Where to go on holiday in winter in Europe

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Holidays are not only made of sun and sea and summer heat, but you can relax and indulge in sports, wellness and cultural trips even in winter. Not all locations are listed at winter holidays, but there are others that are very suitable for a holiday period during the cold season.
In addition to the big cities, which are beautiful and can be visited practically all year round, you can find, in Europe, less popular but equally magnificent towns and locations, especially in winter. If you don't fear the cold, if you are passionate about snow sports or you love whites Nordic landscapes, follow us to discover places suitable for spending a holiday during the winter season.

Post COVID19 travel advice
If you are planning a trip, make sure you are in line with safety measures. Follow government guidelines and only return to travel when the green light is given. Prefer natural and perhaps non-mass destinations, and in general promote local tourism: discover the wonders of your city, your region and your state. Try to avoid long-haul travel and at most choose destinations reachable with a few hours of flight.

1 - Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is famous as it is considered the official residence of Santa Claus. The kid's favorite bearded man lives in a quaint cave in the Arctic Circle that you can visit. In Rovaniemi it is possible to breathe the real Christmas atmosphere, between white and soft snow and the typical reindeer. The Arctic Museum is also worth visiting. If you intend to go to this location equip yourself well against the cold as temperatures drop significantly below freezing.

  • pros and cons: unique scenarios in the world, Aurora Borealis / very cold temperatures, always very below zero and very high costs
  • Snowmobile Safari to a Husky Camp Santa Claus Village and Reindeer Sleigh Ride Sleigh ride through the lights of the Arctic Circle
  • from € 249,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 167,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 922,00 per person -

2 - Abisko, Sweden

Abisko, a hamlet of Kiruna in Sweden, it is the northernmost location that you can reach in Europe by train.

It is a suitable place for true lovers of winter and arctic cold, who are not frightened by weeks of perpetual darkness, given that for a period between December and January it does not arise. However, this is not considered an obstacle but an opportunity to admire better the show of the Aurora Borealis. In addition to classic winter sports, it is possible to try the experience of running with sleds pulled by husky dogs.

  • pros and cons: top for those who love winter and the chance to see the Northern Lights / the sun does not rise for several weeks between December and January
  • visit to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi
  • Flights to Kiruna from € 229,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 66,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 515,00 per person -

3 - Copenhagen, Denmark

If you look for a fairytale winter holiday, nothing can beat the city that gave birth to the writer Hans Christian Andersen. Forget the all too famous Little Mermaid but rather dedicate yourself to the welcoming clubs of the city where you can relax and admire how the snow covers this characteristic city.

In the heart of the city it is located the TiFlights amusement park which represents a romantic and at the same time kitsch place, especially during the Christmas period. The delightful lights warm the heart, a steaming cup of glögg will warm up the rest.

  • pros and cons: Magnificent, eclectic city / the cold and the high costs
  • Canal cruise gastronomic tour entrance to TiFlights amusement park
  • from € 45,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 71,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 379,00 per person -

4 - Transylvania, Romania

The leaden atmosphere and the gloomy winter sky will be the background to the visit to the famous castle of Dracula, creating a perfect thrilling scenario!

Transylvania is a great destination for a cultural trip between the medieval villages of Romania, like Braşov and Sighişoara. These locations have several points of contact with the infamous and bloodthirsty count Vlad Ţepeş, the historical figure who inspired the literary character of Dracula.

  • pros and cons: numerous medieval villages / the scenarios represented by Stoker in his famous novel are not original
  • 1 day tour to Dracula's Castle Tour of the Castles of Transylvania
  • from € 22,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 28,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 244,00 per person -

5 - Salzburg, Austria

La city ​​of music was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who composed 350 of his works here. The historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is unmissable, as is the baroque heart of the city with palaces and churches called DomQuartier.

  • pros and cons: romantic location / rather cold temperatures
  • Salzburg city card Ghost tour of the secret city
  • Flights to Salzburg or Munich (140 km) from € 65,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 60,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 612,00 per person -

6 - Lille, France

Admiring the Grand Place and the Old Town under the snow is an unmissable and unique sight. To warm up, you can stroll through the stalls of the Christmas markets, or wrap yourself up in a blanket and enjoy the city panorama on top of the Ferris wheel.

  • pros and cons: fairly inexpensive city suitable for families / no negative elements
  • Guided tour of the old town
  • Flights to Lille or Brussels (120 km) from € 29,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 58,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 434,00 per person -

7 - Hasselt, Belgium

Hasselt is located in Belgian Limburg and is a welcoming and charming city whose visit is particularly suitable in winter. Besides characteristic shops and markets, try the many typical restaurants! The city is also known as the Belgian "capital of taste".

  • pros and cons: local cuisine / a week is too long for a stay
  • tram ride through the city
  • Flights to Brussels (80 km) from € 29,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 64,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 412,00 per person -

8 - Granada, Spain

If you want to escape from the bitter cold of winter, here is a city where temperatures remain mild. Obviously, it's not warm enough for a beach holiday, but this part of Spain can be both cheap and pleasant for skiers or those who want to spend a few days away from the crowds of tourists and winter sports enthusiasts. You can take advantage of the Sierra Nevada plants, head towards the coast or wander around the city.

  • pros and cons: mild temperatures / no negative elements
  • half day excursion in Sierra Nevada 1 day walking tour with Alhambra gardens
  • to Granada or Malaga (120 km) from € 45,54 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 41,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 295,00 per person -

9 - Reykjavik, Iceland

The capital of Iceland is a must-see city for travelers. The annual Winter Lights Festival, which takes place in February, is one of the most attractive winter events in Europe. This festival is only part of the abundance of winter sports, museums and restaurants that make Reykjavik a popular destination.
In addition, just outside the city you can find natural pools of warm thermal waters.

  • pros and cons: unique naturalistic destination in the world / high costs for both flight and accommodation, bitter cold
  • Transfer and entrance to the blue lagoon 1 day tour to the Golden Circle
  • from € 197,51 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 73,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 610,00 per person -

10 - Bled, Slovenia

The incredible natural beauty of this Slovenian town is matched only by its peaceful surroundings, and these characteristics make it one of the most superb alpine destinations in Europe.
It is also famous for thermal waters of the homonymous lake and represents an excellent destination for a winter holiday. Not just tranquility: Bled is also an excellent starting point for more adventurous ventures such as snow sports or nature excursions. Furthermore, Bled Castle is a medieval fortress considered the oldest in the whole country.

  • pros and cons: natural beauty and tranquility / no negative elements
  • Underground kayaking in the mines of Bled Excursion to the lake and to the Postojna Cave
  • to Ljubljana or Trieste (150km) from € 22,01 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 37,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 474,00 per person -

11 - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

The windy roads, the amazing castles and the beautiful Princes Street Gardens make this Scottish city a true winter wonderland. The winter atmosphere can be fully enjoyed from the famous Arthur's Seat, the highest peak of the Holyrood Park mountains.

  • pros and cons: Plenty of cheap entertainment / wet and windy weather
  • Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour Underground City Tour
  • from € 99,01 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 55,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 390,00 per person -

12 - Rotterdam, Netherlands

During the day you can indulge in cultural visits and admire the architectural works of Flemish design of which the city is full.
When the sun goes down, Rotterdam lights up its own nightlife, very active even in winter, with numerous periodic live music events in the streets and at the numerous clubs.

  • pros and cons: entertainment especially for young people / temperatures close to freezing
  • Private city tour with a local guide
  • from € 67,16 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 68,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 526,00 per person -

13 - Bergen, Norway

Known as the Capital of the fjords, Bergen is Norway's second largest city, second only to Oslo. It is a very lively place from a cultural point of view thanks to the presence of an excellent university and is a wonderful starting point for excursions to discover the most unspoiled nature.

  • pros and cons: cultural richness and unique panoramas in the world / intense cold and little light
  • private tour with a local
  • from € 97,91 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 62,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 410,00 per person -

14 - Venice, Italy

One of the most popular European attractions is the Carnival of Venice. The celebrations, which take place between February and March, are not to be missed. To save money, it is best to dress up and mix in the crowd during the free events that are organized on the streets.

  • pros and cons: typical Italian hospitality and a unique event in the world / higher costs during the Carnival period
  • Guided tour with priority entrance to the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica 30-minute gondola ride on the canals
  • from € 62,54 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 68,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 377,00 per person -

15 - Interlaken, Switzerland

This alpine town of medieval origin is a true pearl of the Alps. It takes its name from its geographical position, it is in fact located between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. In this holiday resort you can enjoy breathtaking views but even the most daring will have satisfaction. In addition to classic winter sports, in fact, the town is famous for offering opportunities to practice extreme sports.

  • pros and cons: possibility to carry out numerous winter sports, even extreme ones / quite high costs
  • Rafting on the Lütschine River Canyoning between caves and waterfalls
  • to Bern or Basel (100km) from € 55,32 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 79,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 502,00 per person -

16 - Andorra

Andorra is a small and characteristic principality which is located in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. The resort is very famous for its ski slopes that it hosts but also for the boundless green spaces.

  • pros and cons: excellent value for money for ski resorts and winter sports / crowding on the ski slopes
  • Daylight Safari on a snowmobile in Andorra Andorra: 2 day trekking and gastronomy experience
  • to Barcelona (200km) from € 27,98 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 61,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 257,00 per person -

17 - Zagreb, Croatia

Although Zagreb is the crossroads of many cultures, the celebrations for Christmas they are very heartfelt and lively. In fact, in the period before Christmas, numerous events are organized in the city center, such as the ceremony for the inauguration of the traditional Christmas tree. There is no shortage of traditional markets and live musical events.

  • pros and cons: economic destination / harsh climate
  • City tour on foot and with funicular Excursion to Plitvice lakes
  • from € 99,06 -
  • Hotel and b & b from € 44,00 per room -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 331,00 per person -

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