Finally, the long-awaited winter has arrived in the Alps. With its mesmerizing mountain views and ski tracks that are a pleasure to tread, the landscape invites ski enthusiasts to an unforgettable experience on its white slopes.
Zermatt awaits those who wish to see one of the world’s most photogenic mountains. Mount Matterhorn's elegant bearing steals the hearts of its visitors at first sight. You can take a 30-minute ride to the top in the world’s first electrical train which has five stops. It’s a great pleasure to drink hot chocolate among the white walls of lovely igloos near Rotenboden station. Meanwhile, raclette is one of the region's most famous specialties. To try this delicious dish, you cook the veal at your table grill and cover it with melted raclette cheese. Zermatt is pedestrianized so it offers a tranquil atmosphere without any cars! Its streets are filled with many boutiques and cafés. Make sure to visit Matterhorn Museum, which displays mountaineering equipment from the past to the present.
One of the most popular ski centers in Eastern Europe and the host of 2014 Winter Olympics, Bansko is favored by skiers in recent years thanks to its long and wide tracks. Situated at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a lovely mountain town with stone houses and streets. The challenging Tomba track, named after the World Skiing Champion Alberto Tomba, is at the bosom of these mountains. The blue gondolas, which soar meters above the ground, carry skiers from the town center to the tracks. You can recharge your batteries at the restaurants which serve local Bulgarian delicacies. Kifli yeast roll and banitsa pastry, lamb roast, breaded and fried kashkaval cheese, and pileshka chicken soup will warm your body on cold winter days. Bansko is famous for its heavy snow and hot springs. The open-air pools filled with spring water rich in minerals at the nearby thermal hotels are perfect to relax and heal.
Brown rocks that resemble giant sculptures, pine trees decorating the foot of the mountains, long ski tracks, and delicious Italian dishes –this is Cortina d’Ampezzo which takes hold of every visitor with its natural beauties. Situated at the heart of the picturesque Dolomites, preserved by UNESCO, the town has featured in movies such as The Pink Panther, Cliffhanger, and James Bond: For Your Eyes Only. Cortina d’Ampezzo pays special attention to children with ski schools and events catering to them. Young visitors can go on a journey into space around the Sun and the planets at the Nicolò Cusano Planetarium, while adults can enjoy observing the Moon, the stars, and the galaxies at Helmut Ullrich Astronomical Observatory.
The host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is a pretty French town with houses built in the Victorian style. Aiguille du Midi is the highest peak in the region, home to the fourth biggest glacier in the Alps. It’s a wonderful experience to visit the public glacial caves and admire the beauty of their glittering surfaces. And don’t be surprised if you become a foodie in Chamonix. Local delicacies such as French onion soup, foie gras, sweet ribs cooked in parmesan crust, and Savoyard-style cheese fondue will leave a lasting flavor on your palate.
The small medieval town of Kitzbühel is a picturesque destination with its adjacent colorful historic houses and romantic streets illuminated in the evening by streetlights. Mount Hahnenkamm, the host of world skiing championships, is situated right across town. Kitzbühel is especially preferred by families with kids thanks to its professional ski school. Children can have fun and hone their skiing skills at Kinderland, the special skiing area reserved for them. The ski season is quite long in this lovely Austrian town as it begins in October and continues until early May. And you will not be able to forget the delicious Austrian dishes you can try in the mountain huts along the tracks! It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy triloer gröstl (a dish made with roasted meat and potatoes), spaetzle (a fresh pasta dish with onion and cheese), and schnitzel. With ski tracks totaling 170 kilometers, Kitzbühel can meet the expectations of ski enthusiasts of all experience levels. Keep in mind that the world’s hardest track, the Streif, is also located here.