5 Best Places To Enjoy Winter In Europe

Last year we wrote a few posts about where to escape the winter cold in Europe, without having to leave the continent – this time, however, we will embrace the winter and talk about the highlights of the season, and some of the best places to enjoy them …

Alps & Rural Villages – Graubünden, Switzerland

Of all the places I’ve been during winter, nothing beats Graubünden in Switzerland.

It is a very unique place, with lots of tiny mountain villages, chocolate-box ski towns and the most amazing mountain scenery you could imagine.

The Engadine valley is one of the deepest in Europe, surrounded by the Swiss Alps, and is still only accessible via train (you drive your car onto the train!), and thanks to this inaccessibility the local culture and heritage is very well preserved. And you know the craziest thing about this place? It’s sunny almost every day, and yet it has heaps of snow – because it almost only snows at night..!

A Warm Relaxing Bath – Budapest, Hungary

There is nothing better than to soak down into a warm bath after a long day out in the cold. In Budapest, bathing takes on a new level, with the many “Turkish baths” the city boasts – the baths are far from the noisy, cold indoor pools most cities have. Even those who aren’t fond of bathing go there just to admire the beautiful architecture. There are both outdoor and indoor pools, and every place has their own charm and unique touch. And I can guarantee you they’re much more pleasant in winter than during a hot day in mid-july…!

Magic & Culture – Tromsø, Norway

The countryside of Norway is quite a spiritual place, and there is a very unique atmosphere there. Perhaps it’s the eery northern lights, or the quiet forests, or the red sun at noon – whatever it is, there is a unique atmosphere in the north. But aside from nature, there is another reason that many people forget or don’t even know about Scandinavia: the Sami culture.

The Sami people are the indegenous people of Scandinavia who inhabitate the north. They have their own language, culture, flag and traditions.

In Tromsø in February, there is a weeklong event called “Sami week”, where you can get an insight into their culture, check out the reindeer racing, lasso-throwing championship and other cultural Sami events, buy traditional handicrafts etc.

Snow-Covered Wonderland – Cappadocia, Turkey

If you think Turkey is warm in winter, you’re wrong. It can get freezing cold, but the weather also brings some magic to this land. While you should stay away from the beaches, it’s a good time to visit some of the historical wonders in the country, such as Cappadocia.

People say that while Cappadocia is beautiful at any time of the year, it’s the most magical under a layer of snow.

Another good reason to go there in winter are the cheap flight deals you can find, especially within the country – Jet2 can offer cheap flights during winter as well as other times of the year. I can also imagine that Ephesus would be a nice place to go in winter. I was there in June and it was extremely hot, so visiting on a sunny but cold day would be nice.

Picturesque Winter City – Salzburg, Austria

Does any city look more picturesque in a layer of snow than Salzburg?

With one of the most famous christmas markets in Europe, a winter classical music festival, lots of winter hiking trails and a generally romantic vibe of the city, it’s simply the place to be. 

And what better place to be surrounded by “Silent Night” music than in the city where it was composed?

(photo credit: 1 – 2)

What are your tips for places to visit in Europe during winter?

13 Responses to 5 Best Places To Enjoy Winter In Europe

  1. Clay November 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    It looks so gorgeous. The “Snow-Covered Wonderland” in Turkey leaves me breathless!

    • Sofia November 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      I know, it looks like a place out of this world!

  2. Addison S. @ Visa Hunter November 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    The balloon ride over Cappadocia looks like the most awesome thing ever. Have you done it? For me, the best European winter spot has to be England’s Lake District. There is a valley called Great Langdale that has the most unbelievable landscapes, especially when covered in snow.

    • Sofia November 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      I haven’t done it yet but it’s definitely on my bucket list!
      England’s countryside is amazing, the whole of UK has incredible nature and countryside. I have never seen it during the winter though.

  3. Jemma November 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I wish it also snowed in our country. And my favorite part in this post is the Cappadocia. I don’t wonder why it’s called wonderland because it’s really a WONDER! The snow formations are awesome and it must be really fun to ride a hot air balloon there.

    • Sofia November 19, 2012 at 8:46 am #

      If there is one place I would like to fly a balloon it’s there, it must be so amazing to look down from there.

  4. Jesse November 19, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    I think I would especially pick the one with the most northern lights occurrence. It would be quite romantic to watch with my fiancee.

    • Sofia November 19, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      I agree, it is one of the most romantic and magical natural wonders, I hope I get the chance to see it this winter!

  5. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista November 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Wow, I’ve never been to Europe during winter but would love too and was hoping your post could help me decide where best to go! Alas, I would love to visit all of these destinations during winter.

  6. Dean November 22, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    It would be very hard to go past Switzerland in the winter, but it is pretty expensive. Seeing the Northern Lights is certainly tempting as well. Great list!

    • Sofia November 22, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Switzerland certainly isn’t the cheapest country in Europe, but we’ve often found that it’s not quite as expensive as people make it out to be. In any case, it is definitely worth the price! 🙂

  7. Rajesh November 22, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    All 5 places are fantastic to visit. But personally I like Switzerland and Australia. if anyone ask you about heaven of earth. You can reply – Switzerland. I want to say thanks writer of this blog for sharing golden information about 5 lovely places.

    • Sofia November 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Switzerland and Australia are beautiful countries, and very different from each other too! Glad to hear you liked the post.