For some, the winter is a time to travel and explore warmer climates to try and escape the colder weather. But for many others, winter actually provides an opportunity to see the best side of their favorite cities. European cities, especially with a fresh dusting of snow, can offer some of the most serene moments – outside of Christmas markets, most of them are light on tourists during the winter months and can be great for those on a budget with the lower costs. Here are 10 cities in Europe whose beauty transforms during the winter months.
1. Prague, Czechia
Prague already features some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, but there is something truly magical about seeing the old city with a coating of snow. It makes it feel like you’ve stepped straight into a fairy tale!
2. Zermatt, Switzerland
The Alps are home to many ski resorts and towns, but Zermatt takes the cake. It is nestled right at the foot of the Matterhorn and is one of the best places for skiers in the world.
3. Bergen, Norway
Norway is a prime winter destination, especially if you’re searching for the Northern Lights. And while we could mention practically every city in Norway on this list, we’ll put a spotlight on Bergen. It features a harbor, towering fjords dominating the background, and a quaint, cozy Nordic feel.
4. Strasbourg, France
Nestled next to the border with Germany, Strasbourg is a wonderful fusion of French and German cultures. And while this area doesn’t experience a ton of snowfall, the wonderful atmosphere and light displays more than make up for it.
5. Bruges, Belgium
What could be better than relaxing with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate in Belgium’s chocolate capital? The old town in Bruges is one of the best preserved in all of Europe and can put anyone into the holiday spirit.
6. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is one of the most beautiful European cities no matter what time of the year it is. But with free outdoor broadcasts of the opera, loads of sweets, and views of Schonbrunn Palace with snow, it gets even better in the winter.
7. Rovaniemi, Finland
It may not technically be a city, but Rovaniemi does stake claim as the official hometown of Santa Claus, so it does qualify as a winter wonderland in its own right! And as one of the central hubs connecting the rest of the Finnish Lapland area, it makes a great winter destination.
8. Zagreb, Croatia
Featuring a delightful old town chockful of baroque architecture, Zagreb comes alive during the winter. The entire city gets into the spirit of the holidays, with light displays everywhere and outdoor ice rinks in the city.
9. Venice, Italy
Venice may not be known for snow, but it is definitely known as one of the most overcrowded destinations in Europe. However, the crowds subside during the winter, making it the perfect opportunity to experience the wonders and beauty of the city without all of the hustle and bustle!
10. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin has several winter events worth checking out that make this city attractive. The Smashing Times City of Dublin Winter Solstice Celebration features traditional dancing, storytelling, and a bonfire. And the city is magnificent in the run-up to New Year’s, with light festivals and Celtic drum sessions.
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