Europe is an enchanting place to visit any time of year, but in the winter months its charm is almost too much to resist. The foggy streets of London, the ice hotels in Sweden, and the powdered snow-capped Alps—to name a few—are begging to be explored from December 21 to March 19.
So, if you’re ready to jet off and indulge in bucolic villages, historic lodgings, and must-see events, then check out ENTERTRAVEL’s recommendations on how to spend a proper winter in Europe.
1: Explore the best holiday markets
You haven’t experienced the holidays in full, until you’ve experienced one of the European holiday markets. From the dazzling displays of twinkling lights to local vendors selling all kinds of handmade: crafts, goods, foods, and drinks, there’s never a dull moment to be had! Some of our personal favorite holiday markets can be found in the following cities:
- Budapest, Hungary
- Vienna, Austria
- Salzburg, Austria
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dresden, Germany
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Prague, Czech Republic
2: Hit the (picturesque) slopes
Arguably, The Alps mountain range is the best in the world for skiers. The slopes are challenging, the accommodations are superb, and the local culture cannot be beat. While you can’t go wrong with any Alps-area ski resorts, we’re partial to the following:
Known for its lively après-ski scene, car-less city, and charming boutiques, Zermatt is based right next to the majestic Matterhorn Mountain. This is one winter ski destination you need to experience.
Courchevel is at the very center of the French Alps and has something for nearly every winter-sport enthusiast. With over 100 ski runs and some moguls, this area is perfect for skiers of all levels and even a great spot for snowboarders and snowmobilers.
3: Marvel at the Northern Lights
What’s more magical on this earth than watching the Northern Lights? While the occurrences are hard to predict, January to March seems to offer quite a bit of activity. We recommend heading to either Iceland or the Scandinavian countryside in search of some incredible aurora borealis sightings. Of course, you can cap off the experience by exploring remote villages and staying in world-class accommodations—some of which will have you lying in a warm plush bed looking up at the lights as they dance above you.
4: Stroll the city streets
One of the most wonderful parts about spending time in Europe in the winter is the lack of summer crowds. While the hustle and bustle of tourist season is definitely exciting, there is something to be said about the serene winter atmosphere of Europe’s most popular cities. Two of our favorites include:
Picture yourself in the City of Lights, bundled up in a scarf and boots, sipping on a café crème, and enjoying Eiffel Tower views. Sound good? How about a day spent visiting museums, art galleries, or shops, followed by an early dinner of cassoulet paired with a nice Côtes du Rhône? Paris in the winter has a seemingly endless amount of romantic possibilities—you simply need to take advantage.
Whether it’s the heavenly Christmas light display on Regent Street, carol singing in Trafalgar Square, or the festival fun at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, London knows how to bring the holiday season to life. After a day spent exploring in the traditional English weather, head back to your hotel and indulge in a massage or facial followed by five-star room service.
Wherever you decide to spend winter in Europe, we can ensure you enjoy all the best accommodations and experience the very best food, drink, and entertainment. Contact us today to set up arrangements.