The Alps, Culture and Skiing: The Best Cultural Ski Resorts
Eager to ski but looking to combine your trip with off-piste cultural activities?
The Alps have a lot more to offer than just great ski and a lively après scene. If you’re not keen on the idea of skiing all day and partying all night, there are plenty of cultural options to discover throughout the region.
From tasting the local delicacies in Alta Badia, to delving into the rich historical past of Samoens, you might be surprised what the Alps has to offer even the most discerning of visitors.
To discover more of the alps, culture and skiing, read on.
Culture in the French Alps
Find Culture in Clusaz
Although small, the town of La Clusaz is bursting with culture. Nestled in the alpine valley at the base of the Aravis mountain range, this resort is as peaceful as it is naturally beautiful.
The ski resort itself is in the Rhone-Alpes region and is home to 1800 people.
The resort earned its name from the word ‘cluse’ which means ‘narrow path’ between the two mountains. This remote village only became a tourism hub after the 20th century when a road was built connecting it to the nearby Annecy. The first cable car was built in 1956.
With a rich mountain heritage, La Clusaz is a great choice for those interested in traditional mountain agriculture and the history of skiing. The Hamlet of the Alps is a cultural centre where you can learn how the famous Reblochon cheese is made, see traditional granaries and explore the museum dedicated to the history of skiing.
La Clusaz is also just a short journey from Annecy and Geneva;
- Discover the charming architecture of Annecy, with its picturesque canals, beautiful lake and fascinating castle-museum outlining the archaeology, ethnology and art of the area.
- The home of chocolate and watchmaking, Geneva is a cultural goldmine. Highlights include the natural history museum with its two-headed turtle and the PlainPalais flea market where you can search for hidden gems.
Explore Historical Samoens
Samoens ski resort is located in the Grand Massif ski area, alongside Flaine and Les Carroz. Centrally placed between Lake Annecy, Chamonix and Mont Blanc, Samoens makes a great base to explore the surrounding culture while fitting in a spot of excellent skiing while you’re at it.
The great thing about Samoens is it remains relatively untouched, despite the recent popularity of the area among Snowsports fans. The pretty village has been given the status of historical monument and has a rich history to explore.
Find perfectly preserved houses and churches dating back to the 17th century in the resort village. This traditional stone masonry from limestone quarries can be found throughout the area and you can watch local stonemasons keeping this tradition alive.
A transfer from Chambery airport to Samoens ski resort takes just under 2 hours.
Culture in the Swiss Alps
A Creative Tour of St Moritz
St Moritz ski resort is most famous for its luxurious bars, restaurants and boutiques. However, it also boasts an impressive line-up of cultural offerings.
Cultural events pepper the resort’s social calendar, including food and music festivals as well as art exhibitions. With a wealth of art galleries to visit, every creative taste is covered, and architecture buffs can visit the famous futuristic ‘Chesa Futura’ designed by Norman Foster.
Reliable snow cover and sunshine makes St. Moritz a wonderful skiing destination, particularly for intermediate and expert skiers.
Culture in the Italian Alps
Taste the Culinary Delights of Alta Badia
Soon after the first world war, Alta Badia began to develop into a popular skiing destination.
Foodies will find themselves in gastronomic heaven in this Italian resort. Home to some of the best food and wine festivals in the world – eating is taken very seriously here.
Head on a gastronomic ski tour to taste gourmet offerings from top chefs in December. February and March attracts wine lovers who come for the ‘Sommelier on the slopes’ festival. While March celebrates the local Ladin cuisine hailing from the Dolomites. Here, you can taste traditional food freshly prepared in mountain huts.
You may also like: Best Ski Resorts for Foodies
Art and Culture Around Bardonecchia
Bardonecchia is the perfect destination for skiing with a little culture thrown in. The traditional stone and wooden buildings that make up the town date back to the 13000s.
Situated near the French border, this ski resort was developed in the 20th century and has a full history. It was the location of the first Italian skiing championship in 1909 and is wonderfully quiet for skiing without the crowds.
Just one hour away is the cultural centre of Turin. Here, you can visit the ornate Palace Castello, view the towering old Jewish Synagogue and visit the Turin shroud! There is even an interesting Egyptian museum as well as an excellent modern art museum.
Culture in the Austrian Alps
Attend Carnival in Innsbruck
Visiting Innsbruck during January and February is a sight to behold. At this time, Carnival takes hold and the city comes alive with parades and festivals.
The carnival celebrates the emergence of spring, with revellers adorning costumes symbolising the seasons and special dinners being held every evening.
For the rest of the year, it’s well worth a visit for the impressive cathedrals, charming town squares and interesting museums.
The ski resorts of Alpbach, Mayrhofen and Solden are all a short transfer from Innsbruck airport, meaning you can enjoy a perfectly balanced cultural skiing holiday.
Medieval Charm in Kitzbühel
Kitzbühel is renowned for its beauty, both natural and manmade. The medieval town is home to charming architecture and frescoes, all with an impressive mountainous backdrop.
Wander the cobbled, pedestrianised streets and stop in cafes for a relaxing break from skiing.
Slightly further afield, the surrounding alpine pastures tell the story of the area’s history. Learn about Kitzbühel’s strong agricultural traditions at a farm museum and take in the beauty of this stunning alpine region, studded with gothic and baroque churches and chapels.
You can get a transfer from the Kitzbühel railway station, or a transfer from Salzburg airport in one and a half hours.
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Discover the Alps from a Fresh New Perspective
Ready to make the most of the Alps’ cultural offerings? Now all you need to do is pick a ski resort and get booking!
Here at Alps2Alps, we take pride in delivering the most affordable transfers to the Alps. Our team of friendly, English speaking drivers are dedicated to getting you to your destination as smoothly as possible and know the best routes to get you there.
Book a ski transfer with Alps2Alps today and see how much you could save!