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