Europe’s Coziest Winter Retreats
In the depths of winter, the idea of a hunkering down in a snug, comfortable hideaway is so much more appealing than staying in an anonymous design hotel. Here, Travel + Leisure curates a selection of European retreats purpose-built for frosty nights and snow-flecked days. From a grand hotel in Switzerland that’s only accessible by miniature railway to an elegant manor house on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea, these properties have cornered the market in warm, wintery stays. Don’t expect a flashy après-ski scene or a jet-set crowd showing off their high-tech outfits. At hotels like these, spending the day next to a crackling fire while a storm rages outside is considered an activity in itself. So pull up a blanket, order a spice wine, and let it snow.
Priesteregg, Salzburgerland, Austria
Hide away in one of the 16 delightful chalets at Bergdorf Priesteregg, located on a huge stretch of private land in Austrian Salzburgerland at an altitude of 1100 meters. Each morning, an organic breakfast is served in your chalet at whatever time you want—perfect after a leisurely private sauna or hot tub session.
Rifugio Fanes, Dolomites, Italy
In winter, this charmingly simple family-run rifugio in the Italian Dolomites is only accessible by snow cat or skis. The home-cooked food, served in the cozy Stube, is a particular highlight. Just leave room for hearty desserts and lots of home-made Schnapps.
Lyngen Lodge, Lyngen Fjords, Norway
An intimate high-end lodge right on the fjords in the extreme north of Norway, Lyngen Lodge is ideal for those who like their ski pistes empty, powdery and extreme—or for non-skiers who love fine food and views of the Northern Lights.
Jagdschloss, Kühtai, Austria
Count Stolberg-Stolberg keeps his historical property in Kühtai—the highest hotel in Austria—just as it’s always been. Join him for an Aperol Spritz round the fireplace in the living room of this characterful inn, before heading for dinner in the century-old dining room.
Padaste Manor, Muhu Island, Estonia
Guests at Padaste Manor have to drive across a frozen stretch of the Baltic Sea to reach Muhu Island, where the hotel is located. But the white-knuckle trip is more than worth it, because this historic property is the perfect place to recharge. Warm up in the spa, feast on the best food in Estonia, and get blissfully lost on this magical, frost-bound island.
Fjällnäs, Funäsfjällen, Sweden
Fjällnäs, Sweden’s oldest mountain hotel, has been attracting visitors in search of unspoiled Nordic landscapes since 1889. The carefully restored main house has a great exhibit of black & white photographs that reveal how the area used to look back in the early days of Swedish mountaineering, when the property was built.
Haus Hirt, Badgastein, Austria
This eccentric hotel floating above Austria’s Gastein valley has played host to eminent guests including Thomas Mann and the Shah of Persia. Today, the ever-present owner of this this intimate 29-room inn, Evelyn Ikrath, presides over an clientele that keep returning for her extreme gentilesse and incredible attention to detail.
Bellevue des Alpes in Switzerland
Hop on a tiny mountain train to reach the historical Hotel Bellevue des Alpes, one of the most iconic inns in Switzerland. Curl up under in one of the historic—but totally renovated—rooms and watch snow-clouds gather around the legendary Eiger and Jungfrau mountains outside your window.
Hotel Budir, Snaefellsnes, Iceland
With the Atlantic literally meters away, Hotel Budir is perhaps the only real beachfront hotel in Iceland. After a hiking or snowmobile trip to the nearby Snaefellsnes glacier, settle in front of the fire in the hotel’s toasty lounge, and lap up views of the surrounding lava field, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Pinetree Lodge, Kangos, Sweden
The small village of Kangos, in Northern Sweden, is surrounded by deep, age-old forest and frozen lakes. Here, the family-run Pine Tree Lodge lies a long way off the tourist track. New this season is the secluded Husky Lodge, where guests in need of solitude can soak up views of the spectacular Arctic scenery between ancient pine trees.