You don’t have to go skiing to enjoy the mountain air in the winter months. There are plenty of wintery European retreats that offer unforgettable adventures and brilliant activities – not to mention some of the world’s loveliest terrain. Ready for a snow-dusted adventure? Pack your thickest Christmas socks, strap on a pair of snowshoes and dive into these winter wonderlands around Europe.
Starý Smokovec – Slovakia
Tatra Temple of Ice
For the ultimate winter getaway in Europe, head to the Tatras. The range is prime terrain for a plethora of snow-based fun – and Starý Smokovec is one of the most popular resorts there. Hop on the comfy funicular to Hrebienok to the top of a 2.5 km-long sledging track – for a truly unforgettable adventure, try night sledging along the lit-up route or even snowtubing. Here you’ll also find the Tatra Temple of Ice – a unique winter ice church that makes for a great photo opportunity.
Where to stay: Just a quick walk from wonderful winter hiking areas and cross-country skiing tracks sits the Grandhotel Starý Smokovec – a charming mountain bolthole that’s been king of the High Tatras since 1904. Built in Art Nouveau style, the Grandhotel will take you back to the romance of 20s and 30s; when people flocked to these parts for a luxurious escape on the slopes.
Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
Where to stay: The Grandhotel Praha’s glamorous history dates back to 1905. Built in stunning Art Nouveau style, a stay here is a true Tatras fairytale. Combining the healing effects of the Alpine nature, the hotel’s spa offers treatments using the herbs, forest fruits and other treasures of the Tatras. This, plus an outdoor infinity pool, whirlpools, and saunas make it the ultimate place to recharge the batteries after a day in the snow.
Where to stay: Overlooking this winter wonderland is Hotel Waldhaus – winner of the Historic Hotels of Europe Customer Care Award 2013 due to its owner’s passion to go above and beyond for each and every guest. Owned by the same family since 1908, the hotel retains its golden age grandeur and irresistible warmth – the perfect way to round off a day in the snow.