The Austrian and Swiss Alps, presented in the previous part of our miniseries, really have top amenities for winter fun – and this is why they, unfortunately, are not among the lower-cost options. This time, let’s explore the Alps from their slightly different, no less attractive, but much more accessible angles.

mountain_illustration

Italy_header

WINTER HOLIDAYS IN ITALY

Italy has more than just warm pebble beaches and magical historical monuments. You can enjoy a lot of fun also in powder snow. The Italian Alps are no less majestic and pointed than those in the neighboring countries, but the difference is you can get access to literally a gigantic number of kilometers of slopes with one ski pass. The accessible accommodation prices are also attractive, especially in apartments and family guesthouses. And when you have had enough skiing, you can go see the famous tourist sites – they are much less crowded in winter.

flag

Italy_en

WHAT TO VISIT IN THE SEASON?

Ski marathons
Pustertaler Ski-Marathon (13 January), Marcialonga near Bolzano (28 January),
Gsiesertal cross-country run (17–18 February), all in South Tyrol

Biathlon World Championships
18–21 January in Anterselva, Italy
the last World Championships before the Olympics

Ferrari Museum i Modena and Maranello (November to March)
The new building in Modena in the shape of a car bonnet is the work
of Czech architect Jan Kaplický.

The museum is open every day from 9:30 to 19:00, entry for both EUR 26.

SAFARI IN THE DOLOMITES

The Sella Ronda ski circuit is a unique experience. During this “safari” you can explore 80 km of slopes, four passes, four valleys, and photograph unique panoramas in a single day thanks to the connected ski lifts and slopes. The following day, you can go on exploring the remaining 407 km of ski slopes...

www.dolomitisuperski.com/en

safari

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Kronplatz will satisfy serious as well as recreational skiers. There is plenty of space on its wide slopes even during the busy holiday seasons. From the top, which has a snow park for children, there are five downhill runs with a drop in elevation o  more than 1,000 m. Ski pass and cuisine are slightly above the common Italian price level.

www.kronplatz.com/en

kronplatz

FASHION BENEATH TALL MOUNTAIN PEAKS

The most famous Italian ski centre in the Dolomites – Cortina d’Ampezzo – is surrounded by skiing areas on peaks more than 3,000 m tall. Cortina lives in the spirit of past “Olympic times”. The pedestrian zone in the centre has been occupied by expensive shops. In fact, it is a kind of fashion show right in the streets...

www.dolomiti.org/en/cortina

moda

WINTER CHILL-OUT IN TUSCANY

You can better enjoy Tuscany’s monuments (Florence, Pisa, Siena), overcrowded in summer, from autumn to spring. The tastings of the local wines (Brunello, Nobile, Chianti) are more relaxed. Try the Chianti Classico in Tenute Bibbiano. In Tuscany, you can ski on the 2,000 m Cimone peak (50 km of ski slopes, a cable car and seven ski lifts).

www.bibbiano.com

toskansko

THREE BONUSES, TWO PRICE ADVANTAGES

Livigno entices with its duty-free zone as well as pre-season ski passes free of charge, because the third local bonus is snow from November to May. There are ski slopes on both sides of the valley, and you can ski right down to the city. It also has Italy’s largest snow park. Motorcyclists can try riding on ice.

www.skipasslivigno.com/en

livigno

img_big_snowboard

poradna_uamk_EN

In Italy, there are no unified regulations on use of winter tires. In the Val d’Aosta area they are required from 15 October to 15 April, elsewhere from 1 November to 15 April. All is marked with traffic signs. An alternative to winter tires are snow chains, with a speed limit of 50 km/h. But do not drive through Austria without winter tires!

Environmentally friendly zones have been introduced in many Italian cities. Therefore, the centers of many historic cities are practically inaccessible by car for non-locals. Markings are usually only in Italian.

ecozone_icon

Drivers having a driving licence for less than three years have a speed limit of 100 km/h (even on the motorway) and zero alcohol. When it is raining, the motorway speed is reduced to 110 km/h. Drivers must use their headlights all day long. Smoking is prohibited in cars transporting children and youths under 18 years of  age or pregnant women. Fines are more severe for transgressions at night than during the day.

100_icon

france_header

WINTER HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE

France is not just a cultural and gastronomical superpower, it is also a skiing one. You can find here around 400 ski centers with thousands of slopes and ski lifts, which often start right at a hotel’s doorstep! In addition, at high-altitude centers you can be sure there will be snow and high-quality slopes. The services just keep improving, and there are more and more opportunities for new experiences. You will really enjoy a winter vacation in France.

flag_france-1

WHAT TO VISIT IN THE SEASON?

Trophée Andros
car races on ice, from 2 December to 3 February 2018 they are held on several circuits
(Val Thorens, Alpe d‘Huez, Isola 2000, Serre Chevaliier, Lans en Vercors, Superbesse www.tropheeandros.com

Grande Odyssée
a stage dog sledding race through 12 ski centers, with snow bivouacs
13 to 24 January 2018 www.grandeodyssee.com

Rallye Monte Carlo (22–28 January 2018)
ŠKODA Motorsport is a regular participant.
For exact track and programe see www.acm.mc

france_en

ON SNOW AND UNDER WATER

In several French ski centers with lakes (such as Tignes, Val Thorens, Chamrousse), you can try diving beneath the ice. Previous experience is not necessary, diving is to a depth of 2–7 m under supervision of an instructor. Experience the blue realm dimly lit by sun through ice. Price up to EUR 100.

www.tignes.net

pod_vodou

SKI CENTRE WITH OLYMPIC ROOTS

Chamrousse is a favorite destination for families with children. But back at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals here, so there is no lack of demanding slopes here. The western exposure ensures plenty of snow and a wonderful red glow when the sun is setting. Another advantage is the facilities provided by the nearby city.

www.chamrousse.com

rezort

PYRENEES AT ARM’S REACH

The largest of the dozens of skiing areas in the Pyrenees unites two downhill locations: La Mongie and Baréges. It offers 80 km of slopes, 50 km of cross-country trails, and a breath-taking panorama of the Pyrenees from Pic du Midi (2,877 m a.s.l.).

www.grand-tourmalet.com

pyreneje

PIONEERS FROM ORCIERES 1850

The local skiing area is among the pioneers in innovations. In addition to the first ski school, this was also where the first “Tyrolienne” (a downhill zip line) in France was installed (you can find one also in Val Thorens). The Leisure & Relaxation Complex is a one-stop shop for all kinds of active relaxation. At the elevation of 2,280 m a.s.l., you also can spend a night in an igloo.

www.orcieres.com

pionyri

A FLIGHT WITH SKIS ON A ROPE

In the high-altitude Val Thorens (part of the Three Valleys area, 600 km of slopes) you can get down to the valley also on a rope. The Tyrolienne zip line starts at 3,230 m a.s.l., and you can fly for 1,300 m for EUR 50 (skis on your back).

www.valthorens.com

let_na_lane

france_image_big

fr_poradna_uamk_en

Winter tires (tread minimum 3.5 mm) are mandatory in France on marked sections under winter conditions (snow, ice). Traffic signs also indicate sections where snow chains are mandatory on snow and ice.

Starting 1 January 2018, M+S tires without the alpine snowflake, that is all-year or off-road used primarily by large SUVs, may not be sufficient when travelling across Germany. An exception, valid through 30 September 2024, will be in effect for tires made before 31 December 2017.

zimnivybava_2-1

While more than 100 cities have declared their environmentally friendly zones in Germany (www.umweltzone.de), there are only four such zones in France (Paris, Lyon, Lille, and Grenoble in the Alps). A low-emissions zone applies in Paris Centre all the way to the Périphérique ring road. Stickers must be ordered and paid (EUR 4.80) on the internet (www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/).

ecozone_icon-1

slovenia_header

WINTER HOLIDAYS IN SLOVENIA

You can find the Alps even in Slovenia (Julian Alps), and their highest mountain, Triglav, is a very respectable 2,864 m high! In addition, everywhere is close, so you can ski by day and walk by the coast in the evening to get a meal in a pleasant seaside restaurant. If that is not enough for you, shoot down a wild river in a raft or relax in a thermal spa. There are countless opportunities!

slovenia_flag

WHAT TO VISIT IN THE SEASON?

Piran 
The city, famed for its beauty and inspiring songs, is pleasantly calm in wintertime.

Kranjska Gora
3 – 4 March
Men’s Alpine Skiing World Cup, Giant Slalom, Slalom

Planica
20. – 21. 1.
20–21 January, Cross-Country Skiing World Cup, Sprint and 15 km Classic
23–25 March, Ski Flying World Cup, individuals and teams

slovinsko_en

SLOPES AND SKI JUMPS NEAR TRIGLAV

Kranjska Gora hosts the World Cup every year. In addition to slopes, the Zgornja Savska valley offers deep-snow off-piste skiing, climbing frozen waterfalls, and in Planica you can take a zip line above the mammoth hill ski jumps.

www.kranjska-gora.si/en

sjezdovky_mustky

ALL TYPES OF WATER FUN

Canyoning, rafting, kayaking, river boarding… Although they do not have purely winter rafting dates in the outdoor town of Bovec and the Dolina Soče destination, you can join their spring dates – starting from 15 March – with your March or April skiing trips.

www.dolina-soce.si

vodni_zabavy

FROM MOUNTAIN TOPS TO UNDERGROUND

One of the most interesting caves in Europe is Postojnska jama. In winter (November–March) there are three tours per day (10:00, 12:00, and 15:00). In contrast to summer, the car park is not overcrowded. The cave temperature is cca 10°C year-round. You can request an audio guide in Czech or English.

www.postojnska-jama.eu

podzemi

WARM AND HEALING WATER

Terme Olimia in Podčetrtek, the spa complexes in Dobma, Čatež, Rimské Terme and Moravské Toplice. Now they are just names, but next time they may stand for pleasant memories. Although they are not directly under the ski slopes, they can be connected with a winter vacation. Slovenia is a country of short distances after all…

www.slovenia.info/en

lazne

THE HORSES OF LIPICA

The world-renowned stud farm is among Europe’s oldest. Just seeing the paddocks with hundreds of white horses is an experience. The entry ticket includes a commented tour, entry to the horse carriage museum, and a visit to the oldest local stable, Velbanca. You may also get to see dressage.

www.lipica.org/en

lipice

img_big_family

poradna_uamk_EN-1

Winter tires are mandatory here from 15 November to 15 March. Three millimeters of tread depth are sufficient, which in Slovenia also applies for summer tires used in winter. The driver must have snow chains in the boot (otherwise they are only recommended). However, you cannot travel across Austria in your summer tires…

Petrol stations in winter areas are not open non-stop, so keep an eye on your fuel gauge. Speed limits are similar to those in the Czech Republic. Fines paid on the spot are 50% lower by law. Fuel prices are set by the state, so they are the same everywhere.

tank_icon-1

It is prohibited to drive into an intersection on an orange light. There is a 0.5 per mill limit for alcohol, although a zero limit applies to young drivers up to 21 years of age and others with less than two years of driving experience, as well as to professional drivers.

policie_icon-3

img_big_ski

MOTORING TO WINTER FUN

Do you have plans for your winter holiday yet? We have a better tip for you than drawing a finger on the map. In our series you can find articles about selected European countries and their most attractive destinations. Overview of the countries is on the map below - click on each country to find out more. Stay tuned and let our interactive map inspire you.

Have you forgotten something? Download our checklist so you pack everything.





Czech Republic Slovakia Austria Switzerland Italy France Slovenia Czech Republic Slovakia Austria Switzerland Italy France Slovenia