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ALPS HOLIDAYS WITH BEST OF THE ALPS

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Do you want mountain biking in the French Alps? Walking holidays in Switzerland? Ski chalets in Austria? Planning Alps holidays is easy with Best of the Alps, a collection of twelve exclusive resorts in five European countries.

According to Amadé Perrig, Best of the Alps founder and former president of Zermatt Tourism, Alps resorts offer year-round vacation packages, not just winter ski holidays. “About 25% of our winter guests are not skiers,” he says. Year-round visitors enjoy fine wines, delicious meals, local culture and guided walking holidays.

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
Credit: Best of the Alps

Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Famous for ski holidays, Chamonix is located in the Haute Savoie region of France, a one-hour drive (86 km) from Geneva. Dominated by Mont Blanc, 4,808 meters high and the highest mountain in the Alps, Chamonix (population 14,000) includes Chamonix Mont-Blanc and several villages.

French Alps holidays include climbing, mountaineering, hiking, skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking. Chamonix restaurants include L'impossible (natural cuisine), Restaurant Café de l'Arve (regional cuisine) and Gorges de la Diosaz restaurant (seasonal food and an extensive wine list).

A hiking trail between Argentiere and Servoz offers great views of Chamonix Valley and Mont-Blanc. From Servoz station, you can hike to Les Gorges de la Diosaz. Les Praz has an 18-hole golf course.

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Credit: Best of the Alps

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Located in the Veneto region of Italy, Cortina d'Ampezzo is surrounded by the Dolomite Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cortina d'Ampezzo accommodations include hotels, mountain huts and farmhouses.

Winter ski holidays in Cortina feature downhill skiing, as well as cross-country or Nordic skiing. Non-skiers enjoy curling, snow kiting, snowboarding and sledding. Free ski buses connect the Cortina, San Vito and Auronzo ski areas, part of the Dolomite Superski region, which has 1,220 km of ski runs.

In summer, mountain biking holidays are popular. Cortina has more than 700 km of bike trails, as well as bicycle festivals like Cortina Bike Days and the Cortina-Dobbiaco MTB Mountain Bike Race in July. More than 400 km of hiking trails entice hikers on Dolomite walking holidays.

Davos, Switzerland
Davos, Switzerland
Credit: Best of the Alps

Davos

Located in Eastern Switzerland, Davos offers more than 300 km of downhill ski runs, cross-country skiing, winter walking, tobogganing, snowshoe trekking and the largest natural ice rink in Europe.

Davos ski holidays are known for après-ski parties in bars, clubs, restaurants, alpine ski huts and the casino.

In summer, Swiss Alps holidays include golfing, tennis and hiking vacations. Davos, Switzerland, has more than 700 km of hiking trails.

Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
Credit: Best of the Alps

Garmisch Partenkirchen

Located at the base of the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitz (2,962 meters high), Garmisch-Partenkirchen is only a 40-minute drive from Munich.

The Zugspitze ski resort is the only glacier skiing resort in Germany, with 22 km of ski runs open from November to May. Winter ski holidays also include surfboarding on the Zugspitze, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and winter Nordic walking.

Mountain holidays in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are also popular in summer. Visitors can use digital hiking guides to explore 300 km of walking trails during hiking vacations. One popular hiking trail runs from Partnach Gorge to the King's House (the former mountain refuge King Ludwig II) on the Schachen.

Cycling vacations (450 km of bike trails), rock climbing (21 routes), canoeing, rafting and 19 golf courses also attract visitors to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Accommodation ranges from vacation rentals and luxury hotels to country inns and warm mountain shelters.

Alphorn players, Grindelwald
Alphorn players, Grindelwald
Credit: Best of the Alps

Grindelwald Switzerland

A Swiss Alps vacation is easy to arrange in Grindelwald, located in the Berner Oberland. Driving distance from Zurich is just 195 kilometers. Trains to Grindelwald from Zurich, Basel and Geneva take 2.5 hours travel time.

Jungfrau Region has 213 km of ski runs. There are three different ski areas (Grindelwald-First, Kleine Scheidegg-Mannlichen and Murren-Schilthorn). Grindelwald has access to all three ski areas and to Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe.

Below the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau peaks are Grindelwald, Wengen, Murren and Lauterbrunnen. Five mountain railway companies operate here, with 45 railways, cable cars and ski lifts.

Wengen and Murren are car-free Alp resorts. Lauterbrunnen, in the valley of 72 waterfalls, is known for its beautiful 297-meter Staubbachfall and 417-meter Murrenbachfall, the highest free falling waterfall in Switzerland.

The Jungfrau region has many cultural traditions, including alphorn music, flag swinging, yodelling and trychler (cowbell) groups.

After enjoying winter activities and summer sports, visitors can try Swiss food specialties like raclette, fondue, rosti and chasbratel (melted cheese on bread).

Kitzbuhel, Austria
Kitzbuhel, Austria
Credit: Best of the Alps

Kitzbuhel

Many visitors also go to Kitzbuhel, Aurach, Jochberg and Reith holiday resorts for Alps vacations. Following flights to Innsbruck, Salzburg or Munich, they take shuttles, limos or rental cars to Kitzbuhel.

Winter sports include downhill skiing on 170 km of ski runs. The Kitzbuheler Horn and Hahnenkamm ski season lasts from December to April. In addition, snowboarding, tobogganing, cross-country skiing and winter hiking also entice visitors to take Alps holidays.

Après-ski activities range from casino gaming to dining on regional Austrian cuisine. Kitzbuhel and its holiday villages have the greatest number of award-winning restaurants in Tyrol.

Lech Zurs Am Arlberg, Austria
Lech Zurs Am Arlberg, Austria
Credit: Best of the Alps

Lech Zurs Am Arlberg

Another member of Best of the Alps is Lech Zurs, located two hours from Zurich and three hours from Munich.

Free ski buses operate during the winter season, between late-November and May. One pass gives skiers access to cable railways, ski lifts and ski runs.

Families can also participate in ice skating, curling, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, tennis and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Lech Zurs is the only place in Austria where you can go heli-skiing.

More than 350 km of hiking trails attract visitors on summer Alps holidays. Guests who spend at least one night in Lech Zurs accommodations receive an Active Inclusive card with many free benefits.

Megeve, France
Megeve, France
Credit: Best of the Alps

Megeve

For ski holidays in the French Alps, Megeve offers 445 km of ski runs on 203 slopes in the Haute-Savoie region of France. Located 70 km from Contrine Airport in Geneva, Megeve features boutique hotels and French ski chalets below Mont Blanc.

Besides snowboarding, tobogganing and cross-country skiing, Megeve has summer and winter hiking trails. Forty of the 82 restaurants in Megeve are on the ski slopes.

Seefeld, Austria
Seefeld, Austria
Credit: Best of the Alps

Seefeld

Leutasch, Mosern/Buchen, Reith, Scharnitz and Seefeld comprise the Olympiaregion Seefeld. In addition to 250 km of cross-country ski trails, Seefeld has 35 km of downhill ski runs and 143 km of winter hiking trails.

Cross-country skiers will find a three-kilometer floodlit night trail between Seefeld and Mosern. Young children can accompany cross-country skiers in pulka sleds, which keep them warm. Skiers can bring dogs on the 1.5 km-long Lehner trail in Leutasch.

Non-skiers enjoy Casino Seefeld, restaurants, shops and discos in the pedestrian zone. Many Seefeld hotels have spas that offer wellness treatments.

St Anton am Arlberg, Austria
St Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Credit: Best of the Alps

St Anton am Arlberg

Although it is a car-less Tyrolean village, located at the foot of the Arlberg Pass, St. Anton is easy to get to because the railway station is in the centre of town and shuttle buses travel between villages. Visitors can walk to the ski lifts, shops and restaurants in the middle of town.

You can enjoy ski holidays in St Anton from early December to late April, on 260 km of downhill ski runs and 180 km of open-country powder slopes. Snowboarders like the Rendl Funpark, while expert skiers head to Schindlerkar ski runs.

Cross-country skiing, winter hiking, skating rinks, toboggan runs and horse-drawn sleigh rides also draw visitors for Swiss Alps holidays in St. Anton. Bouldering, climbing, ice climbing, volleyball, indoor soccer, tennis, squash and bowling are available at arl.rock, a sport and climbing center.

Many St. Anton hotels have spas. Tours of the Lechtal and Ferwall Alps are popular in summer.

St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz, Switzerland
Credit: Best of the Alps

St Moritz

Skiing in St. Moritz is world-famous. Located in the alpine Engadin Valley, St. Moritz offers Swiss Alps holidays with 350 km of downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and horseracing on the frozen St. Moritz Lake.

There are many hotels in St Moritz. Berghotel Muottas Muragl, for example, has 16 rooms and extensive mountain views.

Zermatt

Zermatt resort is a car-free mountain village, located at an altitude of 1620 meters (5,320 feet) in Valais Switzerland. You can get to Zermatt by driving or train in 3.5 hours from Zurich airport. Helicopter flights from Zurich airport to Zermatt take one hour.

Zermatt, Switzerland
Zermatt, Switzerland
Credit: Best of the Alps

The Matterhorn, at a height of 4,478 meters (14,691 feet) towers over Zermatt village. Because it is only two km (1.2 miles) long, Zermatt is easy to get around on foot, by electric cars, electric buses or horse-drawn sleighs.

On Zermatt ski holidays, skiers have access to 400 km (260 miles) of ski runs and 50 mountain restaurants. Zermatt summer skiing is available on 29 km (18 miles) of glacier ski trails.

Klein Matterhorn, Rothorn and Gornergrat offer skiers and non-skiers panoramic views of 38 four-thousand-meter peaks. The Matterhorn glacier paradise, accessible by the highest mountain cable car in Europe, has the highest lookout platform in the Alps. The cogwheel train brings you to Rothorn paradise and the best view of the Matterhorn.

Besides Zermatt ski chalets, accommodations near the Matterhorn include vacation homes, small family hotels and luxury hotels. The Kulmhotel Gornergrat is the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps, at an elevation of 3131 meters (10,171 feet).


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Best of the Alps: www.bestofthealps.com