For many, the cold winter chill seems like the perfect excuse to stay at home. But for the adventurous, winter is a magical season to be embraced. In fact, travelling through Europe’s cities at this time of year presents you with less crowds and is even less expensive. Whether you’re shopping at an atmospheric Christmas market or sipping hot chocolates by the fire in a cozy cafe, you’ll be so happy to be in one of these 6 cities, you’ll forget about the beach altogether.
Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, Bruges is a quaint, romantic, medieval city that really comes to life in the winter months. Outside of year-long tourist attractions, some must-do wintertime activities include ice-skating in the town square, wandering the central Christmas markets and visiting the annual ice sculpture exhibit.
Bergen has all the makings of an idyllic Nordic village; colourful wooden buildings, a scenic harbour and sweeping views of the surrounding fjords. While the town is beautiful in the summer, visit during the winter months and you might just get to view the Northern Lights.
Whether it be covered in sunshine or snow, the capital city of Slovenia is like a fairy-tale come to life. A visit during winter will have you admiring the Baroque architecture, as the buildings are adorned with twinkling Christmas lights. Or, join in on the festivities at the riverside Christmas markets, where you will find plenty of local handicrafts, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
For the winter sports enthusiasts, a trip to Switzerland in the cooler months is a no-brainer. Although, for those of us who aren’t so confident hitting the slopes, the city of Lucerne is a great winter destination alternative. The city offers many activities, such as museum visits and ferry rides across the lake, as well as 24-hour access to the winter sports resorts.
For the more adventurous, a winter trip to Reykjavik is a must. Due to the capital’s proximity to the North Pole, there can be as little as four hours of sunlight in the winter. However, don’t let this deter you; it makes for the perfect opportunity to witness the Northern Lights. Plus, the city has many outdoor geothermal swimming pools – there’s nothing quite like relaxing in their naturally warm waters while the snow falls around you!
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival (a three-day celebration for the New Year) is enough reason to book a trip to the city! Even if you’re not much of a party-goer, there is still plenty to be enjoyed; head on a snowy stroll to Arthur’s Seat and enjoy unparalleled views of the city or enjoy a Scottish Whisky fireside in one of the city’s many pubs.
Interested in touring Europe in the winter? Check out our Escapes holidays here.