When you picture your perfect European city break, you’ve probably got a vision of strolling through the charming streets of Rome, with the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair, tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain before discovering the best gelato of your life. Or something very close to this we imagine. But what if we suggested visiting Europe in the winter? While temperatures are at their lowest between December and March, many cities are still very much in full swing.
Take a look at our top picks for the best European cities to visit in Winter…
Vienna in winter
Vienna is alive during the colder months, which is why it makes our list of the best European cities to visit in winter. The place to spend the festive season, there’s cute Christmas markets, special seasonal concerts and events lined up and waiting to entertain you. And if you’re lucky to witness a flurry of snow, the city’s grand architecture looks even more charming for it. If the heavens really open and you need to take cover, you can head to the art district and wile away the hours in the many museums and galleries showcasing the work of world-famous artists like Picasso and Warhol. For more ideas on how to fill your time, check out our guide on Vienna in Winter and Things To Do At Vienna Christmas markets.
London in winter
London is the perfect place to wrap up, head out and explore. A city fully equipped to keep you busy through the winter months. Catch a Christmas production in the West End, or watch a Matthew Bourne ballet show. Go ice-skating outdoors in a fairytale-like setting, like the Natural History Museum and Somerset House, then warm back up in one of the many cosy pubs in the capital. Head to Hyde Park to experience the Winter Wonderland takeover. Free to enter, there’s chalet-style huts, over 100 rides and attractions, a circus and a grotto. And when the sun sets, the bars and German beer halls come alive with DJ sets and live music, with no shortage of mulled wine. Then when the New Year rolls around, hit the shops and take full advantage of the January sales in London, click here for ideas of where to shop. For more reasons why London is one of the best European cities to visit in winter, check out our guide.
Budapest in winter
Budapest is famous for its therapeutic thermal baths, and believe it or not, winter is the best time to experience them. The naturally heated spring water is toasty and the weather outside is crisp (that’s code for: cold), creating a cloud of steam to cosy up in. The Gellert Baths and Szechenyi Baths are the biggest and most popular, with ‘spartys’ playing out in the evenings. On selected nights the baths are turned into giant pool parties with light shows and DJs livening up the place. Then when you’re suitably relaxed, find a traditional restaurant to feast on some Hungarian comfort food. Of course, unwinding in a public bath and eating delicious meals aren’t the only activities Budapest has to offer in the colder months, check out our guide for ideas on how else to spend your time in this beautiful city and why it’s one of the best European cities to visit in winter.
In addition to these winter activities, those visiting should also tick off all the iconic landmarks and attractions aboard a Big Bus tour. With panoramic views of the best sights and the option to hop off and explore at any of our stops, you can see an entire city at your own pace. Come see for yourself why these are some of the best European cities to visit in winter.