1. Salzbourg, Austria
With one of the most beautiful Christmas market in the world, Salzbourg is a highly recommended destination in this period. In winter, the city is covered with a white snow coat giving the atmosphere of an enchanted village.
The old city is registered on the Unesco world heritage, and is truly a voyage back in the time. You will be especially fascinated by the greatness of its architecture, its palaces’ baroque facades and its numerous churches. You can also take a break and stroll on the Residenzplatz while enjoying the cafes several centuries old.
The Mozarteum museum dedicated to the renowned compositor Wolfang Amadeus Mozart, has been settled in its birth apartment. This is an inevitable Austrian place to visit whatever the season.
2. Rovaniemi, Finland
Rovaniemi is a great city to visit in winter season, especially during Christmas period. Indeed, this is the Santa Claus’s official city, and he has his office in the little village named Santa Claus, 8,6 kilometres from the city centre of Rovaniemi. Santa’s office is open to visitors throughout the year for free.
The city is organized to receive tourists in all seasons of the year, with a wide range of leisure activities depending on the season. In winter, you can enjoy the unique experience of the aurora borealis dancing in the sky, and of the “kaamos”, this Nordic phenomenon with the sky’s dark blue light reflected on the snow.
Winter safaris with snowmobile are available for visitors, as well as excursions with sled dog and reindeer.
3. Saint Petersburg, Russia
Winter is by far the most beautiful season to visit the former Tsar capital, commonly called in this period “Venice of the North”.
With temperatures under zero, Saint Petersburg is trapped in ice amid its numerous canals. This is an opportunity to discover another face of the city, of its architecture and its many palaces.
In winter, you have the advantage of being able to visit the various structures easily than during the high season, with much less tourists than usually.
4. Venice, Italy
Visit Venice in winter has firstly the advantage of enjoying deserted lanes, with much less tourist than is summer (except during the carnival). No need to queuing for museum or gondola ride. In terms of travel budget, this is also the off-peak period, so you can benefit of lower prices than usually (especially for transports and accommodations).
In winter, the temperatures are low and the air is humid, so don’t forget to bring warm clothes. At dawn, with the sun, a thick fog rises, submerging the city in a mysterious and almost fairy atmosphere. With the winter lights, the lanes’ colourful facades emerge as neither different season. This is the opportunity for making even more beautiful photos!
In December, the city is illuminated by Christmas decorations and stores, which are staying open all day long. In January, this is the high period for Opera. But the most expected event is in February, with the famous Carnival of Venice, which will be run this year on February 18-28.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Under the snow, Amsterdam looks like a real winter picture postcard with its white coat and its outdoor rinks. Much less busy than usually, the silent streets are nearly deserted. You can also enjoy the numerous museums of the capital, without queuing for hours.
From November to January, the light installations of the annual festival “Amsterdam Light Festival” illuminate the capital’s streets and canals.
In December, there is various Christmas markets in all the city, with different themes according to the district. The 5 December of each year, you can also attend to the feast of Saint-Nicholas which is happening in the hearth of the city.
Winter is by far the warmest period of the year for visiting Amsterdam and enjoying typical cooking and animations day and night.
6. Abisko, Sweden
The village of Abisko, haven of peace and ice located at the Far North of the Swedish Lapland, is the ideal destination to enjoy breath-taking winter landscape.
Well-known for its very large national park, you can go to meet the Nordic wild fauna. Abisko is the ideal place to take a ride with sled dogs on the famous Royal Road (Kungsleden), but you can also try snowshoe trekking or ice fishing on the huge iced lake of the region.
Abisko is also the best place in the world to attend the unique sight of aurora borealis (from November to march). The Aurora sky station is a very special station, accessible only by chairlift, which offers the possibility to eat a meal by the light of the aurora borealis.
7. Andalusia, Spain
For a warm winter, we recommend you the Andalusia, which has the advantage of a quite mild climate in this season. Indeed, this Spanish region has the chance to have more than 300 days of sun a year, allowing the locals to extend the days outside without being bothered by the usual hordes of tourists.
For its unique flora and fauna, Andalusia is one of the most visited Spanish region. You can also visit the villages around the regions which are classified on the Unesco World Heritage.
Winter sports fans? You will simply have to go few kilometres away to enjoy the most beautiful ski and snowboard spots, especially at the Sierra Nevada or at the Pradollano station.
Another benefit, the transports and accommodation prices are broken in winter. So don’t hesitate any longer!
8. Oslo, Norway
Commonly referred as the world winter capital, this season is the best period to visit Oslo. Many activities are available and the winter landscapes will take your breath away.
The winter park of Oslo, located at only thirty minutes from downtown, is the biggest ski station of the region with 18 runs, 11 lifts and a Snowpark. For the most enthusiasts of you, the world oldest ski museum of Holmenkollen exhibits 4000 years of ski history.
In the hearth of the city, many rinks and toboggan runs are available for young and old.
The warm and familial atmosphere of Oslo city will delight you for sure, in this quiet period where very few tourists dare come brave the Norwegian cold.
9. Stockholm, Sweden
If days are short in winter in Stockholm, it is at this period that the city lights up and becomes even warmer. The capital offers a wide selection of activities to spend an unforgettable stay, especially in downtown area where you will be able to skate on the frozen lake of Hellasgarden or on the Vasaparken rink.
At this time of year, you must try the Hellasgarden sauna and then, dive into the frozen lake as a real Swedish!
Lastly, after a good day of sight-seeing, nothing better than a fika break. Typically Swedish, you can take these coffee breaks in a quiet and warm local café, comfortably seated in an armchair with a yummy pastry, hot drink and a blanket!
10. Budapest, Hungary
What better season than winter to visit the Hungarian capital? In December, it offers one of the best Christmas market ever, with illuminated streets in several districts of Budapest.
At this time, you can experience the Budapest’s thermal springs, with 38 degrees’ water under the snow. You can also enjoy the mysterious and fairy atmosphere offered by all the capital’s castles.
Winter is the most favourable season for cultural visits in Budapest. To get you warmed up, do not hesitate to visit the various museums and art galleries the city offers.