Tips and Tricks for Your Winter European Adventure
Even if you prefer warmer weather you have to experience a European winter at least once, it is truly unforgettable. Picture yourself, cosy under a couple of rugs, right next to the fireplace after an afternoon of shopping and taste-testing at the local Christmas markets.
With its snow-covered landscapes, small crowds, mulled wine and special winter cuisines, there’s no denying that there is something magical about Europe in the winter. So, here are some handy tips on what to pack, where to go, how to plan, and all the tricks you’ll need up your sleeve to enjoy a European winter.
Where to Go
It’s nearly impossible to fit all of Europe into one trip. But it is such a long flight from Australia, so it’s worth making the most of each and every trip you plan.
It really depends what you want to get out of your trip. If it’s sightseeing, history and culture, the bigger cities such as Paris, London, Rome or Berlin may be on your list. If it’s the winter countryside you’re after, nothing beats Switzerland, Austria or the German countryside with their rustic villages and friendly locals.
Of course, each city and country provides its own unique experiences. And sometimes, it’s worth combining a few at a time on a tour. That way, you can experience the culture, traditions, history and charm of a few different places.
Albatross Tours offer a range of winter tours for mature travellers that combine a variety of European cities and countries, ensuring you make the most of your winter European adventure.
Download our Christmas brochure here.
There are a few things to keep in mind when packing for Europe in winter. In some of the smaller and more regional hotels in Europe, the luxury of having lifts isn’t always guaranteed. It’s certainly worth considering packing lighter, which can be tricky given you’ll need thick and warm clothes for the winter. However, we’ll let you in on a little secret – the trick is layers, interchangeable outfits, and basics.
When packing, start with the basics – everything you’ll definitely need. This includes your underwear, any thermals (top and bottom) you wish to take, and all medication. Then move into the add-ins. This includes a lightweight windbreaker or down jacket that can be rolled up to pack. These are warm and small, so easy to fit. Next add a couple of pairs of jeans or nice pants, and a couple of nice, warm tops.
In terms of layering, a good tip is to pack a couple of tops that can be layered on top of each other, rather than packing lots of jumpers or bulky jackets. Remember, when you’re sightseeing, going in and out of museums or galleries, it will be heated inside and freezing outside. So, you’re going to want to peel those layers off. Small tops are much easier to pack away in a day backpack or handbag compared to carrying bulky jackets around.
Also, choose basic colours and outfits that can be interchanged. And consider your accessories – it’s not just your body that you’ll need to keep warm but your hands, feet and head. Pack a beanie or hat to keep your ears warm, some warm gloves that are easy to take on and off, and some warm socks. To make more room in your luggage, these items could be stuffed into your shoes.
Of course, it’s not just the clothes that you need to be thinking about. Remember, in winter, skin gets very dry. If you have a moisturiser that is specific to your skin, pack it. Also, take some chapstick for your lips.
Tips and Tricks
There are many benefits and considerations to keep in mind when to travelling Europe in winter, so make sure you’re aware of the following when deciding what month to book your trip.
Smaller crowds – people flock to Europe in summer, but the tourist season tends to die down once November hits. This means you can experience the delights of winter without as many crowds. Queues are shorter, you can spend more time at each site, and restaurants are quieter.
Make allowances for travel delays – while Europe is known for its meticulous and efficient public transport network, icy conditions may delay your travel plans, regardless of whether you’re on a train, bus, car, or aeroplane. You’ll need to be as patient and flexible as possible.
Shorter opening hours – while most major attractions stay open during winter, it is generally for shorter hours. However, this just means you’ll have more opportunities to explore other locations!
Christmas in Europe – if you do choose to go to Europe in winter, you may experience a white Christmas, which is truly magical. Filled to the brim with castles, medieval towns, sleigh rides and snow-dusted footpaths, Christmas in Europe captures the nostalgia, romance and cheer of the festive season.
And even if you aren’t lucky enough for snow, the Christmas markets in Europe are a next-level experience that just cannot be found in Australia. Experience them to the full with an Albatross Tours German and Austrian Christmas Markets tour for your next holiday.
Europe is a winter wonderland in the cooler months. Download our Albatross Tours Christmas Brochure, and begin planning your next European winter adventure.