Summer in Europe can be alluring: the bright sunny days, the warm summer nights and the crystal blue seas. But winter is not completely without its charms. Your Instagram feed won’t suffer just because you choose December over July, there’ll just be a little more frost, and maybe even some snow! Plus, you’ll notice details you might have missed in peak summer. Less crowds, less sunburn, and less chance of things being booked out. These are just a few of the perks of Europe in the colder months.
Avoid the Crowds
How about getting a shot of the Trevi Fountain without a bunch of heads in the way? An (almost) unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower? Or not waiting three hours in line for the Anne Frank House? No matter what your plans are, there’s no denying that in winter, the crowds are simply smaller. Around Christmas and New Year’s things still peak a little, with tourists and locals alike enjoying the festive season, but chances are you’ll save a LOT of time waiting in line for those essential European experiences. Which means more time for strolling the (pleasantly uncrowded) streets, checking out markets, eating, and Christmas shopping!
Unlike summer where hostels in the big cities tend to sell out months in advance, winter travel normally allows for a little more spontaneity. There is less chance of hostels being completely booked (except for major holidays or weekends) but even if your first choice is unavailable, it’s a lot easier to find something else comparable. As an added bonus, prices in winter tend to be a little lower too. So if Paris is really doing it for you, book yourself a few extra days without breaking the bank!
Winter in Europe covers everything in a blanket of snow that brings with it a sense of magic and mystery. Imagine the Swiss Alps – snow capped even in summer – completely dusted in white. Roaring fires, hot chocolate, and hearty food from a picturesque mountain lodge as you watch the snow fall outside. Or how about icicles suspended from Prague’s stunning Gothic edifices, perhaps a snowflake or two landing on your eyelashes? The charm of a winter wonderland is unforgettable, and highly photogenic. A good jacket and shoes will give you the confidence to explore outside even in the chilly weather, as you discover that each destination has a winter personality entirely different from summer, perhaps even more appealing!
Festivals don’t end in Europe just because summer is over! There is fun to be had year round. In the autumn you could explore the legendary home of Dracula, and enjoy one of Europe’s most underrated destinations in Romania. Alone for Christmas? Not a problem! Explore Europe’s best Christmas markets: think mulled wine, hot food, Christmas tree ornaments, crafts, desserts, and more, usually in the shadow of some of Europe’s most picturesque town squares. And if you want to party in the New Year, do as the Vikings did at Hogmanay’s torch light procession in Edinburgh, followed by a world famous street party, Scot style.
Hot Bevvies and Cheeky Comfort Food
In summer it’s so hot you’ll find it difficult to eat much more than gelati during the day, when pizza and pasta sit heavily in your stomach. Thankfully, in winter you’ll constantly be finding excuses to eat and drink, because locals know that the way to brave this chilly season is to eat yourself warm! Stews, schnitzel, potatoes (and then some more potatoes), dumplings, lashings of melted cheese and butter… Oh and if you’re thirsty, there’s plenty to wash it down with. Mulled wine, schnapps, and hot chocolate are all there to help! And just in case you still had room there’s plenty of apple pie, chocolate cake, crepes, doughnuts, and pudding to finish.
Visit Europe in winter for these experiences and more. Check the website for more details!