11 x Christmas Markets in Amsterdam 2019

One of the things that really gets us in the Christmas Spirit are the markets in the month December. You don’t have to look far to find some of the best Christmas Markets in Amsterdam.

Here are 11 amazing Christmas Markets located in Amsterdam that you should definitely visit this winter! (plus a few bonuses!)

Kerst op de Westergas

When? from the 6th of December, Westergas terrein
Gluhwein, food, gifts and all the things you are looking for on a Christmas Market in Amsterdam. However, this event adds a little rock & roll with karaoke, naughty Christmas songs and creatives. Not to mention the ice-skating ring! In any case, the whole month December will be filled with Christmas and winter fun on the Westergas at various locations. You can see all the events here.

Vogue Christmas Market

When? 8th of December, Westergas (TBC)
It’s the first ever Vogue Christmas market in Amsterdam, so you can’t miss this one! There will be beautifully decorated Christmas stalls with amazing brands and gifting. Drink glühwein at the Vogue café, go crazy in the photo booth and score Vogue goodies! Kids are welcome! 

 

Winterpark Christmas Market

When? 8th of December, Noordermarkt
Come to the Noorderpark on Sunday 8 December for the most fun Christmas market! You can enjoy up to 60 neighborhood stalls and delicacies, games, music, an ice rink, photo album, baking cookies and a real Christmas clothing exchange boutique. Winterpark Christmas Market has a social approach, all stalls are filled with homemade or collected items.

Sissy-Boy’s Maison de Noël
 
When? 7th & 8th of December, West Indisch Huis
This is one of the winter markets we are looking forward to the most! Besides the usual Sissy-Boy fashion, interior and accessories, you can also enjoy glühwein, live music, nice food and of course many different stands with all your winter wannahaves! This year they are back and at a brand new location! To find out which brands you can find at this years market, check the Facebook event.

Museum Market Christmas Edition

When? 9th of December, 12pm – 6pm at Museumsquare
Every third Sunday of the Month, the Museumplein will be filled with stylish stands full of design. In between the main museums around the pond you can meet the (Dutch) designers yourself, shop for their products and enjoy the great food and atmosphere. Info

Christmas Maker Market

When? 14th & 15th of December, De Hallen
The Christmas specials of the market where it all began for Sisters James and us. If you’re stuck for Christmas gifts for friends and family, look no further. This market is jam-packed full of beautifully crafted local Amsterdam products. 

Funky X-Mas Market (Sunday Market)

When? 15th of December 12- 6pm, Westergasterrein
THE place for your funky Xmas presents! For the 10th year running you will find lots of beautiful stands full of original creations. Of course there is great food & drink (mulled wine), live music and more!

Pure Wintermarket at Frankendael Park

When?  22nd of December
Go here for your organic and fairtrade Christmas products. Local produce and goods make this one of the nicest Christmas Markets in Amsterdam and one of a kind. It’s the last Pure Market before heading into 2020 so grab your winter coat and check this one out.

Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt

When? 20th – 23rd of December, Westergas
You may have heard of this one before. They are back in 2019 but at a new location, the Westergas. This indoor and outdoor event will be filled with music, a market, food stalls and things for the kids! Find out more.

Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt 2019

Christmas Market at DOK

When? 21st – 22nd December until 10pm, DOK
This market is characterised by the special products that are offered. Not just typical stalls with traditional Christmas balls or lights. No, this is more funky. The atmosphere is very cozy, there is live music and of course you can also get a hot chocolate or mulled wine. The Christmas market offers a wide range of sustainable, handmade, original and inspiring (regional) products, usually offered by the maker himself. Children are free, adults pay €5.

Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs

When? 21st – 5th of January, RAI Amsterdam
Like last year, this massive winter wonderland will be open during December at the RAI in Amsterdam. This year it will be even bigger! There will be an ice-skating ring in and outside, music performances from Lil Kleine, Maan, Xander & friends, food, tube sliding, kids activities and everything to get you into the Christmas spirit. Tickets cost €5 euro, or €17,50 when you include activities. www.hetamsterdamsewinterparadijs.nl


Also worth visiting:

Sky High Winter Terrace at Floor 17

When? 11 of November – 31st of Jan 
Get into the winter spirit and get to Floor 17 this winter. Since the success of curling, ice-skating with a view of the whole city, they are bringing traditional sjoelen to the rooftop. Games can be played in combination with hot drinks.

Floor 17 ice skating

Ice Village, Museumsquare

When?  13th of December until the 26nd of December
From December 17th – 30th, Amsterdam hosts the magical and tasty Ice Village Amsterdam at the Museumplein. A true adventure of warm winter chalets who offer you a variety of lifestyle, fashion, Christmas gifts, live entertainment and delicious food. As usual, there will also be an ice-skating ring from the 11th of November!

Haarlem Christmas Market

When? 7th & 8th of December in Haarlem
Not in Amsterdam, but only 15 minutes away and so worth visiting! The main square and streets are filled with more than 300 Christmas stalls, food, wine, lights and music. Bring the whole family and go shopping. 

Which Christmas Markets in Amsterdam are you visiting?

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

Skiing in Kvitfjell, Norway

I have been on the slopes since I was nine years old, and I’ve seen many snowy mountains in Austria, Switzerland, the French Alpes, Germany and even inItaly. But I had never been skiing in Norway before. Why not I wondered. Norway is only a short flight from Amsterdam and has many ski and snowboard options. I flew to Kvitfjell to find out.

The Olympic Town
Kvitfjell was build for the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994. After that, an investor bought the place and he made sure it continued it’s main purpose as a ski resort. But Kvitfjell is not just famous for the winter Olympics, the town is turned upside down for the World Cup ski competition. Every year people from all over the world come to Kvitfjell at the beginning of March, to watch the brave athletes ski down the famous black piste at 130 km per hour. It’s broadcasted around the world. 


Winter Wonderland

I was about to experience the actual black piste with a crazy steep decline of 64% at some parts. But first it was time to explore the rest of the ski area. Kvitfjell decided to expand last year so I was exited to see the newly opened westside of the mountain. With 1039 meter above sea level, you will reach the highest part of the mountain. In total there are 34km of ski slopes that vary from easy to advanced. It’s a great ski area for families with children from three years old as there are many nice green and blue slopes to learn the basics. I must warn you though, what they call blue at Kvitfjell, kinda means red in other countries!


A traditional Norwegian farm in the middle of the piste

The hotel
It’s a small town so there are only 2 hotels. The biggest and best hotel is Gudbrandsgaard Hotel. Prices starting from NOK 1190 up to to NOK 2190 per double room per night/2 persons, and includes a buffet breakfast. The hotel holds up to 79 guests and has a spa that includes a large swimming pool and a gym. After an intensive day of skiing, your body can use a warm jacuzzi, let me tell you! The hotel has a charming and traditional Norwegian interior and four floors. The rooms are quite spacious and look out on the piste or forest. It had snowed so much when I arrived, that the snow fell into the room as I opened my window!

There are several food options in the hotel. There is an exclusive wine cellar where you will find some exclusive wines plus you can book the place for a special dinner. The hotel’s main restaurant is called Prepperiet and includes a cozy fireplace. The food, again, was amazing. Best pumpkin soon and ravioli I’ve ever had. And trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of soups in my life. The breakfast and lunch buffet area is located on the first floor and is simple, yet inviting. The breakfast is for champions and the veggies during lunchtime are crispy. Happy Elke. 

I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort!

Gastronomy
One thing I MUST mention is the food in Kvitvjell. If you’ve been skiing before, you know that lunch on the slopes is usually greasy and fat. Fries, pasta, cakes and sausages are some of the dishes you will find at most ski resorts. In Kvitfjell it’s different. ients and I can honestly say, it’s the best food i’ve had around a skiresort! You have a few options; 

  • Fôr
    This restaurant is just 200 meters from the hotel and serves modern style Norwegian food. It’s run by a few cool dudes (if I may call them that, because they looked like die hard snowboarders). I was lucky to enjoy a five course dinner and although ordered vegetarian food, I didn’t end up with a simple pasta on my plate. From soup to the mushroom risotto, it was all beautifully set up and sooo tasty.

Dinner at Fôr, Kvitfjell
Dinner at Fôr

  • Tyrihanstunet
    This charming and traditional Norwegian place, is right on the piste and a great stopover to have a nutritious lunch. I ate the shrimp sandwich and it was huge! If you are a coffee addict, this is also the place because they serve the best coffee on the piste. 
  • Plaza Café
    Situated next to the skishop is the Plaza Café. Come here for quality burgers, spaghetti, salads and drinks. 
  • Koia
    For gluhwein, gourmet sausages and beer you come to this 300 (!) year old loghouse. 

Lunch at Kvitfjell
Lunch at Tyrihanstunet

Old log house in Kvitfjell
The 300 year old Koia house is perfect for a après ski

Ski Conditions (and my experience on the World Cup slope!)
Because of the heavy snow throughout the night, fresh powder was everywhere and made the ski conditions top notch! It was like sliding through soft clouds and even though the sun didn’t shine, it was such a great run to experience. There are a few options to go off piste but I recommend these to the more advanced skiërs. I had to try the infamous world cup piste of course, and although I was a little nervous, I managed to get down without falling. What a confident boost! The World Cup piste is 3,5 km in length, black and very popular with the skiers that I’d like to call; speedy conzales.

Stunning paths in Kvitfjell
Go a little off piste and find stunning paths like these!

Verdict:
I loved it! But skiing in Norway is a little different from what you might be used to in Austria for example. Après Ski is something they’ve definitely heard of, but it’s not the main objective here. People really come to Kvitfjell to enjoy the scenery, have a lovely family break or come over to improve their skills. People from Denmark, Sweden and Norway are amongst the biggest group of tourist that visit Kvitfjell but people from The Netherlands and Germany are also showing interest. In my opinion it’s the ideal place for families and couples because it’s perfect to combine with a weekend in Oslo, as it’s only a 3 hour train ride from the capital!

So if you’re looking for something a little different from what you are used to, enjoy a relaxed atmosfeer and great gastronomy, Kvitfjell is your town!

Love,

Elke

For more info about Kvitfjell and it’s surroundings, visit their website.

Vasilitsa, the amazing skiing resort in Greece!

One of my best friends is Greek and I’ve known him for most of my life. I have been coming to Greece since I was 3 years old but he never told me about this amazing winter secret before until he sent me a text message last week with a few pictures that looked like the French Alps or Switzerland.
Little did I realize that these were pictures from a place called Vasilitsa Greece.

Winter wonderland in Greece
There’s fallen a lot of snow in Vasilitsa this winter

Vasilitsa is one of the best ski resorts in Greece. The ski center is located in the middle of Pindos, approximately 417km from Athens and 2,5 hours away from a place called Perdika, where I used to spent my summers. 

“Vasilitsa is one of Greece best skiing resorts, so why don’t we know about it?”

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Just a few hours away from a winter wonderland..

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Off the beaten track
Currently, Vasilitsa has 5 lifts and 16 ski trails, making this a perfect getaway for the Greeks. A lot of foreigners don’t know about this place though so maybe it’s time to pay a visit. During this season, flights are low priced and from Preveza airport it’s a only 3,5 hours drive before you get up on the mountain. 
You can choose different ski-passes: a day card is €10,- while a 5 day pass will cost you only €30,-!
If you just want to enjoy the views, you will only need to pay 3 euro’s. The ski sets are available for rent from about €12,- and snowboard sets will cost you €15. More info here.

Where to stay
Rooms are also widely available and not expensive! You can stay in a fully equipped room for as little as 250 euro’s for 5 nights based on 2 persons.

For accommodations in the area check here

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Stunning views

Vasilitsa
Picture perfect

Want a ski holiday a bit out of the box? Then pick Vasilitsa!

Love,

Elke

*All pictures from Vasilitsa are courtesy of Alexie Efstathiou

Why the Paris region is this year’s Winter Destination

Ah Paris, beautiful, romantic Paris. We all know the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysées and the Notre Dame. But Paris is more than the usual highlights and this winter, you can enjoy festivals, many exhibitions, shopping sprees and unique hotspots to celebrate the winter in style.

Winter Wonderland
There are a few places in the world where the Christmas season is that little bit extra special. Paris and it’s region is one of those. The light, the ambiance and the special events during the winter period. Let’s start with the three main Christmas Markets this year.

  • Grande Arche in business district la Défense with 250 wooden chalets! It’s there until the 28th of December.
  • Notre-Dame, for local crafts, fashion and accessoires designs. It’s on from the 15th until the 24th of December.
  • Champs de Mars From the 21st of December until January 8th you can stroll over this Christmas market at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It has gourmet food, gift ideas and crafts.

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Celebrate New Years Eve watching the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower

Ice-skating on top of the Observatoire Panoramique, how cool!

The Sky is the Limit
If you like to see Paris from a different point of view this winter, you have a few options. Take a ride on the largest ferris wheel in Paris on Place de la Concorde, at 70 meter high you have an amazing view over the city and Champs-Élysées. Another must do, is ice-skating on top of the Observatoire Panoramique on the Tour Montparnasse. How cool! The ice-skating ring is 210 meters high above the city and open from the 14th of Feb until the 6th of March. The nearest metro station is Gare Montparnasse and Ice-skates are available to rent on the spot.

Paris Christmas Destination

Shop till you drop
Sorry but not sorry. If you are in Paris, you need to go shopping! Even if it’s just for walking passed the shopping windows. For the best Christmas themed windows, you need to go to Boulevard Haussmann where you can find the best warehouses. Shopping centre Galeries Lafayette always has something special going on and transforms in a fair with a huge Christmas tree in the middle. This years theme is Carnival so we can only imagine what that’s going to be like! Are you more for the boutique shops? Then you should go to the Montmartre & South of Pigalle district. Marais is great for small shops and may even look a bit medieval at times. 

Musée des Arts Forains
Musée des Arts Forains © Sébastien Siraudeau

Parisian Tasty Hotspots
Chocolate, breakfast, macarons and other Parisian indulgences are all to be found in Paris. During the winter time you want to eat comfort food and drink the best hot chocolates. These are the hotspots where all of this is possible!

  • Brasserie Lipp is one of the oldest Parisian brasseries and offers a typical French menu from Escargots to céleri rémoulade. 
  • Paperboy Paris for the best bread rolls and sandwiches! They are located in the Le Marais area and is a favorite breakfast spot, also for the locals!
  • Jaja is the perfect place for a meal away from the crowd. Go here for comfort food Parisian style and enjoy the pretty courtyard. 
  • Wynwood is the perfect brunch spot with everything organic and a cute interior. Tip: Try the taco’s from the special menu!
  • Miss Kale Paris, if you love healthy food, this spot is for you! Vegan bowls, Poke bowls, Asian style bowls and of course bowls with kale!
  • Braun Notes Coffee is for coffee lovers who like to drink them pretty. They create the best coffee designs and also offer a great brunch menu that includes fruit in a coconut! 

wynwood-paris
Wynwood Source: Wynwood

Exhibitions
It might not be on top of mind when visiting Paris region but there are many exhibitions and places worth visiting this winter. Never been to the amazing Château Versailles? Now is your chance and see Voyage en Hiver, a unique contemporary art exhibition through the groves of the castle. Or check Museum Marmottan-Monet where you can see the famous paintings of French artist Monet with your own eyes (remember the painting from Titanic?) and find out what he held in his private collection.

Voyage en hiver, Paris
Château Versailles during winter. Source: Versailles © EPV/Thomas Garnier/Skydrone

Reasons enough to head over to Paris and it’s surroundings this winter, to enjoy the lights and festive season when you still can!

Love,

Wander-Lust

This article was written in collaboration with the France Tourism Development Agency and Paris Region
*Header photo by @MaureenPowel

Recipes » Dutch Winter Meals

Food, food, food, we love it! One of the best things about traveling is that we get to taste different cuisines. We love it all!
Asian, Mexican, Italian, French, you name it! But as we are both from the Netherlands, we thought it would be nice to show you some authentic Dutch winter meals! We’ve selected 2 favorites that perfectly suit the cold season:

Hutspot
This dish includes a whole bunch of potatoes and it mostly combined with vegetables such as cabbage, carrots or kale. The idea is that you mash the veggies and potatoes together so you get one mashed dish.
It’s mostly served with meat such as porkchops, big meatballs or sausages with gravy.

The recipe for a traditional “Hutspot” (Carrots & Potatoes) like the picture below is quite simple:

Cook 1kg potatoes together with about 1kg big carrots for about 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove the water and start frying some finely cut onions into a separate pan with butter. After glazing them, add the onions into the pan with the potatoes and carrots and start mashing them together. Add a tablespoon of mustard and 50ml of semi skimmed milk. You can add 150 ml of vegetable stock for extra flavour, but reduce the milk for it becomes too watery. Add some salt and pepper and top it of with some gravy and a (veggie) sausage. Yummie!

“These 2 Dutch winter meals will keep you warm this season!”

Dutch winter meals

Ewrtensoep (Dutch traditional split pea soup)

»300g dried green split peas
»100 g thick-cut bacon (for the vegetarian version you can use smoked veggie bacon from the vegetarian butcher.)
»1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken are both fine)
»2-3 carrots, cut into 1 cm cubes
»1 large potato, peeled and cubed (optional)
»1 small onion, chopped
»1 small leek, sliced
»half a celeriac, cubed
»Salt and pepper, to taste
»a handful of chopped celery leaves
»a handful of sliced smoked sausage (Dutch Rookworst) I used 2 vegetarian sausages

Dutch winter meals

For the best results you should rinse and set the split peas into cold water for about 1 hour. After that you boil the split peas with the pork chop and bacon. Let it boil for about 45 minutes and skim off the floating scum. Pour all water off, rinse peas (and meat) again and put them back on the fire with clean water if possible. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables:
Cut the skin of the celeriac, peel the potatoes, and dice celeriac and potatoes. Peel the carrot and dice it. Cut the leeks and wash them. Add the vegetables to the pan and let simmer until the peas are done (one hour at least, the split peas must be broken). Twenty minutes before the end of cooking, add the whole smoked sausage and celery leaves. Taste, finish off with pepper and salt. The pea soup is still fairly liquid. Let it cool completely and reheat it the next day, or freeze in portions. When you want to freeze the soup, add the smoked sausage when reheating, or divide the sausage in equal quantities over the portions. » Skip the meat for a vegetarian version and add a veggie sausage at the end.

These 2 dishes will keep you warm during the winter time!

Love,

Elke

There will be a huge Christmas Festival in Amsterdam this winter!

No need to travel all the way to Germany or Belgium this winter for that special Christmas feeling. Amsterdam is going to have it’s own Christmas Festival called the Winter Parade! From December 21st, you can enjoy a world of winter and experience the ultimate Christmas feeling at the RAI Amsterdam that is re-named to the Winterpark this winter period. 

Winter World(s)
The Amsterdam Winter Parade exists of four winter ‘worlds’. For example, there will be a Wintersquare which will be the meeting place where cake and warm drinks can be enjoyed while walking across the Christmas market. There will be a large Dutch Fair with a 50 meters high ferris wheel and circus theater. Chill to the max in the Winter Wellness and start the evening at the après-ski bar with a good schnapps.

amsterdam-cristmas-festival

Ice-Skating
The 700m2 ice-skating rink offers a place where children can play games and dance on ice during the day when there is a silent disco. When the evening falls, there will be a bowling alley and a silent disco (Vondeldisco) for adults. Count us in! Hungry? You can find some tasty bites around the ice-skating ring from one of the pop-up restaurants like BAUT Amsterdam, Van Dam Brasserie and Restaurant Blauw.

Christmas Cinema
One of the best thing about Christmas? The Christmas movies to snuggle up to! Clever thinking because the latest Christmas movies are being shown throughout the day, and in the evening the Christmas Classics are on the menu. Also, Sublime FM opens at 5pm every day in The Beer Village for a big winter party with the best DJs and live performances.

Hours & Location
The Amsterdam Winter Parade will take place from 21 December 2017 until 1 January 2018. Click here for opening hours.

Entrance fees
€ 7.50 day ticket
€ 19.50 passe-partout (limited available)
Children under 12 years have free admission.

Winterpark Amsterdam (RAI)
Europaplein, Amsterdam
Website
Winter is coming,
Elke

5 x Winter Chalets and Lodges you want to book right now

When it’s cold you just want to snuggle in front of the fireplace and enjoy a glass of mulled wine (or hot chocolate!) But it can get even better. Just imagine staying in these a-ma-zing winter chalets and lodges. Find out where you can book them!

Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland
In at number 1 is this amazing chalet that sleeps up to 10-12 people and has a full staff catering (with a personal chef!), a large hottub and like every good chalet, it has a fireplace. This luxury chalet, located just minutes away from the centre of Zermatt, enjoys breath-taking panoramic views across the entire village and mountain ranges. If you sleep here you’ll be welcomed with champagne and you get a laptop for you to use. Prices are not available on the website, so that says enough.
www.mountainexposure.com

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Zermatt Peak chalets
Source:mountainexposure.com

2. W Snowtop Court, Heber City UT, USA
This 14,000 sq.ft. of interior living space includes 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms (yes, each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom) and is for sale!
It’s yours for $11,300,000. Ok, maybe we should just dream on but seriously, this place is pretty amazing!
It kinda feels like you own private ski resort for you and all of your friends. Every room has spectacular views and the house is designed and build with natural materials.
www.skihomesinutah.com

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Source: skihomesinutah.com

3. Lake Placid Lodge NY, USA
If you want to get away from the big city and relax, then you should go here. You can find this amazing lodge not far from New York City.
Overlooking the Placid Lake, you completely forget about the stress that you may have. Each room features wood-burning fireplaces, private porches and traditional interior that fits the surroundings perfectly. The ground has several lodges/winter chalets to choose from. Big, small, cosy and for families. You can also host amazing dinners here and in the winter you can ice-skate or go ice-fishing.
www.lakeplacidlodge.com

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Source: lakeplacidlodge.com

4. Wrangell St. Elias National Park Lodge, Alaska
Voted as one of the best places to stay in Alaska, this lodge is surrounded by the most amazing nature and wildlife parks.
You can hear bears roam, wild moose graze and birds tweet. It’s the ultimate lodging experience for the adventurous traveler.
To get here, you must travel by a small plane and it’s not an easy destination to book. This needs to be planned. But the reward is one of a kind. The best wilderness experience you will get.
www.ultimathulelodge.com

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Source: ultimathulelodge.com

5. Wintersport resort Courchevel, French Alpes
This winter resort is known as one of the best credited winter chalets around France.

The interior is warm and cosy with everything made out of wood. The resort is popular with rich Russian and film stars such as George Clooney, Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. I wonder why…!

courchevel chalet
courchevel chalet
Source: http://theaddressmagazine.com

For the best treehouses in the world check here!

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Love,

Elke

*Source featured image: Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland

Are you ready for wintersport? Do the test!

Winter is coming… well, at least the skiing and snowboarding season is on the way. Maybe you’re a pro or perhaps it’s your first time on the slopes. Whatever skills you may or may not have, it’s a good time to find out if you are wintersport ready!

You can now digitally test your skills, fitness level and ski/snowboard experience to see what you might need to do to get ready for your skiing trip this winter. The tool by the Netherlands Ski Federation is especially designed to test several points that will result in clear and helpful advice. For example, if you have an old injury, you will get a list of physiotherapist within your area,. Or if you need to boost your fitness level or core stability, you will get a full exercise plan.

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Did you know that you basically practice a 4 to 6 hour workout per day when you’re on wintersport? Without even realizing it, you are using certain muscles in your body that you have never used before. If you submit your email address after the test, you will receive a weekly and personal exercise schedule in your inbox that will help you get ready for your action on the piste. This way you will be fit and ready to go!

Wintersport ready
Am I ready for wintersport? I did the test!

Check out www.wintersportklaar.nl, do the test, and let us know if and where you are having fun in the snow this season!

Love,

Elke

*We wrote this article in collaboration with the Nederlandse Ski Vereniging

Private slopes and more in Zillertal, Austria

I can ensure you that I’m not a morning person but while getting up at 5:30 am for the private slope at Hochfügen, Zillertal, I only snoozed once (very proud of that). Leaving my cozy bed at Das PostHotel – Zillerseasons to get ready for the untouched slopes and a heavenly white view.

Hire a Private Piste
The private slope is limited to a maximum of 30 people so take the title ‘private’ very serious. Standing 2.133m high with my head in de clouds, ready to take a jump in the powder snow on our very own red slope. The experience is amazing; nothing can be compared to skiing down the smooth white sheets while the world is still asleep. Creating that very first track, the silence that embraces you and nobody that (in my case) overtakes you. Truly an amazing experience, one of those try-before-you-die things. But, if you are a beginner be sure to check the type of slope before setting your alarm at 5:30 am. To be honest, going down a red slope on the third day of skiing was a little bit too ambitious for me. I have absolutely no regrets but for now I’ll stick to the blue beginner slopes to keep myself from a heart attack. The private piste hire is available from 7.30 – 8.30 am from €40 per person.

Private piste Zillental
Virgin slopes are guaranteed!

Luckily for me, Zillertal offers 132km of Eva-proof blue slopes. The confident skiers out there can take it to the next level with the 238 km of red slopes. Zillertal is also a perfect destination for snowboarders because of the small amount of flat connections between the slopes.
There is another 65km of black slopes for the experienced skiers and snowboarders. The real daredevils can try their luck on the Harakiri. Beware, cause with an average gradient of 78 percent this is the steepest slope in Austria. I kindly turned down the invitation this year, but who knows what the future will bring.

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skiing in Zillental

Those 435 km of slopes Zillertal has to offer will keep you from getting bored for sure. But there is more to Winter sport then stroking the slopes with your skis or snowboard. And no, I’m not talking about après-ski cause we all know how much fun that can be. Zillertal changed my opinion on which ingredients a laid back vacation had to include. Forget lying on the beach all day, working on your tan and following those yoga classes at Bali.

Winter sports is the new mindful vacation this world has to offer and will surprise you with the diversity of activities. Although I enjoyed skiing to the fullest, it wasn’t exactly a relaxing experience for me as a beginner. I’m not even talking about the muscle pain or bruises on my butt, cause that’s just part of the deal. The blame is to my inner voice who kept on shouting “DON’T DARE to fall in front of this cute ski instructor!” Well, bye bye inner peace… Here are my favorite activities that can clear your mind while still exploring the area and enjoying the nature:

Cross Country Skiing
It’s still quite a workout but that way you can order another plate of Keizerschmarren without any guilt feelings (at least I did). You use different muscles then with skiing, what makes it a perfect alternative if you suffer from muscle pain. Next to that it’s a really calm way to explore the area but way more fun than walking. Pause to take some photos, enjoy the view or to catch your breath. And once you are at the top of the mountain, you only have to slide down again. I took the Gamsstein Cross Country path near Hochfügen. The access to the area is free so grab those skies und gehen!

Langlaufen in Pill, Zillental

Toboggan Run
In Gerlosstein you can find the longest toboggan run in the Zillertal Valley, 7 km of sliding fun. The cable car will take you to an altitude of 1.650 m and after that you actually don’t have to do anything… perfect winter-sports- activity right? Just sit, enjoy and somehow find a way to steer around the corners. The best part; you’ll even find bars along the toboggan run for some Glühwein to warm you up.
Tip: Check the weather condition before planning a toboggan run. If there is too much snow you will loose your speed and will need a lot more Glühwein to stay excited.

Gluhwein in Zillertal

My verdict: Zillertal is a great place to discover and enjoy the diversity of winter sports. It offers a great amount of slopes, modern lifts and Austrian hospitality. Next to skiing there are plenty activities to add some variety to your trip. Choose from snowtubing, funparks, cross country skiing or rent your very own private slope. Whatever you choose, I can ensure you that you won’t get bored. Find more info about the area here.

Read my previous article, A Beginners Guide to Wintersport and find out where I had the best High Tea at 2600m!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

Planning a Winterbreak? These Are Some of the Best Ski Regions in Europe.

Winter is coming. Once the leaves begin to color and fall to the ground and my summer tan is definitely gone (as far as I had one to begin with), so are my desires for crystal clear oceans and coconuts. The winter child in me has awoken. Bring me the snow, the freezing cold and the mountains. But most of all, give me a snowboard to ride them. That’s right, nothing beats that feeling when you breathe in the fresh alpine oxygen, speeding down a perfectly prepped slope surrounded by white mountain peaks as far as your eyesight can reach. I don’t know about you, but those little moments of happiness happen everyday when I find myself in one of the many awesome (and some of the best) ski regions in Europe. And with the snowflakes coming down earlier and thicker than ever, it’s time to book your next ski trip (trust me)! Now, if you’re like me you know picking the right destination is a struggle every year. Which area has the right slopes, has snow certainty and will make you holiday awesome? To make this struggle a little easier on you this time, I’ve listed my five faves for you.

checking-out-the-best-ski-resorts-in-europe
Ready to rumble!

Avoriaz – Portes du Soleil, France
Now don’t go cold on me, but I’m not really the heavy après-ski kinda girl. Every day I get up early as F to try to make it in time for the first lift going up, to snowboard all day and go to bed at 10 PM because I’m to exhausted to function. Doesn’t mean I don’t sip on a few beers or a glühwein whenever the lifts close down, but no radical parties for me. Recognize yourself? Then you MUST go to Avoriaz, a little car-free village which is part of the Portes du Soleil ski area. You can’t really go wrong with a ski area that translates into ‘doors to the sun’, right? With 650 km of slopes, touching the French and Swiss border the true ski/board lover will have a non-stop grin on his or her face. The lifts are modern and very well connected. Avoriaz is quite cute compared to the French ski-village standard. There are some bars, shops and restaurants so you won’t starve. The fact that there are no cars allowed makes it the perfect place to stroll around at night and look up at the amazing sky full of stars above you. Don’t like walking? Well, you can get transported by enormous sledges, powered by actual horses. Oh the pure bliss. Oh and did I mention you can get on the slopes straight from any apartment?

Söll – SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental, Austria
Up for a bit more true hospitality on your holiday? Head over to Austria for some alpine coziness in Söll. This is where you find the typical chalets and hotels and a hell of a lot more Schlager music when you enter the bar for that well deserved after-ski beer. With 284 km of slopes you won’t be bored easily. If you want to you can ski to a different village every day while passing numerous huts to indulge in some kaiserschmarrn (who doesn’t love scrambled pancakes) and coffees with cream. The latter is a bit more affordable in Austria then when going to France. Slopes here are wide, well prepped and fit for every kind of experience level. You do get lost quite easily here, but that’s part of the charm.

soll-one-of-the-best-ski-resorts-in-europe
Relaxing in Soll

Valfrejus – Valfrejus, France
With 61 Km of slopes, not a biggie but the area is only 4 hours away from Paris! But it is the perfect place for beginners on a budget. There aren’t that many lifts and the area is super compact, so the issue of losing your friends is non-existent in Valfrejus. The village is small and friendly with some nice little bars, and no cars (always a plus). You easily go up to the top of the mountain, eat a crepe in the sun and then take one of the wide slopes (or forest paths) down to the middle station to meet up with the rest of your friends. Perfect if you have some beginners, taking lessons, with you and want to meet up for lunch or a drink. To rent an apartment here is pretty cheap, same goes for your ski-pass. So don’t let a tight budget hold you down from booking a trip. But I must admit, this area does have some not so snowboard-friendly paths, if that cranks you up: make sure to pick the right tracks (the green slopes here are horrible ;-).

valfrejus of of the best ski resorts in Europe
Only 4 hours away from Paris!

Zell am Zee – Zell am Zee Kaprun, Austria
The Kaprun Glacier ensures white mountains, Zell am Zee village ensures a good time. The perfect place to go if you want to do some other stuff when your done skiing (ice hockey, sledging!). Where the glacier offers you pure white plains, the Zell am Zee area is more ‘ gemütlicher’ with lots of slopes between the threes and mountain cabins to drink hot cocoa. The lifts are modern, big and fast so you never have to spend a lot of time hanging and waiting in the air. With 138 km of slopes and most of them blue (easy), this is the place where you want to learn (it’s what I did) those perfect turns and brakes. Also, après-ski, much much better then in France. This place is full of lights and fun.

Les Arcs – Paradiski, French Alps
Paradiski, the word already says it: paradise. This place is gorgeous and not a surprise that it’s listed as one of the best ski regions in Europe. Well connected lifts, long rides, different scenery, awesome slopes. If it’s busy, you hardly notice it. I don’t think I ever waited longer than 2 minutes to get in the lift (apart from waiting for the big ass gondola’s that take 200 people at once) and there where so many options for day trips (if you have the extended ski-pass you can even head over to the La Plagne area). The total ski area of Paradiski offers 425 KM of slopes, never a dull moment. There are several villages in Les Arcs, of which I think Arc 1800 and Arc 1950 are the nicest with most restaurants and little shops. There are a number of bars, but don’t expect any of them to be really good. But buying some beers in the supermarket and just having fun with you friends in your accommodation is just as good right? Also, most apartments in Les Arcs are next to the slopes or just a couple minutes of walking!

lesarcs, one of the best ski regions in Europe
On top of the world!

lesarcs-at-night
Les Arcs at night

What’s your favorite place to enjoy wintersport? Of course there are so many great options to choose from when you are booking your ski trip. But I hope these little insights from a hardcore snowboard fan just gave you a bit more knowledge. My next trip is booked, how about yours?

Love,

Jill

*Jill is one of our guest bloggers living in Amsterdam (@jillgwendolyn) where she works as a content manager for a digital agency. She’s Crazy about traveling and has spend her studies in New Zealand . You can read a new article from Jill in every 3rd week of the month

Also read; A Winter Secret in Greece:

Vasilitsa