5 Must-See European Destinations This Winter

It’s definitely fair to say that there is no place in the world better to visit in winter than Europe. The dark nights, bittersweet cold and beautiful historical monuments make this vibrant continent the perfect place for a winter break, whether it’s in mid-October or just in time for the Christmas season. I’ve been lucky enough to see a fair few stunning places in my home continent, and I’m going to list the 5 top winter destinations in Europe for this winter, whether I’ve been there or not!

Top Winter Destinations in Europe

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Okay, so you were probably expecting this one… but it’s the only place on the list of top European winter spots that I’ve actually been to myself, so I figured it was best to list it as number one. Amsterdam in winter is ideal for those of you who hate big crowds. Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions are significantly less busy, meaning you can make the most of your trip there without having to put up with thousands of other eager tourists. Head to the capital of the Netherlands in December and experience the delightful view of the city covered in snow for yourself, and take advantage of the many ice-skating rinks dotted around the city. Spend the afternoon in a traditional Dutch café, and purchase pretty souvenirs at one of the Christmas markets.

Top Winter Destinations in Europe: Bicycle Bridge in Amsterdam
Bicycle Bridge in Amsterdam: Photo jorgegaygago / CC 2.0

2. Bruges, Belgium

I actually booked a trip to Bruges once during Christmas time, but unfortunately wasn’t able to go, and had to give my ticket to someone else – *sad face*. Anyway, this amazing medieval Belgian city is one of the best places in the world to visit if you’re a sucker for all things Christmas, like me. The entire city is decorated with twinkling lights during the festive season, and boasts the best Christmas market in Europe, not forgetting its amazing ice rink. On the other hand, if you’re more of an outgoing partier whenever you visit Europe, then here’s some good news: Belgian beer is renowned for being super strong, and some people only need to drink one before becoming pretty tipsy. Definitely worth a try!

Top Winter Destinations in Europe: Market Square in Bruges
Market Square in Bruges

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Despite being expensive, the capital of Sweden is becoming one of the most popular places to visit in this pretty continent. It’s more popular during the summer months, of course, but there is nothing quite like the beauty of Stockholm in the winter time. The city is one of the greenest in the whole world, and is perfect for those who love exploring nature just as much as they enjoy city breaks. Stockholm boasts an array of cool nightclubs, bars and restaurants, and has an endless selection of museums and historical attractions. If you’re visiting at Christmas time, don’t miss the Christmas market in the Old Town.

Top Winter Destinations in Europe: Old Town Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Old Town Gamla Stan, Stockholm

4. Prague, Czech Republic

It’s fair to say that I’ve been desperate to visit Prague for a couple of years now, and I’m sure I’ll finally get round to going next year sometime! The architecture in this Bohemian wonderland is beyond mesmerizing, and unlike that of anywhere else in Europe. Unlike most major German cities, Prague was left pretty much untouched during World War II, which is probably the main reason why its medieval buildings and fairytale-like skyline stands out from other European cities. Prague is notorious for being the ‘sex capital of Europe’ and sees endless stag parties (the majority of which are British… *sigh*) visiting there to party in the summer months. However, when all the hype has died down and the snow has settled on the ground, Prague has never been prettier. If you want to go somewhere unlike anywhere else you’ve been before, then book your winter flight to Praha as soon as you can!

Top Winter Destinations in Europe: Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge at night
Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge at night: Photo Tore Bustad / CC 2.0

5. London, England

So my English pride and the fact that I’ve been to London about 5 times did contribute to this amazing city making the list, I’ll admit. One thing I’ve just realized is that I’ve never actually been to London in the winter – all my visits to my country’s capital have been smack bang in the middle of summer, when the streets are crowded beyond control and the underground feels more like a sauna than public transport. I’d actually love to see it during the winter, when there aren’t so many people. Plus, I’m sure the combination of snow on the ground and red buses/telephone boxes would be absolutely perfect. See the New Years’ Eve fireworks at the London Eye, or make the most of all the amazing museums to escape the bitter cold outside. The Victoria & Albert Museum is the best museum I’ve ever been to in my entire life, and trust me – I’ve been to a lot. It took me and José about four hours to get around, and we didn’t even manage to see everything.

Top Winter Destinations in Europe: London Eye on Thames South Bank
London Eye on Thames South Bank: Photo Diliff / CC 2.5

So, I sincerely hope my article has given you lovely readers a serious case of wanderlust and a craving to get on Skyscanner and book that flight. What have you got to lose, after all? Have a fabulous winter, full of stories, adventures and Christmas souvenirs.

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at www.natteringblonde.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar for Lauren Davidson


    This is a very nice list, although when it comes to top winter destinations in Europe, I couldn’t stick to only 5. I would love to include Romania on this list, because we have some very nice winter resorts, perfect for winter sports enthusiasts, in Poiana Brasov and Sinaia.

  2. Avatar for Lauren Davidson

    Max Potter

    These are undoubtedly some best places to visit if you are planning a holiday trip to Europe. I am sure you can’t ignore France as there too you can explore some best places. One of those is Paris ‘The City of Lights’ having so many amazing entertaining places such as Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum and many more.

  3. Avatar for Lauren Davidson

    Dannielle Lily

    Thanks for these ideas, have only done Amsterdam and London so far but I find it hard to think of cool places to visit in Winter! Such a beach bum but wanderlust still needs satisfying in the colder months 🙂 Just booked a trip to Brussels for feb!


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