Get us in your inbox

Arinsal, Andorra
Photograph: martin SC photo/

The best affordable ski holidays in Europe

From hidden snowy landscapes to underrated eastern European destinations, these are the top spots to ski for a steal

India-Jayne Trainor
Written by
India-Jayne Trainor

Skiing has developed a reputation as an expensive pastime. It’s a hobby too often reserved for those who don’t flinch at the cost of a luxe resort in the Alps or Pyrenees – but luckily, there are hundreds of resorts dotted across Europe, and some of the most unexpected locations offer an affordable holiday on the slopes.

Popular skiing destinations such as France, Austria and Italy don’t have to mean splashing out – dramatic mountainscapes and miles of runs can be enjoyed on a budget if you know where to look. Off-the-beaten track destinations such as Slovenia and Bulgaria also have more than their fair share of snowy landscapes perfect for snowsports, with fewer crowds and more pleasing prices. 

All prices used reflect the 2024 ski season at the time of writing and may be subject to change. 

India-Jayne Trainor is a British-Australian travel writer based in London. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines and check out our latest travel guides written by local experts.


🇦🇹 The best places to visit in the Austrian Alps
🏰 The best city breaks in Europe
☀️ The best winter sun destinations
🚞 The ultimate three-week Europe train itinerary

Europe’s best budget-friendly skiing

Les Menuires, France
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Les Menuires, France

A slightly more affordable way to hit up France’s famous Les 3 Vallées (Three Valleys), Les Menuires is frequently overshadowed by the mighty trio of Val Thorens, Méribel and Courchevel. Sharing its ski area with the latter two, staying here allows access to 370 miles of world-famous slopes that have something for everyone, from those snowploughing on their first skis to experts wanting to go off-piste. Accommodation is made up of 1960s architecture and high-rises: it’s basic, but that’s what makes the resort affordable. Plus, when the days are spent out on the pistes and evenings are filled with apres-ski, aesthetics aren’t a priority. 

Ski passes for the 3 Valleys, including Les Menuires in the 2023/24 season cost €300 (£262) for six days. Crystal Ski offers seven-night half-board holidays starting from £588pp. 

Borovets, Bulgaria
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Borovets, Bulgaria

One of another trio of resorts, this time in Bulgaria. Borovets, along with its counterparts Bansko and Pamporovo, hide some of the most underrated and budget-friendly skiing in Europe. Easy to reach from Sofia, Borovets enjoys guaranteed powder thanks to its prime location in Rila, Bulgaria’s highest mountain range. Expect comfortable hotels, gear rental and ski lessons for less than half the price of the average trip to St Anton or Val d’Isere – particularly when the week-long ski pass is less than £200 (€228). With 58km of pistes, it’s smaller than many European ski resorts – but the slopes here cater mainly to beginners and intermediate skiers, making it ideal for those keen to try out the sport without breaking the bank. 

Hotels in Borovets start at around €45 (£40) per night, while lift passes including equipment hire cost €367 (£321) for seven days. Balkan Holidays offers packages for return flights from the UK and seven nights’ accommodation for £498 per person.

Vogel-Bohinj, Slovenia
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Vogel-Bohinj, Slovenia

Slovenia, usually popular for summer trips to the shores of Lake Bled, also gets stellar snowfall not far away in Triglav National Park. There are just 22km of slopes, many of which are easy and gentle, but there’s also plenty of off-piste terrain for adventurers to explore. Overlooking the icy waters of Lake Bohinj, the lift passes are around half the price of other notable European resorts, while Bled and Ljubljana are less than an hour’s drive away.  

Ski passes at Vogel-Bohinj cost €220 (£192) for seven days for adults, and €110 (£96) for children. Heidi offers one week holidays including flights, accommodation and private transfers for £824pp.

Livigno, Italy
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Livigno, Italy

Over 115km of slopes, a terrain park full of black runs and duty-free shopping are what draw most people to the slopes of Livigno, which is part of the Italian Dolomites. Food here is well-priced as is the comfortable chalet-style accommodation – and lift passes can be combined to include access to nearby St Moritz, where budget is a word not often heard. Livigno is a fairly easy drive from Milan and has loads of late-night bars and clubs, making it popular with a young, party-loving crowd. 

There are affordable direct flights from across Europe to Milan Bergamo Airport. Ski passes in high season for 2023 are €345 (£301) for one week and hotels start at around €250 (£219), based on two sharing over seven days. 

Arinsal, Andorra
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Arinsal, Andorra

Andorra may be small but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in mountains – there’s one almost everywhere you look. In their well-respected Vallnord ski region, Arinsal has 90km of slopes reaching over 2,500m. The higher elevations are home to the red and black runs, while intermediate skiers should head to the area around Pal, which offers challenging pistes alongside ski schools to brush up on skills. The nightlife here has a bit of a wild reputation and Andorra la Vella is a day trip away for non-skiing days. Best of all, multi-day ski passes don’t have to be used consecutively. 

Crystal Ski has seven-night packages available for 2024, including flights to Toulouse, starting at £535pp based on two people in self-catered accommodation. They also offer free child lift passes. 

Ischgl, Austria
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Ischgl, Austria

Whether you snowboard, ski or simply après, Ischgl in Austria’s western Tyrol mountains ticks all the boxes for an action-packed ski holiday that comes in (mostly) under budget compared to other resorts. Ischgl has joined forces with the nearby Swiss resort of Samnaun, meaning there are 365km of trails for all abilities, along with excellent off-piste areas. This golden combination of resorts enjoys a long season, usually from November to May – and if you arrive at the start or tail end of the season, the lift pass is slightly cheaper. Accommodation is varied, with many ski-in ski-out options, but these tend to get booked up before the first powder even hits the ground. 

Direct flights from London to Innsbruck start at £66pp (€75) in January 2024. Sunweb has holiday deals for £645pp for seven days, inclusive of accommodation and lift passes, but excluding flights. 

Serre Chevalier, France
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Serre Chevalier, France

Boasting the largest ski area in the southern Alps – with more than 250km of pistes – the lesser-visited Serre Chevalier suddenly seems far more affordable when you consider the range of nearby accommodation options. Surrounding Serre Chevalier are the towns of St Chaffrey, La Salle Les Alpes, Le Monêtier-les-Bains, Briançon and Chantemerle, all offering plenty of places to stay. The latter three towns each have their own lift passes if you don’t want to go for the combined Serre Chevalier pass, which is less than €300 for the week. Although there’s terrain for all levels, Serre Chevalier is particularly family-friendly, with beginner runs, family passes and limited late-night après parties. 

Ski passes at Serre Chevalier for a family of four costs €1275 (£1114) for a week during high season. Snowtrex offers family holidays based on two adults and two children from £554pp, including six-day lift passes. 

San Vito di Cadore, Italy
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. San Vito di Cadore, Italy

In the Italian Dolomites, there’s one name that hogs the limelight in the skiing world, and that’s Cortina d’Ampezzo. However, right next door, the tiny town of San Vito di Cadore offers a low-cost alternative. With just 20km of runs, this place is ideally suited for those learning to ski or families with little skiers – there are nursery slopes, family discounts and an amusement park. San Vito di Cadore is, however, part of the Dolomiti Superski Complex, which covers a whopping 1200km of pistes. With the Skipass de Valle you can access all of these, including Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alpe di Siusi and Val Gardena. 

Wizz Air has flights to Venice in January 2024 from £38 (€43). Ski passes at San Vito di Cadore cost €42 (£37) per day for adults and a double room in Hotel Boite starts from just £79 (€90) per night.  

Jasná Nízke Tatry, Slovakia
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Jasná Nízke Tatry, Slovakia

The largest resort in Slovakia and definitely the most budget-friendly, Jasná, in the lower Tatras mountains, has all the goulash, fresh powder and quality gear you could ask for. With accommodation often coming in at less than £30 (€34) per night, restaurants serving hearty eastern European cuisine and 50km of pistes, Slovakia might well be the best affordable ski destination in Europe. Runs range from beginner to expert, and activities that don’t involve snow include Tatralandia Aquapark and some popular nightclubs frequented by local tourists – we’ll say na zdravie to that.  

Ski passes for high season 2023/24 in Jasná are €45 (£39) per day. Direct flights with WizzAir fly from London to Poprad and start at £36 (€41) in January 2024. Snowtrex has seven nights at the Residence Nube d'Argento for £192 (based on two sharing). 

    You may also like
    You may also like