Winter doesn’t have to mean staying at home, shivering as we trudge our way to the office. Winter can mean holidays, and good ones.
Just because the weather has turned a little chillier, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole wealth of things to do in Europe during the winter period to make for the perfect holiday. So dig your passport out of the draw, check your e111 card, and get packing. We’ve got some of the top European winter holiday destinations.
For the winter sports fans among us, Interlaken can be the best option for a winter break. This Swiss resort town plays host to some of the most popular winter sports, including skiing, toboggan rides, snowboarding, sledding tracks and plenty of amazing views of mountains. There’s even shopping for those who might not be big fans of winter sports, or who just want a break from hitting the slopes. With over 150 restaurants, and plenty of things to do to add variety to your break, Interlaken is a perfect sporting destination for the winter.
If you want to experience the culture and history that Athens has in bucket loads, then the winter can be the best time to do it. To escape the crowded streets, tourist pricing, queues, air pollution and intense heat, the winter months make for the perfect time to explore the city if you don’t mind things being a little cooler than in the summer. Just bear in mind that if you want to hop from island to island to explore, many of the accommodations will close during the winter due to a lack of demand.
Stary Smokovec, Slovakia
For an ‘authentic’ European break filled with gothic-style accommodation and scenery, look no further than Stary Smokovec. A place that very few may have heard of during the summer months, this Central European style destination is stunning during the winter months, especially when it snows. It’s Belle-Epoque hotels and Ruritanian railway station all look beautiful in the snow, but with reassuringly modern facilities, you can rest easier knowing that you can still get to the nearby Hrebienok if you need to.
Berlin is the perfect city for a break during the winter months, especially close to Christmas. The lakes freeze over, the pavements are more open after the outside summer seating is packed away, and the city is significantly less tourist-heavy than during the summer months – unless you visit during the Christmas Markets. If you can handle the crowds, Berlin’s Christmas Markets are always stunning, whether they’re small and charming, or huge, glamorous and central. Whatever the case, you can be sure to find something for everyone on one of the hundreds of stalls and set ups. Just make sure to bring extra layers, because the temperatures can reach the minus numbers regularly.
Rome is the perfect place to visit during the winter, and winter is the perfect time to visit Rome. Tourists are few and far between during off-peak times, and for those who want to enjoy the culture and the history of the city without the hustle and bustle of tourism, the winter months can offer a clearer, more accessible visit. You can get a more authentic feel for this Italian city, where the locals will be more easily distinguishable with a lack of overbearing tourism. And to make matters better? The prices are cheaper, too!