A winter getaway offers a chance to escape busy modern lives. And it's no different for the European nobility. Many of Europe’s royals and nobles are very fond of winter sports flocking to the highest Alpine slopes. Others travel away to warmer climates, relaxing on warm tropical beaches.
1. Gstaad, Switzerland
The little Swiss resort is a hotspot for celebrities and nobles. Marie-Chantal, Princess of Greece is a regular visitor and she can be seen occasionally skiing like a professional on the slopes. On her last visit, she met Madonna and Anne Hathaway. Her daughter even made friends with Maria Lourdes, Madonna’s eldest daughter.
Princess Caroline of Hannover, the eldest child of Grace Kelly and prince Rainer III is also a regular visitor to Gstaad. She spent her last winter holiday here together with her children, Charlotte Casiraghi, Princess Alexandra, Andrea Casiraghi and his wife Tatiana Santo Domingo.
Gstaad also attracts the Northern royals like Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, both winter sports lovers.
Why do royals flock to Gstaad?
The little village up in the Alps makes one of the best winter getaways because it offers luxury and privacy. The many private chalets and expensive hotels look like little winter fairytale castles. However, Gstaad can also offer many sources of entertainment. The resort has several clubs, cafes and restaurants. It is also a great place to shop for designer clothes as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Hermes and many other brands have stores in Gstaad.
2. Mustique, St Vincent and the Grenadines
In 1958, Colin Tennant, Baron of Glenconner bought the undeveloped island of Mustique. Two years later, he offered a 10-acre plot of land as a wedding gift to Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elisabeth II. Shortly after, the island entered the spotlight and the baron had the great idea of making the island into a small tropical paradise perfect for a winter or yachting getaway.
In 1979, the island was transformed from a private family estate into a private limited company with the homeowners as shareholders. Mustique is now an exclusive tropical resort with sparkling waters, sandy beaches and a hotspot for celebrities and royal getaways.
Colin Tennant, Oliver Messel, Princess Margaret, and Mick Jagger are the names whose influence and interest transformed Mustique from an undeveloped island with only a few fishermen huts to one of the most luxurious and exclusive holiday destinations.
The island has enjoyed the visits of numerous British nobles and royals. It also attracted several celebrities, like David Bowie who owned an Indonesian-inspired multi-pavilion villa on the island.
3. Verbier, Switzerland
The small village of Verbier is a renowned ski resort with slopes dedicated to professional skiers and amateurs alike. It is a favorite place of the British royals and nobles, but it also attracts nobles from Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. Sarah, Duchess of York owns a chalet here and is a regular visitor along with other members of the Royal Family, like Prince Henry.
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has also been sighted here together with his family. Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden are also regular visitors.
Spending a weekend at the famous “The Lodge –Mountain Retreat”, owned by Sir Richard Branson will cost you over €60,000. Verbier has many luxury restaurants like “La Vache”, owned by James Blunt and a vibrant community of artists.
Here, you will find royals that enjoy and engage in winter sports. Verbier’s ski domain ranges from 1500 m (Verbier Village) up to 3330 m (Mont Fort). Mont Fort offers a great panoramic view of the Swiss Alps and glaciers. Excellent ski slopes, beautiful nature and luxurious chalets - it is no wonder that Verbier has become one of the most popular destination for noble getaways in winter.
4. Kitzbühel, Austria
Austria and Germany have many noble families and in winter they all gather to Kitzbühel to enjoy the holidays. The ski resort is one of the best in Austria and in the world. It can accommodate up to 10,000 guests and it gets a huge tourism boost during the Hahnenkamm ski race, where many celebrities gather to watch the completion. Kitzbühel is one of the eleven members of The Best of the Alps community that includes only the best Alpine ski resorts and towns.
Stephanie Countess of Pfuel is a regular visitor as well as Prince Albert of Monaco. Besides royals and nobles from Europe, you can also meet famous celebrities like Schwarzenegger, Franz Beckenbauer and members of the Swarovski family.
Although it caters to the high-end tourism industry, Kitzbühel can also be a perfect winter getaway destination for those of us who are not nobles. It offers excellent entertainment and nightclubs frequently visited by celebrities and young nobles. It is also possible to find excellent accommodations and of course, it is a must-visit for every winter sports lover.
What to pack for your very own winter getaway
If you want to try your hand (or legs) at some winter sports, you should pack warm comfy winter clothes. Pullovers, cashmere sweaters, wool woven pants and shirts are a must. You do not have to bring ski equipment as you will mostly find many places that rent it. A long fur coat that is chic and warm will make you look and feel good.
A high-quality travel bag is also important. This Ludwig Reiter men's leather travel bag is perfect for a winter getaway. It is made of high-quality horse nappa letter and offers one zipped pocket on the outside and two inside zipped pockets. This travel bag looks good and it is very practical. The removable and adjustable shoulder strap makes it easier to carry it around.
Europe’s royals will most likely enjoy a cozy winter holiday with their families in an Alpine ski resort where they can ski on the slopes and after, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in their warm chalets.