Learning to ski in Europe can be a fantastic experience and there’s something to suit everyone, whether your fancy the height of luxury or something that won’t break the bank.

Bansko, Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an often overlooked destination when it comes to winter vacations. The beautiful terrain and decent amounts of snow make it a great place to learn. There’s also plenty to do off the slopes if you don’t want to spend day-after-day skiing.

There are lessons on offer both individually and in groups at Bankso. They’re all fantastic value for money and a great way to learn the basics. Once you know what you’re doing, you can head out on some of the smaller slopes to get to grips with your new skills.

You can also hire all the gear you need too, which means you won’t have to shell out for pricey equipment before you head out on your vacation.

Tignes, France

This is the kind of resort that can give anyone the skiing bug. There are gentle lifts, wide open runs and a relaxed atmosphere that will put almost anyone at ease! There are four different nursery slope areas that all feature a range of different beginner-specific lifts. There’s even a children’s area that has a carpet lift at Tignes Val Claret.


All the lifts are easily accessible from the surrounding villages and they’re free of charge too.

Spend some time in the ski school where you’ll build your confidence before heading out to some of the rolling blue runs that reach down into the little villages of the area. Here you can relax for a while before practising some more or tackling one of the longer blue runs such as Rhododendron that runs down to Les Brevieres.

Grandvalira, Andorra

For beginners wanting a really comprehensive experience, you can’t go wrong here. You can easily go from not being able to ski to having confidence on the slopes in a couple of days and for those of you who are already a bit more experienced, there’s the chance to progress to intermediate level too.


Grandvalira offers a beginners ski pass, which means you don’t have to pay out for access to lifts you’ll never use. You can base yourself at the main slopes that cater to beginners and go from there. You might choose to take on the help of an instructor in a group, or you might practice the skills learnt from your last ski trip.

Either way, you’ll be tackling a range of slopes in no time and this is a fantastic place in which to do it.

Courchevel, France

This is one of the most spectacular resorts in Europe; the snow is fantastic, the slopes are fun and the lines are miraculously short. However, this is a popular resort and that means a lot of people visit. The slopes can become a little crowded but that’s not to say you should steer clear.


1850 and Moriond are the places to stay if you’re a beginner and want a little luxury during your vacation. The home runs are gentle and well-equipped with British ski schools.

For those of you who want to do more than just learn to ski, Courchevel is the perfect destination. There are some amazing restaurants near the top of the mountain and while they’re expensive, you won’t be disappointed with the quality of the food, the views and the amazing atmosphere.

Cervinia, Italy

With affordable private lessons (about half the cost of those you’d find in France) and some great terrain, this is a great resort to learn at. The whole place might seem a bit plain, and the weather isn’t always perfect but there’s great snow and plenty of ski schools too.


This resort used to be a bit dated but new hotels are opening, there’s plenty of aprés ski choices and you’ll be hard pressed to find somewhere more affordable.

By Jess Shanahan