The cost of winter sports makes them a pricey passion, but low cost skiing holidays can still be found. OK doing Verbier or Val d’Isere without racking up the bill is unlikely, but check out the best cheap ski resorts in Europe as bargains can still be had.
If you want to spend less on your next skiing or snowboarding holiday then you can either wait to the last minute and hope to get a deal. Or plan a trip to a less well known, and normally much cheaper ski area.
Booking at the last minute may well get you a good price on a package holiday. But if you head to one of the big well known resorts in France, Italy, Switzerland or Austria you will still pay top whack on the lift pass, gear hire, lessons, food and drink.
A better way so organise low cost skiing holidays is to go to a to a resort that is less expensive. Head to less well known resorts, smaller ski areas, tax havens or to countries where the price of everything is a lot lower. Then everything from lift passes to lunch and apres to accommodation is cheaper, and you can still get late deals too.
Skiing does not have to break the bank as there are some fantastic options to keep the prices down. You just need to know where to look.
Lucky for you we have done all the donkey work, and have come up with the following A-Z (Arinsal to Zakopane) list of the 14 best cheap ski resorts in Europe. To make it easy to find somewhere you wish to go it is in alphabetical order by country.
Throughout the nineties and noughties Andorra was king of low cost skiing holidays for us Brits. It is still a tax haven and cheaper than many resorts across the Alps, but not quite the bargain it once was.
Having said that, a lot of investment has gone into the infrastructure of the resorts in the Grandvalira ski area of which Pas de la Casa is part of. The size of the ski area rivals many of the big ones across the Alps, and for this it has to be considered as one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe.
Nestled deep in the Pyrenees, Pas de la Casa has the well-deserved reputation of being a party town. It is great fun for large groups of friends who are looking to party the night away as well as hitting the slopes. The beer is tax free which helps! For anyone else it is probably best staying down the road in the resort of Soldeu.
The ski area does have something for everyone. The area has great ski and snowboard schools so is great for beginners and intermediate levels.
For the more advanced there is the whole of the Grandvalira to explore, from the tree-lined technical runs around Soldeu, the motorway wide runs above Grau Roig, to the technical red and black runs coming down into Pas de la Casa. The area also boosts of some fantastic snow parks for all abilities.
It may not be the cheapest on our low cost skiing holidays list, but Pas De Casa does deliver a lot of bang for your money.
Vallnord is made up of two main ski areas that are linked by cable car but not by slopes. The main slopes are 1950m above the villages and accessed via gondolas in Arinsal and Pal (La Massana) both of which are among the best cheap ski resorts in Europe.
Vallnord may pale in comparison in size to Grandvalira, but it does claim to have the longest vertical ski descent in Andorra. From the top of Pic Alt de la Capa is a 1000m (3300 foot) descent of non-stop skiing (now that’s a thigh burner!).
The main resort is Arinsal and typical of Andorran style it does get lively with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. Not quite the party town of Pas De Casa, it is still an ideal place for couples and groups to book low cost skiing holidays.
The Vallnord ski area is also great for beginners and intermediate skier and snowboarders, with an excellent reputation for their ski schools and un-intimidating slopes.
Due to its low prices, the tiny resort of Niederau has been a favourite for British families for decades and is part of the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau area. With one ski lift you can ski the whole range, which makes Ski Juwel one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe.
The local ski area of Niederau is tiny and you could get around it in half a day. But, take a free bus to Auffach and you have a much bigger mountain range to play around on.
With all the villages joining forces, the Ski Juwel area has 109km of pistes. Unfortunately not all the areas are linked up by lifts so it feels quite disjointed. But the free bus service is fast and efficient.
The whole Ski Juwel area is stunningly beautiful with many interesting tree-lined runs to explore. Deep in the heart of Austria, the area feels magical, as if straight out of a Grimm Brothers fairy-tale.
Niederau would suit families who are looking for low cost skiing holidays, beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Advanced skiers who like to eat up the kilometres may get frustrated at how disjointed the area can be, but if you don’t mind catching a bus it’s one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe.
Bulgaria has been a firm favourite with the Brits for low cost skiing holidays for many years. All the major tour operators fly there and there has been a lot of investment in the infrastructure over the last decade.
Pamporovo is a beautifully quaint resort with scenic tree-lined runs. But, being a small ski area with mainly short runs, it is ideally suited to families, beginners, and intermediates.
Hailed as Bulgaria’s sunniest resort and with the peak being less than 2,000 metres Pamporovo does not normally suffer from extreme winter conditions. Fresh snow can be sporadic, although it has had a pretty good snowfall record over the years.
In the evening there are plenty of restaurants and lively bars to enjoy, with food and drink very cheap compared to the Alps.
One downside, as with all the resorts in Bulgaria, is that the flights and transfers can be lengthy. Your bank account may think this is a small price to pay when Pamporovo is considered one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe!
Snow White Skiing Pamporovo
If you do head over to Pamporovo then we recommend that you check out Snow White Skiing. With a great choice of beautiful apartments, they can organise everything you need for your holiday. From self-catering to half board, and full ski packages including lift passes, ski hire and lessons.
Snow White Skiing are a small company giving personalised service. They offer flexible dates so you can choose the best days for you – or for the cheapest flights you can find. They will even sort out your airport transfers. To find out more go to: www.snow-white-skiing.co.uk
It may be an old town but Bansko is Bulgaria’s most modern ski resort. And by the time of the millennium, Bansko had forged a reputation of being one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe.
The resort experienced a boom in infrastructure and property development in the early noughties with many hotels and apartments situated near the gondola that gives the only access to the ski area.
It is a long gondola ride and can experience lengthy queues at the bottom at peak times. But once up the mountain, the majority of the ski lifts are modern and fast.
The mountain range forms part of the Pirin National park. Although it is not as scenic as Pamporovo, Bansko does have a good range of slopes and excellent snow making facilities.
The town has a lively apres ski scene but everything is quite spread out. The old town itself has a rustic charm but the hustle and bustle may not suit all families. Food, drink and lift passes are cheap, which makes Bansko a popular destination for those looking for low cost skiing holidays.
The slopes are ideal for families, beginners and intermediate level skiers. Advanced skiers may find ski runs limiting, but Bansko does offer the longest runs out of the 3 main Bulgarian resorts.
Borovets is the oldest Bulgarian ski resort and is considered by many in the UK to be top of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe. For this reason it is a popular choice for stag and hen do’s, with the nightlife, although a bit tacky, being the liveliest out of the Bulgarian resorts.
You would not go to Borovets for a culinary experience, but with food and drink being ridiculously cheap many flock here for low cost skiing holidays.
The ski area is actually three parts that unfortunately are badly linked. The Sitnyakovo slopes are the nearest, but Yastrebetz sector is the quietest where confident skiers can enjoy some beautifully long winding tree-lined red runs. The downside is that the Yastrebetz sector is accessed from the bottom by a chairlift 1 km away from the centre of Borovets.
Borovets is not ideally set up for beginners as a lot of the runs would be too tricky and intimidating. The slopes are more suited for experienced casual skiers who are not interested in clocking up the miles but rather enjoy a more relaxed time on the mountains cruising around.
Borovets has a good freestyle scene with the largest snowpark in Bulgaria. There are features suited for everyone from park virgin to park rats. For more information on low cost skiing holidays here, check out our guide to Borovets.
For low cost skiing holidays in Borovets we recommend SnoWake Bulgaria. A British company who’ve been operating in Borovets since 2007. Offering ski-in ski-out accommodation, boutique chalet and self-catering options they can accommodate everyone from individuals to large groups. Bed and breakfast starts from just £15 per person per night.
They also run the Yanakiev Ski and Snowboard School offering UK standards of instruction. All instructors are both BASI and Bulgarian Ski Federation qualified.
SnoWake Bulgaria provide packages including everything from fully catered accommodation and transfers, to lessons and equipment hire, for less than £500 per week. Find out more at www.snowandwakebulgaria.com
Surprisingly the Czech Republic has quite a few ski resorts. All of them are quite small including Špindlerův Mlýn, which is the most popular out of them all. And in our opinion is one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe
Any of the resorts in the Czech Republic are good value low cost skiing holidays, but Špindlerův Mlýn ski area is the most modern and consists of 25 km of slopes to ski down and serviced by at total 16 ski lifts. The resort also boosts 95% artificial snow coverage so can keep open until the end of April.
There is plenty of accommodation to choose from. Some would say too much as the slopes can get crowded with large queues for the ski lifts – especially at weekends.
If you are into cross country skiing then you will enjoy the 100km there is to explore. For the park rats there is no less than 3 parks to rip on.
Špindlerův Mlýn is best suited to the intermediate skier but there is something for everyone.
Food and drink is cheap and there is a good selection of bars, discos and restaurants. If you are on a budget and you are looking for extremely low cost skiing holidays, you can’t get much cheaper than Špindlerův Mlýn.
Serre Chevalier is a wonderfully quiet resort with the largest ski area in the southern Alps. If you want to get away from the herds of Brits that swarm the more well-known French resorts, then this is for you!
The resort is actually made up of a string of villages along the foot of the mountain range. The ski area also links up with that of Briancon which give an impressive 157 km of slopes.
The varied ski runs suits those of all abilities with excellent parks and much off-piste to explore. Overall the ski lift system needs updating. A couple of fast draglifts come to mind that certainly would be a baptism of fire for a beginner snowboarder!
Overall though, the ski runs are sublime with many treelined. The ski lifts and runs never seem to get crowded so it’s a wonderful place to take the family. Especially at Easter as the snow conditions are usually good.
Banging apres ski is almost non-existent as the resort is too spread out. But, the food and drink, accommodation and lift passes is great value compared to the resort’s bigger French cousins. If you are looking for quiet low cost skiing holidays in France then Serre Chevalier is about as good as it gets.
Serre-Chevalier is in southern France and very easy to get to by air or road. With a huge ski area, this is one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe for those based in the UK that like to drive to the mountains.
When considering the best cheap ski resorts in Europe it may be worth looking east at Georgia! Nestled between Russia and Turkey, it is on the Europe Asia continental divide. Getting there has always been expensive but Wizz Air now offer flights from under £100.
The main ski resort in Georgia is Gudauri. Situated in the Greater Caucasus mountains skiers and snowboarders may only have 33km of slopes to play around on. But Gudauri has good snow conditions as it is high altitude with the top being over 3000m high. There are also good off-piste opportunities.
The lift system is good as the resort has had continued investment over the years. There are 12 ski lifts in total.
Gudauri was once exclusive to Russia’s elite, it is now one of the cheapest resorts in Europe with a days lift pass being cheaper than a pint of beer in some French resorts. Talking about beer; that is also dirt cheap as well as food and accommodation.
Surely Not! An Italian, high altitude, snow-sure resort can’t actually be one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe? Livigno makes it into this list because of ancient tax laws which mean duty on everything is virtually zero making it a great destination for low cost skiing holidays.
Livigno is in a wide valley near the Swiss border, and with it’s high altitude enjoys great snow. But, because of this, Livigno can be susceptible to bad weather and whiteouts.
Off-piste was banned at Livigno for many years. Thankfully the ban was lifted in 2013 so more advanced skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the great off-piste possibilities on offer.
Livigno is also suited to beginners and intermediates, but beware as there is some tough slopes for the not so bold. It is also well known for it’s freestyle scene with Mottolino fun park known as the best in Italy.
The actual village is long and a bit disjointed. The main hub is in the middle of the village which is the ideal place to stay. With cheap drink prices by Italian standards the apres can be very good and with a couple of clubs to choose from you can party until late if you wish.
The lift system is modern and fast but depending on where you are staying in the village, you are likely to have to use the free shuttle bus service. At peak times this can get busy!
Livigno is also not the easiest place to get to with long transfers from Italian airports. But if you want to go skiing in Italy, then Livigno really is a great option when looking at low cost skiing holidays.
Not sure if you could consider Zakopane – Kasprowy Wierch as one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe, but it is the biggest and highest in Poland.
Set in the Tatra mountain range and part of a National Park, the views from the highest peaks are simply breath-taking.
There has been a major investment in infrastructure recently with the creaky old prehistoric lifts being replaced with new ones. These serve a ski area of only 15km of runs, but the runs are delightfully long and real thigh burners.
There are good reports of the ski schools in the resort, but it is fair to say that Zakopane – Kasprowy Wierch is more suited to experienced skiers and snowboarders. It is also best suited for a long weekend as good skiers or snowboarders would soon loose interest if staying a week.
Having said that, there are plenty of off-piste opportunities. However, off-piste skiing is against regulations – I won’t tell if you don’t!
Food and drink is really cheap. With a pint of beer being less than £2, with is perfect for low cost skiing holidays. Apres ski in the town Zakopane has a good vibe and is quite lively.
Kasprowy Wierch is one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe for experienced skiers and boarders who seek big mountain riding. But, the nearby village of Bialka Tatrzanska provides a wide range of beginner to intermediate runs which have recently been upgraded. You can now ski across a mini 3 valleys on state of the art chair lifts.
With their own highly rated, English speaking, ski and snowboard school. Providing expert tuition for all abilities, from first timers to professional teams who need local guides.
With packages including everything you need: Transfers, rental, lift passes, and professional, English speaking instructors. From just £395pp for 7 nights it is great value for money.
You can even stay at the wonderful Sunshine Chalet. For more information and to get a no obligation, fully-tailored quote from our friendly team, visit www.sunshineworldpoland.com
Located deep in the Carpathians mountain range, Poiana Brasov is Romania’s main resort. It’s certainly one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe if you want to visit somewhere different. It is relatively easy to get to as the nearest airport is in the capital Bucharest which is a 3 hour drive away.
With only 24km of slopes with a total of 12 pistes. It is not the biggest of ski areas, but some of the runs are deliciously long and are mainly tree lined.
25 million Euros was pumped into the infrastructure of Poiana Brasov back in 2011 to try and make it one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe. As a result the lift system and gondola is efficient and modern.
The food is not exactly Michelin star quality, but the hotel standards are quite high. The resort is a great place for families wanting low cost skiing holidays that won’t break the bank. It is also great for beginners with cheap but high quality ski instruction. There is also an open nursery area at the top.
On the plus side ski pass, food and drink are all very cheap and just a fraction of the cost of big resorts in France. On the only downside, Poiana Brasov can get crowded with locals at the weekends.
Jasna is the top resort in Slovakia and is certainly one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe. Located just 30 minutes from Poprad-Tatry airport it is very easy to reach.
The ski area has 50km of slopes with a surprisingly modern ski lift infrastructure that is fast and efficient. This is most evident with a gondola that whisks skiers up to the peak of Chopok (2024m altitude). The magnificent gondola station at the top also acts as a restaurant as well as a hotel with the most stunning views.
The slopes are well-groomed and it also has a beginner and advanced snow park. But, what really sets Jasna apart is the dedicated off-piste zones. These range from gorgeous easy-to-ride powder fields to some very challenging couloirs.
Although the dedicated beginner areas are very good and there are plenty of easy runs, first timers may feel intimidated as they can get congested. On the whole the resort is ideal for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, particularly those that like to head off-piste.
As for the evenings the Apres ski is cheap and lively, but Jasna also has wonderful restaurants with high standard cuisine if you want a more relaxed evening. Most establishments are very proud of their craft beers and it is worth sampling the Pale Ales and Porters that they offer.
For value for money, Jasna should be considered one of the best destinations for low cost skiing holidays in Europe as not only does it suit tight budgets but it offers a huge amount. To find out why we feel it is one of the 14 best cheap ski resorts in Europe check out our review of a Jasna ski holiday.
As one of the leading skiing holiday companies for the Low Tatra region we recommend Jasna Adventures. They deliver a low cost but high quality experience in Jasna, Slovakia, combining professional standards, a personal touch, local knowledge and global experience.
From transport to accommodation and activities to food they organise your trip making it simple and affordable. Jasna Adventures offer hotels and self catered options, plus they run Dragon’s Lair Chalet which is the only traditional Alps style chalet experience in the area.
Costs start from £475 pp for 7 nights, including B&B, ski pass, transfers & more. To find out about low cost skiing holidays by Jasna Adventures go to: www.jasnaadventures.co.uk/ski-holidays
Just 30 minutes from the nearest airport, the splendour of Bled and the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, Krvavec was voted best ski area in Slovenia. But is it one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe?
The problem with Krvavec is that it isn’t actually a resort as such so you cannot stay there. But there is a free bus service from Bled which takes only 40 minutes.
Krvavec has 30 km of pistes serviced by 11 lifts. It is good for families, but not ideal for inexperienced or nervous skiers.
As with the all the ski areas in Slovenia, the infrastructure needs an upgrade and modernising. But most of the ski areas are a short distance from each other which is ideal for a road trip exploring Slovenia. Alternatively stay in Ljubljana and/or Bled for low cost skiing holidays with a difference.
It is difficult to say what the best cheap ski resorts in Europe are, as it depends on the individuals criteria. But if you are looking for a dirt cheap holiday but without skimping on such things as a modern lift system, or good food, then you can’t go wrong with Jasna in Slovakia.
Bulgaria still offers excellent value for money and is the cheapest of the well known ski diestinations. If you want to go to a bigger resort with fantastic infrastructure, and are willing to spend a little more then Andorra could be the answer. Andorran resorts still provide lower priced skiing holidays then most of Europe.
Skiers who have had bad experiences with the rising cost of skiing in the big resorts in France, would be surprised by Serre Chevalier. A quiet, friendly resort that covers a huge ski area with easy access from the UK – it has to be considered one of the best cheap ski resorts in Europe particularly if you plan to drive.
We hope you have found this article about low cost skiing holidays useful. Check out our skiing discounts as you may be able to save a fortune even in the best cheap ski resorts in Europe. Also take a look at our ski hostel article to save even more money.