As summer holiday season gets well underway in the northern hemisphere, most of us will be turning our thoughts to beach holidays in the sun. But did you know that there are a surprisingly number of places where you could, at the right time of year, ski and swim in the same day? If you invested in property in one of these resorts, you’d find yourself with skiing on your doorstep and the beach just a couple of hours away.
Isola 2000, Alpes Maritimes, France
Isola 2000 is a big favourite among die-hard skiers, with over 120km of slopes and an elevation of up to 2603 metres (including the 8km Mesclun slope). It might be in the South of France, but it gets plenty of snow, and there are 430 snow cannons to back up Mother Nature.
The town itself has everything you need, including cosy traditional restaurants where you can indulge in a delicious raclette. However, the other ace up its sleeve is its proximity to the coast. Nice is just one hour and a half’s drive away, where you can stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais and soak up some sun on its many beaches. The perfect way to relax after a strenuous morning’s skiing!
Abetone, Tuscan Apennines, Italy
Now, you might associate Tuscany with elegant, historic villages, and long summer days browsing local markets and enjoying delicious food. You wouldn’t be wrong, but you can certainly hit the slopes here, too.
The resort of Abetone has been a favourite of Italian skiers for over ninety years, and has 41km of slopes leading through some stunning scenery. 14km of these are suitable for beginners, 29km for intermediate skiers and 2km are ideal for those looking for more of a challenge, making it an ideal family resort. The village itself is typical of Italian mountain areas, with stone-built homes painted in beautiful pastel colours.
As for the sea, it’s just a short drive away. One hour forty-five minutes sees you in Viareggio, with a 3km-long seafront of sandy beaches, cafés, gelato stores and restaurants. Don’t miss the four-week-long (yes, four weeks) Carnival, which draws thousands of visitors to its many parades, famous for their floats. As an added bonus, for a dash of culture, you’re only one hour twenty minutes’ drive from the elegant city of Lucca, and just under two hours from Florence itself.
Pradollano, Sierra Nevada, Spain
The Sierra Nevada offer some of the best skiing in Spain, with a high altitude of 2100-3282m, which practically guarantees good snow cover. You can enjoy 106.8km of slopes with a good distribution of difficulties. There are 50km for beginners, 49km for intermediate and 8km for advanced skiers.
And, if you’re looking to ski and swim, you’re in the right place. This part of Andalusia is further south than Tunis or Algiers and, once you come down from the mountains, enjoys warm weather right into November. Just one hour and a quarter by car will take you to the extremely popular Costa Tropical resort of Motril, whose sandy beaches are considered some of the best (and cleanest) in the region. With two hours’ driving, you’re in the Costa del Sol hotspot of Malaga.
Baqueira-Beret, Pyrenees, Spain
Baquiera-Beret has a tendency to fly under the radar outside of Spain, but it is considered by its regulars as one of the best in Europe – and anyone investing in property will be in good company, as even the Spanish royal family have their ski home here. It’s had some of the best snow cover in Europe in the last few years, although its elevation isn’t the very highest, at 1,500-2,610m.
The location is rather remote, but a tip is to fly into Toulouse, rather than Barcelona, and drive down across the border – it takes around two and a half hours, versus as much as four hours from Barcelona. Likewise, if you’re looking to ski and swim, head back over to France and northwest for the closest beaches. The glamorous resort of Biarritz, on the Bay of Biscay, is around three hours’ drive away. On the Spanish side, it’s a slightly longer drive, at four hours and a half to Lloret de Mar and Palamós.
To find out more about buying your own home where you can ski and swim in just a few hours, make sure to get your free copy of our France, Spain and Italy Buying Guides. They explain everything you need to know about the buying process, give you useful advice on safely transferring your money over and about what to expect with taxes and fees.