Why visit Europe in the winter

Why visit Europe in the winter

Europe is spectacular to visit during any season, but there is something magical about wandering through romantic Christmas markets, sipping cinnamon spiced glühwein and listening to classical concerts in ornate palaces on a chilly winter’s day.
Don your winter gloves and boots and experience the best of Europe in a whole new light with these 6 great reasons to visit Europe during winter.

1. Christmas markets and festive light displays

Explore Europe’s winter wonderland of historic Christmas markets and dazzling light displays throughout the major cities of Vienna, Cologne and Amsterdam, or stroll through the cobblestone laneways of Rothenburg, Bamberg and Salzburg for smaller, romantic Christmas markets. Warm up with mugs of Belgian hot chocolate in beautiful Bruges, browse traditional wooden stalls adorned with twinkling fairy lights, for handcrafted ornaments for your Christmas tree back home, and feast on fresh gingerbread and roasted chestnuts. Don’t forget to toast your European holiday with a steaming mug of warming glühwein and keep the mug as a souvenir.
Explore Vienna's Christmas market

2. Go ice skating

Take a break from shopping and test your balance as you enjoy the festive season by skating at one of the many ice skating rinks in Europe. Hire skates at the popular Ice*Amsterdam situated at Museumplein and skate under the glow of the moon and stars. Prefer to keep your feet on firm ground? During winter, Amsterdam’s canals become frozen and you can watch locals skating majestically down the snow covered canals.
Ice skate along Amsterdam's canals

3. Relax in Budapest’s Thermal Baths

Escape Hungary’s frosty air, and relieve tired muscles by warming up in Budapest’s thermal baths, one of the city’s major attractions during winter. With more than a dozen thermal baths in Budapest to choose from, a long soak in the steaming-hot waters of the neo-Baroque palace of Széchenyi Baths, one of Europe’s largest baths, is a must. Relax in one of the 15 indoor pools and three large outdoor pools of varying temperatures, as well as steam rooms, saunas and even a thermal beer spa. The Art Nouveau complex of Gellért Baths is also one of Budapest’s most beautiful thermal baths with stained glass windows, Roman columns and 10 pools of varying sizes and temperatures.
Budapest thermal baths

4. Cooler temperatures and snow

Wrap up and enjoy Europe’s cooler temperatures during winter. A picturesque time of the year to visit, you may experience snow-dusted rooftops and magical snowfalls as you walk along frosted laneways and pass historic timbered houses. We recommend wearing layers with warm hats, gloves and scarves as well as waterproof boots with a good tread to avoid slipping. When you are feeling chilly, warm up in cosy cafes in front of log fires with an Austrian Sacher Torte or a paprika spiced Hungarian Goulash.
Couple strolling the Christmas markets in Europe

5. Winter walks

Discover the beauty of Europe in winter during guided walks through some of the picturesque and World Heritage-listed old towns. Stroll through the myriad of Christmas markets in Cologne and learn about the city’s fascinating history. Alternatively hike up to Bratislava Castle or Dürnstein Castle in Austria’s Wachau Valley for panoramic views of the Danube River and charming town below.
Cologne Christmas markets Germany

6. Spectacular concerts

Listen to festive Christmas carols and classical concerts in some of Europe’s most ornate palaces and opera houses. Enjoy an enchanting classical evening concert at Vienna’s Palais Liechtenstein, featuring the timeless music of Mozart and Strauss, or enjoy an evening performance at Vienna’s magnificent Opera House. Whilst walking through the charming European streets during winter, keep an ear open for festive carols and hymns, join in with your favourites and immerse yourself in the Christmas cheer.
Enjoy a classical concert at Vienna's Opera House
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