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A guide to spending winter in Europe with Contiki

Published July 17th, 2013

If you missed out on spending summer in Europe this year, then maybe you should join the action for winter instead. When a blanket of snow coats much of the region’s stunning landscapes and revellers warm up indoors over mulled wine and energetic dancing. The season is also a stunning time to explore Europe thanks to the region’s Christmas festivities with markets, quaint traditions and jovial attitudes flooding the streets and market squares. To experience the best of it though, seeing Europe with Contiki is your best bet.

Not only will Contiki show you all of the sights without the stresses of getting around, language barriers and accommodation nightmares, but they’ll also treat you to some top-notch experiences that you probably wouldn’t get to do by yourself; a private boat ride through the canals of Venice, a cheese farm visit in Amsterdam, a Moulin Rouge show with new found friends in Paris. The options are endless and the choice is yours.   So if you’re intrigued by the thought of spending winter in Europe, here’s a guide to doing so with Contiki.  

What to see

Contiki’s list of European itineraries runs long. From quick 5 day jaunts from Vienna to Budapest to all out ‘Winter Wanderer’ adventures for 24 days. So no matter how much time you have to spare, Contiki has a tour for you. While the destinations are varied, from London to Paris, Spain and Italy, for winter in Europe, few can compare to cities like Berlin, Prague and Vienna. From 7 days to 9 days, these tours will truly show you what a winter wonderland looks like with scenic drives through snow-covered hills, Christmas markets and traditional food and dancing.  

What to expect

In short, expect a lot of late nights, early mornings, but more importantly, a lot of fun! Sure, it’s a full on travel experience but as their slogan goes, Contiki is all about making every moment count. From the moment you hit the road till you crash in your hotel bed, the Contiki itinerary will fill your days with plenty of adventure, culture and fun. It’s sure to be exhausting but with this much fun (and bang for your buck), you’ll be having too good a time to notice. Travelling by their famous (and might I add comfy) coach buses, Contiki combines the joys of a road trip with a bunch of sightseeing and cultural activities. Each day holds a new pinch-me experience and as well as an opportunity to share it all with new-found friends.  

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What to pack

You probably don’t need us to tell you to bring warm clothes, but just in case you do – bring warm clothes. Don’t be that loser Australian who wears thongs! No one likes that person! In addition to waterproof coats, gloves, beanies and boots, you will need to pack addition options depending on your itinerary. If you’re joining the ‘Simply Italy’ tour, then you might want to pack some stretchy pants that can handle all that pizza and pasta you’ll be eating. On the other hand, if you’re looking to enjoy a spot of skiing in Switzerland, a pair of togs for a post-ski hot-tub session may come in handy. Depending on your itinerary, there will usually be spots along the way where you can do laundry too.

Winter in London

What to consider

Having problems picking a tour? Besides time and budget, another factor to consider is whether you have been to Europe before. If this is your first time, then you might be best to join a tour like ‘European Inspiration’ or ‘European Magic’ that includes a number of cities, giving you a great overview of the region. If you’ve been before though, now’s your chance to dig a little deeper and see a little more with a smaller itinerary. Get to know Rome or London better with a ‘Trail’ tour or experience European winter at its best with the ‘Berlin & Prague’ tour.  

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Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.