After a full day of skiing or snowboarding, it’s time to enjoy some apres ski. If you’ve ever been on the mountain before, you know that apres ski is a key part of the whole experience.
So, we’re going to look at how to find the best apres ski, and how to make the most of your ski or snowboarding break.
What is apres ski?
The literal translation is after skiing, from the French. Technically, apres ski is any social activity that happens once the ski lifts have closed in a resort. However, if you’ve been skiing ever, you probably noticed that for some people apres starts around lunchtime and continues until well into the night.
Apres ski usually happens in slope side bars or cafes, and you’ll normally hear the booming sound system. These tend to start getting busy around lunchtime, but the most happening apres ski tends to happen back in the resort.
You might also experience apres ski in the form of festivals such as Snowbombing, TomorrowLand or Snowboxx.
Where is best for apres ski in Europe?
There are plenty of great ski resorts across Europe that are perfect for apres ski. In fact, pick any major resort in France or Austria, and chances are there will be some party action happening.
Italy is also well known for it’s apres ski, as are less obvious ski regions such as Andorra, Poland and Bulgaria,
So, for our money, where is best for apres ski in Europe?*
*in no particular order
1. Ishgl, Austria
This small town in Austria’s Paznaun valley packs in a lot of apres to it’s relatively small frame. For starters, you have great skiing on the 240kms of Alpine slopes. And by night (or at least from lunchtime if we’re completely honest) you have music pumping from countless bars on the mountain, plus a selection of nightclubs, bars and pubs in the town itself.
Pacha is the big club in the village, and yes it does host some major DJs during the ski season, like it’s Ibiza namesake.
2. Mayrhofen, Austria
In all honesty, most big Austrian resorts are apres ski hotspots. The Austrians sure love to get the party started on the mountain, and the resort is usually pretty buzzing into the night. And Mayrhofen, nestled in the Zillertal valley, is definitely a magnet for party skiers.
Brück’n Stadl is the big nightclub in town, with big name DJs and a raucous party almost every night during ski season. But there are a number of clubs, including the Ice Bar, right next to the main gondola, Scotland yard pub and Arena.
If you’re looking for some serious apres with your ski then Mayrhofen must be on your list.
3. Morzine, France
The Portes de Soleil region is one of the largest ski regions in the Alps, and Morzine is the hub resort. To be fair, you could also pick Avoriaz or Les Gets too, although Morzine shades it for apres due to the choice of venues.
Popular bars include Robinsons (known locally as Robbos), Cavern and La Tremplin. If you’re in Avoriaz then you’ll definitely run into La Folie Deuce, which is generally rocking from lunchtime.
Avoriaz also hosts the excellent Snowboxx festival, which we checked out a few years ago.
All in all, Morzine and Avoriaz make for some serious apres ski action!
4. Pas de la Casa, Andorra
The Grandvalira ski area is a an excellent and sprawling ski region, and one that definitely makes out must check out ski list. Check out our review of Grandvalia in Andorra over at our partner site. When it comes to apres ski in Andorra, many of the smaller stations such as Soldeu and El Tarter do have some good options, mostly in the form of bars.
But Pas de la Casa offers the best option for apres ski in Andorra, thanks to it’s great choice of bars and clubs. Paddy’s Bar and the Dubliner are excellent most nights of the week, or check out the Bilbord for late night dancing and DJs.
Grandvalira also features some great on the mountain bars, so you can get in the mood before the lifts close!
5. Bansko, Bulgaria
Budget Bansko offers not just decent options for ski and snowboarding, but also one of the best apres ski scenes in Europe. With plenty of bars on the mountain, the party starts early in Bansko. But back in the resort, you will find bars, nightclubs and even gentleman’s clubs to keep you amused well into the night.
If you’re looking for a stag do ski destination, then definitely consider Bansko as it’s cheap, cheerful and tons of fun.
6. Val Thorens, France
High in the Alps, Val Thorens has the benefit of being snowsure, one of the best ski resorts in Europe and also one of the best for apres ski. As part of the 3 Valleys, Val Thorens is a solid choice alongside it’s neighbours Courcheval and Meribel. Pick any of these and you’ll have a great time both on and off the mountain.
Val Thorens shades it with la Folie Douce serving as an entrance to the town from the mountain, and then popular spots like 360 Bar and the Frog and Roastbeef being perfect for a night of drinking and dancing.
7. Sestiere, Italy
As part of the Via Lattea (Milky Way) ski region, Sestriere is an excellent spot for exploring the Italian ski culture. And they also have some of the best apres ski in Europe, as well as neighbouring Sauze d’Oulx.
Being a short drive from Turin, Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx get very busy on the weekends. But they also have some action packed apres ski pretty much every night during the ski season. In Sestiere, Igloo Bar, GFC and Dieci are the apres bars for those in the know.
8. Zakopane, Poland
While Poland might not be an obvious ski destination, Zakopane is popular with Poles as a summer and winter getaway. Around 2 hours from Krakow, Zakopane is a picturesque town with a very lively apres scene and some decent ski options too.
In all honesty, the skiing won’t match some of the other resorts on this list. But… It is very cheap and the apres ski is serious. Krupowki street is lined with cosy bars and pubs, and there are numerous nightclubs including gentlemen’s clubs, if thats what you’re after.
9. Val D’Isere, France
Yes, there are lots of options for apres ski in France. The reason being that France has so many of Europe (and the world’s) best ski resorts making it a hotbed of apres ski too. Val D’Isere and Tignes are both excellent for the quality of both the skiing and the apres ski.
Val D’Isere is the upmarket option, and Tignes is the more budget friendly (just about) version. You’ll find the original Folie Douce bar in Val D’Isere, and a dizzying array of other options from bars to clubs.
Tignes also offers plenty to the apres ski hound, including Loop Bar and Marmot.
10. Livigno, Italy
Not to be outdone by their neighbours, Italian apres ski gets just as rowdy and fun. Livigno is also home to some top quality ski. And once you come off the mountain you’ll find duty free shopping, excellent Italian food (of course) and some of the liveliest apres ski literally anywhere. I’m not joking.
Livigno is actually home to the most bars of any ski resort in the world. Top that! So you’ll never be short of a place to drink and party once the sun has set.
With all the choice, it can be hard to know where to go. So head to Miky’s Bar, Bivio, Kosmo or Daphne’s for starters…
Finding a place to party in Europe and the Alps isn’t hard. Most ski resorts have a great choice of top quality bars, pubs and nightclubs to choose from, and you’ll always find somewhere to soothe those aching muscles.
From St Anton in Austria, to Les Deux Alpes, in France, get out there and have a great time!