Family Traveller Magazine Spring/Summer 2022. Order online now for free UK postage.

5 cute European ski resorts for family holidays

Lisa Atkinson
14th January 2022

You’d think cute family ski resorts would gravitate towards some of Europe’s most spectacular settings. Architects have the likes of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn to play with. They get winter’s deep, blue skies and twinkly lights. And they have the advantage of snow, nature’s very own Photoshop.


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World Heritage Hallstatt village, near Salzburg, Austria

So, why oh why, do so many potentially cute family ski resorts end up so ugly? Truth is, most were brutalised in the 1960s and 70s when traditional character wasn’t so much of a currency. But there are a select few that stayed under the developers’ radar and came through unscathed. So, if you know where to look, cuteness can be had and not at the expense of reliable snow, kids’ adventure and all the other family ski holiday essentials. 

1/5  Hallstatt, Austria: one of the cute family ski resorts with lake views

Austria has cute family ski resorts across every skiing region from Arlberg to Innsbruck. But Hallstatt on the shores of glacial Lake Hallstätter is the one all the others want to be. And, if World Heritage status isn’t enough to tempt you, the village is just over an hour from magnificent Salzburg and even closer to the Salzkammergut ski areas. The quaint Christmas traditions and kids’ festivals also put this one on the wish list.

How to get there: direct UK flights to Salzburg take from 2 hours. Salzburg is just over an hour’s drive from Hallstatt.

Stay at fabulous Seehotel Grüner Baum in the historic heart of Hallstatt 

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Annecy Castle overlooking Lake Annecy, France

2/5  Annecy, France: the Venice of cute family ski resorts

Dating back to the 10th century, ancient Annecy winds round a network of tiny canals and bridges under the gaze of the Aravis Mountains. The skiing here is gentle on nursery slopes for beginners and good at building older kid’s confidence. Trois Vallées is nearby for more serious skiers. But Annecy is so enchanting you’ll spend as much time off the slopes as on.

How to get there: Direct UK flights to Geneva take from 1 hour and 40 minutes. Annecy is 40 minutes drive from Geneva.

Stay at Le Clos de Sense in the centre of Annecy old town 

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Zermatt nestled under the Matterhorn, Switzerland

3/5  Zermatt, Switzerland: views of the Matterhorn add drama to the cute

Zermatt is just on the right side of impossibly cute thanks to the ever present Matterhorn and a reputation for serious sport. The resort has access to over 30 peaks of 4000m plus and interconnecting ski-areas in both Switzerland and Italy.

This is the resort for older kids up to the challenge of demanding downhill and younger ones have everything from excellent ski-schools and fun clubs to first-steps’ sledding, ice skating, swimming and snowshoeing.

How to get there: Direct UK flights to Basel take from 1 hour, 40 minutes. Zermatt is just over 3 hour’s by road or rail from Basel.

Stay at the smart and kid-friendly Alpen Resort Hotel in Zermatt

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View of charming Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

4/5  Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy: the pretty resort loved by wealthy Italian families

With its elegant bell towers, historic streets and mighty Dolomite ridges, no list of great mountain beauties is complete without Cortina d’Ampezzo in the mix. A luxe favourite with wealthy Italians, this lovely resort’s also part of family-friendly Dolomiti Superski. So you can always stay elsewhere, dip in and visit Cortina and still afford ski-passes.

How to get there: Direct UK flights to Venice take from 2 hours. Cortina d’Ampezzo is 2 hour’s by road from Venice.

Stay at Radisson Residences Savoia Palace in Cortina d’Ampezzo

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Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, one of the cutest ski resorts in France

5/5  Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France: fairy tale pretty close to Trois Vallées

Saint-Martin is called ‘Le Village des Trois Vallées’ but – apart from fast gondolas – you wouldn’t know you were anywhere near the world’s largest ski area. Kids love the fairy tale atmosphere here, when they can drag themselves away from tobogganing, bobcat expeditions, swimming, skating and child-size hikes through the satisfyingly wintry countryside.

How to get there: Direct UK flights to Chambéry take from 1 hour, 40 minutes. Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is an hour’s drive from Chambéry.

Home by U Chalet 1 in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is perfect for large family groups


Find out why you should always travel with your young kids. And listen to the Family Traveller Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts!

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