Best Europe Winter Places to Visit this Year
A 20-degree day in Europe can be amazing and certainly beautiful. Some cities, beyond the Christmas market rush, are crowd-free and inexpensive during the colder months, and they offer cozy experiences well worth traveling for.
Check out the best winter Europe Travel destinations that you can visit this year.
Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Winter, when you can double down on hot chocolate and sachertorte, a local chocolate cake, watch free outdoor simulcasts of the opera, listen to classical holiday concerts, and snap photos of Schönbrunn Palace and St. Charles Church (pictured), covered in snow.
Tallinn overflows with charm, thanks to its turreted castles and a lovely location on the Baltic Sea. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centers in Europe, with many of its medieval churches and merchant houses falling under UNESCO protection.
The view of the city center from Toompea Castle is beautiful no matter the season, but they pop even more under a layer of snow. In fact, they make those cold, Baltic winters downright bearable.
Ireland’s capital is one of the travelers’ favorite places to visit in winter, and not just because of all those cozy little pubs. For the past nine years, the city has hosted the Smashing Times City of Dublin Parade, a festival that honors the Winter Solstice (December 21) with céilí dancing, traditional storytelling, and a fire ceremony.
Dublin also gets lights up even more around New Year’s Eve, with events like light festival Luminosity, and the world’s largest Celtic drum session set around town.
Few travel images are superimposed on our imaginations the way St. Petersburg in the winter is. The colorful and whimsical towers of the Church of the Savior on Blood look striking against crisp, fresh-fallen snow.
But like most of Russia, winter in the city is cold; rivers and canals freeze, the days are short, and temperatures average between –4 degrees and –28 degrees between January and February.
Not every winter destination necessarily has to be a cold one. It’s just as good to escape the cold weather for somewhere warmer and get a break from shivering. For all that, there’s likely no better place than the Canary Islands.
Resting off the coast of West Africa, these Spanish islands typically enjoy sunny weather while Europe freezes. And while other island destinations tend to close down during winter, you can be sure the Canaries will truly be open for business.
Most of the year, Zermatt is a sleepy village. Come winter, skiers from all over the world descend upon it to take over the 200-plus kilometers of snowy roads. Zermatt is a haven for expert skiers, with off-piste opportunities and top stations sitting at altitudes of almost 4,000 meters.
For those who want to try snowshoeing and winter hiking, Zermatt offers plenty of sunshine during the colder months, perfect for a walk in the wilderness.
Val Thorens is the highest and most famous ski resort in Europe. The resort is surrounded by peaks and a blanket of snow as far as the eye can see, great for sports enthusiasts but also truly spectacular to see.
From snowshoeing and winter hiking to more unusual activities such as mountain biking on snow or sliding down the mountain on France’s longest toboggan run.
Germany is known around the world for its Christmas markets, its capital city alone has more than 60 of them, including the incredibly WeihnachtsZauber, which is surrounded by landmarks like Französischer Dom and the Konzerthaus.
But don’t think that Berlin’s wintery appeal starts and ends with the holidays. Travelers can enjoy the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, nightclubs, and museums well into the new year.
Winter is, the best time to visit Budapest. Seeing the Hungarian Parliament surrounded by ice drifts on the Danube could make even the strictest of beach bums embrace the cold. And you’re sure to find all of those cafés, museums, and thermal baths more welcoming after spending a few chilly hours exploring the city.
Although you don’t need a good excuse to visit Copenhagen, the festive season is probably as good as any. Denmark’s capital makes for an ideal setting to enjoy all the different elements that make this such a special time of year. The Danes love their hygge, and the onset of short and cold days pairs perfectly with that mood of cozy comfort.
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