Who doesn’t love the winter season? White snow, warm scarves, mulled wine and a breath of crisp, fresh air, winter in Europe is a favorite destination for tourists and here are five of the best places you should add to your travel bucket list.
Top 5 winter vacations in Europe
St. Petersburg, Russia
Saint Petersburg is truly magical during the winter season regardless of its freakishly cold weather (something a down jacket can take of). Located on the Neva River, St. Petersburg is synonymous with wind chills which form frozen canals, beautifully covering royal palaces with snow making it quite picturesque. Visit the palaces to warm up and experience the astonishing grandeur and beauty of their architecture. Some must-visit castles include Catherine’s Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Yusupov Palace, and Winter Palace.
Other activities to enjoy when visiting St. Petersburg include the Russian opera and ballet which is usually offseason in the summer months when a lot of people tour Russia – so, you’ll have something to boast about! You can also go for ice skating and skiing at the frozen pond in Yelagin Island or at the Victory Park. After a cold day touring the city, warm up with a plate of traditional Russian pelmeni or a hot bowl of borscht.
Prague, Czech Republic
Visiting Prague in the winter comes with a lot of advantages aside from avoiding the summer crowd. Snowfall will cover your footsteps as you tour the Castle Districts and Old Town. You just can’t miss the Novy Svet which is a vintage marvel of uniquely embellished doorways crafted with precision to distinguish one resident from the other. On the steps leading to Thunovska Street, you can check into the contemporary coffee bars which were initially low barrel-ceilinged medieval townhouses.
The legendary Charles Bridge which has been featured by painters for many centuries is a must see, especially at night, when the bridge is covered with mist from the Vltava creating a shroud of mysterious milky light which fills up the city skyline.
Travel from Prague to Vienna by train to experience the rich history this city has to offer. Walk along the narrow streets of the Inner city (Innere Stadt) that snake through the ancient buildings and get the real sense of authentic atmosphere world-renowned scientists and composers like Sigmund Freud, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used to experience. Vienna also features stunning baroque palaces like the Schonbrunn Palace which looms over the city as vividly expressed in Mozart’s classical arias. Vienna is undoubtedly the best destination if you seek to experience rich culture.
Aside from music and monarchs, Vienna has much more to offer. The city of dreams is filled with contemporary cafes, independent bookstores, and haute couture. If you are traveling with kids, then you can enjoy the amusement parks and the zoo. The Bermuda Triangle comes alive at night as people go to the bars and wine taverns in the Vienna Woods to have a good time.
Paris is without a doubt a popular tourist destination during the summer. But, not known to many people, the city of lights transforms into one of the most amazingly beautiful cities in Europe in the winter season. From the breathtaking views of white rooftops that are featured throughout the city to the iconic monuments filled with snow, there is a lot to do and see in Paris during winter.
Ever imagined visiting top destinations without having to line up? That’s winter in France; there are not a lot of tourists, so you have ample time and less stress to get to destinations and spend quality time. Visit the heated indoor museums such as the Musee d’Orsay, the Musee Rodin, and Musee du Louvre or ascend to the Eiffel Tower to admire the snowy city skyline.
Lisbon, also known as The City of Seven Hills, is winter wanderlust. Although it is winter, sunshine and clear skies are still plentiful and less tourist traffic means this is a great time to visit and enjoy affordable accommodations. As long as you have a couple of layers of clothing, you can enjoy strolling around the city and different hilltops for a picturesque view of Lisbon.
The city is renowned for its lights which beautifully reflect from the Tagus River. The cityscape is also brought to life by vibrant street art and colorfully painted tile-clad buildings. If visiting during Christmas, you will get to enjoy a cycle of musical concerts in the city squares, churches and theatres.