Winter is a truly wonderful time to visit Europe. From the glistening snow to a warm mug of spiced cider, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! I think that too many travelers skip that trip to Europe because they’re afraid it’s going to be too cold or because they expect the weather might interrupt their plans.And it’s true that winter can be pretty chilly, but get ready to bundle up. There are a thousand reasons winter is the perfect time to head to Europe. Here are my top seven reasons:
Here are my top seven reasons:
The Snowy Landscapes
Some of my favorite photos of Europe have been taken in the winter when everything was covered with snow. From rural scenes to famous landmarks, a little bit of white sprinkled over everything adds an element of beauty to even the mundane. Plus, it’s a great time to play around with the addition of bright scarves and other splotches of color.
The Christmas Cheer
Christmas in Europe is special regardless of your beliefs. From Christmas markets to concerts in basilicas and so much more, you’re in for a treat! Countries around Europe roll out special treats that are really only popular at this time of year, from gingerbread to mulled wine to Christmas cake and more, so get ready to eat and drink your way through the different cultures.
A lot of jobs already give people time off for the holidays, so it’s worthwhile to make the most of that time and get out of the house! Sure it might be cold in Europe, but chances are, it’s probably cold back home too (even if you live in the South). I’ve been in a European winter where it was so cold that the trees frosted over, but I’ve also been in a European winter that was so balmy we were all walking around without our coats on. The cold really depends on the year and the location.
Celebrating the New Year
And even when the Christmas markets are all packed up, you still have New Year’s in Europe! London always throws a big party, and my personal favorite New Year’s was spent watching fireworks shoot off over Lake Bled in Slovenia. It’s the first and only time in my life where I’ve been surprised with a champagne shower, courtesy of the people behind me! There are so many great celebrations to take part in.
Because the winter isn’t as popular a time to travel, you’ll not only find fewer crowds in many of the places you visit, but you’ll also find that prices for flights, accommodation, museums and other travel expenses aren’t quite as expensive as they are during the summer months. Traveling Europe can get pretty pricey, so every little bit you can save is definitely helpful!
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The Skiing and Other Activities
Some of the best alpine skiing, snowboarding, skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be found in various parts of Europe. Whether it’s skiing all day on the Zugspitze or Courchevel, snowshoeing from hut to hut in the Swiss Alps or skating in front of London’s Somerset House—well, there are dozens of different winter holidays for you to be amazed by. And hey, nothing beats the quaint majesty of those picturesque mountain villages!
Because, Why Not!
Honestly, between the lack of crowds and beautiful snow and the holiday cheer, I think winter is one of my favorite times to visit Europe. If you’re still not sure about the treasures that await you, check out this Rick Steves episode on Hulu and just soak in the wonder. If you’re located outside the US, you’ll need to use a Virtual Private Network to trick Hulu into thinking you’re located in the US so you can get around the site’s location-based restrictions. Trust me, visit Europe in the winter and you’ll forget all about the cold in favor of the absolute magic of this time of year.
Have you visited Europe in winter? Share your favorite memories below!
This is a guest post by Jess Signet