The Alps at Christmas: A Holiday to Remember

The Alps at Christmas: A Holiday to Remember

Snowy Alpine ski resort lit up on a Christmas night

There’s a certain magic in the air at Christmas. And there’s no place where this is more evident than at a festive alpine ski resort. Think velvety white snow, festive markets and warming hot chocolates in front of the fire at the end of an invigorating day on the slopes.

Intrigued about what a Christmas holiday in the Alps looks like this year? Although there will be a few changes to ensure everyone stays safe, a skiing holiday at this time of year is still guaranteed to be a magical, unforgettable experience!

Find out what’s happening across the Alps this Christmas, which resorts plan to open and how to have the best festive season yet…

Alps Christmas Holidays: Discover the Magic

Exploring lofty peaks blanketed in snow, gazing at sparkly Christmas trees in town squares and following twinkling lights all the way back to your cosy ski lodge. What could be more Chrismassy than an Alpine ski resort?

We all deserve some festive comfort this year, which is why we’re doing everything we can to get you back to the slopes!

Why Ski At Christmas?

Christmas is a big deal in ski resorts across the Alps, with many activities being held for families and visitors. Here’s just some of the experiences you could have at this time of year;

  • Glide across the ice at your ski resort’s ice rink
  • Take part in winter sports and activities such as snowshoeing or dog sledding
  • Get a ride in a horse drawn sleigh
  • Visit Santa (Father Christmas) and his elves in his grotto
  • Enjoy a tipple in an ice bar
  • Watch a spectacular fireworks display
  • Visit a winter wonderland
  • Make merry with traditional drinks at après ski
  • Take day trips to nearby Christmas markets
  • Have Christmas dinner cooked for you in a luxury ski chalet
  • Spend Christmas day on the slopes in festive fancy dress!

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Can you ski in the Alps at Christmas?

December is a fantastic month for skiing in the Alps. Not only is there a good chance of quality snow, but there are also many festive events planned around the holidays that make a skiing holiday at this time of year extra special.

The ski season really kicks off at Christmas. Be sure to choose a high altitude, snow sure resort to get the best chance of top skiing conditions.

Where can I go for Christmas in the Alps 2021?

With the disruptions of the last few years, you may be wondering if an Alpine Christmas is even possible this year?

The prospect looks hopeful. From Flaine to Verbier, there are plenty of ski resorts set to open ready for Christmas 2021.

Why not experience new festive traditions in different European resorts? Here’s what you can expect;

Swiss Alps Christmas Holidays

Meander through market stalls with a Glühwein (mulled wine) in hand picking up last-minute Christmas gifts or tasting homemade treats – the mighty Christmas market has it all. And Switzerland knows how to do it properly. Visit St. Moritz or Zermatt for some of the best markets around.

Another festive delight to be found in this region is real-life advent calendars. Keep your eye out for ornate calendars in village squares and lit up windows.

The Krampus run is a musical procession finishing on Christmas Eve in which masked creatures roam the streets in traditional costume. An enchanting delight for families with young children.

Currently, to enter Switzerland and to visit indoor attractions, you need to show proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months. You may also need to show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test. Social distancing and mask wearing is also required when you get there.

Top resorts for 2021 include:

  • Zermatt for all round skiing
  • St. Moritz opens 27th Nov 2021
  • Verbier opens 27th Nov 2021

A Festive French Alps Christmas

Christmas holidays in France are bursting with lavish meals and cosy log fires. Enjoy roast turkey with chestnuts, venison or oysters followed by rich French cheeses and a chocolate Yule log. This Christmas Eve feast can go on for 6 hours!

Attend midnight mass in a traditional church on Christmas eve before waking on Christmas morning for a session on the slopes – novelty Christmas outfit compulsory.

A charming tradition for children is leaving their shoes by the fireplace in the hope that Father Noel will fill them with small presents and treats!

France is currently operating under a green, amber and red system. You will need to check which colour your country is listed under before you travel. For example, the UK is currently at amber level, meaning UK visitors will need to show proof of vaccination or isolate on arrival. When you arrive, face masks are mandatory in enclosed public spaces.

Top French ski resorts to visit in 2021:

  • Val d Isère opens 27th Nov 2021
  • Courchevel opens 4th Dec 2021
  • Megeve opens 18th Dec 2021

Italian Alps Christmas

With the night air filled with the alluring sound of carollers, Christmas in Italy is full of music, merriment and delicious food and wine.

Spot giant nativity scenes, eat sweet panettone (a sweet bread with dried fruits) and enjoy the relatively peaceful slopes at this time of year.

If you’re visiting Cortina in Northern Italy, don’t miss the Christmas eve midnight ski session on the slopes. Grab a torch and bring in the season in style.

Fully vaccinated UK visitors to Italy no longer need to isolate on arrival as long as they fill in a passenger locator form and show a negative test result. Once in Italy, you may need a green pass to use certain forms of transport. You will also need to use a face covering in indoor public spaces.

Top Italian ski resorts to visit this Christmas:

  • Cervinia opens on 28th Oct 2021
  • Cortina opens on 27th Nov 2021
  • Courmayeur opens on 1st Dec 2021

Christmas in the Austrian Alps

Each Christmas, Austrian families display an advent wreath made from green twigs, ribbons and candles. One candle is lit each Sunday during advent to the sound of carols as families gather together in celebration.

Gather round the Christmas tree at the centre of your resort as the lights are switched on to welcome Christmas eve with renditions of Silent Night and get ready to hit the slopes on Christmas morning.

Like Switzerland, markets are very popular here, with Innsbruck, Kitzbühel and the Salzburg Christmas market being some of the biggest and best. This year, you will need proof of vaccination or recent recovery and a face covering to enter.

Currently Austria is in a temporary lockdown. The hope is that after a brief period of restrictions, Austria will be able to welcome visitors back to the slopes. However, reopening is dependent on infection numbers, so whatever you book, ensure it has a flexible cancellation policy.

In Austria, FFP2 face masks are compulsory on public transport and in public spaces. Christmas Markets, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels are open only for people who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19.

A log fire at Christmas in a ski lodge

Where is the best skiing at Christmas?

Picking the right alpine holiday destination to spend Christmas depends on your needs and requirements. For example, families may be looking for something a little different to couples or large groups of friends.

Luckily, the Alps deliver when it comes to variety.

Families looking for quality beginner ski areas and good ski schools combined with affordable accommodation and family-friendly off-piste activities will feel right at home at these Christmas ski resorts;

If you’re looking to spend a romantic Christmas with your one and only, the following ski resorts provide the ideal setting for a dreamy festive break;

Christmas is a great excuse to strap on those party shoes, and what better way to spend Christmas and New Year than skiing all day and dancing all night! Here’s where to go for a Christmas group ski trip with friends;

Is there snow in the Alps at Christmas?

What’s more magical than a white Christmas? The Alps are a great place to head to if you’re looking for great snow cover, as the ski season really gets going in December.

For guaranteed snow, choose a high-altitude resort above 12,000m such as;

  • Zermatt (1620m)
  • Val d’Isere (1850m)
  • Alpe d’Huez (1860m)
  • Les Menuires (1850m)
  • Val Thorens (2300m)
  • Obergurgl (1930m)

When to Book a Christmas Skiing Holiday

Luckily, Christmas skiing is still cheaper and quieter than New Years and February half term. That being said, the festive season does attract crowds so it’s best to book early to find the cheapest ski deals and top accommodation.

We recommend starting your search as soon as possible. With uncertainties and restrictions remaining around some ski resorts this year, some people are holding off on booking until the last minute. If you do decide to book in advance, make sure there are flexible cancellation options.

For the 2021/2022 ski season, there is no administration fee for all cancellations related to COVID-19 restrictions for ski transfers booked with us. This means that if your chosen resort has to close due to COVID-19 or if travel is not permitted, you can get your money back. Find out more about travelling safely with Alps2Alps.

You may also like: Best Time to Book a Ski Holiday

Book Your Christmas in the Alps

Are you feeling the festive excitement yet? Before you don your Santa hat and start handing out the eggnog, make sure you’ve got your travel plans secured.

Here at Alps2Alps, we pride ourselves on providing affordable transfers to all the major ski resorts throughout the Alps. Our family-friendly service begins from the moment you arrive at the airport, where your experienced driver will be ready and waiting to take you and your luggage straight to your resort.

In addition to our five-star rated service, this year we’ve added;

  • More regular vehicle disinfection
  • Driver health monitoring
  • Free cancellation policy

So, why wait? Book your ski transfer with us and end the year on a high with a magical Christmas holiday in the Alps.

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