Many visitors to St. Lucia plan a visit in order to savor the many gorgeous and unique beaches. Whether interested in water sports or simply enjoying hours spent relaxing along the sands, the beaches are an amazing part of any holiday on the island. However, there is so much more to see and do beyond those beaches. After all, there are thousands of acres of authentic rainforest, there is a dormant volcano, the world famous Pitons and more. So, let’s take some time to discover a list of things to see and do apart from the beaches of St. Lucia.

The Rainforests

Birdwatchers, nature lovers, hikers and adventurers will all want to head into the 19,000 acres of rainforest found on the island. With tour guides offering canopy tours, zipline adventures and more, it is easy and fun to safely explore this amazing area of St. Lucia. Environmentally conscientious tour operators will help you enjoy the many beautiful and rare plants and birds without any disruption to the natural setting. If you would like to enjoy a mountain biking tour of this area or even a sky ride, you have plenty of options.

A Drive-In Volcano

The dormant Sulphur Springs volcano is located near Soufriere and provides you with a fascinating lesson in the geology of the entire Caribbean area. It is also a spot to enjoy the benefits of mineral mud and experience something entirely different than the usual tropical destination.

While in the Soufriere area, it is a great idea to pay a visit to the Tet Paul Nature Trail. This is a community operated trail with a 45 minute tour. It takes you through a working, organic farm to the highlight of the tour – a remarkable scenic overlook that encompasses the Pitons. It is also a very educational tour that introduces participants to the traditions of islanders and locals.

Diamond Falls is also on this part of the island and another must-see destination. Covering six acres; it is an award-winning site originally built in 1784 for the French troops of King Louis XVI and it includes a beautifully done botanical garden full of the many different tropical plants that call the region home. At the end, a stunning waterfall and hot spring offers you a nice, anti-aging dip as well as a fantastic experience.

 The Pitons

Rising more than 2,600 feet above the sea, Gros Piton is the most frequently hiked of the two. It is challenging but well worth the effort, and it is best to tackle it with the services of one of the local guides. You will want to get an early morning start and bring water, and most hikers can finish it within a two hour window of time. There are four official stopping points, so everyone can enjoy the climb and reach the top in great shape and ready to enjoy the unbelievable views.

If you are in fabulous shape, a guided tour of Mt. Gimie may be in order. At around 3,117 feet, it is the very highest peak on the island, and you can book guided tours that let you take in the amazing scenery and views.

If steep climbs are not for you, you can actually traverse from one side of the island to the other along the Descartier Trail Rainforest Walk. An easily managed 2.5 mile excursion, it is in the forests and introduces you to many native plants and birds. There is also the Union Nature Trail that loops you along a gravel path that leads into a lovely forested area noted for its birds and native plants and trees.

There is so much to see and do on St. Lucia, even if you don’t want to spend a minute at the beach.

Tortola may not be an overly large island, but few holiday makers wish to spend hours driving or riding from place to place in order to uncover the perfect beach for their holiday wishes. After all, the ideal swimming beach is not always the ideal windsurfer’s destination. Rather than allow you to lose even a minute of time searching for the ideal destination for your day along Tortola‘s white sands, we’ve created this guide to the loveliest and most appealing beaches on the island.

Before we delve into the list, do note that this island is not known for crowded beaches – unless a large cruise ship is spending the day in the port. However, the finest beaches are located along the island’s northern coastal area, and even these vary widely in terms of the conditions and most common activities. We’ll start at the western end and work our way to the eastern tip, following the northern coast:

Smuggler’s Cove

Far at the end of the island, this is a tranquil and beautiful spot. It is in full view of Great Thatch Island just off shore and is very popular with snorkelers and with local islanders. You can find an amazing array of corals and sea life just offshore, but the flawless sands, the ample amount of shady spots beneath the palms, and the obvious respect that all of the visitors have for the setting make it a wonderful place.

Long Bay West

Tucked against Buta Mountain, it is often empty or with just a few swimmers who enjoy the good conditions during the warmer months. With its location close to Apple Bay, though, there can be some undertow issues during the winter months. Without lifeguards, it can be dangerous to swim, but if you wish to just absorb the tranquility and natural beauty, this is a quieter place to do so.

Apple Bay

This is a surfing destination that sees the most activity in January and February. Startling white sands, the famous Bomba Shack with its drinks and foods, and its party crowd make this an ideal spot for those who want to experience the surf scene. There are also several fine dining and local restaurants, including the Friday fish fry.

Cane Garden Bay

Long noted as the island’s “finest” beach, it can be tricky to get there due to the poor conditions of the roads, but with its gentle surf, lovely sands and generally sheltered conditions it is perfect for all. Whether you want to picnic, paddle or swim, or try your hand at windsurfing, kayaking and enjoying the different bars and restaurants backing the beach, this is the place to visit. As you can imagine, it can be very busy during the peak travel seasons.

Brewer’s Bay

A lower key surfing and snorkeling destination, it has a nice beach bar, a camping site, and a good stretch of well-kept and lovely beach. It is a perfect sunset viewing beach, but you will also find that mornings here are quiet and unforgettable. This is as low-key as it gets.

Josiah’s Bay

Not a big fan of crowds? If you want to see the surfing and scenery of places like Brewers Bay or Cane Garden Bay, but you don’t want the hustle and bustle of crowds, this is the beach to find. It is at the foot of Buta Mountain and is often empty. Just like Long Bay West, though it can have periods of undertow during the winter months, and without lifeguards, swimmers must use caution. This is a spot popular with locals and if they are swimming at the ends or edges of the beach, it is a good idea to follow their lead. There are some good restaurants here.

It might also be fun to tour the northern shore of the island, sampling one or two of the beaches here in order to find your perfect escape.

Tucked into a northeastern corner of the Caribbean island chain, Antigua is beautiful, historic, scenic and remarkably well positioned for surfing, and particularly kitesurfing. The best conditions hit twice each year – from November through February and then again from June to July. It is during both of these periods that enthusiastic wind and kitesurfing pros will head to Antigua, and it is also a great time to book a holiday. You can watch the experts and book lessons from many of them. There are busy little beach shacks offering rentals, but clients of Isle Blue can make arrangements to have their gear delivered and be ready to go upon arrival!

Lessons are a must if you have yet to surf or kitesurf in this area, and one of the top places to begin to master these water sports is Jabberwock Bay (Beach). At a quarter of a mile long, it has “side on” wind conditions that ensure the safest conditions, but which also provides a bit of “bump and jump” too. Spacious, it is great for advanced surfers who want to get moving, but it is also roomy enough for those learning about launching, landing and even rigging their kites. We highly recommend beginners take the time to learn here.

In fact, the entire North Shore area of the island is an ideal place to arrange a visit. This is a region that stretches between St. John’s and the airport, and where you can find the some of the finest golfing, luxury villas, and idyllic locations like Great Bird Island and Jumby Bay nearby.

Sailing in Antigua

It cannot be overlooked that sailing is a huge part of the Antigua culture, especially around Falmouth and English Harbours. There is an annual Antigua Sailing Week that begins each April, and is a great time to be on the island. This is when you can experience great wind for kitesurfing, as well as enjoying the events that run concurrent with the sailing week.

Clearly, a place with such good wind and flat water is more suited to kitesurfing, but you will always find avid surfers still plying the waters around Antigua. Two of the hottest spots for surfing are found along the southeastern shore. They are Half Moon Bay Beach and Exchange Bay. Not only are they scenic, split in two by Smith Island, but they provide a good break along with some safe and protected shallows.

However, you will have to put a bit of effort to get here. As one expert said, it is “one of the most breathtaking beaches of Antigua… far away from just about everything. The trek has its advantages, though, namely fewer beachgoers to distract from the charm of this national park. Windsurfers [and surfers] will appreciate the sizable waves toward the beach’s center, while snorkelers can find calm waters near the edges.”

The white sands make it a great spot for anyone who just wants the idyllic and iconic Caribbean beach, good waves, surrounding scenery and an out of the way locale.

Exchange Bay Beach is more secluded and private, but has plenty of services for those interested in water sports. It is surprisingly quiet at most times, and is just past the road heading east out of Freetown. With less wind than neighboring Half Moon Bay, it is a good spot for companions of surfers and windsurfers to while away the day.

Quieter, calmer and a bit more prestigious than some of its neighbors, Antigua still has plenty of water sports and is the perfect destination for fans of kitesurfing, surfing, and sailing. If you have questions about water sports in Antigua, give your concierge a call to discuss your options.

Tortola is not at all large, though it is the largest among the British Virgin Islands. It is noted for its amazingly beautiful and unique beaches, its wonderful scenery and the many outdoor activities it offers. It is also home to some of the very best restaurants throughout the islands, and though these range from down home spots famous for classic Caribbean dishes to five-star establishments – they will each add an unforgettable facet to your holiday here.

Classic Tortola Cooking

Quitos Gazebo – A pastel-painted property overlooking the sands of Cane Garden Bay, it is a famous but low-key spot for catching a sunset or enjoying a live musical performance from the restaurant’s namesake reggae performer. The menu is Caribbean classic and the house specialties include their pulled pork, jerk chicken and mahi mahi sandwiches.

Mrs. Scatiliffe’s – This is the very ultimate in home-style cooking and attentive and personalized services. This is a restaurant housed in the home of island resident, Mrs. Scatliffe. She makes different meals each night and there is no formal menu. This is a remarkable opportunity to savor true, island and West Indian cuisine prepared from ingredients taken only moments earlier from Mrs. Scatliffe’s gardens. Serving only dinner, it is a restaurant that most visitors return to with each visit they pay to the island.

North Shore Shell Museum – Housed in a structure that is literally covered in shells, it serves authentic island fare. Visitors may enjoy island cocktails made with famous Callwood rum. They can then dip into coconut bread, fried breadfruit and spicy fish served with classic sides. The service is always noted for its attentiveness and friendliness and the meals most often ordered include their conch, ribs, beef or chicken cooked in an open flame and covered in the restaurant’s secret sauce.

Roti Palace – West Indian classic cooking includes roti, and this spot is frequently noted as one of the best in the islands. Ideal for lunch, it also makes notable curries but can actually run out of food it is so popular. So, make sure to arrive early and eat heartily.

Fine Dining

Brandywine Estate – Sitting above Sir Fancis Drake Channel, this historic restaurant has a garden setting and offers an amazing experience. Their most famous dishes include their moules a la mariniere, their tuna tartar, and their beef carpaccio. They are also noted for their flourless chocolate cake.

Sugar Mills – Located within the old rum house that was part of the original sugar mill estate, it has two dining rooms and features some of the original boiling pots and equipment. This option also offers an impressive wine list and features a chef committed who uses locally grown produce and fresh seafood. Their specialties include conch dishes, a crispy pork belly dish and their famous coconut chicken.

Specialty Tastes of Tortola

In addition to these formal dining establishments, a visit to Tortola has to include their island specialties. For example, visitors should sample the sea grape wine that is unique to Tortola. This is made by harvesting grapes and soaking them in various types of alcohol before actually turning them into wine. The open air market in Road Town is a great place to find the widest range of choices.

You will also want to sample another island specialty known as maubey. This is a non-alcoholic drink made from the bark taken from the maubey tree. The best place to find different styles is in Wickham’s Cay at the store known as Bobby’s Supermarket.

In addition to beverages, you will want to pick up some guava jam made on the island, and some of the best is from the Sunny Caribbee Shop in Road Town. Lastly, while out doing your “must have” ingredients shopping, be sure to swing into the La Baguette Bakery in Road Town to sample their remarkable coconut tarts.

Travelers to Virgin Gorda often know that seafood is going to be a highlight of the fare offered, yet there is actually a great deal more to the cuisine of Virgin Gorda. Not only are there some truly fun and unique restaurants and dining options, but almost all of the high end resorts welcome travelers to book in their different restaurants. What this means is that your dining experiences during a visit to Virgin Gorda can vary wildly.

One day might be learning how to make classic Caribbean cuisine in the kitchen of your villa alongside your cook or house chef. Another day might see you sampling fare at one of the local favorites and yet another meal might see you at a five-star dining room enjoying the finest wine and dishes. To be sure you savor the very best meals and snacks, beverages and foods while staying on Virgin Gorda, we recommend the following restaurants and eateries:

Bitter End Yacht Club

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is one of the most highly rated and popular establishments on the island. Offering waterfront dining, it serves only the very freshest seafood and is noted for the deliciousness of all of its baked good. A signature dish here is its Key Lime pie, but it has also been recognized for making the best pizza throughout the British Virgin Islands. Family friendly, it has a very popular Sunday brunch. It houses several other dining area that include the Almond Walk Terrace, the Crawl Pub, the Emporium and the Clubhouse Griille.

Saba Rock

Set within a resort, this amazing restaurant offers stunning views and is persistently ranked as one of the best dining destinations in the islands. If you are a star gazer or celebrity watcher, this is the place to see them. However, the food is truly stunning and served in the dining room, al fresco terrace or the bar. Their signature dish is the fish and chips, but they also have a stunning dinner menu emphasizing the fresh seafood.

The Top of the Baths

As the name implies, this amazing spot sits right along the top of the gorgeous boulders that form The Baths. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and features Continental cuisine that emphasizes a bit of island and Asian specialties. They have a separate sushi menu and their desserts are legendary. Their coconut Cruzan rum cake and their Angie’s warm bread pudding are two classics.


Sitting right along the dock, it is an open air restaurant that emphasizes the very freshest seafood and gives it a Spanish twist. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but their specialties are their spicy mushroom burgers, mahi mahi sandwiches and their Wahoo Lobster pasta.

The Rock Café

With its al fresco setting covered by a canopy of trees, it is tucked between the world-famous The Baths and Spanish Town just north of the beach. It focuses primarily on a fusion of Caribbean and Italian cuisines and has a fabulous outdoor pizza oven that sends the aromas of island and Mediterranean spices wafting throughout. Perfect for a romantic evening, it also has a family friendly menu. With a piano bar and indoor dining room, it is a fantastic spot to sample its fresh, signature dishes.

The Restaurant at Leverick Bay

This is a flawless, seaside location that emphasizes fine dining and service. They have a separate beach bar and low-key menu, but their dining room features cuisine that is a good fusion of French and Italian fare, with seafood a major emphasis.

These are but a few of the top rated and must try locations for you to savor during your upcoming stay in Virgin Gorda.

Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands or BVIs and yet it is also one of the most laid-back and relaxed as well. While it is a popular spot for large cruise vessels and day trippers, it is a place where time seems to stand still. It is as if Tortola has been created for those who want a leisurely pace, and that is why it is such a popular choice for beach enthusiasts. However, there is more to Tortola than its fantastic beaches, and if you are planning a holiday, consider some of these activities that take you off the beaches.

Road Town

The main port where large cruise ships unload their passengers, it is also full of fun streets lined with shops and dotted with delicious eateries. Think of this town as your starting point and best spot for picking up gifts and souvenirs, but don’t overlook it as the perfect place for a day trip. In fact, why not plan to spend a day in town just to enjoy three meals in the fun and funky atmosphere. Many locals enjoy a hearty Caribbean breakfast at Midtown. Lunches at Pusser’s Pub are also island-style and full of unique flavors. A snack at Crandall’s Pastry is not to be missed and you can even sample one of their savory conch patties.

Fort Burt

While in the Road Town area, spend some time visiting an authentic 1600s Dutch ruin. Tucked along the western edge of the town, it features the original foundations and the artillery magazine. It also gives you wonderful views of the waters and harbor below.

Old Government House Museum

An official property until the 1990s, it is now a truly wonderful collection of historic items and displays from Tortola’s fascinating past. With galleries dedicated to the seafaring history of the island, it is a nice spot to show kids (even teens) a unique side of this tropical destination.

J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens

If history is not something you wish to delve into during a holiday, the four acres of this lush and absolutely gorgeous gardens might appeal. Divided into tropical species, it features a greenhouse full of orchids, a medicinal garden stocked with Caribbean plants and trees, an indigenous garden of seashore flora and even a succulent and cacti garden.

Sage Mountain

Hiking in Tortola is a delight when you visit this lovely nature reserve. There are 12 looped trails in the park, and all of them take you through authentic rainforest full of ancient cedars. Follow the trail leading to the highest point on the island and enjoy stunning views.

Mount Healthy National Park

Another national park, it is quite appealing and ideal for a picnic, but it is also home to the ruins of a 1700s sugar plantation. With a restored windmill and the ruins of the factory, stables, hospital, and mill, it is a remarkable spot to spend a few hours.

Cane Garden Bay

If you want to avoid the tourism spots of Road Town, head to this classic seaside village. There are many wonderful waterfront restaurants offering three meals a day, and the shopping is fun and full of local finds.

Soper’s Hole

Technically, this is an island that you reach via a causeway at the western tip of Tortola. It is fun to visit for its colorful West Indian buildings with their gingerbread trim and sunny pastel hues. It is also fabulous for the dedicated shoppers and those who would like to sample some island-made rum while watching boats dip in and out of the lovely little marina and harbor.

While on Tortola, and while visiting any of the restaurants or bars, be sure you sample Callwood rum. This is actually the only rum still distilled in the BVIs and sampling it is certainly one thing “to do” while visiting Tortola.

Sitting in a truly premium location along the west coast of Barbados, the Royal Westmoreland is a fabulous place to enjoy an unforgettable Caribbean holiday. With more than 750 acres, it is actually a residential community along with a world-class, championship golf course and many premiere amenities and facilities.

A Brief History

It may be difficult to believe as you gaze at some of the classic island bungalows and buildings that the Royal Westmoreland only dates to the mid-1990s. It was at that time that ground was broken on the first homes, and today there are more than 200 of them offering beauty, luxury and a wonderfully idyllic setting.

Designed as a golf, spa and beach resort, the Royal Westmoreland sits along Mullins Bay and has been taking an array of awards over the course of many years. With everything from golf development awards and residential development recognition, it offers opportunities for holiday rentals as well as villa ownership.

Enjoy a Holiday

A wildly popular destination for luxury holidays, it extends an abundance of options where accommodations are concerned. Travelers can enjoy a stay in the Royal Apartments, one of the Royal Villas or one of the stunning Exclusive Villas. Each offers unlimited use of the world-class, private beach club as well as featuring some impressive amenities of their own.

As an example, many of the villas feature full-sized pools, private gardens, and multiple levels of living. Floor plans include great rooms, patios and terraces, and luxurious interiors that include laundry suites, ensuite baths, and high end entertainment systems.

Villa The Westerings, as an illustration, is a four-bedroom villa that has a private pool, butler, cook, media room, a barbecue area, large and private garden, daily housekeeping and complimentary access to Royal Westmoreland’s facilities and beach shuttle. Guests have a private golf buggy on hand, but the villa itself is quite remarkable. There is a large living room, a full office and study, a formal dining area, a large, gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar, and four bedrooms. These feature ensuite baths, premium bedding, and remarkable views.

There are luxury rentals with four and even seven bedrooms and apartments with one to three bedrooms. All come with the same generous services, and access to the resort’s many amenities.

Facilities and Services

Naturally, each of the villas or apartments will serve as a wonderful base, but there is much more to savor during a stay at the Royal Westmoreland. Though many arrive with simply unwinding by their private pool or at the beachfront as their sole objective, most find it difficult to resist the facilities and services.

There are round the clock concierge services for each visitor, a dedicated housekeeper, and even private chefs available to head to a villa or apartment and whip up three meals each day, snacks or special dishes. Of course, a holiday is not a holiday without great restaurants, and there are several cafes and food outlets for guests to enjoy. There are also spa services open to those who wish to enjoy them.

Activities also include the world class, par 72, 7,045-yard golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. There are tennis courts, fitness centers and the beach club. Free shuttles to the beach along with a large and private pool near the waterfront add up to making the Royal Westmoreland a wonderful solution for almost any group or family.

With each property – from a one bedroom apartment to a private, seven-bedroom villa – full of luxuries and attentive services, the Royal Westmoreland is a wonderful find. With options for those interested in owning their own slice of Caribbean heaven, it might be the perfect choice for your next holiday.

Most travel experts know that the name Courchevel means two very different things. The first thing it means is world-class, nearly incomparable skiing. The second thing it means is gastronomic delight, as it is a mountain home to more than seven Michelin starred dining establishments. Scattered among the four villages that make up the entirety of Courchevel, they are each considered “must try” stops whenever paying a visit.

Though many who book a holiday in this French Alps gem will choose a chalet with private chef, it is a very wise idea to book a table at as many of the Michelin starred properties as possible.

These include the two-starred Le Chabichou, Le 1947, Le Kintessence, and Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles all in Courchevel 1850. There are the one starred sites also, and these include L’Azimut in Le Praz, Le Strato, and the Hotel K2 Altitude’s restaurant (the Montgomerie) all in Courchevel 1850. Le Chabauté, the bistro restaurant of Le Chabichou,  is also a must-try lunch establishment.

Because of the popularity of these restaurants it is advisable to book well in advance of your stay, especially if you intend to visit during the course of any holiday. There are also many other dining establishments worthy of attention, and these include Saulire in Courchevel 1850, offering an amazing cellar and unique menu of French classics, Le Genepi in Courchevel 1850 which offers true Savoyard cuisine, and La Cendree which is noted for its innovative approach to iconic Italian dishes.

Japanese restaurants are popular in the region, and some of the very best and most frequently recommended include Koori or Le Bisan, both in Courchevel 1850.

Regional Classics

While it is easy to understand that Michelin starred restaurants should rank at the top of your list of spots to dine out, don’t overlook the unique opportunity that Courchevel dining presents to those eager to try true Savoyard and Alpine cuisine. For example, La Fromagerie in Courchevel 1850 is nearly legendary for serving up local dishes. Do not miss Le Caveau restaurant in Courchevel Village (1550) for local cheese delights and the warm atmosphere. There are also crepes to consider, and the Titine et Lilou creperie in Courchevel Moriond (once known as Courchevel 1650) is a local favorite.

If you would savor the cheese-heavy dishes so popular in Savoyard cooking, try another Courchevel Moriond favorite, Le Petit Savoyard. Emphasizing a cozy atmosphere is a popular dinner spot. There is also L’Oeil de Boeuf located in Courchevel Village (once known as Courchevel 1550). Here, you can choose from savoring meat dishes made exclusively from the freshest local goods and ingredients.

With more than 25 restaurants in Courchevel 1850, eight in Moriond, six in the village and another ten in Le Praz, you could easily dedicate an entire visit to sampling the delicious fare made available. Keep in mind that you also get to select from the basic brasserie and bistro to snack stops, pizzerias, and creperies. There are non-starred gourmet destinations, Savoyard restaurants and much more.

The point is to be sure you identify at least one spot to try at each of the four villages. Most of the Michelin starred sites are at the top, but as we have noted, there are just as many, reaching all the way down to Le Praz. Remember too that anyone booked into a chalet with a chef may also discuss or arrange specific dishes that are classics to the region, and even inquire about in-chalet classes to show you just how to make these favorites when you return home.

At the heart of the world-famous Trois Vallees ski area is Meribel Valley. Offering more than 150km of pistes (mostly blue pistes, but with a fair share of red and black trails), it also opens the entire region. This means travelers opting to ski Meribel can also enjoy the 600km of pistes, 170 lifts and 320+ runs of Trois Vallees too.

A bit narrower and steeper than its neighbors, Meribel has a nice range of intermediate to advanced pistes, and has what many describe as more consistent weather conditions. Ideal for beginners to advanced skiers, it is home to a wonderful array of chalets, and charming villages that include Brides Les Bains at 600 meters, Les Allues at 1200 meters, Meribel Village at 1400 meters, Meribel Center at 1600 meters, Mussillon and Altitude 1600, Rond Point and Belvedere at 1600 meteres and Altiport sitting close to the top at 1700 meters. The highest point is Meribel Mottaret, which is not actually part of the Meribel resort proper.

Making your way around Meribel is easy thanks to many recent improvements to the lifts throughout the resort. There is the Saulire Express gondola that transports more than two thousand skiers each hour, taking them from the heart of the resort to the 2700-meter Saulire peak. It achieves this in under 15 minutes! There is also a Plattieres gondola that requires less than ten minutes to reach the 2704 meter Marches peak.

The Skiing

The skiing novice need not fear a lack of slopes and fun as roughly ten percent of the pistes here are green slopes. These can be found by taking the Morel lift to Altiport 1600 or by heading to Rond Point for the nursery slopes. Kids and beginners can also find plenty of action by taking the Plattieres gondola to La Sittelle or the Chatelet chair to Le Rossignol or heading to the base of Mottaret to the Le Doron piste.

The intermediate skiers have an abundance of choices with many agreeing that some of the finest of the region’s pistes are at the head of the valley just south of Mottaret. This area is easily reached by the Plattieres gondola that departs from Mottaret. Because such a high portion of the slopes here are blues and reds, it is an ideal spot for the more experienced.

However, if you want some challenge, there is a red piste at Combe Vallon reached by taking the gondola at Mont du Vallon. If you want to compare your skills to those of an Olympian, head to Face run at the very top of Roc de Fer. Here you can use runs developed for the 1992 Olympic games.

Of course, like all popular ski destinations, lines and waits can be a bit of a hassle if you choose the wrong spots at the wrong hours of the day. An insider’s tip to skiing Meribel is to avoid the Chaudanne piste during the hours that ski schools get started (typically between 9 and 9:30 AM). There is also some overcrowding on the runs heading towards Mottaret in the late afternoon hours, and if you want the finest powders throughout the resort, remember that early risers typically avoid all the ski tracks.

Learning to Ski

Of course, you may have no experience with skiing and wish to learn from the very best. Fortunately, skiing in Meribel can also mean taking courses from some of the finest schools in the world. In fact, there are skiing, snowboarding and speed-riding schools for those who wish to gain or sharpen skills. There are also 13 cross country trails here, and you may want to test your skill or master this sport too.

If you are new to the world of Alpine skiing, you may not know a lot about Courchevel. If you are familiar to the world of skiing, you already know this mountain as one of the very best in the world. It is often described as one of the best maintained, and as having a large number of runs suitable for novices to experts, but there is so much more to the story.

Courchevel features four separate villages. Once denoted by their heights, today they are uniquely named and include Le Praz (at 1300 meters), Courchevel Village (at 1550 meters), Moriond (at 1650 meters) and Courchevel, which is also often called Courchevel 1850. There is also Saint Bon at the very lowest point of Courchevel (at 1100 meters). With a northward facing orientation, it does have some of the snows and conditions as well as idyllic terrain. It features more than 600km of pistes and over 170 lifts.

A highly efficient shuttle service links the Courchevel villages, and a trip from bottom to top allows a skier (or non-skier) to savor amazing conditions, charming villages, gourmet dining, and fairly vibrant apres ski nightlife. For the most part, skiers need never leave Courchevel to experience the very best skiing.

As one of the “Big 4” resorts, and as the famous gateway to the Trois Vallees or Three Valleys ski area, it was created as a resort roughly 75 years ago. The many chalets, some remarkably luxurious and all of them attentive to the needs of skiers, were placed to enhance skiing on the mountain.

Many chalets open to the slopes or stand just steps from lifts and pistes. However, if you are unfamiliar with the skiing of Courchevel, here are some useful facts:

Evolution Zones

Evolution Zones are the slopes for beginners, and the finest are found in Courchevel 1850 and just below in Moriond. There are many green and blue runs throughout the property, but most will want to experience Praline (reached from the Ariondaz lift). It is noted as one of the finest Alpine greens. There is also Indiens, which is a very leisurely blue trail running through the trees.

Green pistes

It is possible to ski all of the Trois Vallees on green pistes, but one of the nicest is to ski Courchevel 1850 to the Courchevel Village at 1550 using the green pistes.

Intermediate skiing

Intermediate skiing is found at Moriond, and features some of the longest steep runs from the peak of the Chanrossa lift. This is also a good area for those who want off piste opportunities. More challenges can be uncovered by taking the runs down to Le Praz at 1300 meters.

Advanced skiing

Advanced skiing is also readily available, and one of the most frequently chosen runs for those who want some scenery along with their red or black challenges is Col de la Loze. It is part of the standard extreme ski challenge competitions, but also takes you into Meribel.

Freestyle skiing

Freestyle skiing is also possible near the Biolley lift, and racing is available at the La Loze trail.

Naturally, most areas have additional trails and some apres ski opportunities. For instance, Courchevel 1850 is home to a ski rink, Moriond is noted for ideal children’s conditions and later sunsets, the Village is where you can catch the speed bubble lift back to the top, and Le Praz has a ski jump remaining from the 1992 Olympics.

Remember too that Courchevel is famous, so those who want powder need to hit the slopes early and catch the Vizelle gondola or the Suisse chair before too many tracks ruin the good snow. Whether beginner or seasoned pro, the skiing at Courchevel is world famous for many reasons, and now is the time to discover them all.