Where to go for a winter holiday facing the mountains…
If you ever wondered where to go for your next winter holiday, I may have a suggestion or two.
Since I have been organizing alpine ski trips for over 30 years, I dare say I have some experience.
In terms of countries, I do love Austria with its rolling hills and their sound of music – Tyrolean that is. Everything is neatly planned, while remaining deeply authentic. It happens to be where alpine skiing as we know it started in the Arlberg area.
The French way of life is also a favourite, with its hardcore skiers enjoying relaxed lunches.
Italy has style and charm, as well as probably the best mountain food on the planet.
Switzerland is picture perfect; mountains villages complete with trains and cable cars operating like clockwork.
When it comes to resorts, two of the most impressive places to visit are Grindelwald and Mürren. They are both part of the ‘Jungfrau region’, so called because of its breath taking virgin natural beauty.
Grindelwald has been around for quite a while now, the first tourists discovered it before your grandparents where even born. Ice skating used to be the big attraction, before skiing took over.
The village is able to satisfy all your needs, including charming hotels and excellent restaurants, but the main reason to visit is the surrounding mountains.
The Eiger Nord Wand, which means the ‘North Wall’, is one of the most impressive mountains sides to be found anywhere in the Alps.
Grindelwald’s superb ski area touches the base of Eiger and has recently been refurbished to a whole new level. Prepare for take-off in one of the two cable cars to the top of the slopes.
The modern base station feels like an airport lounge, complete with shops, eateries and services, as well as its very own train station.
Talking about trains, originally built here in 1912, you can take it all the way up to the highest railway station in Europe: Jungfraujoch – the top of Europe at 3454 m.a.s.l.
Mürren is an incredibly quintessential mountain village free of cars, with a spectacular view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Three of the highest peaks in Berner Oberland.
The village sits on a shelf 400 m above Lauterbrunnen, and as such, is a also favourite spot for base jumping, if you are so inclined. The rest of us use the fascinating transport system effortless taking tourists and goods up and down the mountains.
The ski area of Mürren includes excellent ski runs from high alpine surroundings to sunny mountain pastures.
It is home to the crazy ski race from the top of Schilthorn down to Lauterbrunnen, which also holds the title for being the oldest and longest downhill ski race in the world.
Schilthorn has a revolving restaurant and is more famously known as Piz Gloria for all the (older) James Bond fans out there. Do not miss the Bond Museum at the top.