It’s finally the time of the year to see breathtaking snow-coated landscapes, heat our bodies with some mulled wines, and say yes to skiing. Winter comes with bone-biting temperatures, as well as heartwarming celebrations. Moreover, it calls passionate travelers to explore winter wonderlands. Winter is an amazing time to travel and one of the destinations you should check out is Europe. Whether you are a European citizen or a traveler looking for a magical snow-veiled scene, the continent is perfect for winter vacations. Then, here are the 16 best winter destinations in Europe for you to spend a fantastic holiday!
Best Winter Destinations in Europe – Summary
- Budapest, Hungary
- Bergen, Norway
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Venice, Italy
- Berlin, Germany
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Hallstatt, Austria
- Chamonix, France
- Abisko, Sweden
The capital of Hungary charms with its elegant Renaissance-style architecture, ornate Ottoman castles, and the romantic scene of the Danube River. As winter approaches, the city looks twice as lovely. Budapest has frequent snowfalls, making the centuries-old buildings and avenues coated in sparkling white snow. On the other hand, the temperatures can reach lower than zero. Fret not – Budapest has a lot of ways to kick the cold away! It is no surprise that Budapest is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
Make your way to the Szechenyi Baths, an unmissable tourist attraction in Budapest. Feel the cold melt from your body as you dip yourself in one of the 18 hot springs. Then, stroll around the Christmas markets and grab a mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm yourself up. Snuck into one of Budapest’s museums, like the Museum of Fine Arts, to admire the magnificent art pieces while taking shelter from the snow. If it is not too cold outside, you can visit Budapest’s historical sites, like Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion. Not to mention, you can get many stuff at affordable prices as Budapest is one of the budget-friendly countries in Europe.
This Norwegian city looks straight out of a painting. Gaudy storybook houses light up the gloomy shores, with winding mountains as its backdrop. Seven fjords and seven hills surround the small city, creating an outstanding scene. As snow falls in Bergen, the landscapes become twice as magical. Snowy mountains reflected on the sea, fishing villages twinkle with warm lights, and the Northern Lights dance in the sky on lucky days. For that reason, Bergen is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
Visiting Bergen in winter leads to memories of a lifetime. You would ask for more of the colorful storybook houses of Bryggen, the dramatic landscapes of Bergen’s fjords, and the bird-eye view of Bergen from Mount Fløyen. If you are looking for a challenge, try dipping yourself in the freezing waters of Nordnes Sjøbad, which is a thing in Bergen. Also, make sure to sample some local delicacies of Bergen. Fresh Norwegian salmon and scallops will spoil your tastebuds.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has earned an international reputation for being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Intricate Baroque structures, elegant Gothic churches, and the dreamy Vltava River are the building blocks of Prague’s astonishing facade. During the winter, the stunning buildings of Prague are coated with sparkling snow, enhancing their beauty. Warm lights glisten from local bars, restaurants, and churches. The Charles Bridge stuns with its white-tinted facade and yellow lights during snowy days. With its magical scene, Prague is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
Although winter is an amazing time to visit Prague, you can find nearly no tourist crowd. So, you can stroll comfortably and admire Prague’s compelling architecture. Visit some of the city’s best attractions, like Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Old Town Hall. Enjoy a crowdless experience during the low season. Moreover, don’t miss gulping some beers, which are Czech’s pride. You can also stop by the Christmas market in the Old Town and grab some of Prague’s local delicacies. Have a bite of the trdelnik (fried dough) and order a mulled wine. So, that is how you savor the freezing season in Prague!
As one of the most famous cities in Italy, Venice attracts millions of travelers. People wait in line for gondola rides, flock to Saint Mark’s Basilica, and create big crowds at St. Mark’s Square. However, traveling to Venice in winter looks very different. The city indulges in its La Serenissima – the Serene – nickname. Fewer crowds, shorter lines, and cheaper prices for flights and accommodations. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is more like a dream come true!
Hop on a gondola and sail around the brilliant Grand Canal. You can take endless pictures of the Rialto Bridge, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, or Palazzo Santa Sofia. Immerse yourself in the local’s everyday life in less-known neighborhoods, like Castello. Also, if you are visiting in January or February, prepare yourself to see the jubilant Carnival of Venice. The annual masquerade ball-like event shows a different and exciting side of the beautiful canal city. Therefore, Venice is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
Do you know what is the best thing about winter in Germany? Yes, the Christmas markets! The oldest Christmas market in the world originates from this Western European country. Head to Berlin, the capital of Germany, to take a peek at the jubilant attractions. There are around 60 Christmas markets in Berlin, including the picturesque WeihnactsZauber. They offer lovely Christmas decorations and souvenirs, mulled wines, beers, grilled sausages, snacks, and many more.
Besides Christmas markets, there are so many things to do in Berlin during wintertime. As it is the off-season in Germany, you can explore the famous historical sites without having to wait in line. See the stunning Brandenburg Gate, visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, and admire the ornate facade of Charlottenburgh Palace. Moreover, book a table in a Michelin-starred restaurant and savor the expertly crafted dishes. Also, people in Berlin know how to party! Hitting a nightclub or bar is a must.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Dreamy canals, world-class art museums, and quirky architectural structures are what you can find in Amsterdam. From the fascinating Van Gogh Museum to the quirky bars in the De Negen Straatjes, this Dutch capital has a little bit of everything for everyone. As winter comes, Amsterdam turns into a winter wonderland. Pure white snow covers the ground, houses, and buildings of the city. Lights from Christmas trees, shops, and public areas create a heartwarming scenery. Some of the canals freeze, inviting people to ice skate.
Winter in Amsterdam is cozy and magical. Stroll around the canals and take pictures of the snow-veiled scene. Then, head to the Vondelpark, where children make snowmen and couples take romantic strolls. Snuck into a Dutch restaurant and cozy up with some seasonal food. Savory bitterballen, toasted patat, and sweet olliebollen send a heartfelt feeling throughout your body. Therefore, Amsterdam is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
This capital of Estonia enters the list of ‘the most beautiful cities in Europe’. It is an open-air museum, boasting Gothic-style churches, Art-Noveau buildings, and Baroque mansions. The Old Town of Tallinn stuns with its collection of Hanseatic and medieval-style structures, giving out fairytale-esque vibes. Thus, during winter, Tallinn becomes twice as lovely with sparkling snowflakes and warm fairy lights. It is one of the best winter destinations in Europe.
Spend the snowy days exploring Tallinn’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wander around the Old Town and stop by some of the iconic places, like the Town Hall Square and St.Olaf’s Church. If you are traveling in mid-November, you can check out the Old Town’s lovely Christmas markets. Then, get a bird-eye view of the snow-veiled Tallinn from Toompea Castle. Also, visit some museums, like Kadriorg Art Museum and Lennusadam Maritime Museum, to learn more about Estonian culture.
When talking about the best winter destinations in Europe, we won’t leave out the villages. Storybook houses, wooden cottages, lovely cathedrals, laidback local life – European villages are simply dreamy. Then, the Austrian village of Hallstatt shines as one of the best winter villages. It sits on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, surrounded by a series of winding mountains. Therefore, the breathtaking scene of Hallstatt makes it a bucket list-worthy destination.
Hallstatt looks otherworldly during the winter. Snow cloaks the centuries-old churches, wooden Alpine-style houses, and the harbors. The snow-coated pine forests of the Dachstein Mountains create a spectacular backdrop. Warm-colored lamps and cozy fireplaces twinkle from the windows of houses and shops. Moreover, during Christmas, the village becomes joyful with Christmas markets, festive traditions, and carols. At a glance, Hallstatt looks like the set of Disney’s Frozen.
Sitting on the foothills of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is an outstanding mountaineering capital in France. It is adorned with steep slopes and winding pistes that are perfect for skiing – making it a well-loved winter destination in Europe. However, Chamonix is not only great for skiers but also casual travelers. The town of Chamonix looks picturesque with classic European-style buildings and resorts. You can stay in one of the alpine resorts and wake up with a gorgeous view of Mont Blanc. Besides that, take an exhilarating ride closer the the top of Mont Blanc on Aiguille du Midi cable car. Also, don’t miss munching on French dishes, like onion gratin, to warm your body.
Sitting on the north of the Arctic Circle, Abisko fits the phrase ‘winter wonderland’ perfectly. The Swedish village is set in the middle of untouched wilderness, covered in pure white snow. It is quaint with only a few houses standing. However, the best part of Abisko is the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. As it is closer to the Arctic, the Northern Lights are widely visible in the sky.
Abisko is one of the underrated Northern Lights destinations you must check out. The long nights and freezing temperatures create a huge probability for you to see the auroras. Also, the low pollution level allows the magical lights to dance astonishingly in the sky. Furthermore, you can also go to the Abisko Aurora Sky Station for a clear view.
It is snow much fun during the winter in Europe – pun intended! Then, which of the destinations you would like to travel to the most?
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