Parade de Noël – Kerstparade – Christmas Parade 2016 | © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier
Top European Cities You Must Visit During Winter at Least Once in Your Life
Even if you have been to some of the cities in this winter travel guide before during summer, it is well worth thinking about returning to them in winter. The European cities cited may not all be capitals or even major tourist destinations, but they have something to offer in winter that other places cannot always match. Sometimes unique and sometimes just that little bit more visitor-friendly than other potential destinations, no winter city breaks in Europe should be planned without at least weighing up the benefits of one of these urban centres.
One of the greatest cities for a winter break in the whole of Western Europe has to be the Belgian capital. Guided tours continue in Brussels right throughout the year, so you can discover all of its quarters and many of its famous bars in the company of those in the know. What’s more, the city hosts an annual Winter Wonders event which is a superb destination for couples as well as those with kids. It offers the chance to see Father Christmas in December but continues to offer wintry delights with its Ferris wheel and ice rink into the New Year. There are plenty of waffle sellers to warm you up plus attractions like street theatre, music, colourful stalls and varied illuminations. Hotel Hubert is ideally positioned close to all the action and Grand Place in the heart of the city.
This Norwegian city is truly beautiful at any time of year but during the winter months – especially when it has been sprinkled with a layer of fine snow – its picture postcard appeal leaves many other cities behind. Bergen is renowned for its cobbled streets and pine trees which look so pretty when it has been decked out with festive lights. In fact, the locals hold an annual festival devoted to light when they parade around the streets, often with flaming torches in their hands. There’s plenty of places to enjoy a winter sport or two locally, as well.
The Bulgarian capital is great in winter. This is because you can get to the nearby pistes during the day and be back in the city by evening meaning that you’re able to enjoy a hybrid holiday that involves urban exploration with a skiing break. In recent years, the winter food offered by Sofia’s restaurateurs has gained something of a reputation. Another pull to come this far east is that the city’s Ariana Lake becomes a huge open-air ice skater’s paradise when it freezes, something that it often does.
The Scottish seat of government, Edinburgh has a lot to offer tourists in the winter months with many things they might have missed if they’ve only come for its famous arts festival. In winter, the arts scene is just as active with plenty of classical music performances to choose from and a vibrant rock and pop scene. In addition, many visitors come to the city for its exciting street party, held on New Year’s Eve, where you can mix with the revellers to your heart’s content. Don’t forget to sample the local whisky while you’re there either – the perfect thing once you get out of the cold!
This Sardinian city may not strike you as an obvious destination for a winter break but it certainly fits the bill. It is a great place to explore and unwind. During the winter months, you can enjoy the city the way the locals do – with a bit of peace and quiet. With many fewer tourists and a warm climate, winter is probably the best time of year to come. It still feels like winter though because the city is decked out with lots of lights during the festive period. This makes it one of the must see places in Europe in winter for those who don’t like it too chilly.