Whether you’re swooshing down the slopes, being whisked to the heights in a gondola or heading out for a wintery wander, you’re never far from a jaw-dropping view in a ski resort. Get ready to add these stunners to your must-see list.
Zermatt, Switzerland: The Matterhorn
This pyramid-shaped peak straddles the Swiss-Italian border, and its four faces line up with the four points of the compass. Some of the best views of the Matterhorn are from Zermatt, one of the top resorts in Switzerland – ride the Gornergrat railway to the top to admire the most famous shot of the summit. Or hop on the Matterhorn Express cable car to see a different side of the mountain from Europe’s highest viewing platform, at the top of the 3,883m Klein Matterhorn.
Val di Fassa and Selva Val Gardena, Italy: The Sella group
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sella group is a series of dramatic peaks in the Dolomites. One of the best ways to admire the plateau-shaped summits is to tackle the Sella Ronda circuit – 26km of linked slopes that loop the entire Sella group. Ski it for yourself from resorts like Selva Val Gardena and Val di Fassa. And to see the mountains at their most spectacular, head out at sunrise or sunset when the sun’s rays turn the rock a rosy pink.
Grindelwald, Switzerland: The north face of the Eiger
Overlooking the village of Grindelwald, the Eiger is one of the great climbing challenges in the world. You don’t have to be a mountaineer to get a closer look at the famous north face though – just ride the Jungfrau railway to the underground Eigerwand station, where you can admire the sheer rock walls through windows carved in the mountainside.
Levi, Finland: The Northern Lights
Finnish ski resorts are a prime spot for catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights, thanks to their northerly location. Also called the Aurora Borealis, the other-worldly swirls of green, red and yellow light are caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with the atmosphere high above the North Pole – resulting in one of the most awe-inspiring natural displays on Earth.
Mountain villages don’t come much more authentic than Alpbach. Farms dot the wooded hillside and timber-clad chalets cluster around a centuries-old Gothic church. And it looks even more magical in winter, covered with a sparkling blanket of snow. It’s no wonder this has been voted Austria’s prettiest village – and thanks to strict planning laws, the traditional look is here to stay.
Whistler, Canada: Peak 2 Peak gondola
The highest unsupported lift in the world stretches for 4.4km, linking the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb. Sit back and enjoy 360-degree views on the 11-minute journey – you can even ride in a glass-bottomed gondola and get a bird’s-eye view of the snow-covered forest, 400m below.
Chamonix, France: Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc
When it comes to pinch-me views, the ones from the galleries and walkways that cling to the Aiguille du Midi peak are hard to beat – and they’re just a cable car ride away from the centre of Chamonix. At the top, you can admire the summit of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc. Or for a view that’s sure to make your heart skip a beat, step into The Void, a clear glass box with a sheer 1,000m drop below your feet.
Saas Fee, Switzerland: The Pearl of the Alps
Surrounded by 4,000m peaks and glistening glaciers, it’s easy to see why Saas Fee’s known as the Pearl of the Alps. Hop on the Metro Alpin funicular to Europe’s highest revolving restaurant, Drehrestaurant Allalin, and soak up the scenery while you enjoy a spot of lunch. The village itself has heaps of chocolate-box charm – its pretty wooden buildings were even used as the backdrop in the music video for Wham!’s Last Christmas.
Lake Louise, Canada
Lake Louise looks like the setting from a storybook, with its frozen lake, frosted forests and fairytale-like Fairmount Chateau hotel. It’s high in the Rocky Mountains, in the middle of a national park, so wrap up warm and admire the grand scenery on a walk along the lakeside trail – keep a look out and you might spot local wildlife like elk or big horn sheep.
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