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Why winter in Europe is a winner

Published July 1st, 2015

Europe in winter…. It’s cold and dark, for months and months. But it’s not all doom and gloom, those Europeans certainly know how to have fun to pass the time through the winter months. Here’s some of the things we’re loving most about the European winter, and good reasons why you should pay it a visit.

The Christmas Markets

The enduring charm of Europe’s Christmas Markets is irresistible. The smell of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine filling the air, the gentle snowflakes toppling down through the night sky, and the sweet singing of Christmas choirs, it’s enough to melt the heart of the most hardened Grinch. For a hearty dose of festive indulgence, head to Denmark where Tivoli in Copenhagen offers pretty markets with outdoor ice skating, a traditional Father Christmas, and plenty of stalls decked out in Danish and Nordic style. Prague’s Christmas Markets in Old Town Square are especially popular for local food and drink, and Brugge in Belgium puts on beautiful authentic winter markets selling arts and crafts. Berlin has over 50 Christmas Markets throughout the city, with the largest and most popular at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche.

The Rush of the Alpine Skiing

There’s nothing more exhilarating than hurtling down the side of a mountain with the cold winter air streaming past you, and Europe has some of the world’s best skiing areas. If the adrenalin of the ski fun doesn’t get you hooked, then the ridiculously gorgeous mountain scenery or the charming alpine villages certainly will. Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy are the top spots to visit for winter ski fun. Hop aboard a tour from London, and you’ll be able to boat and bus it easily, without breaking the bank. Head to Kirchdorf in Austria’s Tyrol region for a budget friendly option suited to beginners and experienced snow bunnies, with Topdeck’s 8-day Ski Austria tour.

The Buzz of Winter Festivals

Nothing warms the cockles like a festival! For a real toe curler, head to the Netherlands for the annual ‘winter dip’ (into the sea that is)! Popular all along the Dutch Coast, the New Year’s Day swim at Scheveningen is a lot of fun, attracting up to 20,000 brave swimmers, who take the plunge in almost zero degree waters to see in the New Year. If you’d prefer to keep your clothes on, one of the world’s largest ice sculpture festivals takes place down the road at Zwolle close to Amsterdam, featuring phenomenal ice carvings and works of art.

Across in Austria, the gorgeous city of Salzburg hosts the famous Classic Music Festival during January and February to celebrate Mozart’s birthday. Musicians and performers travel from around the world to take part in operas, orchestral performances and concerts.

In Mid February to early March, France is the place to be, with the Fete du Citron in Nice attracting more than 200,000 visitors each year. Celebrate all things citrus with parade floats and sculpture gardens crafted from lemons! The resplendent Venice Carnival finally wraps up winter in February each year. Visitors can experience Venice in all its extravagance with masquerade balls, period costume galas, and festivities throughout the city.

Check out our Europe Winter flights and tours deals on SALE now until July 31 2015.

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.