To celebrate the 2022 edition, Musement rediscovers some of the most memorable cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics.
The 24th edition of the Winter Olympic Games opens 4 February. This year they’re taking place in Beijing, which has opened several competition venues in Yanqing County, home to a famous ski resort, and in Zhangjiakou. Athletes will compete in skiing, ice skating, bobsledding, snowboarding, and other winter activities, while most of us cheer on our country from the comfort of our couch. If, on the other hand, you prefer action and want to experience the Olympics firsthand, what better way than to travel to destinations that have hosted them in the past?
Read on to discover eight of the most impressive destinations that have hosted the Winter Olympics.
1. Chamonix, France
Chamonix has made winter games history. In fact, the first official edition was held here in 1924. A famous ski resort on Mont Blanc, Chamonix is a glamorous and always fashionable destination surrounded by enchanting landscapes. One of the best ski resorts in Europe , it has a total of 65 ski lifts. Chamonix is also home to scenic train rides that make for an unforgettable experience. The Montenvers train will bring you up to the Mer de Glace glacier. An excursion to Lac Blanc and its beautiful white granite rocks is also a must-do.
2. Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
Hosting the games for two editions, Sankt Moritz, with its international appeal, is another historic site of the Winter Olympic Games. Here nature and luxury come together, and ski suits and champagne glasses go hand in hand. In addition to skiing, it’s a sports paradise that offers hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, golf, climbing and much more. If you want to have a slightly different experience and enjoy one of the hidden gems, you can reach Sankt Moritz with the Bernina Red Train.
3. Oslo, Norway
What’s more picturesque than the Oslo Fjord? The city hosted the Winter Olympics in 1952 and currently Norway is the country with the most medals won during the games. In addition to Bislett Stadium, venues included Holmenkollen Hill, which boasts the world’s oldest ski jump, and the Norefjell slope with its famous ski trails. Aside from winter sports, visiting Oslo means getting in touch with the nature of northern Europe. Immerse yourself in a welcoming and fairytale atmosphere and visit internationally renowned museums such as the Munch Museum.
4. Innsbruck, Austria
Hosting the games twice, Innsbruck is known as the Capitals of the Alps. The city is quite small but very beautiful, with a city center that features Rococo palaces and elegant squares. This is the best place to immerse yourself in Tyrolean culture. Or you could even attend a traditional show. A trip to the Nordkette mountain range, located in the Karwendel Nature Park, will give you spectacular views and the opportunity to indulge in many winter sports. It’s also home to some of the steepest ski slopes in Europe.
5. Sapporo, Japan
Sapporo is located on the northernmost island of Japan in the prefecture of Hokkaidō and has a fairly recent history. In fact, it was founded in the 19th century and has a very different structure compared to traditional Japanese cities. Winter is the most important season here. The Snow Festival takes place every year and has been showcasing impressive snow or ice sculptures since 1950. Sapporo was also the first city in Asia to host the Winter Olympics.
6. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is a city with a long and troubled history that holds the charm of a meeting place for different cultures. Its old town is nestled between the Dinaric Alps and it has the beauty of a mountain town, with its imposing nature and houses with sloping roofs. Join a tour to discover the places that hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, admire the city from above by climbing the Avaz Tower or the walls of the Yellow Bastion, and visit the War Museum to take a dip into the past.
7. Turin, Italy
The magical charm of Turin, with its legends and mysterious history, needs no introduction. The Piedmontese city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006 and included the nearby ski resorts of Bardonecchia and Sestriere as venues. Between the Egyptian Museum and the Cinema Museum, it’s impossible to choose which one to visit first. The mystical Mole Antonelliana, the Royal Palaces and the beautiful parks make Turin even more appealing.
8. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, a city that blends nature and cutting-edge architecture in complete harmony, had its Olympic year in 2010. Between the Pacific coast and the dense forests of the mountain ranges, the city has plenty of attractions worth visiting. Among these are Canada Place on the waterfront, the Vancouver Lookout that shapes the city’s skyline and the Vancouver Art Gallery for art lovers. Next up, hop on the Sea to Sky Gondola, the cable car from Vancouver to the mountains, and indulge in hiking and snowshoeing.