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Nestled just a few kilometres from the French border and in the shadow of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in the local lingo), Courmayeur is a prime place for an Italian ski holiday.

The resort - a medieval market town - is less than two hours from Geneva and Turin airports, making it an awesome pick for shorter ski breaks. Courmayeur's fantastic location in the Aosta Valley, solid mix of ski runs and reputation for great cuisine also means it's a popular weekend getaway spot for Italians, especially the stylish Milanese.

The snow conditions tend to be reliable all season, and Mont Blanc shelters the resort from the worst of the winds making for often very pleasant skiing. There's plenty in Courmayeur to entertain competent skiers for a long weekend and some challenging off-piste for more experienced skiers. If you're staying for a week, you'll likely want to explore the rest of the Mont Blanc resorts using the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass.

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Courmayeur ski resort

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Courmayeur is a charming town in its own right. It's an atmospheric medieval market town and boasts a picturesque pedestrianised centre lined with numerous lively bars, tempting restaurants and high-end designer shops.

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While there's no ski-in, ski-out accommodation in the town itself, you'll find the main ski lifts operate until midnight if you're keen to keep the après ski going into the night. There's also a decent collection of nightlife venues in the centre of the resort (especially on Via Roma), plus more restaurants than you'll be able to visit.

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Courmayeur après

Courmayeur goes above and beyond your typical alpine après ski thanks to the Italian tradition of the aperitif - a pre-dinner drink and snack combo enjoyed before dinner. Genius. These spreads are often so substantial as to be more than enough to cover dinner, which is a handy way to save a few quid if you're on a tight budget, and staying in one of the B&B hotels that dominate the accommodation offering.

Swap pints for piña coladas at Bar Roma, a classy venue in town where they throw in a sumptuous aperitivo spread with every drink purchase. On the same street is Guides Bar which can get pretty rowdy when there's a big match showing on the TV.

For more of a pub-style place with lively tunes, Poppy's is your best bet. American Bar is perfect for a pint of ice-cold Moretti and a few complimentary snacks, while Jimmy's (at the Hotel Astoria in La Palud) is a buzzing location for a drink and dance if you're coming off the Val Veny ski lift.

Restaurants in Courmayeur

Foodies will be in their element if they ski in Courmayeur as the town is inundated with tempting restaurants serving up both tasty regional cuisine and global delights.

A firm favourite is Pizzeria du Tunnel that's housed in one of Courmayeur's oldest buildings. They specialise in woodfired pizzas with over 30 tasty toppings, plus you'll also be able to order local Aosta Valley delicacies and wines.

Groups with varying tastebuds might be more at home at classy Cadran Solaire on Via Roma - they serve up a mouthwatering mix of regional treats and delicious dishes from other European nations. Pierre Alexis 1877 is another awesome spot for fancier fare. It's one of Courmayeur's Michelin starred venues and has a menu which changes almost every month to match what produce is in season.

Courmayeur nightlife

Not just a haven for food-lovers, Courmayeur is also starting to build up a reputation as a buzzing Italian party resort.

Once you've made the most of the town's afternoon après hotspots and lined your stomachs at one of the many restaurants, why not check out Le Prive on Via Roma for a few of your favourite cocktails? If you're feeling peckish earlier on in the evening, the chic venue also has an ace aperitivo offering.

Elsewhere in Courmayeur, Club Haus 80's (a sister branch of the hip Milan nightclub of the same name) pumps out - you guessed it! - funky 80's tunes into the small hours. They also host themed nights, including neon parties that'll give you definite throwbacks to your student days. Prefer music from the 21st century? The Club close to the Sports Center is one of Courmayeur's newest nightlife additions.

Mountain bites

If you're feeling ravenous while out tackling Courmayeur's ski runs, you'll discover a bounty of places to grab a bite to eat on the mountain. The food is excellent almost everywhere.

Satisfy your stomach without spending a fortune at Refugio Christiania. It's been a fixture in Plan Chécrouit (the hamlet above Courmayeur) since the 1950s and is particularly popular due to their deep pan pizzas. Alternatively, tuck into a tasty lunch of homemade pasta at Maison Vielle, a quirky eatery housed inside an old mountain hut that's run by a friendly Tuscan.

You could also dine on traditional Italian dishes at Chalet Chez Croux or choose from an array of cuisine at indoor street food market, Skibox. Both are located at the top of the Bertolini chair lift and boast spectacular views of Mont Blanc.

Courmayeur for non-skiers

A group of adults on bikes with snow tyres

If there are people in your group who are simply coming along for the ride rather than to ski, Courmayeur offers up plenty to do beyond the pistes.

While the resort itself is worth a wander, with the historic market and array of boutique shops, there are also lots of exciting indoor activities to get stuck into at the Courmayeur Sport Center. The modern complex is equipped with squash and tennis courts, plus you can test your strength on the climbing wall or clip on your skates at the ice rink.

When it comes to making the most of the dramatic mountain scenery, pedestrians and skiers alike should take the Skyway Monte Bianco gondola 3,500m up Mont Blanc to savour the views, or you could shell out for a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride over the Alps.

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Ski Holidays in Courmayeur

While you won't get your classic alpine chalet experience in Courmayeur (they're just not as popular in Italy), there are a decent selection of hotels and self-catered picks across the town.

Courmayeur hotels are the accommodation of choice and there are options to suit every budget. For a location that's right next to the bars, you can't beat the Hotel Courmayeur right in the centre of the resort, or team-favourite Hotel Berthod. Le Massif (located a little closer to the pistes) is perfect for groups after luxury, while self-catered Courmayeur apartment rentals are ideal for smaller groups and typically feature exciting extras like heated pools and spa access.

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