Winter time is coming and it is time to choose the place to go on your winter vacations (or just for a weekend).
For that purpose, I’ve asked several travel bloggers to help you with choice of the best winter destination in Europe.
In winter, some people want the magical and fairy-taley Christmas markets to feel the winter holidays atmosphere, some want to get out of cold and relax on the beach with some cocktails while their friends wear winter jackets (by the way, I’m going to do both 😉 ).
This list of top 14 Europe winter destinations will have both, so you will definitely find the best destionation for you.
So, let’s start!
I’ve already been there this November and February. It is always warm there, so the winter time with 20-25 degrees celcius is the best time to visit it.
The city is interesting for its culture, great food, friendly people… Also, being not a very small city (with over 600 000 inhabitants) , you feel like a citizen of a tiny Spanish town in the Valencian old town. Around the city (more outside of the old town), they have lots of beautiful street art.
The most popular place to visit in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences, magnificent complex of buildings, which has been recently finished. Also, if you are a nothern guy (or gal) like me, you can even go swimming there. The water temperature was around 20 degrees.
It is also my favorite city to visit in Spain and one of my favorite cities in the world.
When you think about stereotypical European cities to visit during the winter months, the Estonian capital of Tallinn may not be the first place you think about. However, we would argue based on our recent visit there that this should certainly be on your radar. Like many of the other Baltic States, Estonia is full of history, gorgeous architecture and of course, a delicious array of cuisine options that locals will be enticing you to sample.
Tallinn’s Old Town epitomizes the charming character of this city and what better place to enjoy an amazing Christmas market experience than the heart of the Old Town Square that has architecture dating back to the 14th century. The views across the Old Town are breathtaking as you admire the snowcapped roofs and winding cobblestone streets that meander through the Old Town.
Enjoy the Christmas festivities at the Christmas market by sampling a glass of Estonian Glögg (mulled wine) while perhaps indulging in reindeer or alternative delicacy! If you are looking for the perfect place to stay while exploring Tallinn, why not consider the gorgeous Park Inn by Radisson Meriton which offers a distinctive modern feel yet within a short walking distance of the Old Town.
It’s the perfect way to experience both “old and new” while spending a few days in Tallinn, Estonia.
By Chris and Heather Boothman from abritandasoutherner.com
Bruges during winter is more picturesque, dreamy and far less crowded compared to the capital of Belgium i.e., Brussels and other towns such as Antwerp. A weekend getaway to Bruges, a.k.a The Venice of the North, is a go-to option for many Europeans as it is a perfect candidate to start exploring Belgium.
The aesthetically pleasing churches and historic buildings with a hint of gothic influence are some of the other highlights of this city. With canals that offer a romantic tour of Bruges, markets where you can find anything from clothes to souvenirs, a market square with History museum, Belfort and multitude of restaurants that offer diverse cuisines and a pub that still exists from 1515 – Bruges undoubtedly climbs up the ladder to your heart.
This medieval city is also well-connected from other European cities like Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt via flights, trains and buses. It’s advised to book the tickets ahead though not a compulsion.
By Anuradha from TravelHighway
Lisbon in Portugal is one of the oldest cities in Europe and a great one to experience in wintertime. This is due to a couple of reasons. First of all, Lisbon, unlike other European cities, has Mediterranean climate, which means a reduced number of rainy days and still lots of hours full of sunshine and bright skies.
Chances are good that you will have great weather, when visiting in winter. Another reason is that there are less tourists than in any other time of the year, which means no crowds at all and, even better, reduced prizes for nearly everything. Hotel prizes drop significantly from December to February.
By Clemens Sehi from Travellers Archive
I can’t think of any ideal European city to visit in winter other than the Northern Lights city in the Arctic circle – Tromso, Norway. It was a memorable experience to visit one of the Northern most cities in the world.
Tromso is the gateway to the Arctic circle in Norway. The city is a cultural hub as well as a great place to bond with nature and see the Northern lights. Surrounded by the beautiful Norwegian landscape and fjords, Tromso is truly magical in winter.
I was also amazed by the underground road system in Tromso that makes the travelling in this arctic region bearable in winter. When you visit Tromso, don’t forget to visit the Arctic cathedral!
By Ryazan Tristram from Everything Zany
I truly believe there’s no better time to visit Helsinki than winter. The city is simply magical – most of the times it’s snowy, and there few hours of light every day are like a never-ending golden hour, like a sunrise that quickly becomes sunset.
There are opportunities to enjoy nature and adventure activities like snowshoeing, dogsledding and snow mobiling not far from town, and naturally it’s the ideal time to try traditional Finnish sauna followed by another popular Finnish pastime, ice-swimming! if you’re truly very lucky you may even see the Northern Lights – they’re usually seen further up north, but sometimes they do appear in Helsinki as well!
I’ve been to Helsinki in winter twice and loved it both times – I’m pretty sure I’ll go again in the future!
By Margherita Ragg from The Crowded Planet
Reykjavik is the largest city and capital of Iceland. There are loads of fun things to do in Reykjavik which include visiting its art museums, public sculptures, the Saga Museum, gardens, and the famous Hallgrimskirkja church.
Northern Lights tours and whale watching boat trips are very popular from Reykjavik throughout the winter. Day trips from Reykjavik can take you to the Blue Lagoon, waterfalls, Thingvellir National Park, beaches, ice caves, fishing villages, and glaciers.
Winter is a great time to visit Iceland as there are fewer people, a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights, and wintery landscapes. We visited last year and can definitely recommend an Iceland winter trip if you don’t mind the cold.
By Jessica Norah from Independent Travel Cats
Visiting Warsaw in the winter may seem like an overly cold decision – but don’t let that stop you! City life in Warsaw is a wonderful mix of modern and historic, with enough of a balance to entice any traveller. The Palace of Culture and Science is open year round and offers stunning views of the city from the upper terrace.
Down below and a wander away, the medieval Old Town is bustling with traditional music and food – from perogies to Polish vodkas – all for the tasting! You’ll find places to warm up with food and drinks walking along Chmielna to Nowy Świat, and you’ll be greeted by The Royal Castle when you enter the Old Town. There’s even public ice skating in the Old Town Market Place!
By Eric + Lisa from Penguinandpia.com
Amsterdam in Winter
If I had to pick a city for a European winter getaway, it would definitely be Amsterdam. While it’s a great city to visit all-year round, I enjoy visiting in the winter because firstly, it’s less crowded, and secondly, winter means the abundance of cosy Christmas markets with plenty of glasses of mulled wine to keep you warm, and the ever-popular Amsterdam Light Festival.
The Amsterdam Light Festival begins annually at the end of November all the way through January of the following year and features lights illuminating famous monuments as well as light installations all throughout the city. One of the best ways to explore the Amsterdam Light Festival is cruising by boat the popular canals that make up the city.
Christabel of Where’s Bel https://www.wheresbel.com
Edinburgh is a fantastic city to visit at any time of year, but especially so in Winter. It’s a lot less busy as the crowds from the summer festivals aren’t around, but there is still loads to do. In the run up to Christmas, the city has almost a whole month of events, with rides, a Christmas market and various shows popping up all over the city.
Over New Year, the city hosts one of the world’s best New Years Eve party in the form of a massive street celebration. And for the rest of Winter – well, Edinburgh is a stunning city with a lot of attractions, restaurants, museums and more to keep you entertained. So take a wander down the Royal Mile, explore Edinburgh Castle or go on the hunt for the locations that inspired Harry Potter. There’s something for everyone in Edinburgh – have a look at my ideas for spending 2 days in Edinburgh for more!
Laurence from Finding The Universe
London is a city with so much to offer at any time of year. There a lot to do in London, from Royal Palaces and Castles through to world class gardens, restaurants and more, we’re sure you’re going to find something you love in the city. Winter is an excellent time to visit because it’s the off-season.
So accommodation prices will be lower, and there will be fewer people visiting. So wrap yourself up warm, grab a hot cup of cocoa, and take a stroll along the south bank, down Oxford Street or through one of London’s many parks. We guarantee you won’t regret coming to London in Winter!
Laurence from Finding The Universe
Stockholm, the jewel of the north, is a fantastic place to visit in the winter. The people are friendly, tourists are rare, the city is safe, and winter activities are well represented.
First of all, when you arrive in Stockholm and the city is covered with snow, it looks like a magical city from a storybook. It’s old architecture and towering spires give it a charming look. Perfect for photo opportunities and exploring.
During the day you can go ice skating and skiing, and when evening rolls around you can settle into any of the cozy cafes for a pastry and coffee. If you venture a little ways out of the city, you can partake in snowshoeing and riding snowmobiles.
And of course, if possible, spend your Christmas and New Years here. The Christmas market in Stockholm is of the highest quality and the New Year’s fireworks are not to be missed.
Whether you want a snowball fight or a close encounter with a real reindeer, Stockholm should be high on your list for visiting this winter.
Scott & Hayley from www.internationalhotdish.com
Winter in Germany is no doubt, harsh; but there are some places which revive during this season. Munich is one such destination. The entire city gets lit up with Christmas decorations and most of the public places turn into busy hubs due to wide spread Christmas markets. This is a time when the entire city is shopping and enjoying. People are chit-chatting while sipping Christmas special warm ‘Gluhwein’. Air is filled with festive mood and there is no place for grey feelings.
Munich’s location is also very critical. There are lots of skiing slopes and serving resorts, which offer winter-sports for all the ages. Alps are not too far from the city. One can reach at ‘Alpbach’ – Austria’s most popular skiing area, in just couple of hours.
What if you want to stay indoor? In that case also, Munich has great options. There are worthy museums like ‘Museum of Germany, ‘BMW museum’, ‘Toys museum’ etc. Lots of theatre programs are organized during winter season. Munich also has one permanent circus, Yuuhhuu!!!
Munich is a true cosmopolitan city and is buzzing all the time throughout the year.
By Varsha from https://www.varshastravel360.com/
St. Petersburg, Russia
Most tourists come to St.Petersburg in summer to experience its famous White nights, to watch opening of bridges for navigation at night and to visit Peterhof, a fountain capital of Russia. But if you come here in winter you will see a completely different city.
For culture and art lovers it’s the best time of the year; the museum like the Hermitage or Russian museum are not as crowded as in summer so you can come close to one of Leonardo da Vinci masterpieces.
Most big exhibitions take place in autumn/winter season after summer holiday you have a chance to see artworks of different artists that are not in the permanent museum collection. All the theatres and operas have very diverse repertoire from classical operas to modern underground plays most of them have daily performances.
Don’t think that in winter you’re limited to indoor activities not at all!
Go to one of the royal suburb parks e.g. Catherine park or Pavlovsk to experience a real Russian winter; big snow piles, -15C, cold and sunny, a perfect weather for going down with a snow sledge, making a snowman or maybe even starting a snowball battle.
By the way, Barocco palaces and golden cupola cathedrals look the most impressive in a cold sunny day with snow all around. What can be better than to drink a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine after in a cold winter in a park?!
Campbell & Alya from https://stingynomads.com/st-petersburg- city-guide/
It was our list of top 14 (+4) Europe winter destinations that are great to spend your winter holidays. These cities are just made for your perfect winter vacation. Have a great time and Happy Holidays!
Maybe, you want to visit Rome in winter? Check the 3-day Rome city guide here.
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