes down the slopes. Plenty of fun is guaranteed as Borat, Spice Girls, Iron Man, T-Rex, Superman or whomever you can imagine, comes down on the slope to the Bolgen Plaza, where the party is.
And if any day you don’t feel like skiing, you can always enjoy a day while talking a tour at the Kirchner museum, or a carriage ride in the snowy landscapes of Kloster. And the Aprés-ski life here will make you come back for sure – starting at 2.33 pm (funny hour to start, I know), winter lovers can enjoy the famous ‘Kafi Sex’ drink or the hot tub at 2.560m at Jatzhüte. Their parties are famous around the world – so you need to see what’s happening at 2.33pm!
During summer you can also enjoy the stunning Lake Davos, where you can do from wind and kite surf to paddling. For the ones who like more adrenaline, rafting is always a good idea in the region on Vorderhein river or on the Landquart river.
Situated at 1.445m high, Andermatt offers a ski area of 125km, with a vertical drop of 1.520m, culminating with the 2.965m high summit. Situated close to Zurich, at about one- hour drive, this is one the ‘go-to’ places for expert skiers with its famous Gemsstock are for free riders.
The glacier part offers great fun on the black steep slopes, as well as on its off-piste routes. If you are a beginner, don’t worry – middle slopes are easier, and you can also try the Natschen area, on the sunnier part of the mountain. One can also try out his trick in the snowpark, close to the mid-station of the main cable-car.
During weekend, many come from Zürich to enjoy a day in the snow and a nice dinner out. When you’re there you can also try out one of the live music places, like the River House boutique hotel.