10 European winter trip concepts from the northern lights to historical websites

Winter is available in many guises in Europe. Within the polar north, there’s critical snow and sunless weeks. Across the delicate Mediterranean, you’ll discover lingering sunshine properly into the season. And within the middle of Europe: cozy cafe tradition and halls decked with Christmas spirit.

It is an inspiring time to go to grand cities and charming villages: with fewer queues you possibly can match extra into your itinerary, and low season lodging costs make European journey wallet-friendly in November, December, January and February. Utilizing Europe’s practice community you possibly can discover international locations at your leisure, assembly locals going about their every day enterprise away from the often-frenetic summer season vacationer season. 

Listed below are the ten greatest winter locations in Europe. 

There is not any higher place in winter than a Christmas market © Shutterstock / Perati Komson

Drink glühwein at Christmas markets in Germany or Austria

December sees these romantic historic markets pop up throughout Germany, Austria and different Central European nations. Count on cute stalls promoting every part from gingerbread to sleigh bells and loads of good cheer, toasted with a glass of warming glühwein.

High tip: Well-known markets in Cologne, Vienna and Munich draw the vacationer crowds, however looking for out ones in smaller cities is rewarding.

Nuremberg vs Cologne: what’s the perfect Christmas market in Germany?

Bathers crowd Szechenyi Baths in Budapest on January 1st
Be a part of the locals as they unwind within the thermal waters of Szechenyi Baths in Budapest © Izabela23 / Shutterstock

Heat your self up at one in all Budapest’s well-known thermal tub homes

{Couples} skating hand-in-hand, breath cloudy within the frosty air – there’s nowhere higher for it than the Hungarian capital’s picturesque central park Városligeti Műjégpálya, with its monumental out of doors rink. Feeling chilly afterward? Budapest is legendary for its ornate thermal baths.

High tip: At night time search out a “spoil pub”– an atmospheric ingesting venue artfully created in a once-abandoned constructing.

The place to see Budapest’s greatest avenue artwork

Highlight on: Northern Lights – Scandinavia

Witness the northern lights at Abisko, Sweden

Nearly as far north as you may get in Europe on a practice, Abisko in Lapland is for lovers of great winter. The solar would not rise for a number of weeks in December and January however that darkness makes it one of many world’s greatest locations to view the majestic aurora borealis (northern lights). Different points of interest embody cross-country snowboarding alongside nationwide park trails and husky mushing.

High tip: Cease off at close by Kiruna to see the well-known Swedish Icehotel.

How you can {photograph} the northern lights

A moody castle sits atop a hill in winter with dead trees in front.
Embrace Bran Citadel in moody climate © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

Metal-grey skies set the temper in Transylvania, Romania

You possibly can’t go to Dracula’s lair on a sunny day with lambs bleating within the fields, proper? Attempt steel-grey skies, naked bushes and a smattering of snow. Braşov and Sighişoara, two hours aside by rail, are attractive medieval cities with varied connections to Vlad Ţepeş, the historic Dracula, although it’s uncertain that he ever set foot in his so-called citadel.

High tip: Bram Stoker by no means visited Romania, so don’t count on many parallels with the e-book or movies.

7 unmissable issues to do in Romania

Young woman reading digital tablet whist sitting at Plaza de Espana, Seville with tiles in the background.
The climate could also be delicate, however Spain is as lovely as ever in winter © Ben Pipe Images / Getty Photos / Picture Supply

Bask within the sunshine in Andalucía, Spain

Elements of Andalucía are additional south than the African coast so count on delicate temperatures in winter. Lodging is reasonable, and crowds are smaller at standout points of interest like Granada’s Alhambra or Seville’s cathedral. Plus, tapas and nightlife within the cities are as engaging as ever.

High tip: Head to the Sierra Nevada close to Granada if you’d like snowsport motion.

The place to eat and drink in Spain

Woman looking at a temple on the Acropolis, Athens, Greece.
See the Acropolis with out the crowds in winter © Matteo Colombo / Getty Photos

Have the perfect websites in Athens (nearly) to your self

It is an actual downer making an attempt to Photoshop 500 folks out of your would-be-prizewinning Parthenon picture, however in the course of the winter in Athens it isn’t a problem. All summer season stresses – crowding, vacationer pricing, intense warmth, queues, air air pollution – roughly disappear. The common temperature in Athens in the course of the winter is round 13C (55F). It is the perfect time to discover the nation’s historical heritage and get to expertise native tradition.

High tip: By all means do some island-hopping, however most lodging shut in winter.

Archaeological Athens: Strolling by way of town’s historical past

Skier at the summit of a mountain in Slovakia; there is cloud cover below and a chairlift rising to the right.
Slovakia is the place to go this winter if you wish to take pleasure in top-notch snowboarding on a finances © mpaniti / Shutterstock

Hit the slopes at Jasná, Slovakia’s greatest ski resort

Slovakia gives high-quality snowboarding at reasonably priced costs. Lodging and meals are cheap too, and there is a friendliness that’s lacking from among the snootier Alpine slopes. Jasná is the perfect Slovakian resort, with lengthy descents flanked by snow-laden spruce bushes, set within the ruggedly beautiful Tatras Mountains.

High tip: Flights direct to Slovakia will be dear, so do not make this your entry level to Europe.

Out on a excessive: exploring Slovakia’s Excessive Tatras

Photo of a young woman pulling the bike and walking down the street while exploring the famous tourist attraction in Copenhagen, Denmark
Placed on some heat garments and discover the magic of Copenhagen © Getty Photos

Count on snow flurries and fairytales in Copenhagen, Denmark

For fairytale European winter, it is arduous to beat the house of Hans Christian Andersen. Overlook the over-hyped Little Mermaid and head to town’s cosy bars and cafes to look at snow flurrying exterior. Within the coronary heart of city, the Nineteenth-century Tivoli amusement park is a romantic, kitsch delight round Christmastime, with heartwarming illuminations and body-warming mugs of glögg.

High tip: Go for broke on a meal at noma, thought of by many to be the world’s greatest restaurant (reservations can fill rapidly, so attempt to e-book a number of months upfront).

Why Vejle is Denmark’s most underrated metropolis

People in Reindeer sledge caravan safari in winter forest in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Take the household on a reindeer safari within the forests of Rovaniemi in Lapland  © Roman Babakin / Shutterstock

Go to the unofficial residence of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi, Finland

Fistfuls of Christmas clichés characterize Rovaniemi, the “official” terrestrial residence of Santa Claus. Everybody’s favourite bearded man hangs out in an atmospheric Arctic Circle grotto, and it is free to go to him (however photographs are one other story). Snow and reindeer add festive spirit, whereas the Arktikum museum offers insights into life at these latitudes.

High tip: Finnish thermometers have extra numbers under 0°C than above, so pack critical winter clothes.

Finland’s greatest hikes: from excessive Arctic fells to fantasy forests

People in masks and Venetians costumes look into the camera.
Town comes alive within the Carnival of Venice © Fotografiche / Shutterstock

Be seduced by the unbelievable Carnival in Venice

Hauntingly lovely and reasonably bizarre, Venice’s Carnival in February is a European spotlight. Elaborate costumes and spooky masks deliver the canal metropolis’s colourful historical past to life. Costumed dances are dear affairs, however you possibly can have a ball having fun with the free occasions with a masks purchased on the road, however be ready for epic crowding.

High tip: Ebook lodging forward. Day-tripping out and in on a practice will decrease prices significantly.

Venice’s 6 greatest metropolis parks