Not everyone that wishes to enjoy a skiing break wants to stay in the resort itself. For some the break is about more than just good skiing, they want to immerse themselves in a different culture and to perhaps enjoy something that isn’t all about the winter sports, staying in a city that has great links into ski regions can be the perfect solution and Geneva offers it all: a city break, access to great skiing and a trip that will appeal to every member of the family.
Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland and is well known as a city where commerce meets diplomacy, many international organizations choose Geneva for their headquarters and this is in no small way due to its clean alpine air and general feeling of well being. As a destination for a break it is perfect, the excitement of a thriving city coupled with access to the very best that the outdoors has to offer – Geneva is the place to head if you want a ski break that gives a little bit more.
There are numerous ski resorts all within a few hours drive of Geneva and over ten excellent resorts can be reached within a realistic 90 minutes, although the journey generally involves crossing the French border this is just a technicality and presents no delay or inconvenience. Le Grand Bornand/La Cusaz are two very traditional linked resorts that are less than an hours drive from the city; they offer 220kms of piste skiing, almost 75 runs equally split across abilities and an amazing 145kms of cross country skiing.
If you head a little further out of Geneva you can still be in the exclusive Chamonix resort in just over an hour, this lively high altitude resorts has a reputation for being the place to enjoy the ápres ski culture but the skiing is equally serious, the resort has access to over 150kms of piste and boasts the unbelievable Vallée Blanche run which at 24kms long requires a guide even for the most experienced of skiers.
There is no shortage of other activities and sightseeing in Geneva and amongst all the travelling to the ski resorts it is essential that you don’t miss out on the highlights of the city.
Some of the sights are best suited to seasons other than winter such as the Jardin Anglais and the flower clock (not so flowery in the winter months) but there is still a mass of museums and landmarks that make Geneva stand out as a city of culture.
Geneva has no shortage of hotels but like most places in Switzerland it can be expensive, however for those with deep pockets it does boast some of the most luxurious hotels in Europe particularly overlooking the lake itself. Most of these hotels bring together opulence and grandeur and have that historic feel of an era past, the ultimate relaxing experience in the midst of a bustling city.
There are some more affordable hotels dotted around the city and although these tend to be new builds they are often owned by large reputable chains such as Ramada, Ibis and Novotel, these offer good value for money and are consistent in their facilities. If travelling on a budget it often pays to look around and to book when a favourable price is found, most hotels will offer discounts during quiet periods – the key is to have the facility to find them.
Geneva is a beautiful city to visit at any time of year but if you are visiting with a view to enjoy some skiing then the ski season is clearly the time to visit, with good skiing available within a few hours of the city your choice of resort will determine your time of travel.
The season generally begins in early December and continues until late April – however it is necessary to check the information prior to travel as it may alter with the snow forecast. Christmas in Geneva is beautiful and the ski resorts are in full swing, however this can be an expensive time to visit what is already a relatively expensive city.