Åre Mountain Resort – Sweden
With its snow-covered peaks, café-lined town square and red-hot après-ski scene, this mountain resort is the Aspen of Scandinavia.
There are more than 100 powdery ski runs, or you can navigate the slopes by snowmobile or dogsled: Explore Åre (exploreare.se) and Camp Åre (campare.se) are top outfitters that can arrange tours. After dark, a lively crowd congregates over pints of Swedish Brekeriet beer at Hotel Fjällgården (fjallgarden.se/), where DJs keep the place thumping late. For a quiet evening, curl up with a mug of glogg in one of the candlelit nooks at Thyras Salong (totthotel.se), in the Tott Hotel.
A five-minute walk away, chef Markus Aujalays runs Fjällpuben (fjallpuben.se; Kr850), a cozy restaurant with a farmhouse feel that serves dishes like tender elk carpaccio with currants and pickled beets. You’ll find several sophisticated hotels in town, but for a true northern adventure, consider hunkering down for a night or two at Igloo Åre (iglooare.com; Kr1,950), where the beds are made of packed snow covered in plush sleeping bags and reindeer skins, and private guides lead early morning snowshoe hikes. But if the thought of ice blocks leaves you cold, there’s the new wood-and-glass Copperhill Mountain Lodge (copperhill.se; Kr1,875) by American architect Peter Bohlin, a high-design ski-in, ski-out chalet with huge stone fireplaces, furnishings by the likes of Tom Dixon and Patricia Urquiola, and spa “tee-pees” that pay homage to the region’s indigenous Sami tribe.
Book a Samezen massage, which uses warm stones and plant extracts, then take in the mountain views from a natural hot-springfed pool.