The European continent is heaven for tourists with its unmatched natural beauty, historical wonders, and architectural marvels. Especially in winters, when the region is covered with sparkling snow, European towns (and castles) are prime locations for spending your holiday season.
With Christmas around the corner and the holiday season kicking in, let us introduce you to some of the best places in Europe that you can visit to enjoy your vacations.
1. Hallstatt, Austria
There is no competition to the pretty alpine town of Hallstatt, Austria, when it comes to enjoying the natural scenic beauty of winter.
Surrounded by Alps peaks covered with layers of cottony snow, this Austrian town is the best place to relax your mind, away from the city noise.
You can enjoy your evenings in the cozy traditional wooden houses with the crackling of wood burning in the majestic fireplaces. For curious explorers, the narrow alleys, lakefronts, and Hallstatt Skywalk are some compelling attractions to explore.
How to get to Hallstatt? Discover the small town Hallstatt, one of the most enchanting locations in Austria, with this full-day trip from Vienna. The views will take your breath away!
2. Prague, Czech Republic
If you prefer enjoying your winter vacations while taking a stroll down city streets, enjoying holiday decorations and bustling crowds, then Prague is a city that you must not miss out on.
As it is the cultural center of the Czech Republic, you will find several activities to enjoy around town. Prague is the hub of holiday festivities, from the architectural grandeur to the countless beer parlors harboring numerous flavors.
While you are in the city in winter, do not miss out on the Christmas market in Prague, which is famous across Europe.
3. Tallinn, Estonia
There are hundreds of distinguished European cities to visit, but the small and more unknown European capitals are by no means behind in terms of their beauty and natural attractions.
The Estonian capital of Tallinn, which includes an old walled town and stone-paved alleyways from medieval times, is a major tourist attraction.
Especially in winters when the city is covered in a white blanket, Tallinn is a wonder with its old-town Christmas markets decorated with heartwarming lights and lanterns that offer the visitors a magical experience, straight out of a fairy-tale.
The city is also famous for its spas and saunas to combat the cold weather, where you can bask in the warmth while enjoying the snowfall from the vintage-styled windows.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
If you wish to enjoy the true essence of nature’s winter, the icy land of Reykjavik is the best option for you. Standing at the far edge of the world and in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, the country of Iceland is a deep glacier with its icy cold winters famous across the globe.
The whole country gets covered in blue ice, passing off alien vibes. In this dark corner of the world, you will find exciting, adventurous activities that no other place offers with matching intensity–from the Winter Light Festivals to geothermal pools and glacier hikes.
At Reykjavik, you will get the chance to witness the 10,000 years old Great Geyser in action as well.
5. Abisko, Sweden
Who does not wish to witness the wonder of the Northern Lights, brightening up the night sky at the far end of the European lands? The city of Abisko in Sweden allows you to realize this dream with a minimum budget to spend.
Abisko is one of the best spots to witness the northern aurora dancing across the vastness of the sky.
You can also enjoy cross-country skiing to Scandinavian land during the daylight hours and other adventures such as sledding, snowmobiling, winter hiking, etc.
One interesting attraction in Abisko, Sweden, is the world’s first ice hotel, where you can enjoy your stay or learn more about its history and architecture.
6. Schwerin, Germany
The holiday season is famous for its Christmas markets and décor, and Europe has no competition when it comes to that.
Schwerin, Germany, offers one of the world’s best Christmas markets where the city’s medieval architecture sparkles with fairy lights and dreamy décor, looking straight out of Disneyland.
Schwerin is worth visiting during the winter, from Christmas decorations to souvenirs to enjoying some of the traditional delicacies.
The city also has a tradition of setting up stalls of local gingerbread and hot mulled wine to make you forget all the coldness of the weather outside.
In addition, you can also pay a visit to some of the historical monuments in the city, including Schwerin Castle, that are worth a visit while strolling through the streets of Germany.
7. Rovaniemi, Finland
Famous as the official home of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland, is one of the prime spots in Europe that attract thousands of tourists in winter.
Standing just 4 km (2.5 miles) from the south of the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is often labeled as the Arctic Wonderland.
One of the city’s specialties is its polar twilight, where the sun only peeks over the horizon for a few hours, and a dim twilight covers the sky for most of the day.
The glittering blue snow covering the buildings and nature offers a magical feeling to the tourists.
8. County Kerry, Ireland
The small country of Ireland is often under the limelight among European nations for its distinguished architecture and historical glamor but what makes it even more special for the tourist is its winter style.
Especially for individuals who enjoy absorbing the beauty of winter away from the bustling crowds, County Kerry, Ireland, is an excellent option to consider.
You can enjoy the crispy cold snowfalls in the region along with the opportunity to participate in the outdoor and indoor events of your choice.
If you are a history fanatic, you can also visit Ross Castle, an Irish ancestral heritage located within the same region.
Do not forget to buy travel insurance to travel to Europe. Hopefully, you don’t need to use it, but it is better to be prepared for any eventuality or emergency.
Choosing travel insurance will depend mainly on the duration and coverage of the insurance. Therefore, it is best to inform yourself well to choose the best insurance available.
If you want you can review our guide on how to choose travel insurance, where you will find comparisons, opinions, and discounts.
We hope you enjoyed this visit to the European winter highlights. Let us know in the comments what place attracted you the most, or maybe there is a European winter adventure that you would like us to recommend.
Guest Post by: Elora Holt – revisitinghistory.com
Full-time architecture geek, especially Gothic & Art Nouveau varieties – the quickest way to convince me to travel is to describe the local architecture (not that it will take much effort, I have a bucket list of locations that will take a lifetime). I’m also a design geek, so my long-term focus is to work in 3D architectural rendering. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying grabbing a cup of coffee and writing about castles around Europe!
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Last Updated on 25 September, 2023 by Veronica
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Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.