The world's most charming ski resorts

Mürren, Switzerland

Anyone dreaming up the perfect Alpine retreat might think of a tiny car-free village of narrow lanes lined by small chalets, at an altitude high enough to more or less guarantee snow on the rooftops. No doubt it would also have spectacular views of dramatic, soaring peaks – and be conveniently reached by a cable car followed by a mountain railway. Welcome to Mürren.

The peaks in question are the famous trio of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau directly across the valley from the village, and seemingly close enough to touch. Mürren has compelling slopes too – the run of 1,300m vertical from the 2,970m Schilthorn to the village is one of the great pistes of the Alps, with views even better than those from the village. The descent starts with the Steilste black run (German for “steepest”) and includes a section of the infamous course of the annual Inferno, the world’s largest amateur ski race. Views can also be enjoyed from the Piz Gloria mountain restaurant at the top of Schilthorn, which featured as Blofeld’s lair in the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

On their own, Mürren’s pistes don’t add up to a huge amount – 54km in total. There are chairlifts serving shorter intermediate slopes at village level and more higher up at mid-mountain, but it’s easy (though not quick) to catch the railway and cable car down to the valley town of Lauterbrunnen and then up another railway to Wengen, to explore the slopes it shares with Grindelwald. Both resorts are covered by the same Jungfrau region lift pass as Mürren.