If asked about their favorite season, many instantly think about summer, without even blinking. The idea of relaxing on warm beaches and indulging in tasty cocktails seems to be making everybody so happy that they spend a lot of time planning their perfect summer vacation. But, even if it is cold, winter also comes with some great holiday opportunities.
And the Christmas season is just around the corner, so you should put your summer photos in the memory box, and start planning a last-minute winter getaway. There are plenty of great destinations in Europe that promise to offer you the time of your life, even when you’re wearing boots instead of sandals.
Enjoy a Cheerful Winter Escape in Hamburg, Germany
There are many German destinations to choose from, especially in winter, when the whole country awakens its jolly Christmas spirit, opening its multitude of colorful Christmas markets. But Hamburg is definitely the ultimate destination for a memorable winter getaway.
Not only is this charming city filled with traditional Christmas markets, but there are also other interesting things to do and see while getting into the holiday spirit. And with so much delicious food, mulled wine and cheerfulness, even the Grinch would be filled with positive thoughts. So, grab your winter coat and comfortable shoes, to make sure you make the most out of your city break because it’s going to be cold and windy.
Check out St Michael’s Church, the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the International Maritime Museum, and the Miniatur Wunderland, an immense moving miniature world that will amaze and dazzle you. Have fun in St. Pauli and catch a glimpse of its notorious Reeperbahn, explore the lively Sternschanze, and wander around the hipster neighborhood of Altona.
Hot Punch, Mulled Wine, and Roasted Chestnuts: Vienna, Austria
Chopin once said, “Vienna is a handsome, lively city, and pleases me exceedingly”. As soon as you arrive in Austria’s capital, you will understand why. Guarded by the imposing Stephandom, the city center is always filled with locals and travelers admiring the architecture or looking for a place to sit down and enjoy a drink in one of the welcoming coffee shops.
In winter, Vienna becomes a wonderland for holiday lovers. The Christmas market set near the town hall might be the most impressive, but the city is filled with authentic stalls selling decorations, gifts, mulled wine, and roasted chestnuts.
Also visit the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the Belvedere, the Jewish Museum, the Sigmund Freud Museum, and, if it’s not too cold, catch a glimpse of the Prater amusement park. Then enjoy a tasty coffee in Café Central, Vienna’s most venerable café, and indulge in a delicious Wiener schnitzel.
Run Away from Cold: The Canary Islands, Spain
If you want to have a more exotic winter getaway, but you can’t leave Europe, one of the beautiful Canary Islands can make your dream come true.
Set in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this Spanish paradise offers its visitors a tropical climate, exquisite cuisine, and tranquil beaches. Choose Tenerife and discover its busy cities and colonial towns, climb the imposing Mount Teide, relax on a secluded volcanic beach, and take advantage of the locals’ warmth and joyfulness.
Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote are no less beautiful. Each of the Canary Islands has something special that will make your winter escape unforgettable. And, even if your winter vacation includes indulging in seafood and freshly caught fish, spending your evening at cozy beach bars, and adventuring in watersports, the Christmas spirit is also present. The palm trees are beautifully decorated, and there are food trucks and stalls everywhere, as well as spectacles, concerts, and many surprises.
There is Always Something to Do in London, England
London is one of the most visited cities in the world and for good reasons. Whether you are a history lover, an art enthusiast, or the ultimate foodie, London can satisfy your deepest desires.
And winter in London is fascinating. Not only do you get to visit famous museums like the British and the National History museums, to view famous artists’ works at the National Art Gallery, but you also have the chance to experience the holiday spirit in a multicultural city.
Have fun at the Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park, shop on Oxford Street, wander around Trafalgar Square and admire the street performances, enjoy a musical at the Apollo Victoria, and let your taste buds run wild while exploring the international restaurants and, of course, the Christmas Markets.
Experience the Holiday Magic: Lapland
Does winter bring about nostalgic childhood memories? Maybe it’s time to fulfill your dreams of meeting Santa Claus and plan a trip to Lapland. But besides the cheerfulness and nostalgia, you must pack your warmest clothes because Lapland might be magic, but it’s also very cold.
The official residence of Santa is Rovaniemi, a place that promises to make all kids happy and every adult feel like a child again. In addition to meeting Santa and exploring the colorful city with its cultural attractions and sites, you can also take a reindeer ride, go on husky tours and snowmobile safaris, visit an arctic zoo, and even hunt for the Northern Lights.
No matter how old you are and what you enjoy doing, Lapland is a magical destination that will make you happy to be alive.