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A charming, family-friendly ski resort nestled beneath the dramatic Matterhorn – Cervinia caters for all abilities and offers real value for money.
Cervinia (or Breuil-Cervinia to use its full name) in northwest Italy is simultaneously beautifully quaint and dramatic. Sitting beneath the awe-inspiring Matterhorn, a mountain so steep that for many years it was considered unclimbable, location is what really sets Cervinia apart as a family ski destination.
With all the charm of a long-established ski resort – with touches of cosmopolitan modernity where it counts – the resort is made up of a pretty combination of chalets and larger hotels, and has successfully avoided the common pitfall of developing overbearing apartment blocks.
Cervinia is for skiers of all abilities. For beginners, there’s a gentle slope next to the town with various fun activities for young children, plus gentle blue and red runs in the the Plan Maison area.
More confident, intermediate skiers can find plenty of interest in the red runs down from Theodul Pass and the beautiful runs down to Sallette. For expert skiers, runs are well spaced out, leaving plenty of space for off-piste skiing adjacent to the pistes. Then, if going off-piste in this high alpine ski area isn’t daredevil enough, you can even organise a day’s heli-skiing if you want to really get extreme.
To add another layer to your trip, Cervinia has the added benefit of being linked to the glamorous Swiss resort of Zermatt, accessible via the Theodulgletscher glacier – provided you buy a ski pass for both resorts.
The trip to Zermatt is one to attempt on a day with good visibility and low winds. The glacier is at 3480m so can be very exposed which means that even the most benign blue run can become an ice rink if the wind is up.
If your children can handle a medium red run, don’t mind the occasional schuss, and if the weather’s on your side, wrap them up warm and take them on a Matterhorn adventure. Take the Plan Maison lift from Cervinia at the top at Plateau Rosa Testa Grigia.
From there you can ski over the glacier (it isn’t steep) and down a variety of runs to the bottom of the speedy six-man Furggsattel Gletscherbahn chair lift. This gets you to the top of one of skiing’s most beautiful runs, Run 69 – Matterhorn.
This red run tours under the base of the mighty Matterhorn mountain before turning back through trees and past unspoilt hamlets to the Furgg lift station. From here, you can choose to continue down into Zermatt, or, alternatively, lead up to the top of Klien Matterhorn for the return to Cervinia for lunch.
One of the joys of skiing in Italy is the price. Ski hire and lift passes are cheaper here than most other European countries and dining out both in the mountains and the town will feel refreshingly good value compared to the pricier resorts of France or Switzerland.
All the self-service cafeterias on the Italian side offer excellent value for money but the restaurant attached to the Plan Maison Cable Car Station has a wide selection of hearty (and kid-friendly!) Italian favourites like spaghetti bolognese, carbonara and lasagna from as little as €12.
Cervinia town has a main street called Via A. Carrel, filled with relaxed and friendly bars, bistros and restaurants which are perfect for a family with young children. On one of the many bustling side streets is Bar Falcone, a traditional family run spaghetti house and pizzeria which serves delicious freshly made pasta and pizza from as little as €10 a head.
Cervinia is located in the mountainous Aosta region of Italy, famed for its wide range of local specialities including Porcini mushrooms and excellent mountain sausages and cheeses. These are available both in the restaurants and the local shops, if you’re self-catering.
There’s a wide range of accommodation available in town as well as in the surrounding area. The Sertorelli Sport Hotel is a friendly 4-star hotel with the added benefit of a wonderful in-house spa to soothe aching legs. Situated on the main road into the town centre, about a 10 minute walk to the ski lifts, residents can rely on the two complementary shuttle buses to get them to and from the two main lift stations at the top end of town.
The Meuble Joli hotel also offers well priced rooms in a central location or there’s a wide selection of apartments to rent depending on the size of your party.
British Airways have daily flights from London to Turin (TRN) – transfer is a little under 2 hours. easyJet runs up to Six flights Daily from London Gatwick or Stansted to Milan Malpensa (MXP) – Transfer time 2 hours 30