With winter on its way, we put together this roundup of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe. Many of us love to ski and snowboard, but there is no denying it comes with a high price tag. Even if we have to travel to another country, it’s not going to stop us from getting our thrills, plus a new destination is half the fun!
The downside is travel, equipment, lift tickets, food, transportation, and lodging mean skiing can be tough on your wallet. The world may have its fair share of top-tier ski resorts and world-famous runs for the rich and passionate ski bums. However, it’s possible to find spots where the lift ticket fees do not represent the quality of the slopes.
The Cheapest Ski Resorts in Europe
Here are some of the cheapest skiing destinations in Europe. Places where you can have a significant and authentic alpine getaway at a fraction of the cost you may have to pay in Switzerland. It won’t be Zermatt, but if you’re after some fresh powder, beautiful views, and a European ski holiday, we’ve got you covered.
The Chamonix Valley in eastern France is full of ski resorts thanks to the many tiny towns and massive mountains. Thanks to the abundance of snowfall and steep terrain, the Chamonix Valley is a mecca for many skiers and snowboarders once the snow begins to fall.
Chamonix is a vibe as it’s full of excellent skiers who come to show off, and the valley has a rich history of mountain sports. It’s one of the most incredible mountain towns in Europe, full of hip bars, french restaurants, scenic landscapes, and professional athletes.
It’s an excellent destination for groups of different skill levels since the ski resort has a mix of beginner to advanced slope difficulties and even two black-grade runs. I bet you didn’t think a ski resort in France would be one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe, but you can make your mark in the fresh powder even on a budget; a six-day pass costs between €160-200.
The small city of Chamonix has an abundance of accommodation options, which means you can find a deal. It’s also easily accessible from the Geneva airport, which has decent flight connections around Europe and internationally. Chamonix is one of our favorite places in the world!
Vogel Ski Resort, Slovenia
This Slovenia resort is one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe. Overlooking a lake and located on the edges of Triglav National Park, the ski resort of Vogel, Slovenia, boasts nothing but Mother Nature’s best.
Compared to the buzzing Chamonix Valley above, Vogel offers a different vacation. Vogel is not an extensive resort, and advanced riders will want to look elsewhere. However, for families, beginners, or intermediates looking for a quick weekend escape Vogel is perfect. However, some decent terrain is heavily treed, perfect for off-piste runs when the snow conditions are right.
If nightlife is a draw, consider staying in Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, and make a day trip to Vogel, as it’s only an hour outside the city. A single day pass for these slopes rings up at only €33. Make sure to take a boat tour on Lake Bohinj.
Livigno Ski Resort, Italy
An excellent spot for a wide range of ski levels, Livigno is located near the Swiss-Italian border. Its terrain is over four kilometers wide, giving ample space to spread out. The landscape here has something to offer everyone, so it’s great for a mixed group. The resort also has a great selection of non-ski activities to entertain those who don’t want to ski every day. Plus, it’s Italy, so the food is excellent.
Those looking for a bolder and more authentic alpine experience can get a little outside their comfort zone and go looking for a serious adrenaline rush since Livigno offers heli-skiing, off-piste skiing, and even night skiing. The terrain here is excellent for some backcountry exploration or those chasing powder off-piste. To top it off, Livigno also has some world-class terrain parks.
Six-day passes are available for €242, but there are weekend passes for only €49. However, not a spot for nightlife seekers, Livigno’s high street has several restaurants and bars. After a day of skiing, grab a wood-oven-baked pizza at Il Cenacolo. The only negative to this resort is the crowds. The secret about Livigno has gotten out, and pistes are busy on a sunny day.
SkiWelt Söll, Austria
The gentle and forgiving slopes of the Söll ski resort in Austria are perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers and those looking for a quieter, more small-scale, and authentic European ski experience. Its quaintness makes it one of the best ski resorts in Europe.
The surrounding villages of SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental all come in at the same price, so don’t be afraid to look around. Particularly popular with British and Irish travelers, the lower altitude attracts smaller crowds – meaning that slower skiers can take their time and enjoy the slopes – and for an affordable price, a 6-day pass is only €206.
Must do: For a bit of après-ski fun, head to Hexenalm for dancing and a few beers. If you worked up an appetite, be sure to order a witches’ platter: a bed of fries with pork, chicken, sausage, salad, and mushroom sauce!
Borovets Resort, Bulgaria
The best possible bang for your buck is the lively ski town of Borovets in Midwestern Bulgaria. With a colorful après-ski scene, this particular resort is a getaway for party animals, particularly those who come up from Sofia, only an hour and a half’s drive away.
A decent ski school makes the resort a good choice for beginners or intermediates who need a bit of a refresher or some direction. The resort also has a ski daycare for kids between four and eight. Get a full-day lift ticket here for €32.
Must do: The chicken fajitas & toffee vodka shots at Bobby’s Bar are invaluable for some post-slopes fun.
Bansko Ski Resort, Bulgaria
Bansko Ski Resort offers some of the cheapest skiing in Europe. Located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains in southwest Bulgaria, only around two hours from Sofia, the ski resort at Bansko, Bulgaria, has everything you’ll need for a great time away without breaking your bank. Expect to score one-day lift tickets for €36.
Though there are one or two moderate and challenging ski runs, Bansko favors the beginner and intermediate skiers, who come from far and wide to take advantage of the high elevation and clear skies. Seventy kilometers of combined ski runs means that there are many different ways to spend the day. The only bad thing is during high season. The resort gets insanely packed. Please read all about our experience at Bansko here.
Must do: For an authentic après-ski experience, grab a table at one of the traditional restaurants (called mehana) for lip-smacking national cuisine and traditional live music.
SkiStar Vemdalen, Sweden
The ski slopes at Vemdalen, Sweden, are surprisingly affordable, given the many activities offered there. Across three alpine ski zones, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and horseback riding (even in the snow), you’ll leave Vemdalen already planning a return trip.
There is so much to do it doesn’t seem a fitting candidate for a budget ski resort list as it’s more of a budget holiday. You can score a four-night stay as low as €115, including lodging, and a one-day pass for €42.
Must do: Sweden offers some of the freshest food sourced from local farms & often scavenged from the wilderness. Head over to Anorak after your day on the slopes for Swedish tapas.
Cauterets Ski Resort, French Pyrenees
The Pyrenees are a still-underrated ski slope region, a lesser-known and smaller-scale alternative to the nearby Alps. However, while the latter is glamorous and charges the rates to match their fame and status, the Pyrenees are smaller and more quaint. Cauterets, a small, centuries-old town two and a half hours south of Toulouse on the border between France and Spain, still boasts an impressive ski resort.
There are nearly two dozen runs, varying in difficulty levels, to appeal to a broader range of skill levels and make you feel like you can go, whether you’re a seasoned ski bunny or a newcomer to the slopes. Five-day passes go for €183, and a one-day lift ticket for € 38.50.
Must do: Come in from the cold to La Grande Fache for a steaming serving of raclette.
Andermatt Sedrun Ski Resort, Switzerland
Though this one is a little pricier than many listed here, it’s still likely to be the cheapest ski resort in Switzerland, at €165 for a week pass. Still, it provides some of the best European skiing at an affordable price. For a famous country for its world-class skiing, Andermatt is a deal you’re unlikely to find elsewhere in the country.
The resort includes two ski areas – Nätschen and Gemsstock, both accessible from the village via ski lift. Andermatt was once a ghost town, but it experienced a resurgence is quickly becoming a top ski resort. It’s an excellent spot for deep-snow, off-piste exploration if you’d instead escape the crowds into a more open space.
Overall we found prices in Switzerland to be cheaper than in the United States if you’re strategic. Check out our Davos, Zermatt, and Nendaz posts to learn more about those world-famous ski resorts. Food and alcohol prices in Switzerland are obscene, so be prepared.
Must-do: Take a short morning trip to the nearby Schöllenen Gorge, where the Teufelsbrücke (Devil’s Bridge) connects over two sheer drops. Bring your camera for the wild view from above the gorge, looking down.
Another one that’s practically like a mini-Alps, Poiana-Brasov in Romania, is world-class skiing on a smaller scale, meaning you get a more authentic – and less crowded – experience. And yes, it’s still one of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe. Having almost doubled in size since 2010, Poiana-Brasov has grown to host events such as figure skating competitions and alpine skiing festivals.
For six days, you get your money’s worth at only €117, and no matter your skill level, the resort covers all ground, with two beginner pistes, two intermediate, and three advanced. Just a one-day lift ticket costs €31.
Must do: Traditional mulled wine and a specialty pepper-spiced alcohol made from plums, called țuică.
Alpbachtal Wildschönau, Austria
This little gem in Austria – often named one of the prettiest cities in Europe – remained small and low-key while the world grew around it. Thanks to strict bylaws on building construction size, many buildings were erected and still stand today. The size of the edifices is tiny and maintains the image of a quaint alpine village.
The range of activities offered here – snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, snow trail walks, and tobogganing – and the availability of many beginner-level slopes make this great for families and friends alike. Be warned, however, this is more a location for a little R&R and has little in the way of nightlife or apres-ski activity.
Only a few hours away from major cities like Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Munich, this could easily be a one or two-day trip from a nearby town.
Hintertux Glacier, Austria
For those who have skied a fair few times, it is no surprise that most resorts have a ski season, outside of which the ski slopes are closed or transition into hiking trails in the summer months. But at Hintertux, in Austria, the slopes are open year-round for those who fancy all-weather skiers. It’s one of only two ski resorts in the world open 365 days a year.
With 60 kilometers of piste ground, there’s no shortage of runs to be had at this glacier. There’s even a freestyle ski zone for those who like to get a little creative and sidestep the traditional downhill ski runs in favor of something more exciting. Depending on the specific resort you choose within Hintertux, 6-day passes range from €170 to €250.
The resort is well known for its excellent snow conditions and terrain. If you’re an advanced rider after some powder, Hinterlux should undoubtedly be on your bucket list. As a bonus, the region is full of incredible ski resorts, so you can always head elsewhere should the weather forecast look poor.
Must do: Nature’s Ice Palace, part of the Hintertux Glacier adapted for human exploration. Inside the walls of ‘eternal ice,’ you can try to stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, or ice swimming for the truly brave.
Jahorina Ski Resort, Bosnia
There’s a reason that this bang-for-your-buck ski resort hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics; being that the capital city of Sarajevo is just a stone’s throw away, this particular resort has everything you’ll need for a great winter getaway. It also means you can stay in the city and grab a bus for a day trip to the mountains.
Hotels, bars, and clubs are all on-site at the resort for those staying in the area, so whether you want to ski and party with other slope-goers or have a night on the town in Sarajevo, your options are near-limitless.
Must do: If you’re passing through over the holidays, catch the Christmas markets in Sarajevo, right by the bus stop to the mountain resort!
Jasna Low Tatras, Slovakia
A total of 41 slopes means no shortage of powder for those who come to the Jasna ski resort in Slovakia. Also available is a range of difficulty levels in their pitches, whether you’re up for a challenge or feel like kicking back and taking an easy day with a beginner-level piste.
For those who would rather be out under the stars, the resort offers night skiing as well, and there’s even a ski school for anyone who needs to do a little extra practice before setting out on the slopes solo.
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Kranjska Gora has a great location between the Italian and Austrian borders. It’s a great resort if you want to make the most of your trip and visit both countries. Most importantly, it’s a gorgeous little village and valley.
The ski resort at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, boasts 30 kilometers of piste coverage, meaning you can get your powder on. There are also slope-side hotels if you never want to be far from the action. Plus, a daily pass is only €32.
Must do: Wander through the nearby town for quaint cafés, bars, and beautiful historical structures!
Tips To Save Money on Your Ski Holiday
There are a couple of ways to save on lift tickets. Purchase in advance, six days+, as a group or a family pass. Wherever you are walking up to the window day of will yield the highest lift ticket prices.
Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
It’s easy to lose track of expenses when traveling. All of those cappuccinos, wines and souvenirs can add up quickly. Especially when you’re on a ski holiday, where eating out isn’t exactly a poor man’s activity. The little experiences can often add up and break a budget.
Pack Your lunch
Any dining on the mountain is expensive. The food in the Alps is some of the best we’ve had while on a ski trip. However, those on a budget pick up the ingredients to make some sandwiches for lunch on the mountain. Peanut butter, jelly, protein bars, shakes, and apples are always good go-to food options.
Pick the Right Time
Peak season will always see higher prices. Even lift tickets can fluctuate in price, but the most significant price difference will be regarding accommodation. If the snow looks good, you can always book later in the season with the excellent assurance there will still be snow while getting a lower rate on accommodation.
The weekend will also see significantly higher rates. If you can plan a quick mid-week trip, you’ll save a lot on accommodation and possibly lift tickets.
Practice Safety in the Mountains
The mountains can be dangerous, and although it may not seem like it, skiing/snowboarding comes with risks. Wherever we can, we attempt to mitigate risks and ensure we are safe.
Have Proper Equipment
We believe everyone should wear a helmet. That means expert riders and especially beginners. Make sure your equipment is in good condition and technically sound. Here is our full ski and snowboard packing guide.
Ski to Your Ability
There is a big difference between pushing yourself and getting in over your head. The latter puts yourself and even others at risk. You should also always be in control too. It’s often we see beginners straight-lining down the mountain at crazy speeds. Remember, whoever is downhill has the right of way.
Always carry an extra layer in case temperatures drop and pack necessities like water and chapstick. If you’re going into the backcountry or anywhere out of bounds, you should have all the necessary avalanche equipment.
Make sure to always stick to the safety code.
- Always stay in control.
- People downhill have the right of way. Their ability level does not matter!
- Stop in a safe place for you and others.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
- Prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
- Know how to use the lifts safely.
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get low.
- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.