Step into a Winter Wonderland in These European Cities
I grew up in Europe and didn't come to the US until I was a teenager. So I can attest that every European city is full of tourists during summer. Are you willing to embrace cooler temperatures? If yes, you can have enchanting cities all to yourself. Don't worry about missing out on the old-world charm; Europe is dreamy in the winter. Picture country Christmas markets filling public squares, cobbled streets illuminated with lights, and people brimming with holiday cheer. Winters in Europe are chilly, but if you are willing to brave the weather, you will have a perfect holiday season. You can step into a winter wonderland in these dreamy European cities.
Amsterdam knows how to revel. Spend your days' ice skating and wandering through the picture-perfect streets, and amp up the merriments during the evening. Don't miss the Amsterdam Light Festival, a bright international artwork display. There is more to Amsterdam than the Red-Light District.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague's Christmas Markets are some of the best in Europe. Castles and underground eateries are ideal spots to seek refuge from the city's winter weather and appreciate a beer. After shopping at the stalls, follow your nose for a taste of delicious local snacks.
If castles, cathedrals, and Baroque structures covered in snow are your idea of a winter wonderland, then Salzburg, Austria, is for you. Holiday bazaars in the town square and skiing in the Alps merely add to Salzburg's appeal.
Like many other European cities, Copenhagen has lovely holiday markets. The star of the show here is Tivoli Gardens. Sip cocoa and munch on roasted nuts while browsing knitwear and other Scandinavian goods. During the holiday season, some 16,000 lights illuminate the night.
My husband and I were recently in Strasbourg, and I fell utterly in love with this adorable little town! It doesn't get more postcard-perfect than Strasbourg. It is known for its pastel-hued Old Town, lined with canals and historical half-timbered buildings. Also, Strasbourg is home to the oldest Christmas market in France, which dates back to 1570.
Do you love: advent markets, public ice-skating rinks, and an abundance of lavish parties? Add wintry touches like snow-covered rooftops and nearby ski slopes into the mix, and you'll find yourself in heaven. Then Vienna will bewitch you.
Tourists flock to the countries around Slovenia, but many miss out on the beauty of this Central European country. Ljubljana is a fairytale-like city year-round, but its streets come alive in December, alighting with thousands of lights. The dozens of free concerts will keep you dancing all night long. Don't forget to stay warm with schnapps and pick handmade gifts at the Festive Fair.
Shadowed by the Swiss Alps and nestled next to Lake Lucerne, Lucerne is about as picturesque as it gets in the winter. Enjoy sports like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter hiking. Suppose you are not adventurous strolling around a medieval town. Or, journey to the summit of Mount Pilatus for an unforgettable meal in the clouds.
Rovaniemi sits by the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus's terrestrial residence. Its excellent Arktikum museum is the perfect introduction to these latitudes; Rovaniemi is the ideal base to explore the Arctic. Visit Santa and camp out in the Arctic. Also, you will find many glass igloo hotels that give unparalleled views of the Northern Lights.
While Budapest gets pretty cold in the winter, you can warm yourself city's outdoor thermal baths. If you are brave enough, that is! Christmas markets also offer delicious food and unique treasures to buy as gifts. You will find much to love because the city dates back to the Old Stone Age. History buffs can immerse themselves in the:
Roman, neo-Gothic, Renaissance, and Ottoman cultures.
If you want a break from the cold, head to Seville; the average temperature is in the 60s during December. The city is known not only for its traditional Christmas Markets but also for its dozens of elaborately staged nativity scenes. Also, Seville's Moorish architecture is stunning. Just get out and walk. You will find something to delight your senses.
Yes, visitors pour into Munich for Oktoberfest, but I am here to tell you that Munich is fantastic during December. The city's distinct Bavarian flair, heated outdoor beer gardens, and numerous markets make for an enjoyable holiday season.
You might not remember your whole trip (beer flows freely in Germany), but it will be epic!
If you are looking for a beautiful destination for your winter break, look no further than Europe. You don't have to head to the North Pole to enter a winter wonderland. Multiple destinations will offer you history, culture, and romance.