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Car Hire & Some Winter Adventure!

It’s the middle of winter season, and most of you are propably busy doing last shopping and making final arrangements before Christmas, but once you’ve got everything prepared, and you can finally sit down and relax, it’s good to get prepared for the skiing season, and plan your winter holiday. Regardless of whether you are a skiing or snowboarding enthusiasts, European mountain slopes and glaciers have enough to offer, to meet your requirements and satisfy your needs.

Below, we present you with some of the best and most popular ski resorts across Europe. Because most of them are situated at least several kilometres away from an airport, we suggest you to rent a car at the closest airport, in order to get to your destination fairly quickly and comfortably. To do this effectively, and make sure you don’t get ripped-off, we recommend using our YummyBunny car hire search engine, which enables you to make comparison and choose the most attractive offer. After you’ve decided on the supplier and the car you want, it’s also advisable to notify them, you would like your car equipped with a ski rank, snow chains, make sure the ski tyres on, and any other winter or skiing-related car equipment you may need. Thus will make you trip enjoyable and comfortable. Enjoy the article and have fun planning your skiing (or snowboarding) escapade!

 

1) Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France

Chamonix is a small vcommune situated in close proximity to the peaks of Aiguilles Rouge and Mont Blanc, and it is the highest-situated commune in France. In 1924 the first Winter Olympics took place in this region. The region is one of the oldest ski resorts – its history already dates 200 years back. It is most popular with skiing and snowboarding fans, but you can practise all sorts of winter sports here, including the extreme varieties: rock climbing, ice climbing, extreme skiing, rafting, canoying, or paragliding.

Accommodation:
Chamonix provides its visitors with all types of accommodation, there are hotels (1-5 stars), private apartements, bed and breakfasts, catered chalets, holiday centres as well as chalet rental services.
Skiing & Snowboarding:
There are five major ski stations: Les Houches, Brévent, La Flégère, Grands Montets, and the Domaine du Balme. There are two types of ski passes available to the visitors: Mont Blanc Unlimited, which, as the name suggests give you access to all the ski stations in the Chamonix valley. The other one is Les Houches only – which allows you to use only the ski station of Les Houches. The latter one is most suitable for beginner skiers. Altogether the area offers over 152 kilometres of pisted runs with 122 lits and off-piste areas. There are are also a few skiing and snowboarding schools as well as equipment rental services.

What deserves attention is the service of the so called ski taxi, which is an innovative way of providing non-skiers, retired or disabled people with skiing experience.

Nearest Airports:
Other Attractions:

Cable car in Aiguille du Midi – takes you to the height of 3,842m.

Montenvers rack railway – takes you from Chamonix to the Mer de Glas (1,913m)

Cross country skiing areas

Amusement parks

A wide range of entertainment options: casino, cinema, bars and restaurants.

 

2) Courchevel, France

Courchevel is a ski resort in the commune of Saint-Bon-Tarentaise in the Tarentaise Valley in French Alps. Saint-Bon, together with Allues, Belleville, and Maurienne Valley form the so called Les Trois Vallees (yes, you’ve counted correctly – there are four valleys, even though the name suggests three), which is the largest skiing area in the world. There are four villages in Courchevel: Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850, with the latter being the most famous and popular one.

Accommodation:
It is the most expensive in the highest-situated village – Courchevel 1850, but it gets cheaper in the other three ones. Courchevel offers the widest range of accommodation in the whole of the French Alps, there are flats, studio apartaments, chalets, 4-star hotels, residences and holiday centres.
Ski & Snowboarding:
The Courchevel valley provides its visitors with 150 kilometres of pisted runs (the whole area of Les Trois Vallees is more than 600 kilometres!) with 62 chairlifts. This includes 27 green and 44 blue runs for beginners, 38 red runs, and 10 black runs for very advanced skiers. What’s more there are over 66 kilometres of cross country runs. What’s unique about Courchevel offer, is the existance of special themed areas providing you with additional forms of entertainment and/or knowledge. These are: Stop Zone, where you can measure how quickly you are able to actually stop while skiing, Avalanch’ Camp, where you can learn about all mountain-related dangers, “Indiens” piste – a run aimed at children, and Funny zones like Snowcross trail and Railpark. Naturally, beginner skiers can expect skiing schools, and there are also equipment rental services, where professional can help you find equipment that matches you abilities and needs.
Nearest Airports:
  • Courchevel Airport – Courchevel, France (the most convenient, it would seem. But unfortunately it doesn’t have a very good reputation, as it has one of the shortest runways, and is considered the 7th most dangerous airport in the world – according to the programme Most Extreme Airports by History Channel)
  • Chambéry Aix-les-Bains Airport – Chambéry, France – 110 kilometres
  • Geneva International Airport - Geneva, Switzerland – 150 kilometres
Other Attractions:
In case you had enough of skiing or snowboarding for a while, Courchevel offers you multitude of other attractions, including: an ice skating rink, a 2-km-long sledging run,  paragliding lessons, a piste basher ride or hot-air balloon flights. There is also a cinema, an aero-club, a bowling club, numerous Spa centres, shops, restaurants, a yoga school, a library and many many more.

 

3) Kitzbuehel, Austria

It’s a small Austrian town dating back to the Middle Ages and located in the province of Tyrol. Kitzbuehel is known for being a great winter sport resort, and is visited by thousands of skiers and snowboarders from all over the world each winter. The town is situated between the mountains Hahnenkamm and Kitzbuehler Horn. It is known for being home to the annual skiing competition – world cup ski races. It is considered the best holiday resort in Austria.

Accommodation:

There are dozens of hotels of different category: 5-star, 4-star superior, 4-star, 3-star, 2-star and uncategorized hotels. Apart from hotels, the town also offers other options like harmhouses, pensions, cottages, holiday apartments, youth hostels, B&B, inns, private rooms, and self-catering facilities.

Skiing & Snowboarding:

Kitzbuehel is a perfect destination for both beginner and advanced skiers – it offers 32 kilometres of pisted runs – there are 67 blue runs suitable for inexperienced skiers, 79 red runs for intermediate skiers and 24 black runs, including the famous Streif, which is considered the world’s most difficult ski route – only for real daredevils! It should be noted that all of the slopes in the so called Kitzbuehel Alps are accessible with one ski pass, called AllStarCard.

Nearest Airports:

Other Attractions:

The town has quite interesting architecture. Some of the most notable sights include: St Catherine’s Church, from 1365, a Protestant Christ’s Church from 1962, or a Reisch Dance Cafe from 1928.

There are numerous Spa centres, indoor swimming pools, and fitness studios. If you’d like to give it a go with different winter sports, you can try ice skating or hockey, there is also a toboggan run. If you want to relax after sporting activities, you will also find numerous little shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes.

 

4) Zell Am See-Kaprun, Austria

Zell Am See is the capital of the district by the same name, located in the heart of the  state of Salzburg, Austria. It is a wonderful holiday destination, be it winter or summer. It is located by Lake Zell in the middle of Austrian Alps.

Kaprun is a little alpine village situated in the district of Zell Am See. Located at the bottom of Kitzsteinhorn glacier, it is frequently visited by skier from all over the world throughout the winter season.

Accommodation:
The accommodation options available to visitors in Zell Am See-Kaprun skiing resort are almost endless. You will find here quite a choice of hotels, holiday apartments, private rooms, B&Bs, holiday inns, pensions and farmhouses.

Skiing and Snowboarding:It’s a perfect destination for both beginners and advanced skiers. There are two major mountains nearby – Schmittenhöhe with 77 kilometres of ski slopes alongside, and Kitzsteinhorn with 41 kilometres. It also offers 220 kilometres of cross-country skiing runs. As for ski lifts – there are plenty and of different category. You will find regular drag lifts, cable cars, as well as 2-seat and 4-seat chair lifts. In case you forget or don’ have your own equipment, you can rent it in one of numerous rental points. On the spot, you will also find more than a dozen of ski schools for both children and adults.

Nearest Airports:

Other Attractions:

Once you’ve had enough of skiing for a while, you can have a rest at one of several bars, pubs and restaurants here. If you are a fan of active leisure, visit one of many indoor or outdoor swimming pools, climbing frames, a toboggan run, a tennis court, a shooting range or a sports centre. The place isn’t short of galleries, museums, cinemas and libraries either.

5) Hemsedal, Norway

Hemsedal is a municipality in Norway, particularly known for being the second largest ski resort in the country, as Hemsedal Skisenter remains the biggest attraction in the area. It even earned a nickname “Skandinavian Alpes”.

Accommodation:

The resort offers a wide range of accommodation options, from full-service hotels, to luxurious and welll-equipped apartaments, cabins, guesthouses and camping sites in the summer. In 2005 a special Hemsedal Card was introduced. It is issued (at at given accommodation you have chosen to stay at) for anybody who stays for at least 2 nights in the resort. The card gives you several benefits like free entrance to some places, discounts and gives you a chance to save quite a pretty penny.

Skiing and Snowboarding:

Altogether there are 43 kilometres of slopes available for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Apart from that, you will also find 10 kilometres of floodlit slopes, 5 kilometres of terrain parks and 7 kilometres of nursery slopes for those of you, who are only beginning their adventure with skiing/snowboarding. Fans of cross-country skiing will be delighted to know, that Hemsedal offers them even 210 kilometres of trails. As for lifts, there are 15 surface lifts, 6 chair lifts and 8 lifts designed specifically for children. If a need arises, you can always rent equipment at one of several rental services. And if you have always been a non-skier, and you’re sick and tired of only watching other people having fun – don’t worry! You will find here Alpine ski school, a snowboard school, as well as a guided trips service.

Nearest Airports:

  • Oslo Airport  Gardermoen – Oslo, Norway – 156 kilometres
  • Bergen Airport Flesland – Bergen, Norway – 192 kilometres
Other Attractions:

You’ll be surprised to discover, that you can spend great winter holiday in Hemsedal while engaging in many other winter activities besides skiing and snowboarding. You can join dog sledging with huskies, snowshoeing with Norske Opplevelser, or try ice climbing and horse sleigh rides. If you expect a bit of a nightlife, you won’t be disappointed either. There is a wide choice of restaurants, cafes and nightclubs there. Other attractions also include a small museum called Hemsedal Bygdetun with a collection of artifacts from the 18th – 20th century as well as modern times, and the Rjukandefossen waterfall in the village of Tuv.

 

6) Val Gardena, Italy

Val Gardena is a valley in the Dolomites, located in the northern part of Italy. It is a well-known destination for all those who love skiing, rock climbing and woodcarving. The three towns situated in the valley: Ortisei, S. Cristina and Selva in Val Gardena provide its visitors with superb accommodation and numerous activities.

Accommodation:The resort of Val Gardena provides its visitors with plenthora of accommodation including hotels, guesthouses, private apartments for rent, bed and breakfast, boarding houses and refuges.

Skiing and Snowboarding:Val Gardena offers you  175 kilometres of slopes, and 98 kilometres of cross-country skiing trails. The number of uphill lifts available exceeds 80 (and includes regular ski lifts, cablecars, closed cable cars and open small cable cars), and most of the slopes have snowmaking facilities, so you can be sure of good skiing conditions even if the weather fails. The majority of ski runs would be appropriate for intermediate skiers (red)  and snowboarders, beginner runs amount to 30% (blue) , while the most difficult ones (black) to 10%.

If you have always been a skier, and would like to try snowboarding, or vice versa, go to one of several equipment rental services where you will get professional help in choosing the right skis or board. You can also join one of many ski schools offering courses for complete beginners, but not only. The following courses are available: mountaineering, carving, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or ski-guided trips.
Neareast Airports (from Ortisei):

Other Attractions:

The resort offers you a whole lot of various apres-ski activities, both indoor and outdoor, including: ice hockey, golf, sledding, snowshoeing, winter walks, ice-climbing, squash, bowling, tennis, fitness and many more. For those, who need quiet relaxation there is also a wellness centre, a sauna and beauty parlours.

7) Pas de la Casa, Andorra

Pas de la Casa in a town, situated in the parish of Encamp, Andorra. It borders with France in the East. At elevation 2408, it is a very well-known and highly reviewed skiing resort popular with visitors  from all over the world.

Accommodation:

Pas de la Casa hotel base is wide and can cater for all your needs and requirements. Depending on your budget, you can choose from cheaper 1- or 2-star hotels, or more expensive and luxurioys 3- and 4-star ones.

Skiing and Snowboarding:

It is the highest resort in the Pyrenees, and so it attracts skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts all winter season. But that’s not the only reason for that. Apart from being the highest situated resort, it also offers the biggest skiing area, which roughly amounts to 193 kilometres of slopes. If you are over 70 years old, or with children aged under 6, you can get a free lift pass. For those over 65 years old – there are discounted lift passes. There is also an option of the so called Full Package Discount, including the lift pass, rental equipment and group skiing lessons. When booking it, you get a 15 euro discount on rental equipment.

If you choose to take skiing/snowboarding lessons, you can choose group lessons or  private lessons in groups of all level of skills.

Nearest Airports:

Other Attractions:

If you look for some nice apres-ski options, you won’t be disappointed. There are many clubs, pubs, and discos, where you can have some fun after skiing. As for other activities available at the resort, you can choose from quite an offer: igloo building, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, paintballing, helicopter flights or dog sledding.

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