Europe's #blessed winter capitals to find your happy ever after
Once upon a time, in a land far away, winter’s frosty touch came knocking on the doors of some pretty special holiday destinations. Some say it was the snow-capped medieval castles casting shadows over merry ice skaters. Others loved the magic Christmas markets that brought the best fairy tales to life.
There were also those who found warmth in the spectacular nightlife befit of all types of princes and princesses. But no matter what people preferred everyone agreed that Europe was #blessed with spectacular winter capital cities. Plus, fewer crowds didn’t hurt either.
Here are some of Europe’s best #blessed winter capital cities perfect for finding your happy ever after – and, you know, planning THE ultimate Europe escape from around October to February...
If the magic winter’s blanket covering the baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture doesn’t do it for you, then maybe the 80-plus thermal springs, hipsters huddles in ruin bars downing fruit brandy and gigantic outdoor skating rink in central park Varosligeti Mujegpalya (romance alert) will.
You can’t talk about fairytales in Europe without mentioning the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. Down some glogg (warm, mulled wine), visit the Tivoli amusement parked turned kitsch-cool Christmas markets (complete with gigantic snow globes and an ice rink) or get cosy in the very cool bars and cafes.
Prague, Czech Republic
Medieval magic. There’s magic in every corner, from the snow-capped wow of Charles Bridge and the Castle District right through to the biggest Christmas tree you have ever seen, chestnuts roasting over open fires, the taste of mulled wine and all of the other magic Prague’s Christmas markets delivers.
Technically the capital of Northern Italy, Venice dusts off the melancholy of winter and the floating landscape of a city comes to life to deliver Venetian party life of yesteryear. Millions of mask-wearing revelers take to the streets to pose, preen, dance and reinvent the glory of times gone by for Venice Carnevale. Everything from baker’s windows to concert venues get into party mode.
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Be surrounded by amazing winter scenery during a dip in the aquamarine, thermal Blue Lagoon or a visit to Golden Circle, see THE Northern Lights bright up your life (*we mean sky), chow down on a famous Icelandic hot dog then get warm with the beats of awesome, all-night nightlife.
Germany is to Christmas markets as Santa Claus is to Christmas. Berlin is awesome year-round, but steps it up a notch for winter. With some 60 magical markets, a visit to anyone of them is like stepping into a fairytale. There’s jugglers and fire artists at fancy Gendarmenmarkt or the country’s biggest and bestest just out of town to Spandau featuring rock-n-roll concerts, 400-plus market stalls, gigantic Christmas trees and then some.
This place was built for winter, from the 51 museums (think Van Gogh and Anne Frank) to the hot chocolates, poffertjes and stroopwafels, ice skating and festivals like the Light Festival that lights up the famous canals and cityscape. Find warmth in coffee shops and hip bars and party scene then grab a cone of frites with mayo to keep you warm on the stroll home.
Get sophisticated where Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert liked to hang – in Vienna. The city turns into a winter culture wonderland with oodles of concerts at Vienna Concert House, art exhibitions a plenty, your usual ice skating frenzy plus ridiculously good coffee, apple strudel and sachertorte.
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A broke girl in Amsterdam
I’ll start off by leaving you completely gobsmacked. I did not ride a single bike in Amsterdam... EVER.
It feels good to get that off my chest. Although, there really would have been no time like the present in Amsterdam to actually learn how to ride a bike… hashtag hindsight.