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Samnaun

Sharing one of Europe’s biggest and best ski areas with the legendary Austrian resort of Ischgl is one of Samnaun’s greatest attractions – and you’ve got a pretty Swiss village, excellent restaurants and duty-free shopping to boot.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Switzerland’s only duty-free shopping • International ski area • Good for non-skiers

Great for: • Shopping • Snow sure • Intermediates

Sharing one of Europe’s biggest and best ski areas with the legendary Austrian resort of Ischgl is one of Samnaun’s greatest attractions – and you’ve got a pretty Swiss village, excellent restaurants and duty-free shopping to boot.

Samnaun Resort

Samnaun belongs to the Engadin Valley, the very same that alpine legends like St Moritz call home. Rubbing up against the Austrian border and within a thirty-minute drive of Italy, the area’s famous for being a bootleg hotspot in days gone by. These days you can ski feely on the runs that smugglers once heaved their contraband up and down…

On and around the Alp Trida and Idalp peaks, the Silvretta Arena’s 238km of terrain makes up one of the biggest ski regions in the Alps - a two nation area shared with the Austrian resort of Ischgl. It’s a dream to ski or snowboard, with slopes that are high (almost all way above 2000m), face every direction and groomed meticulously.

Back at base you’ll find the characteristic Swiss mountain architecture that’s been here for donkey’s years… With some shiny new features that make Samnaun special. Take the duty free shopping centre (Europe’s highest, and Switzerland’s one and only) for example, or the Alpenquell spa (the nation’s highest).

The resort is split between Samnaun Dorf, Ravaisch, Compatsch, Laret and Plan. Dorf is the main hub of tourism - home to the tax free shops, restaurants and hotels. Ravaisch is a kilometre from Dorf, a romanesque settlement famed for its gourmet eateries, with connections to the ski area via the double decker tramway (a world first). Compatsch, the pretty political centre, is home to the spa, theatre and a 15th century Gothic church. Farming hamlet Laret is most likely where the cheeses you’ll feast on during the week come from, and has slope access via a blue run from Alp Trida. Tiny Samnaun Plan is big in history, feeling a bit like you’ve somehow stumbled into Victorian times.

But first you’ve got to get here, for which you’re best off flying into Innsbruck in Austria, which is an hour and forty minutes away. The transfer from Salzburg airports takes three and a quarter hours, while for the journey from Swiss airports like Zurich, Basel and Bern you’re looking at around 4-5 hours.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Engadin, Switzerland

Established:

Open: November - May

Downhill: 238km

View our detailed Samnaun snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Samnaun snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Innsbruck (INN)122km, 1.5 hours
Zürich (ZRH)266km, 3h10
Munich (MUC)314km, 3.5 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 48km 20%

  • 148km 62%

  • 28km freeride 14km 18%

Top Altitude:2875m
Bottom Altitude:1400m
Resort Altitude:1400m
Longest run:11km
Slope Orientation:N S E W
Vertical Drop:1475m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 0cm
  • Base
  • 80cm
  • Forecast
  • 180cm

Web Cam

Samnaun web cams
Downhill Runs:238km
Beginner slopes:20%
Intermediate:62%
Advanced slopes:18%
Lift Pass Price: €240 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Ischgl

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Samnaun

One of the joys of the Silvretta Arena is that it has pistes facing every direction, so you can chase or avoid the sunshine as you wish. Bear in mind that this is a two-country ski area, and though we haven’t had any trouble in the past, it’s always advised that you carry your passport with you in case customs want to check.

Keep your eyes peeled for giant flowers and you’ll find the Blumentraum Kinderland, where youngsters and learners have magic carpets, gentle slopes and a snow playground to introduce them to the slopes.

The general nature of pistes here is wide and groomed to perfection, providing good scope for beginners and improvers to practice turning at their own pace. Alp Trida is a hub of blue runs - including the long #60 back towards Samnaun Laret. There are some easy connections over to Idalp, where the Höllbodenbahn’s Skipiste 2 breaks off into two different routes back to the main station at 2320m. A favourite is the blue from Palinkopf, which tends to be one of the quieter slopes in the area.

Red run skiers and snowboarders are best served in these parts, with a socking great 148km of pistes to roam. Don’t miss the seriously scenic #80 from Palinkopf down into Dorf (best skied first thing before the lunchtime / homerun crowds - look ahead for when skiers face straight down and follow suit to avoid too much polling). Head down into Ischgl via piste #1 from Idalp to experience skiing on the Austrian side, or while away the hours by Alp Bella on one side of Trida where all you’ll find a gaggle of red-only terrain.

There aren’t tonnes of black graded pistes here (and many of the ones you do find would probably be reds elsewhere), but that’s not to say Samnaun isn’t good for advanced skiers. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Smuggler’s Routes are expert territory, the longest a whopping 35.7km long, and the shortest still a thigh aching 19.8km. The tourist office usually provide a guide or app where you can track your progress. Mogul lovers will want to take the E2 Höllspitzbahn for fields of unrelenting bumps and powdery ski routes (we like the one from Palinkopf). Off-piste wise, you’ll find runs from most of the lifts and a guide will be able to take you further afield to show you some of the region’s finest descents.

Access to one of the biggest snowparks on the continent is certainly a perk - Vita Ischgl park is divided into three areas, the King Park for pro’s, Public Park for mere mortals and a beginner park to hook, line and sinker you into the freestyle scene. A bag jump, Tubespine, Proline and Funcrossline complete the set up. There’s also the Obstacle park, which has practice features.

Samnaun Apres Ski

One thing you won’t struggle to find in Samnaun is restaurants. The Schmuggleralm is a popular drinking and eating spot - try their Jagertee for an après ski tipple, or sit down for a fondue or pizza dinner. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, secure a table at Homann’s restaurant, which was awarded two Michelin stars in 2011 and seems to clock up more Gault&Millau points every time we return. Or, for a low key vibe try El Rico and feast on Tex Mex.

We like the Why Not Bar in Samnaun Dorf for parties, fronted by DJ’s and live music acts. Over in Compatsch, there’s also the Sunshine Bar which hosts band nights.

Shopping’s one of the main après ski activities here, with duty free stores selling Bulgari, Calvin Klein, Chanel et al. The Alpenquell spa is another attraction - the highest spa in the nation with all kinds of pool (adventure, multipurpose, paddling, whirlpool…), all kinds of sauna (Finnish, Pine, Infared…) and more. Sleigh rides are a wonderfully winter-wonderlandy way to explore, and there’s a natural floodlit ice rink in the Clis da Ravaisch sports arena.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Samnaun

When is the best time to ski Samnaun?

With high altitude pistes facing each and every direction, plus 1100 snow cannons to top things up - this ski area ticks almost every box for excellent snow conditions. It doesn’t have a glacier, but the ski season tends to run until May anyway, so you could say it doesn’t really need one. Stick to the south facing slopes at the beginning of the ski season, where you can enjoy the snow in glorious sunshine. Or if you’re here in the springtime, the north facing pistes will hold the snow best.

Peak Dates

As the place known for hosting the “Santa Claus World Championships”, Christmas in Samnaun is bound to be one to remember. Many hotels host gala dinners and balls, and there are duty free stores galore for last minute Christmas shopping.

On previous years, you’ve been able to hike up to a mountain hut, watch fireworks from the mountainside then toboggan back to the village to see in the New Year in Samnaun.

Spend Half Term in Samnaun skiing two countries, feasting on fondues and exploring a traditional Swiss village.

Being one of the most snow sure ski areas in the Alps (and the promise of Swiss chocolate) helps make Easter in Samnaun an excellent choice.

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Families in Samnaun

Families who’ve already spent a few weeks on the slopes will love Samnaun. Of course there are facilities for beginners too - like the all singing, all dancing Blumentraum Kinderland - but where this area really comes into its own is for clans who ski or snowboard at intermediate level. Cross the border into Austria to explore further afield, or set off on one of the Smuggler’s routes and teach them about the area’s history as a booming bootleg centre. Better yet - last time we checked, under 8’s could ski for free.

GroupsGroup Holidays Samnaun

As a quieter base than après ski legend Ischgl, this can be a good option for groups who want to focus on the skiing. Meet up in mountain restaurants and hotel bars to relay stories of the day, whether you’ve been skiing over to Austria, testing out the snowparks, shopping or sampling the Alpenquell wellness facilities.

More Samnaun Holiday Resources


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