When you think about a trip to Europe, winter might not seem like the ideal season. Isn’t summer better, when it’s warm, and the sun shines all day long?

However, winter offers many advantages. First, fewer people travel so that you will encounter fewer crowds. And second, Europe is diverse enough that you can find destinations for enjoying snow and places where you can escape the cold.

To find out about the best winter destinations in Europe, we have asked fellow travel bloggers to name their favourites. Here is what they consider the best places in Europe that you should visit next winter:

The Best European Winter Destinations

#1 Tallinn, Estonia

View from Toompea Hill in Tallinn

Tallinn is not just one of our favourite European capitals to travel to but also one of our favourite winter destinations.

The medieval city centre looks even more magical when covered with snow. One of the highlights of Tallinn is to go for a walk and take in the atmosphere. You will discover lots of cobblestone streets, hidden alleys and courtyards, and of course historical buildings.

If you want to see the city from above, you should head to Toompea Hill. Here, you can find multiple viewpoints that allow you not just to see the city but also catch a glimpse of the Baltic Sea. You can also climb on top of the city wall to see Tallinn from above.

Up on Toompea Hill, make sure to visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of Tallinn’s most beautiful churches. The building looks particularly beautiful when covered with snow.

If you visit in December, you can explore the Christmas market in front of the Town Hall. It is one of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets that you should not miss.

Did you know that the first Christmas tree in the world was set up in either Tallinn or Riga? Both cities claim to have this honour and both have a long tradition of setting up Christmas trees in December.

If you get cold while exploring Tallinn, you can visit one of the many cafes and restaurants. Maiasmokk Cafe is Tallinn’s oldest cafe and a great place to try traditional Estonian pastries. Or head to the III Draakon to try elk soup. We even have a guide to Estonian food for you, so you can find out what other delicacies to eat while in Estonia.

Contributed by us

#2 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam in winter

Amsterdam is one of the best cities in the world, and it is especially beautiful in the winter months.

Located in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is known around the world for its complex canal system, narrow houses, and great beet.

And spending 48 Hours in Amsterdam is the perfect amount of time to explore the city! Whether you cycle, boat, or walk around the city, Amsterdam has so much to offer in winter.

Some of the best things to do in Amsterdam include a visit to its Museum District, where you can wander the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk. To learn about the city’s history, a must-see is the Anne Frank House. For some cultural experiences, head to the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistral, Hortus Botanicas Amsterdam, or NEMO.

And one of our favourite things to do is to explore the lesser-known areas of the city, including neighbourhoods Jordaan and Amsterdam-Oost.

Christmas in Amsterdam is stunning, and each year the city plays host to a handful of Christmas markets, including Amsterdam Winter Paradise, Funky Xmas Market, Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt and Ice Village Amsterdam.

Over the festive season, the city is covered in Christmas lights, majestic pines line the main tourist spots, and brightly coloured baubles appear in every corner of the city. There’s ice-skating, rooftop bars, cosy pubs and Amsterdam Light Festival, all adding to the festive cheer this city delivers every year!

And if that is not enough, there’s the food! Dutch cuisine was made for cold days and nights, provides you with some incredible hearty dishes including stamppot, snert and everything in between.

Amsterdam is an amazing city to visit in the winter and one I would add to your bucket list!

Contributed by Sophie from Sophie’s Suitcase

#3 St Ives, UK

St Ives - Porthmeor beach

One of the best places in the UK to visit in winter is St Ives. St Ives is a town located in the south-west of the picturesque town of Cornwall. Formerly a fishing village, the town is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.

Visiting St Ives in winter, you’ll encounter fewer tourists and be able to enjoy more of the beauty of St Ives. One of the best things to do during winter is to take long walks along one of the five stunning beaches. Porthmeor beach is the best destination for winter walks. When the tide is out, you can wade through the puddles and watch surfers brave the winter seas. If you’re lucky, it occasionally snows in St Ives, turning the beaches a perfect shade of white.

Most of the shops in St Ives are open all through the winter season. You can stroll up and down the winding cobbled streets and shop for souvenirs and Christmas presents. A visit to one of the towns many restaurants is often accompanied by a warm fire and a drink of mulled Rattler, a local speciality.

Visiting St Ives during the festive period is something that won’t be forgotten. On New Year’s eve, locals and visitors alike dress up in fancy dress and parade along the main streets in St Ives harbour. At midnight there’s a fantastic fireworks display – a family affair.

You could be spending Christmas eating local Cornish delicacies and taking part in the traditional boxing day swim on Porthminster beach.

Contributed by Sylvie from Kids to Cornwall

#4 Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Looking for the best winter destination in Europe? The capital city of Belgium should not be missed in winter. Brussels is famous for its scenic beauty, rich culture, heritage, and modern art and it looks more beautiful in winter for the festive vibes of Christmas and New Year.

The average temperature in Brussels is around 2-3 degrees in the winter season. It is definitely cold, but you won’t be frozen, and you will find pubs and restaurants at every corner of the streets in Brussels to keep you warm.

From medieval architecture to elegant buildings, from decorated Christmas market to modern street art, there are tons of things to see in Brussels. The Grand Place is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brussels. The striking architecture of the 15th century City Hall and the historic Guild House will leave you awestruck. The centre square is worth a visit during the day and at night.

If you travel to Brussels with your kids, don’t forget to visit the Comics Art Museum. This is a fascinating museum and a must-visit place for Tintin fans. You can see many cartoon strips and characters such as Tintin, Asterix, and the Smurfs that remind your childhood days. Keep your eye out around Brussels for large scale Tintin posters and murals.

Another reason to visit Brussels in winter is its popular Christmas market. Explore the Winter Wonder Christmas Market, which takes place in Grand Place from late November to early January. The market is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and trees. You can shop for some designer winter clothes from the gift shops or warm up with hot chocolate and mulled wine.

Belgium is also famous for its award-winning delicious chocolates. During your visit to the capital city of the country, you must try some of the best Belgian chocolate brands such as Neuhaus, Godiva, Galler, Leonidas and much more. Belgians are also proud of their beer. You can book a beer tasting tour or just visit a pub and enjoy local drinks to warm you up.

Contributed by Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff

#5 Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Another excellent winter destination for those seeking, cuisine, culture, and Christmas cheer is Athens with cheap flights, well-priced accommodation, mild, sunny temperatures, and still plenty of things to see and do. Plus, Athens’ archaeological sites are half price during the off-season, so there are even more savings to be found!

Average daytime temperatures range between 15°C in November and 9°C in January, with a chance of rainfall throughout the season, so you’ll want to pack some warm clothing for your trip to Athens, but there’s unlikely to be snowfall.

One of the best things about visiting Athens in winter is that the main archaeological sites like the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, and Hadrian’s Library are going to be much quieter than they are in summer. This means you’ll be able to snap some great shots of the sites while also spending as much time as you like meandering around the ruins. Other top things to do while in Athens in winter are seeing the Changing of the Guard in Syntagma Square, exploring the Street Art in Psiri, watching the sunset from a rooftop bar, and visiting the plethora of museums and galleries.

The only thing is, the days are much shorter in winter, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly to make the most of the outdoor activities during the hours of daylight.

Fear not though, as when it gets dark, you can head inside to traditional Greek tavernas and warm, cosy cafes to enjoy delicious drinks and dining.

Contributed by Chrysoula from Athens & Beyond

#6 Naples, Italy

Naples in winter

When winter is approaching the first thing that will pop up in your mind is cold, snow and Christmas. Winter is the perfect time to visit Naples, thanks to the great weather condition and the low season for tourism. In fact, many attractions will be less crowded.

Winter in Naples is a bit different as even during cold months, the sun will warm up the city and make it one of the best winter sun destinations in Italy. The average temperature is higher compared to other cities in Italy, especially the northern part, which allows you to explore Naples without wearing a heavy jacket!

During the months of December and January, you can still enjoy a lovely walk along the seaside. If you are lucky enough, going toward the Castel dell’ Ovo, you will admire the amazing landscape with the Vesuvio in the background with a snow-white hat.

Christmas is one of the best periods to visit Naples. The city changes completely with lights and decoration all over the streets. Apart from that, Naples is considered one of the best cities to visit at Christmas, thanks to its tradition and the famous Nativity scene street, San Gregorio Armeno. Walking along San Gregorio Armeno means admiring artisans creating, exhibiting and selling the miniature figures that represent the Nativity scene.

No visit to Naples could be done without going below the surface in the “Catacombe di San Gennaro”, the underneath world of Christianity in ancient past, or visit the Museo Cappella San Severo to admire the worthless “Cristo Velato”.

Naples is the ideal location to spend a few days or even a week while the rest of Europe is cold and wet. The city is relatively cheap, ideal for couples gateways or solo travellers, and opening recently to on a budget backpackers, thanks to the many hotels, b&b and hostels for cheap.

Contributed by Alessia & Toti from Italian Trip Abroad

#7 Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia in winter

Croatia is a super-popular (and very crowded) summer holiday destination, but it’s a well-kept secret in winter. While the islands are very quiet in the winter and Zagreb gets pretty cold, Split is the perfect winter destination.

As Croatia’s second-largest city, there’s still plenty of chic restaurants open, cosy cafes by the sea to drink coffee in for hours, and arts and cultural life going on. Plus the location right on the Adriatic Sea means the weather is pretty mild – sometimes it’s even warm enough for a swim in November! And the crushing summer crowds have departed the scenic old town and Diocletian’s Palace – you’ll find plenty of space to sit and hang with the locals for your afternoon beer or wander the tiny ancient streets.

What is there to do in Split in the winter? There’s always cafe-hopping and restaurants as an option. If you’re here in December, the traditional Advent Houses on the Riva promenade can’t be missed – drink mulled wine and stroll around the traditional craft shopping booths. You might not be up for a swim, but strolling down to Jezinac beach just outside the centre is a beautiful walk to sit at the beachfront cafe and soak in the surprisingly strong winter sun. Get outside for a long walk with insane views at Marjan Hill park, featuring panoramic sights of the sea surrounding the city.

And you can visit the many museums – the Museum of Fine Art featuring centuries of Croatian art, the gorgeous Mestrovic Gallery with works from Croatia’s most famous sculptor, or the Archeological Museum with finds from Split’s rich history through the ages.

Split is a perfect short city break or digital nomad destination in the winter – without the crowds and high prices that come with the summer tourist season. Culture, a vibrant cafe scene, plenty of outdoor activities, in a history-rich city right on the sea? You’ve gotta go.

Contributed by Kathleen from My Lonesome Roads

#8 Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg in winter

With twinkling lights, Christmas markets and a dusting of snow, winter adds an extra sparkle to the Austrian city of Salzburg – the ideal place to experience a traditional European Christmas. Salzburg is known as one of the best places in Europe for Christmas markets, with wooden chalets selling handmade gifts, ornate glass tree decorations and cosy woollen hats and scarves, as well as delicious food including lebkuchen spiced biscuits and steaming cups of glühwein.

Biggest and most famous of Salzburg’s Christmas markets is the Christkindlmarkt in Dom Square, but you can find smaller markets tucked away off the Getreidegasse shopping street and close to the Mirabell and Hellbrunn Palaces. Both the markets and the centre of the city are draped with Christmas lights during December and January, with shop windows decorated with colourful displays.

Salzburg is the city of music and was famously the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As well as visiting his former homes you can join in a festive Mozart dinner at the Stiftskulinarium, Europe’s oldest restaurant. During winter in Salzburg, it’s beautifully decorated with grand Christmas trees and flickering candles, serving dishes which date back to Mozart’s day with a different piece of his music performed by musicians and singers between each course.

Salzburg was also where priest Joseph Mohr penned the much-loved carol Silent Night just over 200 years ago. And the city was also a location for the musical film The Sound of Music – a festive TV favourite in the UK – you can follow in their footsteps from the steps of the Mirabell Gardens to the pavilion of the Hellbrunn Palace. Wrap up warm and take a walk up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress for views out over the city, often covered in a layer of snow, to see the lights come on at night for the perfect Christmas moment.

Contributed by Lucy from On the Luce

#9 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen in winter

If cosy cafes, cherry Christmas markets and wintery festive activities fit your idea of a great winter destination, then Denmark’s capital city can’t be beaten! As the birthplace of Hygge, Copenhagen is the perfect place to snuggle up on a heated terrace, a thick blanket thrown over your shoulders as you drink warm cups of hot chocolate or mulled wine.

The mood in Copenhagen is decidedly jovial, even if the daylight hours are limited in winter, and you’ll find the locals enjoying the bars, markets, ice-skating rinks and fairs after work. Head along to the famous Nyhavn canal where you’ll find plenty of the aforementioned terraces, with a view of the colourful boats on the canal.

If you’re visiting Copenhagen in December, you’ll also find a Xmas market lining the length of the canal, selling everything from woollen socks, to trinkets for your tree. Keep an eye on the calendar for the annual floating Xmas parade too – it’s a spectacle not to be missed!

Winter is also the ideal time to visit the city’s Tivoli Gardens, while they’re dressed up in a wintery theme. The flamboyant theme park is a delight to visit during the day, especially with young ones in tow, but come dark it positively sparkles. Outdoor skating rinks around the city are fun for the whole family, and a hot sauna allows you to thaw out after a day’s exploring.

For an easy day trip from Copenhagen, jump on a train to Malmo, and you’ll be exploring the Swedish city in a little over half an hour!

Contributed by  Nadine from Le Long Weekend

#10 Catania, Italy

Catania, Italy in winter

Catania is one of the most unique winter destinations in Europe. Why? Because you will get both warm and cold weather!

Catania is located on the eastern side of the island of Sicily, in southern Europe. The city itself is very sunny and warm in winter. With an average temperature of 11 degrees in January, it’s pretty much as good as it gets on the old continent!

History lovers will have plenty to discover in Catania. From the Duomo to the Bellini gardens, there is a bit of everything. As you roam around town, you will also discover vestiges of Catania underground. The city was completely covered by the lava from Mount Etna back in 1669 which means that the one you actually visit nowadays is the new Catania. The old Catania is underground! That having been said, the underground city is not open to the public, so you won’t be able to explore it.

When it comes to food, Catania also has a lot to offer. Arancini, granita, cipolline… the best Sicilian specialities are from there!

Finally, make sure to go on a day trip to Mount Etna! In winter, it’s covered in snow which makes it even prettier! You can even ski if you want to! There are numerous hiking paths you can take, but it’s recommended to go with a guide. For the full experience, take the cable car to the crater! It’s a very unique experience.

If you are planning on doing both Catania and Mount Etna, you will need to pack more clothes as you will need winter shoes and jackets on the volcano.

Catania is the ideal destination for people who want to get the best of both worlds: sunny seaside city and snowy mountains!

Contributed by Pauline from Beeloved City

#11 Nice, France

Nice, France in winter

If you are considering France for a winter trip, Nice is an ideal destination for some winter sun. With winter temperatures that reach maximums of 12-16C and only drop to 11-7C (November to February), forget the cold for a while and enjoy coastal walks or a coffee on the terrace.

Nice, in southern France, is a vibrant city by the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the French Riviera, and it is an excellent destination for those who love sightseeing, good food, and some relaxing days on the coast. In the summer months, Nice is full of tourists. Come to visit in wintertime, and you will have the city almost to yourself.

There’s so much to see and do that we recommend spending a minimum of 2 days in Nice. For more extended stays, you can consider renting a car and visit other picturesque coastal towns or cities on a road trip or a day trip.

Nice is also very close to the Italian border, so you can also consider a day trip to Liguria’s Italian region.

The list of fun things to do in Nice in winter includes a stroll around the old town, with beautiful and colourful baroque architecture, taste Provencal specialities (other than the Niçoise salad), and stroll through the iconic Promenade des Anglais. If you are into arts, don’t miss visiting the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum. Both painters spent many years in Nice, and the beauty and light of Nice inspired them in many artworks.

Contributed by Elisa from France Bucket List

#12 Lipno nad Vltavou, Czech Republic

Ice skating on the frozen lake in Lipno nad Vltavou, Czech Republic, in winter

Lipno nad Vltavou is a perfect destination year-round, but especially in wintertime. Snow everywhere and a frozen lake are all that’s necessary to have a good time. Lipno nad Vltavou is located in the Czech Republic. The small town lies between mountains and a lake.

There are several fun things to do in Lipno nad Vltavou, all centred around being outside. The first is ice skating on the Lipno lake. The lake freezes over during wintertime, they keep part of it snow-free, so there’s a track you can skate (or walk) on.

On the mountain is Snowpark Lipno Lyžařský areál, which has 4 ski lifts and 13,5 kilometres of ski slope. A small ski area for the whole family. Another fun activity on the mountain is sledging. Going down the mountain with a sled, again and again, is a guarantee for hours of fun.

A real highlight is the treetop walkway, walk all the way up for grand views of the snowy landscape and the frozen lake. The walkway is on top of the mountain and is 40 meters high. Down is on a slide or walking back the way you came.

Other fun things are walking in the snow. Go on a hike up the mountain on the lake or around the lake. Enjoy the exercise and the great views. Last but not least there’s the Slideland Bobova Draha Lipno. Go bobsledding up and down the mountain on a rail.

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels

#13 Zakopane, Poland

Zakopane, Poland in winter

Europe has many good winter destinations. One of the best locations has to be Zakopane in Poland for its natural beauty, prices and variety of activities. There is everything that one wishes for in a town. It is often referred to as “the winter capital of Poland”.

Located in southern parts of Poland, close to the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing, and hiking besides tourism.

Zakopane is not a very big town, so moving around is extremely easy. Zakopane is a family destination, and it offers things to people of every age. There are many things to do in Zakopane and tourists flock to the town during winters. The winter sports activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, ski jumping, etc. are very popular, but sleigh rides, snowshoe walks, and Ice skating also have their own share of tourists.

The winter holidays in Zakopane bring people for celebrations in traditional style, with dances, decorated horse-pulled sleighs and to relish local delicacies such as roasted lamb, hot mulled wine, meat dumplings and very special Oscypek, a kind of smoked cheese served with cranberry preserve. There is a good option for vegetarians as well.

The town has wooden houses made in typical Zakopanian style. The oldest existing structure in Zakopane is a very small church, a must-visit. The Christmas festival in Zakopane is celebrated with much fervour, and many people come here only to experience it.

On the way to Gubalowka hills, a local market by the same name comes to life during the Christmas season. Gubalowka market is the main Christmas market of Zakopane and has everything that you look for. The market hubbubs with Christmas fever.  It has all kinds of traditional and varieties of Christmas gifts such as crib figurines, handmade toys, leather garments, beautiful wooden artefacts and much more. In the evenings, one can also enjoy local music, singing and dancing.

Contributed by NISHA & VASU from Le Monde, the Poetic Travels

#14 London, UK

Carnaby Street decorated for Christmas in London, UK

The weather in London during the winter might not be ideal but don’t let that stop you from visiting.  There are still plenty of things to do and many special events during the holiday season.

During Christmastime, London truly sparkles.  The decorations are magical, especially on Oxford, Regent, and Carnaby streets.  Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a huge Christmas Market with lots of amusement park rides. (Note: Winter Wonderland is cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19)

Many of London’s top attractions are indoors, so you don’t have to worry about being cold.  For example, the pods of the London Eye keep you comfortable while taking in views of the River Thames.  You can spend hours at London’s world class museums, including the British Museum, National History Museum, Tate Modern, and more. Additionally, you can ice skate in front of the iconic Natural History Museum.

It’s also worthwhile to go inside Westminster Abbey to appreciate the architecture, learn more about the country’s history, and pay tribute to the many influential people buried inside.  You can also tour the Houses of Parliament where both the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet to govern the country.

Winter is also the perfect season to enjoy afternoon tea in London.  It’s a quintessential British experience, and there are many places that offer it.  If you want to splurge, try the Savoy or Hotel Cafe Royal, or a more affordable option is afternoon tea at the Wallace Collection.

If you want to see more of England, you can also do a day trip from London in the winter. Check out other Christmas markets, visit Windsor Castle, go to Harry Potter World, see the University cities of Cambridge and Oxford, and more.

Contributed by Anisa from Two Traveling Texans

#15 Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway in winter

It is a given fact that Norway is one of the popular holiday destinations. The country is synonymous to northern lights, gorgeous fjords, stunning waterfalls, not to forget their famous cities like Bergen, Lofoten and Tromso. While Oslo, as being the capital city of Norway, is also a popular summer destination, people give that weird look when you say, “I am going to Oslo for winter holidays”.

Oslo is one of those buzzing cities that can be visited at any time of the year with plenty of activities to do.  After travelling to Oslo twice during winter, we can safely say, Oslo is truly a winter city. There are more things to do in winter than in summer, to be very honest.

Visit the Christmas Markets and enjoy the festive vibe during December. But if you are here after Christmas season, you can still see how charming the city can be. A visit to Vigeland Sculpture Park is a must, no matter whatever season you visit Oslo. Entrance to this slightly weird sculpture park is free. Adjacent to the park is Frogner Stadium Ice Skating Rink.

Don’t fancy ice skating? Why not indulge in Norwegian’s favourite winter sport – skiing. A short metro ride will take you to Oslo Winter Park, largest ski resort only 25 minutes away from Oslo centre. Alternatively head to Holmenkollen Arena and watch skiers take into action as they ski jump on the arena.

Bored of skating and skiing? Here’s one more adrenaline activity that you might perhaps enjoy. Take a metro to Frognerseteren and enjoy Oslo’s popular toboggan run  – Korketrekkeren. The run is free to use, but you pay for the equipment rental.  After all the winter sports adventure, you can wind down for a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes overlooking Oslo Fjord.  Or simply visit many of the interesting museums in Oslo, most popular being Viking Ship Museum and Kon-Tiki Museum.

With low flight costs to Oslo in winter and an array of interesting activities to do, you must put Oslo into your radar for winter holidays.

Contributed by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

#16 Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany in winter

With its charming streets, historical landmarks, and beautiful parks, Munich is gorgeous at any time of the year. However, the city is especially magical during the winter months.

Munich comes alive with a festive spirit during the holiday season, with Christmas markets and decorations popping up all around the city. Munich’s Christmas markets are some of the most famous in Germany and Europe, and you’ll find one to suit your fancy, whether you are looking for one that is more traditional, or offbeat (such as a pink market, or a medieval-themed market).

Munich’s historic architecture and beautiful parks are especially stunning in the snow. The city looks especially beautiful from above when its orange rooftops are covered in a dusting of snow – you can check out one of the best views from the top of the Peterskirche church tower.

If you are looking to escape the cold for a few hours, the city has many museums and opulent churches to check out. One of the most impressive is the Munich Residenz, which was the home of Bavarian monarchs, and served as the seat of the government from 1508-1918. Be sure not to miss the Antiquarium, a long hall with vaulted ceilings covered with incredible Renaissance-era frescos.

While visiting Munich in winter, taking a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle is a must. While the castle looks straight out of a fairytale at any time of year, it is absolutely magical in the winter, when the surrounding mountains and forests are covered in snow. It is truly a winter wonderland.

Contributed by Caroline from Pictures and Words

#17 Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Christmas Market, Hungary

In recent years Budapest has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, for a good reason! The Hungarian capital has a rich history, and it offers many unique things to see and do.

While the city is usually quite crowded in the summer period, it’s significantly quieter in winter. Combining this with the beautiful Christmas markets, relaxing thermal baths and amazing ice-skating rinks, it’s easy to see why Budapest is one of the best winter destinations in Europe. Spending a weekend in Budapest will give you the chance to see the highlights of the city, but if you have more time, it’s recommended to stay a little longer.

The weather in winter can be a hit and miss, sometimes it’s grey and windy, but there are usually many sunny days with blue skies. The temperature averages between -2 and 4 degrees, so don’t forget to pack some warm clothes!

If you’re lucky with the weather, you can take a romantic walk along the Danube river that offers a breathtaking view of both the Pest and Buda sides. Go up to Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion from where you can get the best views over the city! You can also try Europe’s largest ice-skating rink located in the City Park, near Vajdahunyad Castle.

Budapest is especially beautiful around the holidays when the city is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. You can find many amazing Christmas markets across the city, the best one is located in front the St. Stephen’s Basilica. Besides the cute little wooden chalets selling amazing food and drinks, you can see a custom light show projected on the Basilica as well.

The Hungarian Capital is famous for its thermal baths and what’s better than taking a dip in the hot thermal waters when the weather is cold and chilly outside? Usually, tourists go to Széchenyi Thermal Baths, but Gellért Thermal Baths or Rudas Bath is a good alternative as well.

Contributed by Krisztina from She Wanders Abroad

#18 Rovaniemi, Finland

Reindeer in Rovianiemi

Can you think of any better winter destinations than the home of Santa Claus? No? Then you should head to Rovaniemi in northern Finland.

Up here at the Arctic Circle, you can visit the Santa Claus village and see Santa Claus himself. But Rovaniemi also offers lots more winter activities, like riding a dog sleigh, visiting a reindeer farm or cross-country skiing.

The highlight in winter is, without doubt, taking a tour to see the Northern Lights. The best time to do so is towards the end of winter in early March when the nights are still long and electromagnetic activity is at its highest.

To see the Northern Lights, you need to leave Rovaniemi and get away from all light pollution. While you can rent a car and drive by yourself, you can increase your chances if you join a tour. The tour guides know about the best spots to see this natural wonder and will help you catch a glimpse of the lights even on cloudy days.

Make sure to dress up warmly as temperatures at night can fall to -10 or even -20ºC.

Even though Rovaniemi is the northernmost destination on this list, it is more accessible than you might think. Rovaniemi has its own airport, and you can catch a flight from Helsinki. A great and more sustainable alternative is to take the Santa Claus Express. This train connects Helsinki with Rovaniemi. You catch the train in the evening, go to your compartment to sleep and wake up in Rovaniemi.

Contributed by us

As you can see, you can find lots of amazing winter destinations in Europe. Whether you want to enjoy the winter sun, discover popular destinations without the crowd or have fun in the snow, you will find a perfect place to visit.

We have lots more resources on our website to help you plan your trip to Europe. Go and check them out!

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Ilona is a world traveller passionate about sharing her experiences and giving advice to fellow travellers. Having visited over 70 countries, she is always excited about her next trip.

1 Comment

  1. The list is great and every destination in it has something unique. I am sorry that nobody mentioned a city in Romania as a winter destination. Sibiu or Brasov are both medieval cities with charming Christmas markets and very close to the Ice hotel in Balea. This way you can experience also a true winter night.

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