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This landlocked state in Central Europe has magnificent alpine scenery, fairytale castles galore, river-speckled lowlands and outdoor thrills to satisfy everyone from hikers to hang-gliders.

It’s also one of Europe’s winter sports capitals. This is particularly true for skiing and snowboarding holidays, with a glut of great ski resorts awaiting – including some of the cheapest Alpine resorts going. Everything from lift passes and instruction to dining and pints generally costs less than in France or Switzerland.

A gateway to the Arlberg region, St Anton is supposedly where Alpine skiing was invented, as chronicled in the Museum St. Anton am Arlberg which is housed in a handsome chalet.

A vast network of trails is available via multi-passes, and lifts and terrains are slick and well-maintained. In all, there are 340km (210 miles) of pistes, plus some 200km (125 miles) of off-piste thrills.

Much more old-fashioned (and as pretty as ski resorts come), Kitzbuhel’s low altitude means that visitors come here more for glamour than for challenging ski or snowboard runs – although there is the Hahnenkamm, a fearsome World Cup downhill. Once a silver mining centre, Kitzbuhel now contains marvellous frescoes alongside plenty of slopes and networks.

Then there’s Mayrhofen, with its Vans Penken terrain park which has ski sectors for children, intermediates, advanced and pro riders. It’s also home to the sheer “Harakiri”, a vertical drop of 375m of groomed slope – once at the top, you’ll understand why it’s nicknamed Harakiri, after the Japanese term for ritual suicide. Meanwhile, the après scene is buzzing and packed with options.

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Euro (€)

Average flight time(from London)

2 hrs 15 mins

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