It is no secret, I love winter. Even though we live in Florida, I grew up in Pennsylvania at a time when it snowed in November and thawed in March. It has always been a magical time and winter in Europe is incredible. If it was totally left to me, I would only visit Europe in the winter. The Christmas markets, the incredible landscapes, the quaint villages and eclectic cities and the cozy places to stay to enjoy a hot drink after a day in the cold. And all of it with little tourists.
Here is a selection of the most beautiful cities in Europe to discover, enjoy winter, and experience the pleasures of this pleasant season.
1 – Venice, Italy
Why visit Venice in winter?
It is the best way to avoid the overly touristy season. You can enjoy the deserted alleys, which is rare in this popular destination in Italy.
What to see in Venice in winter?
The winter lights reflect on the colorful facades to bring Venice a mysterious atmosphere like you do not find in any other season. December, January and February chain the events, starting with the Christmas period when the city is decorated, and the shops adorned to taste the event.
2 – London, England
Why visit London in winter?
London is a pleasant city in all seasons, yet it is particularly appreciated in winter. The sublime decorations, especially on Oxford Street at Christmas time, are one of the first points that motivate you to visit it in winter. There are many tea rooms, so you can please yourself after a day of sightseeing or shopping in the city.
What to see and what to do in London in winter?
There are many things to do in London like shopping, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Harrod and many more. Of course, you can visit many monuments, such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, where you will witness the changing of the guard. And of course, an English Breakfast and Teatime are required.
3 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Why visit Amsterdam in winter?
Like a postcard, Amsterdam, under its white coat, offers a mesmerizing view. The streets are quieter than usual, so it is much easier for you to enjoy them.
What to see in Amsterdam in winter?
From November to January, enjoy the “ Amsterdam Light Festival” which lights up the city’s canals. It is the ideal time to visit the many Museums, you can enjoy them in peace, without being jostled by the crowd.
4 – Budapest, Hungary
Why visit Budapest in winter?
To witness one of the best Christmas markets. We still appreciate its illuminations which give life to the city. The illuminations in the different districts of Budapest last all winter and bring a joyful atmosphere throughout this season.
What to see in Budapest during the winter?
It is the ideal time to enjoy the museums and art galleries, you will be warm, and there are not too many people. Also worth seeing are the various castles of Budapest, such as Vajdahunyad Castle. It is immersed in a particularly mysterious and magical atmosphere in this season.
The typical Budapest thermal springs are a must. Go to the Széchenyi thermal baths. You will undoubtedly appreciate the waters at 38°C under the snow. A unique experience not to be missed. You can still twirl on the largest ice rink in Europe.
5 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Why travel to Reykjavik in winter?
Winters are the ideal season to visit Reykjavik. There is no shortage of activities, snow is on the agenda, and the hotels are incredibly cozy. What could be more enjoyable after a day in the cold?
What to see in Reykjavík?
Obviously, one does not pass by Iceland without stopping to see the aurora borealis illuminating the sky with green reflections reflecting on the snow. Also, go through the rotating glass dome of Perlan, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the sea and the surrounding hills! The historic center of Reykjavik is also a very pleasant place.
You can visit museums, such as the Sagas Museumretracing, the history of the Vikings, or the National Museum. And, of course, do not miss the various excursions, such as the one to see the Northern Lights or the one leading to the Blue Lagoon, where you can enjoy a thermal bath. And for the most unusual experience, you can even go to meet the whales.
6 – Salzburg, Austria
Why Visit Salzburg in Winter?
If snowy destinations enchant you, Salzburg is the ideal destination. Covered with a large white coat in winter, it is simply sublime and will offer you the most beautiful spectacle.
What to see in Salzburg in winter?
It also offers a magnificent Christmas market, one of the most beautiful in the world, not to be missed. You can, therefore, of course, kill two birds with one stone and visit this beautiful European city at Christmas time to experience the magic of this holiday under the snow. Outside Christmas, Salzburg is a very pleasant city, with its rich architecture and many cafes, where you can stop for a hot drink.
7 – Rovaniemi, Finland
Why visit Rovaniemi in winter?
Rovaniemi is the perfect winter destination. You will see snow as far as you can see, and you will enjoy a real break and a total change of scenery.
What to see in Rovaniemi in winter?
Official city of Santa Claus, it is also an ideal destination in December. Not lacking in treasures, it is also beautiful in other seasons. You can admire the Northern Lights in the evening, a must if you plan to make this trip.
As for activities, you can discover the surroundings of Rovaniemi by offering a snowmobile safari, a husky sledging excursion or a reindeer to take the time to admire the sumptuous landscapes.
8 – Oslo, Norway
Why visit Oslo in winter?
Oslo is the winter capital of the world, what better time to visit then?
What to see in Oslo in winter?
Oslo is a charming city with a warm, family atmosphere. You will enjoy strolling there for long hours, under the snow, in the middle of the scintillating illuminations.
Sports activities abound, starting with the many ice rinks, passing through the national winter park and the largest ski resort in the city. You can still enjoy the extensive toboggan runs. Do not miss 4000 years of skiing history at the Holmenkollen World Ski Museum.
Our Final Word
For me, winter is the most special time of the year. Break out the sweaters, find your winter coat and head outdoors. Whether you have a snowball fight, hike on snowshoes, or just walk-through town, afterwards head inside for a drink to warm you up. And no one does winter better than Europe. We have been to Norway, England, Germany, Italy and Sweden during the winter, and it doesn’t disappoint. It is always filled up with friendly locals, traditions and incredible landscapes. We hope to see you there.