35 Magical Winter City Breaks Europe for your 2022 bucket list

One of the best times to visit Europe is during the winter. The sun starts to fade, the temperatures begin to drop, the hoards of tourists head south for the winter, Christmas Markets begin to spring up in town squares and the snow flakes dust the landscape.

There is something so romantic about strolling down cobblestone streets with a hot chocolate (or mulled wine) keeping you warm.

There are more than one winter city breaks in Europe that need to be high on your bucket list.

Pull on a few layers, grab a cute jacket, scarf and beanie and get ready for some sightseeing in some of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

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The Best Winter City Breaks Europe

During the winter months some cities truly come to life and become extra special places to visit.

If you’re looking for a city break that will warm your heart and make you feel festive, then read on for our recommendations of the best winter city breaks in Europe!

1. Salzburg, Austria

A view of Salzburg towards to the snow capped Austrian Alps

The Hills are alive with the sound of …… snow!

Salzburg is the home of The Sound of Music but if you ask almost any local, they will tell you they haven’t seen it, the prefer their version which was based on the book.

Salzburg is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills which provide gorgeous views of the quaint Austrian city.

The streets all intertwine with each other and can keep you entertained for hours.

Part of the charm is getting lost in the lane ways and ending up somewhere unexpected.

During winter, the Christmas markets pop up all over the city, there is nothing cuter than walking down of the winding streets into a tiny courtyard and into the middle of a Christmas market.

Sazlburg Christmas market wooden stall

Salzburg is a very walk able city.

So grab a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate and spend the day wandering around this delightful city.

While you are in Sazlburg you need to check out Mozart’s home, St Peter’s cemetery, the castle and if you like a little bit of creepiness to break up all the cuteness, head to the catacombs.

Top experience in Salzburg

2. Vienna, Austria

Jade, The Migrant Yogi

Christmas markets in Vienna during winter

Vienna is one of the quintessential cities to spend winter in Europe. 

With its bustling Christmas markets, twinkling lights, decorated Baroque buildings, and Glühwein galore.

It’s no wonder that winter is one of the most popular times of year to visit the Austrian capital.  

Many of the same tourist attractions that draw visitors to  Vienna are still available, such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Spanish Riding School, the Belvedere, and Schonbrunn. 

When visiting Vienna in winter, you have the added perks of seeing the already beautiful city in a blanket of white snow, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, or indulge in some stick-to-your-ribs Viennese cuisine.  

Aside from the many seasonal celebrations, there is also a huge ice skating rink in the center, perfect for family adventures or experiencing the city in a new way.  

If you’ve had your fill of things to do within the city limits, there are plenty of day trips and weekend getaways from Vienna

As an international business hub and major tourist destination in Europe, it’s very easy to get to Vienna from around the world. 

Both the international airport and main train station are well-connected.  Looking for a place to stay in Vienna?  Try the Hotel Kaiserhof Wien for a nice but affordable stay.

3. Hallstatt, Austria

A view of a boat pulling into Hallstatt in Austria

Home to one of the oldest salt mines (there is a tiny museum to explain the history) is Hallstatt!

This town has to be straight out of a fairy tale book, especially in the winter. The roofs are dusted with snow and surrounded by gorgeous snow capped mountains.

From the moment you arrive at Hallstatt train station and board the ferry to cross the the town of Hallstatt you can see why this is the perfect winter city break in Europe – even though it’s definitely not a city!

Hallstatt is the perfect place to wander around and absorb the fairy tale land and soaking in the stunning mountain views.

If wandering around for a day or two sounds a little too slow for you, you can always visit Dachstein Krippenstein and try some snow sports such as skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding or even visiting the giant ice cave!

Of course, you can’t skip having a meal and a drink…..or two at the  Bräugasthof.  Bräugasthof means Brew house!

If you are into photography why don’t you try a Photography Tour, there couldn’t be a more beautiful place to test your your photography skills.

4. Innsbruck, Austria

The colourful houses in front of the snow capped Austrian Alps

Austria is filled with beautiful mountains and fairy tale cities. Innsbruck is another must-see winter city break in Europe.

Like Salzburg, it has some of the most adorable buildings you will ever see. The bright colours pop against the grey wintery sky.

Take the funicular to the top of the mountain and absorb the nature and the views. Make sure when you are on the funicular you must stop at the zoo!

This is a small zoo but you can get up close with animals that you may not see in your zoos, such a moose!!

The Christmas markets that surround Innsbruck are adorable.

There is live music from the Golden Roof and so much food.

Make sure you move away from the main square to the markets along the river.

The mountain back drop makes these markets even prettier.

Enjoy views of the Austrian mountains!

On a round-trip cable car ride between Innsbruck city center and the Nordkette you will be able to get a bird’s-eye view of breathtaking mountain scenery!

Book here

5. Lapland, Finland

Two red lamp posts reading the arctic circle at Santa's village in Lapland, Finland

If you are looking for the Ultimate Winter Wonderland you cannot go passed Lapland in Finland.

It is, of course, the home of Santa Claus and one of the most magical places in the world.

Lapland is filled with snow, fairy lights, warm food, igloos, tree houses, husky sleds and snowball fights.

Lapland is located in northern Finland and is a perfect viewing place for the Northern Lights.

Make sure you take a “hunting the northern lights” tour while you are in Lapland, you take a bus, horses or snow mobiles away from light pollution and into the “wilderness” to see the Northern Lights.

Lapland is filled with once in a life time experiences that it can be hard to decide which activity to do.

Some of the most epic options are: Reindeer and Husky Safari, Aurora Ice Floating, Visit to Santa’s Village and snowmobiling to reindeer farm

Red nests surrounded by snow in the arctic forest in Lapland, FInland

Of course, you need to fulfill every child’s dream and visit Santa Claus in his village.

Stop by the post office and see all the letters that posted to Santa from around the world and post yourself a letter to be delivered next Christmas.

You have to visit Santa in his office.

I have never felt more like a kid (well maybe when I was a kid) than when I was sitting next to Santa and have my picture taken with him.

You must visit Lapland at least once in your life and it doesn’t have to be super expensive, Airbnb is a great option to lower the cost on accommodation.

When staying in Lapland, the best places to stay are Santa Claus Holiday Village, Arctic Fox Igloos, Arctic Tree House Hotel.

The Arctic Fox Igloos are located in Ranua about an hour from Rovaniemi but is well worth the trip.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

Nyhavn Copenhagen in winter

For some reason, and perhaps it is due to all of those perfect Instagram and pinterest images, but we had huge expectations of what to expect from Copenhagen heading into the Christmas season.

Not to mention, the Danes have been ranked as the happiest people in the world

The bright coloured buildings of Nyhavn reflecting off the canal, the smell of mulled wine and cinammon scrolls, the feeling of happiness in the air and Christmas markets on almost every street corner.

Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but there are a lot of Christmas markets!

The carrousel at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

If you love Christmas and markets then you are in the right place, Copenhagen is the home to Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is a mix between Christmas market and amusement park.

It is such a magical experience, especially at Christmas time.

The park is beautifully decorated and has an amazing light show on the Tivoli lake every night.

I suggest you get to Tivoli Gardens at around 3pm so you can see the park during the day and the night.

When visiting Copenhagen you want to stay as centrally as possible, CABINN Copenhagen, Absalon Hotel Copenhagen, Andersen Boutique Hotel are all centrally located hotels that offer lovely accommodation.

7. Stockholm, Sweden

Cazzy, Dream Big, Travel Far

A lady selling drinks from a christmas market stall below a christmas tree in stockholm. Sweden

As the cultural and economic center of Sweden, Stockholm is a beautiful and charming city that will sweep you off your feet.

Even during the chilly winter months, it’s still a wonderful place to be!

The city is made up of 14 islands and over 50 quaint bridges, sitting atop the bounteous Baltic Sea.

It basically is a cacophony of enchanting architecture erected by breathtaking waterway canals.

From the old-world cobblestone streets and ochre buildings at Gamla Stan, Stockholm teems with rich history and its exquisite remnants.

It’s a fantastic city you can explore in one day, although the longer you stay, the more of its charms you can experience.

3 or 4 nights would be ideal as this gives you time to see all the quintessential attractions and discover the more hidden gems.

Visiting in winter is great because the city is generally more peaceful during this time and hotels are less expensive.

At night, it is quite possible to roam the streets and have no one else around!

However, the best thing has to be the endless stretches of Christmas markets and scintillating fairy lights.

One thing you shouldn’t miss when in Stockholm is walking the Gamla Stan, or old town.

| Tip

📍 Learn more about history and culture of Stockholm on a guided walking tour. Perfect option for travellers looking for an brief yet fulfilling activity

It’s a picturesque area dating back to 1252 with lots of indie shops, cafes, and designer boutiques.

The Stockholm Royal Palace and ABBA Museum are also worth visiting. If you have the time, consider staying at Djurgårdsslätten for one night and go museum-hopping on this art-filled island.

During winter, Christmas markets are scattered around the city. The most popular ones take place in the old town, where you can explore delightful arrays of traditional treats, souvenirs and lots of mulled wine. Note that these markets close around 4pm.

In terms of choosing your accommodation, don’t forget that Stockholm is an archipelago built on canals and bridges.

The good news is that the public transport here is incredibly easy to navigate.

Norrmalm is a brilliant area in the city’s heart with plenty of hotel options, although one excellent choice is the Generator Hostel.

8. Tbilisi, Georgia

Emily, Wander-Lush

A view of Tbilisi covered in snow

Known for its mild Mediterranean-like climate, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is one of best alternative winter city break destinations in Europe.

Winter temperatures in Tbilisi rarely dip below 10 degrees Celsius during the day, snow is very rare – plus the days are relatively long – making this an ideal time to explore.

Better still, winter is decidedly the off season in Tbilisi, thus you’ll often find the city completely devoid of crowds.

Tbilisi is easily accessed from the rest of Europe, Turkey or the UAE with direct flights into the city’s international airport.

Once you arrive, you’ll discover that Tbilisi is an extremely safe, budget-friendly and easy-to-navigate city, making it a winner all round.

Must-dos in Tbilisi during the winter season include bathing at the sulphur baths (Persian-style bathhouses fed by naturally warm sulphuric waters), doing a sit-down wine tasting at a bar (Georgia is known as the ‘cradle of wine’ and has an ancient wine-making tradition), and eating delicious Georgian cuisine.

Many meals are perfect for winter, including famous Khachapuri ‘cheese bread’, a cheesy, doughy, rich and indulgent meal.

If you’re looking for another way to warm up, climb one of the hills around Tbilisi for a stellar city view and panoramic photos.

Beyond the city, the ski fields of Gudauri and vineyards of Kakheti can both easily be visited as a day trip.

In winter, it’s recommended to stay somewhere central such as the Old Town. Kisi Boutique Hotel offers clean, bright and beautifully decorated rooms close to Narikala Fortress and the sulphur baths.

9. Wroclaw, Poland

A gnome standing next to a Christmas tree in Wroclaw, Poland

Even though Wroclaw is the biggest city in Western Poland, it is filled with small town charm and beautiful architecture.

The colours of the old town square and surrounding buildings pop against the grey skies.

Scattered around the city are little Gnomes, keeping an eye out for these cute Gnomes is a great way to forget that it is cold outside.

A statue of a gnome painting in Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw is a very walk able city and has some of the nicest buildings I have seen in Europe. But, if you want to see all of these buildings and not have to walk everywhere, grab a scooter!

They are super fun and the city is flat, so they’re easy to ride (said the clumsiest person ever!)

Wroclaw has some beautiful hotel to stay including; Hotel Monopol, Marina Apartments, Starter III

Best Tours in Wroclaw, Poland: Auschwitz tour from Wroclaw, Pierogi Cooking Class and Beer, Wroclaw on bike

10. Krakow, Poland

Linn, Brainy Backpackers

Wawel Castle in Krakow

Krakow in winter is such a magical experience. If you are lucky you might even have snow. Make sure you try out all the weird hot winter drinks they make in Krakow, like hot spice-infused beer with floating fruit.

The city also has some great Christmas Markets for Christmas shopping in the month of December.

Krakow is a beautiful city with so much to see. Make sure you see the Wawel Castle that is connected to a legend of a dragon beneath the castle that commanded weekly human sacrifices before it finally was defeated by two princes.

| Tip

🚲 Discover the beauty of Krakow on your bike with the guided tour! In just three hours you will be able to visit the most important monuments of Krakow, which would have taken much longer on foot. Don’t forget to wear something warm.

Another site you cannot miss is the baroque Saint Peter and Paul Church renowned for the apostle statues lining up outside.

While you are in Krakow, you also have to make it to the Wieliczka Salt Mine which is one of the oldest in the world.

With amazing salt-carved chambers and corridors, this is a place you will remember for life.

But what most travelers remember the most from Krakow is the horrific day trip to Auschwitz.

It is a very strong experience, but so important to truly understand the horrors of World War Two and any traveler to Krakow should take a day trip to see the concentration camp.

Stay centrally at Hotel 32 Old Town where you have walking distance to Wawel Castle and Market Square.

11. Steenwijk, The Netherlands

Frans, Ask the Dutch Guy

A photo of Steenwijk in winter

Steenwijk in Overijssel Province is home to two of the most popular tourism hot spots in the Netherlands – De Weerribben-Wieden National Park and Giethoorn village.

Come to Steenwijk if just for these two destinations.

De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is nature at its best.

This is a mysterious, well-preserved park that provides a haven to amazing wildlife, including otters, egrets, and cormorants.

The park is also popular for its challenging yet inviting hiking trails that will bring people near the lakes, ponds, canals, swamps, forests, and a wide meadow of flowers.

The village of Giethoorn, on the other hand, as a journey back in time, when life was simple, peaceful and oh so lovely.

Known as “Venice of the Netherlands”, this medieval village is home to old thatched-roof houses, picturesque wooden bridges, medieval museums, churches, parks and cafés.

Boat ride along Giethoorn’s canals is truly amazing and relaxing.

Giethoorn is an actual village with residents The locals are so friendly that they welcome tourists to take part in their peaceful way of life.

What’s more. The village does not allow cars and motorised vehicles inside, making the place even more intriguing for tourists.

Giethoorn is best enjoyed walking, cycling or taking a ride on a punter; traditional narrow Giethoorn boat pushed along using a long pole by a punteraar.

In addition to these two destinations, Steenwijk is also home to what many believes as the most beautiful spring garden in the world – Keukenhof park.

The largest tropical attraction in Europe – Orchid Farm or Orchideeën Hoeve, and as “The Cathedral” of motorcycling – TT Circuit Assen, as well as historic cities such as Blokzijl that served as a trading post for peat in the 1580s and Vollenhove, which is two remarkable 15th and 17th-century churches.

12. Utrecht, The Netherlands

Lotte, Gezond Weekmenu 

Trees lining the river in Utrecht

One of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands is Utrecht.

As Utrecht was granted city rights in 1122, it comes as no surprise the city has a rich history. While Utrecht is a great place to visit year-round, visiting during the winter months is even more special.  

There is just something magical about walking around the historic city center when its lit up with thousands of Christmas lights and other Christmas decorations.

| Tip

🎧 One of the most unique ways to explore Utrecht is to get an audio guided walking tour. You will have an opportunity to see all the major city sites on your own pace and in your own time.

What’s more, there are several special winter activities: 

Put on some skates at the Spoorweg Museum: a great museum to visit any day, but if you happen to be in town during the Christmas Holiday, you are in luck.

Put on some skates and twirl around the temporary ice-skating rink.

Or admire the special ‘Winter Station’ theme within the museum where you can learn all about the train history in the Netherlands.  

Kerstival at Museum Catharijneconvent: this is another museum that’s especially fun to visit  during the Holidays.

Admire a giant Christmas stall, make your own snow, decorate a Christmas cookie or join the Christmas Circus (especially fun for visiting families). 

Dom Tower: a must-do activity regardless of the seasons is climbing the iconic Dom Tower.

There are 465 steps leading to the top (if you are traveling with very young kids, park your stroller at the visitor center and bring a baby carrier instead) but the view is highly worth the effort!

From the viewing platform, you can see Utrecht and its surroundings.

Plus, you may even see a glimpse of the cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the distance (on a clear and sunny winter day). 

13. Strasbourg, France

Elisa, France Bucket List

Strasbourg is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in winter.

Located in the historic region of Alsace, in eastern France, Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful French cities.

It is also a cultural city and, sun or rain, there are always fun things to do in Strasbourg, from sightseeing to museum-hopping.

If you are lucky to visit Strasbourg from mid-November to the end of December, you will find the best Christmas market in Alsace and all of France.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is also the oldest (since 1570), with different locations around the city.

Winter in Strasbourg is also an excellent time to taste the local cuisine, with delicious comfort food like baeckeoffe, tarte flambée, cordon bleu, Vol-au-vent, spaetzle, fleischnacka, and bretzel. 

Best Strasbourg food & wine tours

The best places to taste local cuisine in Strasbourg are the winstubs (or wisubs), popular and casual places also offering excellent craft beer.

Strasbourg is very easy to reach from Paris by public transportation.

Fast trains (TGV) leave Paris Gare de l’Est several times a day for a journey of less than 3 hours.

The city is also well connected with cities in Southern Germany like Manheim, Karlsruhe, or Frankfurt via French or German trains.

14. Colmar, France

Jackie, Jou Jou Travel

Buildings in Colmar covered in Christmas decorations

Colmar is a medieval town in the Alsace region of France.

It borders Germany and has a strong German influence which you can see clearly from the architecture and ambiance.

It is the best winter destination you could imagine as the town bursts of Christmas spirit.

There are lights everywhere as well as teddy bears and stars decorating the adorable half-timbered houses and streets.

Just grab your mulled wine and wander the streets to feel the true magic of Christmas.

Not only that, but all across the Alsace region of France, you will find the prettiest Christmas Markets so be sure to visit nearby destinations such as Strasbourg, Eguisheim, and Riquewihr.

For a postcard-perfect picture be sure to stop by La Petite Venise where you can see a canal view and half-timbered buildings in the background.

Another famous photo spot is the iconic Christmas tree in front of the pink gingerbread house in the center of the town.

To get to Colmar, the nearest airport is Basel which is 1 hour away.

If you are coming in from a nearby city or country you can arrive in Strasbourg and Colmar is only a 30-minute train journey from there.

Located only half a mile from the Christmas Market, the Colmar Hotel is a great option if you want to stay overnight.

The best time to visit is when the Christmas Markets take place and this is typically the last week of November and will last just before Christmas day. 

15. Munich, Germany

Diana, The Globetrotting Detective

A Christmas market in front of the Town Hall in Munich with snow falling

From December to February, Munich and its surroundings transform into a winter wonderland and offer a wide range of activities, especially during the Christmas season in December.

| Tip

Majestic Christmas day trip idea: travel from Munich to Neuschwanstein castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After exploring the Neuschwanstein on a guided tour, head back to Munich where you enjoy a short walking tour that includes the Christmas Markets and other city highlights!

Christmas markets in December are to die for. Munich hosts a lot of lovely Christmas markets.

The most famous and magical Christmas markets are the medieval Christmas market on Wittelsbacherplatz, the Christmas market at the Chinese Tower (Chinesische Turm) in Englischer Garten and Christmas village at the Residence Palace.

The stalls of these markets sell all kinds of handmade arts and crafts, and traditional German delicacies such as sausages with curry (Currywurst) and mulled wine (Glühwine). 

The real magic starts at night when the Christmas lights are sparkling and flickering all over the city center of Munich and  its Christmas markets.

The parks of Munich in the snowy seasons are some of the most beautiful winter scenes in Munich.

Englischer Garten, Hofgarten, Olympia Park and the Nympenburger Park where the Nympenburger Castle is located are the best places for winter strolls and make you feel part of a fairy tale.

Munich is a paradise for winter sport aficionados as well.  Ice skating is a very popular winter activity in Munich.

The trendiest ice skate rink in winter is found in the center of Munich at Karlsplatz next to stalls selling traditional German snacks and drinks.

A view over the city of Munich in winter

How about outdoor swimming in winter when it’s snowing? In Munich, it is possible.

Do like the locals do and try swimming in the warm and steaming water of Dantebad. You can also do something next level.

Enjoy the sauna world, warm outdoor pools surrounded by snow, adventure pools, and a myriad of wellness activities in the world’s largest spa in Therme Erding.

Winter is also a great time to visit deer, goats, foxes, wolves, and bears in Munich.

The deer and goats are roaming around freely in the Poing Wild Park just waiting for you to feed them.

Moreover, from Munich, you can also take a lot of amazing day trips.

You can visit the fairy tale castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, or explore the most magical medieval towns of Germany such as Regensburg, Nurnberg and Rothernburg ob der Tauber.

Last but not least, you can ski, snowboard, sled, and hike in the majestic mountains of the German Alps.

Skiing on the highest mountain of Germany, Zugspitze, sledding on the longest toboggan run of Germany, Wallberg, and hiking on the countless hiking trails of Bavaria are some of the best things to do in Germany.

16. Cologne, Germany

Kat, World Wide Honeymoon

Cologne cathedral at night with a lit Christmas tree and red rooves below

One of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter has to be Cologne, Germany.

This place is full of Christmas charm around the holidays, making it a perfect stop on a European winter trip! 

There are 7 main Christmas markets in Cologne, from the adorable Alter Market full of festive gnomes to the ethereal Angel Market.

Each market is full of charm and its own personality.

You could spend your entire time just wandering around the markets, sipping gluhwein, and snacking on German Christmas treats like crispy potato pancakes, sausages, gingerbread, and more!

Getting to Cologne is easy thanks to its nearby airport and train station, so you could make it a stop on a Christmas market trip throughout Germany!

As for a great hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cologne is across the bridge from the Cologne Cathedral along the Rhine, with incredible views of the river, bridge, and cathedral!

It is also within walking distance to the market at the cathedral! 

Red tents above Christmas markets outside the Cologne Cathedral

These markets are super popular, though, especially the Cologne Cathedral Christmas market.

Going in late November or early December is a great idea to see fewer crowds. Also, exploring the markets during the middle of the week helps too! 

If you are searching for the most beautiful city that is pure magic during the holiday season, then visiting Cologne, Germany should be on your European winter bucket list!

17. Frankfurt, Germany

Daniel and Ilona, Top Travel Sights

A Christmas market in the middle of Frankfurt Germany

Frankfurt in Germany is one of the best European cities to visit in winter.

Most travellers only know Frankfurt because of its airport, but did you know it is also home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany?

The market dates back to at least 1393 when records mention a winter market in the city.

To see the Christmas market, you need to visit Frankfurt in December. Expect to find lots of stalls in the Old Town selling local souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and regional specialities.

One of the best treats to try at the Christmas market is hot ApfelweinApfelwein is a drink similar to cider, and around Christmas, locals like to serve it hot and infused with spices.

If you walk towards the river Main, you can find an ice rink, perfect for experiencing even more Christmas and winter cheer.

When visiting the Christmas market, don’t wait until the evening.

It looks most pretty at night, with all the lights turned on, but you’ll also run into many more people.

Try to come earlier in the day (it’s also better for taking nice pictures) and you can look for souvenirs and enjoy your Apfelwein without the large crowds.

If you can’t make it to Frankfurt in December, the city is still worth visiting in winter.

North of Frankfurt, you can find the Großer Feldberg, the highest mountain in the area. 

Frankfurt doesn’t see much snow, but the mountain does. Here, you can hike along snowy paths or even go skiing.

The mainhaus Stadthotel Frankfurt is one of the best hotels for your stay in Frankfurt.

It’s close enough to the Christmas Market that you can walk there but is more affordable than most hotels in the centre of the Old Town.

18. Bruges, Belgium

The colourful buildings in brugge lining the canal

Where do we start with Brugge? This beautiful town is over flowing with charm, cobblestone streets, amazing hot chocolate and gorgeous buildings.

Brugge is an adorable town any time of year but in the winter it is the perfect place to eat chocolates, waffles and fries whilst wandering the streets.

Pouring melted chocolate on belgian waffle

You have to take boat trip around the canals (make sure you rug up!), the boat trips cost about 10€ for half an hour.

It is a great way to learn about the history of the town and see the town from the water, for many of these places you can only access them from the water.

| Tip

🚤 You can book a lovely boat tour with a guide here. Immerse yourself into the Belgian culture while floating through canals.

Once you have finished your boat ride, warm up with a hot chocolate and a waffle from The Old Chocolate House, they are said to be the best Chocolate shop in Brugge.

Tip: The waffles are HUGE, so if you choose to get a hot chocolate too, I suggest sharing the waffle!!

19. Brussels, Belgium

Anna, No Space in My Passport

An old building at the end of the town square in Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is usually considered a destination for business trips.

It is often discarded by travellers as a destination to visit during winter because of how cold it gets here.

However, there are a few things that make Brussels a very special place to visit during winter.

One reason to visit is for the Christmas markets.

Starting on the 27th of November until the 3rd of January, the Brussels square is turned into a beautiful Winter Wonderland.

Get a hot chocolate and buy some souvenirs to take home, this market is guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Brussels is also a very accessible city in Europe. If you happen to live in London, Paris or even Amsterdam, you can take the Eurostar to travel here.

It is the most perfect destination to visit for a weekend trip for this reason. If not, its proximity to many other European cities makes it a great destination to visit in Europe.

Some other activities that you can do here include going chocolate tasting and visiting the famous attractions such as Grand Place, the Atomium and the Mannequin Piss. Make sure to also try the famous Belgian waffles!

A great hotel to stay at is the Be Manos hotel located only 20 minutes’ walk from the Grand Place and is pretty much in the middle of everything.

It costs around £90 a night depending on the dates and has a very trendy interior, with a cool restaurant and a spa inside.

20. Antwerpen, Belgium

Caroline, Veggie Wayfarer

A water fountain in the middle of the city square in Antwerpen
Caroline Muller for https://veggiewayfarer.com

The first city to visit in Europe during winter to pop into your mind is most certainly not Antwerp.

For those of you in the unknown, Antwerp is the most populous city of Belgium and synonymous with legends of giants, the painter Rubens, fabulous diamonds and of course the Antwerp Fashion School.

The city itself is an interesting bled of wonderful medieval architecture (Grote Markt, Reubens house, Plantin Moretus museum) and painfully hip cocktail bars and restaurants (Antwerpen Zuid is the place to be for a good night out on the town).

The city is well connected by a system of public transport to the majority of major cities around the country.

Direct trains to Brussels (40 min), Gent (1h) and Brugge (1,5h) run daily, multiple times a day.

If your visit happens to coincide with a warm winter sun you might want to pop over to linkeroever by ways of the St Anna pedestrian tunnel under de river Schelde.

The entire skyline of the city is visible from this side of the riverbank, incidentally the park right beside the pedestrian tunnel makes for an excellent appetitive location to watch the sunset.

Make sure to bring plenty of warm clothes and pack an umbrella, because the weather in winter is especially fickle.

Stay in the Astoria Hotel Antwerpen, one of the first hotels to be recognised for their efforts towards sustainable hotel management in the city.

21. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Tom & Zi, Craving Adventure

A boat on the shores of Lake Bled with the church in the distance

Bled is a fairytale destination any time of year, the mesmerizingly blue lake with the tiny island on it and the surrounding mountains make forget all your troubles.

But while most people choose to visit Bled during summer, winter is possibly an even better time to visit.

Not only is visiting in winter a lot cheaper and less crowded than during the summer months, there are also tons of awesome winter activities to do around Lake Bled.

Like snow-shoeing on the surrounding mountains, cross-country skiing, snowboarding on skiing on the slopes on nearby Mount Vogel, or simply enjoying the view over the lake from you’re a heated pool at the spa.

Whichever activity you choose, make sure to pack some wither clothing (and your bathing suit for the spa) because during wither daytime temperature averages between -5 and 0 degrees Celsius, but it can feel quite a bit colder due to wind chill.

If you’re into photography, you’re also going to love winter in Bled.

The island with the little white church on it looks beautiful from almost any angle, but there are two spots in particular that almost guarantee you an epic shot.

Perched high above the lake on the edge of a cliff sits Castle Bled.

This castle is now an interesting museum, but it also houses a restaurant serving incredibly tasty food with the best view in town.

From here you get an unobstructed view over the lake straight onto the island, which looks truly magical during golden hour, especially when its covered with a blanket of snow.

Another great spot is Ojstrica viewpoint on the western side of the lake.

A 30-minute uphill walk through the trees gets you to the top of the hill with a great view out over the island and the lake, with the castle visible in the back as an added bonus.

Be careful when walking up in winter though as it can get slippery and parts are pretty steep.

When looking for a place to stay, consider the Rikli Balance Hotel.

This beautiful 4-star hotel has rooms of all sorts and types, and they house the spa with the aforementioned heated outdoor. No better way to spend a relaxing evening in Bled!

Or if you’d like pure luxury then check out Villa Bled. This elegant villa used to be former president Tito’s summer residence and it is easy to see why he chose this place!

22. Prague, Czech Republic

Veronika, Travel Geekery

A large Christmas tree in front of an old Cathedral in Prague

Prague plus snow equals the most magical fairy tale. The city of a hundred spires all covered in the white powder is a sight everyone should see at least once in their life.

Add some Christmas cheer to it and you have simply the best destination for a lovely winter trip.

Prague’s Christmas markets are known all over the world because of how picturesque they are.

The usual location at the Old Town Square is where the city’s most traditional market’s at, but even more charming ones can be found all over the city.

One such one is at the Prague Castle grounds. The majestic St. Vitus Cathedral provides the most breathtaking backdrop to the few stalls selling mulled wine and hot mead.

If you get lucky with snowfall, get out early in the morning when the snow’s freshest and then again late at night for a quiet walk with the snow squeaking under your feet.

These are also the best times for photography.

For the prettiest photos, climb the Old Town Tower and take a few shots of the Charles Bridge leading to the Prague Castle.

You can spend days sightseeing, going to concerts and otherwise engaging in the rich cultural scene of Prague.

Do you want to get the most out of the trip to Prague?

See such notable sights of Prague like Charles Bridge, Lesser Town, the Jewish Quarter in one tour: walk around the city and then have a traditional Czech lunch and a cruise on the Vltava River

Book here

If you like ice skating, you can do so right in the city center – at the Ovocný trh Square.

Prague also doesn’t lack on the café front – you can choose to warm up in a café to your liking – from the more traditional ones to hip places.

Prague doesn’t disappoint any coffee freak. If coffee is not enough to keep you warm, you can find a fair share of saunas all over Prague. Many are located in malls.

Prague winter, especially after Christmas, is usually pretty quiet. If you’re keen to avoid tourist crowds and don’t mind possible subzero temperatures, it’s the best time of year to come.

The Mosaic House is a good accommodation option for all budgets – from hostel dorms to luxury apartments, they have a wide range of options and a good location near Prague’s city center but in a relatively quiet area.

Prague is easily accessible from anywhere in the world, fly in to the Václav Havel Airport or come by train from nearby Berlin (4 hours) or Vienna (4 hours too). 

23. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

A view over Cesky Krumlov towards the Cesky Krumlov Castle

Cesky Krumlov is a small medieval town of roughly 13,000 people in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.

The tiny town is swarmed by tourists in the summer and is a relative “ghost town” in the winter, especially once the tourists on a day trip from Prague have headed back on the bus.

In the middle of the town square is a beautiful Christmas markets.

Many towns and cities go overboard with Christmas cheer but Cesky Krumlov has the right balance.

There is enough to enjoy but not too much that it takes away from the beauty of the town.

Two gentlemen talking at a Christmas market stall in Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov is set on a winding river and below a huge medieval Castle.

The views over the red terracotta roof tops is beautiful from the castle. I recommend a walk up to the castle at sunrise.

Although it is super chilly, the views are stunning and you almost have the whole castle to yourself, something that doesn’t happen very often in Europe.

There are many nice hotels and pensions in Cesky Krumlov but a few recommendations are: Garni hotel Castle Bridge, Mini Hotel Abraka, Villa Conti

Best Tours in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: Day tour from Prague, Old Town Private Walking Tour,

24. Heidelberg, Germany

A view over Heidelberg city and the river

Heidelberg is located in South West Germany and is such a quaint town. The buildings are mesmerizing and the castle is a must.

The views over the city from the castle are indescribable.

During the winter period there are five Christmas markets around the city and an ice skating rink.

The gorgeous wooden stalls are typical of your traditional German Christmas markets.

A cell with painted walls inside the student jail in Heidelberg

Whilst this is open all year round, I suggest you visit the Student Prison – I don’t want to ruin it for you, so I’m not going to explain that further.

All I am going to say is, for 3€ you definitely won’t regret it.

Heidelberg is filled with hotels but I recommend staying in the city center: Hotel Panorama, Hotel Villa Marstall, NinetyNine Heidelberg City

Best Tours in Heidelberg, Germany: Food and Fables Tour, Heidelberg Christmas Market Tour,

25. Berlin, Germany

Nina, Nina Out and About

The Christmas markets in Berlin during Winter

Berlin is the ultimate winter destination in Europe.

Not only is it home to incredibly Christmas markets and fluffy snowfalls that make you feel like you’re in a snow globe, but its regular attractions are extremely winter-friendly.

Visiting Berlin is an opportunity for a unique historical tour.

From the ancient wonders at the Pergamum Museum to more recent history with Check Point Charlie and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, you’ll get a chance to connect with the millennia of history within a few city blocks.

Winter is a magical time to visit for the amazing Christmas markets that fill the city.

You’ll find them at every metro stop, with a variety of gingerbread treats, warm glühwein, and incredible free performances to enjoy.

You can make a day of market hopping from Gedächtniskirche to Gendarmenmarkt.

You’ll even find them outside of the best things to do in Berlin, like visiting Charlottenburg Palace.

On a beautiful snowy day, be sure to wander down Unter den Linden to see watch the snow drift down the lane of trees.

If you get cold, pop into a café for a warm cup of tea or mug of hot chocolate before you continue your adventures.

It doesn’t tend to get very cold in Berlin, with temperatures dipping into the negatives on rare occasions.

Pack a light winter jacket and some gloves, and you’ll be very cozy. On the cooler days you may need a knit sweater as well.

Berlin is an incredibly easy city to visit, no matter the time of year. It’s a hub with a large airport, connections to all major cities via rail, and easy public transit.

Get a metro card so you can explore more of the city without paying a lot for taxis.

You don’t need to learn a lot of German to get around Berlin.

Almost everyone speaks English since it’s such a popular city for tourism, and since most Germans speak fluent English.

You’ll only need to learn the names of public transportation stops and important words for food (like bratwurst and gluhwein).

Street food at Christmas markets in Berlin is very safe to eat. Even the souvenirs are high quality, with hand-painted Christmas ornaments being a must-by for anyone visiting in winter.

Most visitors opt to stay in Airbnbs or Vrbo accommodation in Berlin so they can take advantage of local markets with fresh brown bread to make their own breakfast.

If you’re looking to stay in a hotel, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin in Mitte or Design Hostel P182 are incredible options that are nearby some of the city’s major attractions.

26. Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval cart outside of Olde Hansa

Tallinn is an extremely underrated European destination.

Tallinn is what you would expect from an old Medieval city.

Surrounded by the old city wall, with old carts selling goods and buildings which take you back in time.

As soon as you step instead the city walls you truly feel as though time has stood still.

Tallinn is full of culture and historical sites but it has just as many pubs and restaurants.

Take a walk around the medieval walls, you will find some amazing views of the city, St Catherine’s Passage, Town Hall Square, Viru Gates, Patkuli viewing point, Pikk Street (one for the insta), Saiakang (make sure you find Oma Asi shop, it is a super cute shop but its pretty expensive to shop in here) and the old town square.

The Christmas markets are so unique.

From the look of the stalls to the goods they sell, they are definitely different to the rest of the markets we saw in Europe.

It is cold in Tallinn in winter but there are so many cute restaurants and breweries to warm up in and to see the inside of the medieval buildings.

The best places to stay in Tallinn are: Hilton Tallinn Park, Hotel Palace, Hestia Hotel Barons Old Town

27. Bratislava, Slovakia

Martina, PlacesofJuma

Ice skating rink in the old town of Bratislava

If you are looking for a unique winter city break destination in Europe, then you definitely should check out Bratislava – the main city of Slovakia.

Especially in December this city is full of winter wonders.

People are amazed by the many picturesque Christmas Markets and the unique atmosphere when visiting Bratislava in winter.

The best one can be found at Hlavné und Hviezdoslavovo námestie – where you will also find plenty of excellent accommodation like the beautiful APLEND CITY Hotel Perugia

During winter this city is full of local specialties, delicious food and charming goodies. Families come together for having some kinder-punch or mulled wine and enjoy the true atmosphere of a traditional Christmas Market.

Really delicious is here the Loksa, a salty pancake or the traditional Strudl, a crisp cake filled with apple and raisins.

Also the mulled wine in Bratislava is tasty – probably because it comes from local vineries nearby the city.

In addition to amazing food you will find plenty of home-made products and traditional souvenirs – perfect to bring home some souvenirs for your beloved.

A real adventure, that should not be missed is ice-skating in Bratislava.

Not only kids, also adults love to turn some rounds in this incredibly beautiful old town atmosphere.

Skates are available to hire, so you don’t have to bring your own ones.

Later, in the evening, local artists – singers and dancers perform directly at this Christmas Market and make each visit to an extraordinary experience.

28. Oslo, Norway

Alice, Adventures of Alice

A view over the water flowy through Oslo in Norway

Oslo is a modern, Scandinavian city with an old soul.

The capital of Norway is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but it’s worth every penny.

It has beautiful architecture and friendly people to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

It’s also a city that’s well-known for its snowy winters.

In fact, Oslo is a winter wonderland. The air is crisp and the sun barely stays up for more than 6 hours. 

Winter is the time of year when you can enjoy snow-covered landscapes, and experience a different side of life in Oslo.

From fun activities to beautiful natural scenery, if you’re one of the few travellers brave enough to visit in the wintertime, there are plenty of things you should do in Oslo in winter. 

It’s a perfect time of year to enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating at Frogner Park, and of course having some gløgg (mulled wine) in front of the fireplace while you watch Christmas movies on TV.

You could also explore Oslo’s museums (the Fram and Norsk Folkemuseum are particular favourites), go shopping at one of the shopping centres, grab a warm drink at one of the cafes, or explore the Christmas Markets. 

For some slightly more adventurous outdoor fun, you could even take a hike through Oslo’s snowy nature parks, sail the wintery fjords or go sledging down one of the city’s hills

29. London, England

Anisa, Two Traveling Texans

Carnaby street in London filled with sea animal Christmas decorations and lights

Don’t let the weather stop you from visiting London during the winter.  There are still plenty of interesting things to do and many special events during the holiday season.

During Christmas time, London truly sparkles.  They go all out with the Christmas decorations especially on Oxford, Regent, and Carnaby streets. 

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a huge Christmas Market with lots of amusement park rides. 

There are also many smaller markets including ones on the South Bank, in Leicester Square, and near London Bridge.

If it’s cold, you can visit one of London’s top indoor attractions. For example, the pods of the London Eye keep you comfortable while taking in views of the River Thames. 

You can spend hours at London’s world class museums including the British Museum,  Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Gallery, National History Museum, and more.   

Additionally, you can ice skate in front of the iconic Natural History Museum.

| Tip

⚡️ London city pass can help you save money and simplify your trip. Click here to pick the pass for your needs.

Tower Bridge in London with dark clouds over head

It’s also worthwhile to go inside Westminster Abbey to appreciate its architecture, learn about its history, and pay tribute to the many influential people buried inside. 

Nearby, you can tour the Houses of Parliament where both the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet to govern the country. 

Winter is also the perfect season to enjoy an afternoon tea

It’s a quintessential British experience and London has many places that offer it.  If you want to splurge, try the Savoy or Hotel Cafe Royal. 

The Wallace Collection is a more affordable option that still feels like a treat.  You could also stay at the Savoy, as it is a beautiful luxury hotel that is centrally located.

If you want to see more of England, you can also do a day trip from London in the winter. 

Check out Christmas markets in other cities around the UK, visit Windsor Castle, go to Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios.

30. Aberdeen, Scotland

Victoria, Guide Your Travel

The beach in Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen is the third-largest city in Scotland and located in the northern regions of the country.

There is plenty to see and do in the region for all types of travellers.

The city has a lot of historic architecture and the many churches and castles in the area are especially beautiful and well worth a visit.

In winter, the outdoor activities are more limited, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Definitely make sure to visit the Maritime Museum near the Aberdeen harbour and learn about the history of seafaring, shipbuilding and the beginnings of oil drilling off the coast of Aberdeen.

Scotland is world-famous for being the birthplace of whiskeys which are manufactured near the city.

You can visit different distilleries in the area and enjoy tastings and tours.

Aberdeen also has a great selection of whiskey shops where you can learn about the production of whiskey and try all the best flavours.

| Tip

🥃 To expand your knowledge about famous Scottish whiskey I recommend taking a tour. You will learn about the whisky-making process from a guide and then sample some of Scotland’s best whisky at two Speyside distilleries.

Aberdeen has a beautiful city centre so definitely make sure to walk through the old town and admire the historic buildings.

Especially around the area close to Union Street, you’ll find beautiful old pubs where you can enjoy a pint in a cosy atmosphere.

When the weather is sunny you can walk along the Aberdeen beach promenade and sit in one of the cafes with a great view of the beach and the sea.

While the weather in Scotland can be unpredictable you might encounter a sunny day occasionally.

In that case, definitely make sure to visit the nearby fishing town of Stonehaven.

It takes only 20 minutes to reach Stonehaven by train from Aberdeen and the journey is quick and easy.

This is a great spot to learn about the area’s history and enjoy a day trip. Dunnottar Castle is an especially beautiful spot perfect for photos or exploring.

31. Dublin, Ireland

Krystianna, Volumes & Voyages

The temple bar in Dublin finished with Christmas lights

Arguably the best city to visit in Europe in winter is Dublin, Ireland! While Dublin barely ever gets snow, the city still becomes very magical during the winter months.

There are quite a few fun things to do in Dublin during the winter months.

First of all, you’ll want to make sure you stop by Temple Bar Pub because it gets all decked out in holiday lights!

Many places throughout the city also have Christmas or holiday markets, like at the Dublin Castle or in Dun Laoghaire.

Other fun things to do include seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin, shopping on Grafton Street, and visiting the Guinness Storehouse.

Because Dublin is on the island of Ireland, the easiest way to get there is to fly into Dublin International Airport. If you’re flying from within the EU, flights can be very cheap, especially if you opt to fly with Ryanair.

Flying from outside of the EU, usually, Aer Lingus is the most affordable option, and they often have deals.

When visiting, you don’t have to worry about staying directly in the middle of the city because of how easy and on-time the public transportation in Dublin is.

The Dublin Bus can get you almost anywhere in the entire county, and there’s also the LUAS, which is essentially a tram line.

However, if you’d like to stay downtown, consider staying at the Hotel Fitzsimmons, which is affordable and central.

Be sure to purchase a visitor Leap Card if you know you’ll be using public transportation a lot during your trip.

This saves you money, and you also won’t have to worry about having exact change for your ride every time you get on the bus.

Some of the best places to photograph within Dublin are downtown near the River Liffey, which really comes alive once the sun goes down.

Around the Temple Bar area, you can also find tons of bright colored buildings and street art which is great for photographing.

| Tip

✔️ Don’t forget to purchase Dublin city pass before your trip. It’ll definitely save your time and money.

32. Brasov, Romania

Jade, The Migrant Yogi

Bran Castle in Brasov, Romania

For snow sport enthusiasts, Brașov, Romania is one of the best winter destinations in Europe. 

Nestled in the mountainous landscape of Transylvania, Brașov isn’t just for nature lovers, however.  This Transylvanian city offers a little something for everyone.

Within the city, you can explore old churches, towers, and ancient fortifications. 

Take a stroll down one of the narrowest streets in Europe or enjoy a piping hot plate of sarmale. 

Hike up Tampa Mountain (or take the cable car) to take in magnificent views of the fortified Saxon city.

In addition to all of the best things to do in Brașov, the best winter activities are experienced as day trips. 

You can visit the Libearty Bear Sanctuary and aid in conservation efforts to help the Romanian bear population, ski or snowboard in Poiana, dare to explore Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle), or simply take in the magic of Brașov during winter, a city that is just more beautiful under a blanket of snow.

To get to Brașov, it’s easiest to fly to Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) and drive or take a train from there. 

Alternatively, if you like taking the scenic route, you can take an overnight train from Budapest.  

There are plenty of hostels in Brașov, but if you’re looking for something decently priced but with added luxury, check out Aurelius Imparatul Romanilor in the city centre.

33. Sinaia, Romania

Bella, Whisper Wanderlust

Sinaia Romania in winter covered in snow

Sinaia is a small town in Romania that offers a perfect winter landscape, with fir forests, villas, rustic cottages, and mountain peaks where you can practice winter sports. 

It’s located at about 800 meters altitude, but you can go up to 2000 meters if you take the cable car, where you will have a beautiful view of the mountains and the city.

You can even see flocks of sheep, a representative image of what means rural mountain life and nature in Romania.

Being located on Prahova Valley, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, two hours from Bucharest and about an hour from Brasov, you can get here quite quickly.

The recommended means of transport are either car or train, although there are also daily buses to get you to Sinaia.

What makes Sinaia unique is the Peles Castle, the summer residence of the former King Carol I of Romania and one of the most beautiful castles in the world.

The fairytale-looking palace was built in 1883 in a gorgeous setting, in the middle of the forest in Sinaia.

Right next to it’s a newer and smaller version, but very similar in terms of architecture and is called Pelisor.

As beautiful as they are on the outside, the inside of the two castles is lovely, so you can’t leave Sinaia before visiting them.

Other must-see tourist attractions to add to your itinerary for Sinaia:The casino, The George Enescu Museum, The Sinaia monastery and Visiting the city itself

Many accommodation units have opened in Sinaia, especially in recent years, and some of them look spectacular.

If you get here, I recommend you choose between Hotel Regal and Hotel Smart.

34. Rome, Italy

Claudia, Strictly Rome

A view over Rome city

The capital of Italy is an incredible place to visit year round, but if you want to steer away from the crowds of tourists, you should plan to visit in the off season.

Thankfully, Rome is blessed with mild winters and temperatures are never too cold – you may just need to equip yourself with an umbrella as chances of rain are higher in the winter months.

Having said that, the Eternal City doesn’t lose any of its charme even under a cloudy sky! 

You will never get bored in Rome. There are simply too many things to do, so many places to visit in Rome that you could easily spend a lifetime there without ever getting bored. 

| Tip

✔️ Here you’ll find Rome city pass for your trip

Start exploring the city with the classic sites: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill can be visited on the same day and with the same ticket.

Just make sure to book it in advance as this is a requirement.

Walking along the Via dei Fori Imperiali you will reach the Altar of the Fatherland, one of the most impressive sights in town.

Behind it, the Basilica of Santa Maria di Aracoeli is one of the lesser visited churches in Rome, but inside you will be able to see unique relics. 

Continue on Piazza Venezia and cross over to Largo di Torre Argentina to spot Rome’s most famous cat sanctuary, located inside an archeological site!

Not far from it, you will find many other important landmarks such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, home of gorgeous Bernini’s fountains, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. 

Finally, when in Rome take the chance of visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece The Last Judgement.

Once again, make sure to get tickets in advance!

Rome is well connected to the rest of the world via its two airports.

Fiumicino serves main airlines and can be easily reached via direct trains departing from Roma Termini Station at regular intervals.

Ciampino is served by budget airlines and connected to Rome by bus. 

The best place to stay in town is Orange Garden. The view of St. Peter’s Dome from the dining room is stunning!

35. Lucerne, Switzerland

Arzo Travels, Eat well, dress up, and travel

Chapel bridge in Lucerne covered in snow

Switzerland is known as a fantastic country to visit in winter and especially Lucerne is a fun city to visit then.

Actually, beautiful Lucerne is great to visit all year round, but it is even more remarkable in winter. It is a perfect combination of city life and winter sports activities.

Lucerne has beautiful Christmas Markets in the first few weeks of December, and in January, it has the Light Festival (LILU) in mid-January.

December is thus perfect for Christmas fans, while January and February are the ideal months. It is less busy and less crowded (less, Lucerne typically attracts tons of visitors, so you will love the off-season months).

However, it is not only the cozy city center with its special events and many museums that make it perfect for a winter trip – Lucerne also becomes a winter wonderland.

The chances of snow in Lucerne are not very high – however, you have to get outside the city, and there you have it. Amazing snow-covered mountains. 

The impressive Alpine mountain peaks allow you, doing winter sports activities and have fantastic views over Lake Lucerne.

Plan a day trip to Mount Pilaus or Mount Titlis and enjoy skiing, snowshoe hiking, snowboarding, sledding, and more.

You are not into winter sports? No problem. The cable cars/funiculars get you up the mountain peaks, and you can enjoy the fantastic views!

If you do not have much time or want to experience a magical sunset in the winter months, visit Mount Rigi instead (which is accessible faster).

The sunsets there are top-notch, and this comes all with the amazing winter wonderland scenery.

Lucerne in winter is so diverse and fun that it probably is one of the very best places to visit. Hotel des Alps is a great place to stay – it is located in the city center close to the Chapel Bridge, and some rooms offer amazing views.

What to wear in Europe during winter

Whilst Europe is a great place to take a winter city break, winter in Europe is also very cold. Make sure you are warm and comfortable.

I always make sure I wear layers, its easier to take off a jacket if you get too warm walking around than it is to try and get warmer.

Don’t let the weather get you down.

Remember, it is likely to snow in Europe in winter and with lots of people walking on the snow it can make the ground slippery so make sure you have sturdy shoes on.

Beanie – make sure it is a double lined beanie. This will keep you warmer than a single lined beanie

Scarf – a huge scarf is a great option, you can use it as a scarf, an extra layer, or to put over your head if your beanie isn’t warm enough

Jacket – a good quality down jacket is a must for those cold European nights

Boots – you need to make sure your boots are comfortable and you have worn them in before your trip!

There is nothing worse than having uncomfortable shoes.
Waterproof boots are also recommended, if you are visiting Europe in winter, you are likely to endure a lot of rain and snow!!

FAQs: Best Winter City Breaks in Europe

What is the best city break in winter?

There are so many wonderful cities to visit in winter, it’s hard to choose just one!
If you’re looking for a festive atmosphere, then Prague, Dresden or Vienna are all excellent choices.

For a more romantic getaway, try Venice or Bruges.

Or if you’re after some winter sun, Barcelona and Lisbon are both great options.

Is it worth visiting Europe in winter?

Absolutely! Europe is even more magical in winter, with its twinkling Christmas markets, festive lights and snow-capped streets.

Plus, you’ll find that many cities are less crowded in winter, so you can explore at your own pace.

What are Europe’s winter like?

It is very cold in Europe in winter, so make sure to pack your warmest clothes!

You’ll also find that the days are shorter and the nights are longer, so you’ll have plenty of time to cosy up by a fire place in a pub or stroll the streets and the see the night lights twinkle.

Which months are winter in Europe?

Winter in Europe runs from December to February. However, in some parts of the continent it can feel like winter starts as early as November and lasts until March!

Wrap Up: Best winter destinations in Europe

Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to hole up in your house all season.

Europe has no shortage of amazing winter destinations waiting for you to explore them.

So put on your coat, scarf and gloves, and get ready to hit the slopes or wander through some charming Christmas markets.

So, what do you think? Are these the best winter destinations in Europe?

If not, where would you recommend for a city break this winter? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Fiona xoxo

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro:

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out DiscoverCar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

Planning your Winter City Breaks in Europe? Check out some of the other posts
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Christmas Markets
The Best European Christmas Markets
10 Delightful things to do in Copenhagen in Winter
The best place to experience Christmas: Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market

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My BEST Travel Resources

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Travel Insurance: After a few hairy moments on my travels, I ALWAYS purchase travel insurance. It may seem like a big cost now, but if the worst happens, it will save you a lot of money and heartache. I personally use World Nomads (and love them!), but I recommend that you do some research to find the insurance company that suits your needs.

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out Europcar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

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5 thoughts on “35 Magical Winter City Breaks Europe for your 2022 bucket list”

  1. All of these European cities are so beautiful. I really wish I was going back to Europe this December. It truly is magical in the winter.

  2. I loved to read this article and see all those beautiful places! I have discovered some destinations that I haven’t visited yet and I am glad that you put them in my radar!

  3. Wow, I want to go to all these places! Your photos are so beautiful and these places look like they are out of fairy tales. I’d really love to Lapland and Copenhagen in particular. Thanks for sharing 🙂


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