Personally, I’m more of a summer kinda guy but the best thing to do with any season, regardless of personal preference, is always to make the most of it. This is no more true than during winter.
In summer, get outside, have as many alfresco lunches as you dare and spent many lazy weekends napping underneath the sun in the park but come winter time, you get to wrap up warm in your winter woolies, enjoy seemingly endless cups of hot chocolate, see your city/town/village transform with the season and spend many a night curled up in front of the fireplace.
After all, that’s half the joy of having seasons – the whole variability it brings with it. ❄
In the spirit of embracing the coming change in the weather, temperature and indeed daylight hours, my thought has recently turned to winter travel and here are 9 cities you most certainly have to visit in Europe this winter. ☃
1.) Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is easily considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. No surprises there. (We’ve also got you covered on the free/really cheap things to do when you’re in Prague.)
Now, whilst Prague is a popular tourist destination in summer, the city seems to radiate a different glow during the winter. Less crowded streets and more affordable accommodation are some of the perks of going to Prague in winter. Ice skating rinks, Christmas delicacies and the Christmas market provide an overall blast to this experience.
The city, with its magnificent historic structures, is even more appealing at this time of the year because of the celebrations such as the St. Nicholas Eve, Bohemian Carnevale and numerous concerts held in the city at winter.
2.) Salzburg, Austria
If you want to experience winter at its finest, Salzburg must be on your travel list. Again, this is a pretty fantastic summer city to visit but in winter – Salzburg is absolutely stunning! Especially so when covered in that blanket of snow.
There’s also a whole lot to do in Salzburg in winter. If you’re on the more athletic/active side, there’s skiing, snowboarding and outdoor ice skating at the Grossarltal Recreation Center.
For the more laid back, (and this one’s a treat for the music aficionados) you should definitely make the effort to attend Mozart Week which features famous conductors playing his music. Salzburg is also well known for its medieval buildings, Romanesque archways and thermal spas that offer something of a different sizzle to this majestic city.
3.) Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is a bustling city all year round, however, if you prefer to explore this city affordable and without waiting long lines or awkwardly manoeuvring your way through large crowds, going to Amsterdam during these much cooler months would be a perfect time. 🚴♀️
It’s always best to see the city by bike, though the tram or even walking are also pretty great options. If you’re not a big fan of walking when its blistering cold, Amsterdam has a whole range of amazing cafes and restaurants where you can while away some time while warming up your bones with some delicious hot drinks and meals.
A visit to Amsterdam would never be complete without seeing its famous Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum which showcases masterpieces of Van Gogh and Rembrandt so appease the art buff in your and head over to at least one of these.
Ice skating is another popular activity to do while in the city and the various indoor and outdoor skating rinks are the proof of it. It is perhaps best to skate and even take that obligatory city walk at night since trees are lit up with Christmas lights – making the city’s heritage canals and parks a stunning sight to behold.
4.) Berlin, Germany
One word… Christmas markets!!! Oh wait – that was two words. Whatever. German markets are the absolute best thing at Christmas and my excitement about them is totally forgivable (I’d like to think – hehe!).
One of the city’s must-visit attraction is the Gemäldegalerie which hosts a wide collection of European painting masterpieces from the 13th to 18th century. You’ve gotta see those.
Plus its time spent indoors in between city exploring so it’s a nice balance to have. Sumptuous German delicacies are also offered at the cosy Hartmann’s Restaurant (#yass) and Café Einstein and both restaurants provide some rather tasty feasts – my favourite kinda feasts.
Oh, also, don’t forget to pop over to Potsdam, too! It’s just on the fringe of Berlin and totally gorgeous!
5.) Paris, France
…because Paris is always a good idea! Especially for all the amazing unique sites to explore.
The City of Lights truly transforms when its clad in snow and becomes, as hard as it is to believe, even more, magical in winter. Historical buildings, trees and streets are adorned with Christmas illuminations that adds a flickering ‘special effect’ to a winter trip to Paris and makes it that bit more special.
Whilst you’re there, don’t forget to visit some of the more secret spots of Paris, you won’t be disappointed. 🇫🇷
6.) London, UK
London is easily one of my favourites in winter and will no doubt be yours too. If you’re still in doubt, here are a few more photos to seal the deal. 🤗
7.) Rome, Italy
Rome is another one of those cities that is heaving during summer so going to Rome in winter is a good decision if you’d like to skip those queues and crowds.
Moreover, Rome’s Christmas and New Year events should not be missed, including the Christmas market in Piazza Navona which reflects the city’s rich culture and faith. And let’s be honest here, it’s Rome so you honestly don’t need an excuse to visit, no matter what time of the year it is.
8.) Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital city and is another excellent winter getaway (even if the daylight hours are less). Quite frankly, I’d happily spent more than winter in Reykjavik – I’m deeply in love with that city and Iceland in general.
The snow here is of course not in short supply so you can count on seeing the colourful Icelandic buildings being set off by the mask of snow. It’s totally magical to see.
Reykjavik is also a great city to visit due to its proximity to some of Iceland’s most amazing sights so definitely use the city as a home base, rent yourself a car and head out of the city to see more of what Iceland has to offer. We’ve got the lowdown here of 11 Dramatic Experiences You Have To Have In Iceland.
In addition to the Northern Lights, the whole city is illuminated by dozens of fairy lights and Christmas ornaments that would make your night stroll much more lively and interesting. The food is also pretty spectacular in Reykjavik (just check out these tasty restaurants). We didn’t have a single disappointing meal when we visited so definitely try the culinary delights on offer in Reykjavik.
9.) Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
The magnificent medieval city of Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage site and that in itself seems like more than enough reason to visit. 💛
Although visitors prefer to explore the city during summer, it is undeniable that Cesky Krumlov is still as majestic as it is during winter time. Tours around the courtyards and gardens of the Cesky Krumlov castle is one of the must-do activities while in Cesky Krumlov and honestly, a simple walk around the city is pretty much guaranteed to leave it with a special place in your travel memories.
Lately on Instagram (@HandLuggageOnly)No images found!
Try some other hashtag or username