Lifestyle

The best budget ski holidays for 2021/22 in France, Italy and Bulgaria

Luxury skiing doesn’t have to break the bank (Image: Metro.co.uk/ Pierre & Vacances / Festa Chamkoria / Alamy)

Here’s a sign that you’ve reached the French Alps for a ski holiday: there’s a cable car in the front lobby that’s used as a lampshade.

And speaking of ‘light’, the feeling of having no money left in my wallet is another thing I often face when skiing with my family.

Fortunately, French company Pierre & Vacances has developed a new apartment complex in Méribel – the gateway to the Three Valleys’ 370-mile ski mecca – that aims to lighten the budget of skiers.

Meribel is the gateway to the Three Valleys (Image: Keith Perry)

Formerly a car park, the recently opened Residence L’Hévana is just a five-minute walk from the slopes and costs from £1,303 a week – that’s £325 for a family of four.

Upon entering, there’s a large seating area with colorful chairs and beanbags, an array of bookcases, and swedish antlers on the walls. Someone has thoughtfully added to a store the reasonably priced bottles of wine you can buy if you can’t mind going out to the shops and there’s even a pool table.

Like most of P&V’s ‘premium’ apartment projects, it features a large swimming pool with a combined boating area, a jacuzzi for 4, saunas and a ‘deep nature’ spa.

Residence L’Hévana is cozy but modern (Image: Pierre & Vacances)

There is a refreshing bar upstairs – tick. Skiset shop right next door to rent gear (at a discount) – tick.

A ski room with lockers and heaters – tick. The modern apartment is small(ish) but perfectly conceived, with a kitchen, living room and dining area – marked. And you can pay a little extra to get jam, honey, tea, hot chocolate plus fresh bread and au chocolat delivered to your door every day – in a heartbeat.

The resort has your typical Alpine vibes (Image: Pierre & Vacances)

True, the layout is a bit like a maze, so a bar or ski room, for example, can become a navigational nightmare. Overall, though, it’s comfortable, affordable, and gives you the flexibility to decide how much or how little you’ll spend in the resort.

For me, food is a focus. This is the Savoie region – home to cheese, cheese and more cheese.

And besides skiing, I also try to make up for the damage by dancing at the party center Folie Douce, there was an outside pub themed Cleopatra on the day of my arrival, complete with acrobatic dancers.

Don’t miss the outdoor variety shows at Folie Douce (Image: Keith Parry)

I slid the Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-style sleigh driver down the toilet at Bar Le Rond Point (each bar should have one) and walk through the forest path to get there Le Clos Bernard, a casual restaurant in the woods with a roaring fire for chefs to whip up giant steaks.

You’ll land one of those giant steaks at Le Clos Benard after a hard day of skiing (Image: Meribel)

Other highlights include the fondue and raclette restaurant Le Rastro – Double cheese! – and closer to the apartment, L’Igloo, a hamburger and pizza shop that really gives off a cool vibe with a stylishly designed dining area that makes you feel like you’re dining in an igloo.

What says winter holiday is like a pizza in an igloo (Image: Meribel)

In the mountains, there are now chalets to relax in for a moment as well as romantic heart-shaped wooden huts. And following the Swedish example, mountain managers have also installed free picnic areas.

Under the blue sky, with a day in the world’s biggest ski resort and with the hot tub back to the apartment calling to me, my thoughts quickly turned to the best route back… perhaps through a bar with a slide?

A week at Premium Residence L’Hévana in an apartment for 4 people, starting at £1,303, Pierreetvacances.co.uk.

Return flights from London to the nearest airport, Lyon, start from £31 one way, ba.com

ADD SKI BUDGET

Megève, France

Residence Le Mont d’Arbois combines winter sports with health (Image: Pierre & Vacances)

Megève, in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, has been a village popular with artists and ski lovers since 1916.

The medieval center is filled with craft shops and galleries, and three Michelin-starred restaurants.

But you don’t have to break the bank to stay here. Pierre & Vacances ‘Residence Le Mont d’Arbois has great views and a wellness centre.

7 nights self catering accommodation in an apartment starting from £177pp, Pierreetvacances.co.uk

Borovets, Bulgaria

Borovets is a great resort for skiers on a budget (Image: Festa Chamkoria)

Borovets is known for the cheapest skiing classes in Europe and is ideal for beginners thanks to its number of beginner and intermediate runs.

It also offers great skiing for those on a budget, with a large number of bars.

Crystal Ski Holidays offers a weeknight stay at the four-star Festa Chamkoria from £371pp, including flights from London Gatwick to Sofia and transfers, crystalki.co.uk

Courmayeur, Italy

Foodies and thrill seekers will love Courmayeur (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

There’s no shortage of family skiing here. With the towering Mont Blanc, it offers deadly scenery. It’s perfect for intermediates and beginners, with a good slide for advanced skiers.

Courmayeur’s is also a go-to for food enthusiasts, and the SkyWay Monte Bianco cable car provides access to serious tourist areas including Vallée Blanche.

Breakfast and dinner included for a week at the three-star Hotel Dei Camosci starting from £487pp, crystalki.co.uk

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https://metro.co.uk/2021/11/29/best-budget-skiing-holidays-for-2021-22-in-france-italy-and-bulgaria-15680066/ The best budget ski holidays for 2021/22 in France, Italy and Bulgaria

Tom Vazquez

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