Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit During Winter

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Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit During Winter

Europe’s fairytale cities suit every season, but there’s something about winter that makes the magic of visiting Europe even more exciting. Soft, glowing lights at dusk, festive Christmas markets and the warming sight of a fireplace lit inside a pub - is there anything more satisfying? We’ve rounded up the most beautiful cities to visit in Europe during the winter...


Paris in winter

The City of Light sparkles in every season, but during the winter it’s more romantic than ever. Wrap up warm, get lost in the quaint, quieter streets and get all your festive feels from Paris in winter this year. The Champs-Elysees will be decked out with stunning Christmas lights and Christmas markets pop up throughout the city. Sip on a delightful cup of vin chaud (hot wine) while you mooch around the French stalls and burn off your crepes and galettes with a glide around an ice rink. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city for a snowfall, you’ll see just how simply perfect Parisian winters can get!

Paris in winter

Our favourite things to do in Paris in winter

Vin chaud (mulled wine) at a Christmas market
The lights on the Champs-Elysees
Celebrate the New Year at the Eiffel Tower
Drink one of the best hot chocolates in Europe (at Angelina)
Window shopping in the Covered Galleries
French crepes in the restaurant next to the Notre Dame

Need a hostel in Paris? Check out St Christopher’s Inns


Prague in winter

It doesn’t really matter what time of year you choose to visit Prague, however winter is something extra special. Prague Castle when the snow has settled is like Hogwarts at Christmas. With far fewer crowds in Prague during the winter period, it’s the perfect time to visit where crowds will be nonexistent and the city can be enjoyed in a much more relaxed way. Not to mention, in December the Czech capital’s hearty comfort food is most enjoyed where you can get a taste of warm roasts, soups, dumplings, meats and more. If snow has settled, you simply must head to the top of the Prague Castle to get an amazing view of the snow-topped city rooftops.

Prague in winter

Our favourite things to do in Prague in winter

Drink mulled wine and famous Czech beer
Christmas market on Old Town Square
Ice rinks
Get the views at Old Town Hall or Prague Castle
Eat some trdelník, a traditional Czech pastry
St Vitus Cathedral

Need a hostel in Prague? Check out the Czech Inn


Bruges in winter

This fairytale medieval town comes to life during winter and people from all over the world come to experience the magic of Bruges for the festive season. In December, lines of gingerbread-eque houses light up, the famous Christmas markets come to life and horses pulling carriages clop down the streets. Smell the aroma of Christmas spices and mulled wine (gluhwein), enjoy hot Belgian waffles and buy a Christmas gift of two. If you’re lucky enough. a blanket of snow may fall covering the small bridges, cobbled streets and Belgian rooftops making for an even more beautiful sight. Head to the top of the medieval Belfry tower for amazing views of Markt Square below, looking better than ever during December.

Bruges in winter

Our favourite things to do in Bruges in winter

The Old Chocolate House (for a cup of hot chocolate)
Walk around Burg Square
Christmas market on Markt Square
Ice skating
De Halve Maan brewery for a beer
Horse carriage ride
Explore the chocolate shops
Try frites and mayonnaise

Need a hostel in Bruges? Check out the Bauhaus


Copenhagen in winter

Head to Copenhagen this winter for a true ‘hygge’ experience. Hygge is the Danish and Norwegian word for the overall feeling of comfort, cosiness and general contentment that is often used during the Christmas season to describe the incredible festive vibe in the city and how it makes you feel. In Copenhagen, the Christmas markets open up, the city’s famous streets illuminate with lights and big Christmas lunches are eaten throughout the whole of December in the lead up to Christmas. One of the best places to experience the festive cheer is in the electric Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest theme parks. Tivoli Gardens transforms into a magical winter wonderland that you simply can’t miss. Get a taste of Danish Christmas delicacies and escape the cold and find sanctuary in a cosy pub. Fairytale castles, hot saunas and an unbeatable festive atmosphere is what you’ll get in Copenhagen, but note that it gets cold so wrap up warm and wear your layers.

Copenhagen in winter

Our favourite things to do in Copenhagen in winter

Tivoli Gardens theme park
The ice rink at Frederiksberg Runddel
Taste Christmas food, Julefrokost, gløgg, and smørrebrød
Walk down the lit up Nyhavn
Traditional Christmas lunch as Restaurant Kronborg
Visit the historic castles
Christmas markets (Nyhavn market and Hans Christian Andersen market)

Need a hostel in Copenhagen? Check out Copenhagen Downtown Hostel


London in winter

London during the winter is always a fantastic time to visit. Christmas festivities take over the city, with stunning light displays, Christmas markets and events happening all season long. You can’t visit London in winter and not take part in the classic winter activity of ice skating at Somerset House. But it’s not just the buzz of Christmas that makes London a popular stop on winter travellers’ itineraries, one of the best things about the city in winter is you can take long, fresh walks and there will always be plenty of snug pubs with open fires to pit stop at along the way. Sunday roasts with all the trimmings, hot mulled cider at the food markets… Good, British comfort food cannot be beaten.

London in winter

Our favourite things to do in London in winter

Ice skate at Somerset house or the Natural History Museum
Winter Wonderland
Mulled wine at Christmas markets
See the Christmas lights on Carnaby Street
Cosy pub for a Sunday Roast
Christmas shopping on Oxford Street or Regents Street
Lumiere festival in January
Hogwarts in the Snow

Need a hostel in London? Check out St Christopher’s Inns


Edinburgh in winter

Take a trip to the Scottish capital this winter to experience the cosier months, the Scottish way. From Christmas markets and festivities in December, to huge Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations and Burns Night in January, Edinburgh is packed with winter traditions. Get up in the morning and head out for a frosty stroll through the dewy Princes Street Gardens, or take the hike up to Arthur’s Seat on a clear afternoon to see if you can catch one of the incredible sunsets over the city. When the snow falls, Edinburgh becomes even more picture perfect than it already is; nothing makes Edinburgh Castle look more stunning than a blanket of snow. Edinburgh’s pubs are the perfect place to end a chilly, busy day so pull up a chair, grab a pint and a plate of the local delicacy haggis, neeps and tatties and you’re set up for the cosiest winter break ever.

Edinburgh in winter

Our favourite things to do in Edinburgh in winter

New Year’s Eve Hogmanay celebrations
Burns Night in January
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Visit Edinburgh Castle
Climb Arthur’s Seat for sunset on a clear day
Stroll through Princes Street Gardens
Go shopping on the Royal Mile

Need a hostel in Edinburgh? Check out St Christopher’s Inns


Interlaken in winter

Whilst winter is Interlaken’s coldest season it’s the perfect time to ski or snowboard. This is such a picturesque city located on the foot of the Jungfrau Mountain rage, where everywhere you look resembles a picture perfect postcard, especially if you get high up for some insane panoramic views. This is the place to come to be at one with nature and in winter it looks like a winter wonderland. If you’re not into snow sports, there are plenty of other fun things to do in winter such as cheese fondue nights, chocolate making classes, night sledding, hiking and admiring the vast blue lakes that are some of the most beautiful in the world such as Lake Brienz. The city is surrounded my mountains, alpine meadows and deep, rich forests.

Interlaken in winter

Our favourite things to do in Interlaken in winter

Winter sports - snowboarding/skiing
Chocolate making workshops
Cheese fondue nights at Balmer’s
Night sledding
Walk around the turquoise lakes
See the Glacier canyon
Winter hot tub

Looking for a hostel in Interlaken? Check out Balmer's

Article by Darcy King and Shereen Sagoo

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