8 Unmissable Cities to Visit in Europe Over Winter
Europe in the winter is a bucket list item for every traveller, no matter your age, but where it can be hard to make the decision on where exactly you should go. After all, people travel the world over to see Europe’s landmark cities, and imagine these landmarks dusted with a white blanket of snow, or sipping mulled wine while people watching from a German café.
We’ve taken a look at some of our favourite destinations, and what makes them so special.Albatross Tours has the answer.
1. Vienna, Austria
December is notorious for historic markets popping up over Central European nations. Among the famous markets is one in Vienna, Austria. Like Germany, the Christmas markets in Austria are renowned for their variety. From cute stalls selling gingerbread men and women to sleigh bells for decoration, to glasses of culturally specific alcohol to spread the good cheer, Vienna’s markets are a main attraction of the city.
Voted Reader’s Choice Awards 2017 best city in Europe, Vienna has a lot to offer travellers. Schonbrunn Palace and Saint Charles Church covered in snow are feasts for the eyes, and the outdoor simulcasts of the opera and classical holiday concerts excite the senses and create the feeling of a holiday in a winter wonderland.
Experience the magic of Vienna on the Austrian White Christmas Tour.
2. Venice, Italy
Known as one of Europe’s top tourist attractions in both the summer and winter there is something to see around every corner in Venice. Overrun during peak travel season, when the temperature starts to drop, Venice begins to embody its nickname, La Serenissima (The Serene). The canals, covered in mist, become quiet oases that can be admired at a slower pace allowing travellers to soak up the culture and atmosphere.
Visitors during the winter season are also treated to the Carnival of Venice. Described as beautiful, exciting and a little bizarre, the site of costumes and masks brings the history of the city to life in a memorable way. A notoriously expensive celebration, visitors can cut down on expenses by enjoying the many free events around the city with a mask purchased at a street market or local shop.
Our New Year in a Venetian Villa & Tuscany Tour provides some time in Venice, giving you the perfect opportunity to spend time exploring its delights.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
When the first flurries of snow hit St Charles Bridge and Old Town’s church spires, Prague undergoes a transformation into a winter wonderland. Relatively tourist free in the winter, Prague has been referred to as a winter fairytale. With some of Europe’s best Christmas markets outside of Germany, visitors can enjoy glasses of mulled wine and helpings of fried dough while exploring the nearly deserted Old Town and Castle Districts.
After a day of strolling through Prague Castle and Novy Svet- a street famous for their design of embellished doorways to differentiate between each residence, travellers can relax with a mug of hot chocolate for some respite from the cold. Prague’s Choco Café is renowned for housing more than a dozen types of hot chocolate to refuel and warm up busy adventurers.
To discover the tours that visit the beautiful city of Prague, visit our Czech Republic destination page here.
4. Munich, Germany
The famous markets in Munich are known tourist hot spots, but many don’t know the vast amount of culture and attractions that Munich has to offer.
The large, nostalgic buildings are a testament to a rich and proud culture which can be found when visiting Marienplatz Square and its famous Glockenspiel. Munich is also the home of the world’s most famous tavern- Hofbräuhaus- which is located in the heart of Germany.
Munich is also a stone’s throw away from Neuschwanstein Castle. Situated near mountains, the castle transforms to something out of a Disney movie when the snow begins to fall around it.
The Albatross Tours Salzburg & a Bavarian White Christmas Tour ends in Munich, giving you ample opportunity to explore the wonders of this town.
5. Innsbruck, Austria
Famous for being the ski and snowboard capital of the world, the city of Innsbruck has a lot to offer travellers from every walk of life. The two-time host of the Winter Olympics not only has internationally recognised alpine resorts but also offers tours of the famous Olympic ski jump and the athletic facilities constructed for the Olympics.
Those looking to immerse themselves in history can visit the royal Hapsburg home and take in the unique architecture of the city. To learn that Innsbruck is the home of Swarovski Crystals will be music to the ears of some. Swarovski headquarters are open for tours, but beware – the home of these spectacular crystals is described by some as bizarre, yet beautiful.
To visit the Austrian city of Innsbruck, our Christmas in the Austrian Tyrol is the perfect tour choice.
6. Zermatt, Switzerland
Set against the backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is a must on anyone’s itinerary. Skiers are spoilt for choice with kilometres of slopes available for use. After hitting the slopes and taking in the panoramic view, finding a good meal isn’t tricky with the number of restaurants lining the main street. The more relaxed travellers are catered for with a stroll around the town easy and carefree due to it being a car-free village.
A trip to Zermatt in Switzerland, with its little back roads and traditional chalets blanketed in snow will be a picturesque sight to all lucky enough to visit in winter.
To experience the beauty of Zermatt Switzerland, along with many other wonderful locations in this mountainous region, read more about our Alpine Adventure Tour here.
7. Paris, France
The City of Light will be on everyone’s travel list at any time of the year. The idea of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are enough to tempt the most reluctant travellers to make the trip to Europe. Yet, imagine viewing the Eiffel Tower without having to share it with hundreds of others. Or perhaps, barely lining up to get into the Louvre. Minimal tourists in winter means enjoying the beautiful scenery of Paris without competing for space.
Aside from low tourist numbers, the allure of Paris in winter goes much deeper. The City of Lights dazzles further with Christmas additions such as the Peninsula Hotel’s Christmas market and the Galeries Lafayette’s museum-esque displays.
Enjoy the culture, food and ambience of Paris in the wintertime when you book the Albatross Tours Paris, Lyon & The French Alps Tour.
8. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is famous for being the city where Mozart was born and where The Sound of Music was filmed, so there’s no shortage of historic sites to see. But Salzburg is so much more than its history - in winter you can ski the Alps or try out one of the many popular Austrian winter sports like skating or tobogganing.
If you’d prefer something less involved, Salzburg is home to some of the most famous Christmas markets in central Europe that offer a range of special treats to tempt your tastebuds. Street vendors offer up quintessential winter treats including hot roasted chestnuts, toasted almonds, and fresh gingerbread.
Every year there are fabulous nativity scenes showcased in the town’s historic city centre, and choir singers serenade market-goers in front of the stunning cathedral in Residenz square.
There’s plenty to see, which is why they’re a staple of our Christmas tours that visit Austria.
After indulging at the markets you can relax in a natural hot spring while the temperatures around you dip.
To enjoy all that Salzburg has to offer during the festive season, try the German & Austrian Christmas Markets tour.
With so many cities and landmarks to cross off your bucket list, booking a trip to Europe in the wintertime with Albatross Tours is a great way to get the ball rolling. With travel itineraries designed with care and specifically crafted experiences, Albatross can help you discover a better way to explore all that Europe has to offer.
From Venice to Munich and Vienna to Zermatt, Albatross Tours have a holiday waiting for you. Book an Albatross Tours trip today and visit Europe in all its winter glory – simply visit our Christmas in Europe page to discover which tour will suit you best.