Winter arrives in several forms in Europe – there are extreme snow and sunless weeks in the far north, while in the warm Mediterranean you will find occasional sunlight and comfortable café culture and Christmas spirit in the middle. Visiting major cities and quaint villages is an exciting time. With fewer people, one can fit more into the itinerary, and off-season rates render European travel wallet-friendly in November, December, January and February. Through Europe’s train network, one can explore countries at leisure, meet local people who go about their daily business away from the frequently frenetic summer tourist season.
Places to visit in winter
Each year millions of travellers look to Europe for fresh and exciting places to see, enjoy and discover. This is commendable that Europe has not only measured up but that it has surpassed the aspirations of travellers every time searching for a fresh holiday.
Christmas clichés fistfuls characterize Rovaniemi, Santa Claus’ ‘official’ terrestrial residence. Everyone’s favourite bearded man hangs out in an atmospheric grotto in the Arctic Circle, and visiting him is free. Snow and reindeer bring seasonal cheer and while at these latitudes the Arktikum museum offers insights into life.
Christmas markets in Germany & Austria
The romantic historic markets pop up throughout Germany, Austria and other Central European nations in December. Wait for adorable stalls that offer anything from gingerbread to sleigh bells and plenty of good luck, toasted with a bottle of hot glühwein!
Abisko, in Sweden, is for serious winter lovers almost as far north as you can get on a train in Europe. In December and January, the sun does not rise for several weeks but that darkness makes it one of the best places in the world to see the majestic aurora borealis. Many activities include husky mushing and cross-country skiing along national park roads.
It’s hard to overcome the house of Hans Christian Andersen for the fairytale European season. It is suggested that you leave the over-hyped Little Mermaid and go to the cosy bars and cafes of the city to see the snow bloom outside. The 19th-century Tivoli amusement park in the centre of the city is a charming, kitsch joy at Christmas time, with heart-warming illuminations and glögg ‘s body-warming mugs.
With couples skating hand-in-hand in the cool weather, there’s nothing better for it than the picturesque central part of the Hungarian capital Városligeti M with its massive outdoor skating rink. Budapest is also widely recognized for its decorated thermal pools.
Slovakia provides inexpensively priced skiing of good standard. Hospitality and food are fair too, but in some of the snootier Alpine slopes, there is a friendliness that is lacking. Jasná is the best resort in Slovakia, with long descents flanked by snow-laden spruce trees, located in the ruggedly stunning Tatras Mountains.
Sections of Andalucía are more southerly than the African peninsula and assume cool winter temperatures. Accommodation is inexpensive, and lines are smaller in popular landmarks such as the Alhambra of Granada or the Cathedral of Seville. In fact, the towns’ tapas and nightlife are as enticing as ever in Spain.
Venice‘s Carnevale in February is a hauntingly stunning, and quite unusual, European highlight. Working out costumes and spooky masks add to life the vivid past of the canal region. Costumed dances are pricey activities, but you can have fun attending the free events with a street-bought wig and experience the culture of Italy.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Russia’s general view as a tourism destination is very sombre. Yet cities such as St. Petersburg are one of Europe’s best winter city breaks to experience its rich culture and heritage. Travellers should visit Russia about the 7th of January for Russian Christmas which is basically the country’s biggest festival and one of Europe’s must-see sites in winter. In addition to the charming winter snow, St. Petersburg presents itself as a truly dynamic city to explore for the visitors. There’s no question that this is one of the finest areas to be seen in December in Europe.
Historically, Sicily is Italy’s most beautiful and diverse region. This is the only area in Italy where the presence of Arab, Spanish, Byzantine, French and Greek community can be noticed by travellers. Sicily has created a market for itself among travellers from all over the world, with such a complex confluence of faiths, values and cuisine. In December, visiting Europe gives you the advantage of witnessing such beautiful places. Even after decades of tourism, Sicily ‘s magnificent countryside still looks as serene, unspoiled and as ever beautiful. With a relatively mild temperature, Sicily is happily finding its way into Europe’s list of exciting winter destinations.
Germany is a spot full of the scent of mulled wine as the Christmas cheer is lined up in one of the hundred Christmas markets in Germany. The glittering lights lift the mood of the city, along with the holiday markets, to signify the start of the festive season. Berlin‘s first snow of the season is a cold, muddy, and turbid which later gives way to fresh snowflakes dropping from the sky.
Interlaken is a typical Switzerland tourist town which sits on a small strip of valley and shares grounds with Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The place is popular with its old timber houses and lining the Aare River parkland. The landscape produced in the background by mountains, thick woods, alpine meadows and glaciers, makes the image of this place beautiful. Winters add to the excitement by bringing in some adventure activities such as snowboarding, skiing, gliding on the balancer slope, bungee jumping and more.
Plan your trip with Pickyourtrail
Whilst getting ready for your journey to Europe isn’t a rocket science, it may be another benefit to having a trusted travel partner. Starting with DIY itineraries to have one-stop-shop for all travel requirements, Pickyourtrail not only ensures quick and trouble-free travel but also keeps the cost-efficiency under control. Book some of the best Europe tour packages for a memorable vacation.