11 reasons why Europe is better in winter
Think Europe in winter is a big no-no? Wrong. A magical dusting of snow (at least in parts), low season perks and a wanderlust-worthy stack of must-dos (yes, indoors AND outdoors) make the chillier temps a heck of a lot more appealing. But that's not all. Here are 11 reasons to seriously consider a wintertime tour of Europe that'll give you a whole new perspective on what it's all about.
Mulled wine and hearty eats
Forget goon. Show those frosty little fingers a good time - wrapped around a freshly poured mug of mulled, mulled wine. This red wine + epic spice repice = the welcome tingles of sensation rushing back into your limbs. #heaven! The eats are just about as wholesome as a bear hug too. Think insanely flavoursome stews, juicy rotisseried meats and deep-fried deliciousness. From gooey, cheesy fondue in Switzerland to face-sized schnitzels in Vienna - topped off with hot chocolate and churros in Spain - your heart will be toasty in no time.
Christmas in the movies always looks so... magical! Snow-topped and sweat-free, everybody's dreamt about a white Christmas like that before. Sigh. Step right into where Europe does festive feels best: the Christmas markets. Dose up on ginger bread, beautiful souvenirs and one-of-a-kind gifts in an atmosphere high on pretty fairy lights. Prague, Vienna, Belgium, Budapest, Stockholm, Denmark, Amsterdam and all over Germany. They're everywhere - typically kicking off in November.
Warm up in thermal springs
Sliding into a warm bath is one of life's luxuries. The only thing better? Making it a historic bathhouse in Europe, in the peak in winter. Traditional Turkish baths are everywhere in Istanbul, there's the Szecheyi Baths in Budapest and so many more hot tempters from Italy and France to Switzerland and Slovenia - some outdoor, some indoor. And then there's that mega insta-worthy Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Can anybody say, "ahhhhh".
Pints in cosy pubs
The UK is famous for its pubs. But they take on a whole new atmos once the temps drop outside. Practice your coat-on, coat-off etiquette bar-hopping between cosy pint-fuelled hubs of social intoxication. In the UK alone there are 60,000 to choose from. Beyond the land of the Queen, Germany does much the same in the form of its historic, stein-charged beer halls which sprinkle out into many a neighboring beer-lovin' nation too.
#fairytale Instagram shots
Snow flakes falling on medieval streetscapes. Like a scene out of a glittery snow globe, fairytales come to life as real as they ever will in European winter. Step into the almost-fantasty scenes in storybook-like Tallinn, Estonia, ride a horse and carriage into the Old Town in Krakow, Poland, or get your enchanting glimpses on foot trudging through snow around the sprawling Prague Castle. Your instagram feed will never be the same again.
Feasts fit for Santa
Cya prawns, snags on the barbie and chilled beers. If you're in Europe on Christmas Day, the feast is bound to be more epic than your mind could even comprehend. Better yet, if you're on tour with Contiki, they'll make sure you have a feast fit for Santa (along with an automatic squad/'family' to celebrate with). BYO Christmas tunes.
See another side of Europe - and cheaper - with our kick-ass Contiki Europe winter tours on sale this month!
Plus, here's more inspo:
Snowtime = ski time! Europe brags some of the sweetest slopes on the planet. No joke. France, Italy and Switzerland promise epic thrills (and spills) - plus plenty of choice when it comes to places to crash and that all-important apres-ski action. They're probably the most famous. But side-step off the beaten track a bit for more slopes with less tourists in gems like Slovakia, Bulgaria and Norway.
Indoor cultural escapades
A region of great culture, history and art can't throw it all to the elements. All over Europe, a rich tapestry of cultural to-dos will keep you warm and comfortable within the confines of four walls whatever the weather may look like out the window. Museums, art galleries, palaces, cathedrals, theatres, concert halls... they all offer shelter and culture in one neat package.
Sun down south
Just have to squeeze a bikini in that suitcase? Okay, okay... at least peel off a winter coat layer? Go south for your best bets. There's still a shore or two promising a few rays of warmth to scrape in. Cyprus is one of the warmest options, averaging a nice 24 degrees in the sunniest of sunlight hours and 14 degrees by night. Errr, no guarantees as to water temps though! #sorrynotsorry
Fewer tourists rampaging
No need to photoshop that annoying tourist (or should we say hundreds of them?) out of the picture. The stampedes thin out post summer-sizzle time. That means shorter lines, shorter lines and shorter lines. The importance of which just can't be spruiked enough. It also just makes everything easier, more enjoyable and gives you a truer peek at the local life, like you really want.
More moola in your pocket
Travelling in low season always puts more moola back in your pocket - or for some, means you can actually afford to go in the first place. #Winning! Get cheaper rates on tours, accommodation, flights and entrance fees at the museums and sights. Every little bit adds up! Are you at a point where your money sitch is going to make or break your holiday plans? You know the answer: do Europe in winter!
Thinking a snow-capped Europe sounds pretty good? You're right! Get it on sale with our Contiki Europe winter tours on sale now, until 31 July.
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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.