6. Granada, Spain
If you’re looking to take a break from the bitter cold, Granada is a great solution. However, don’t go Spain under the impression that it will be a beach vacation. Even southern Spain is too cold for the beach in the winter, which is why a city like Granada is such an ideal option because there is more to do than just stroll along the sand. No other region has as much variety as Granada — you can ski the Sierra Nevadas, head to the coast, or simply just roam the city. Spain is much cheaper and less crowded in the winter months, so visitors can truly enjoy the city’s sights without waiting in line or breaking the bank.
Read next: Stay warm with these must-have items for cold weather travel.
7. Region of Transylvania, Romania
While tour groups line up every summer to visit Dracula’s fabled home, it just doesn’t feel right to visit such a place on a warm, sunny day surrounded by tourists with selfie sticks. So, take a visit to Transylvania when it’s cold and snowy instead to get the full effect! In addition to Dracula, the region of Transylvania is home to so many medieval towns filled with castles, cathedrals, and rich histories that we couldn’t pick just one to feature.
After you’ve frolicked to your heart’s content through winding villages and scenic overlooks, don’t forget to hit up one of the area’s many ski resorts and national parks for some real winter activities.
8. Reykjavik, Iceland
Even though Iceland is a trek from most popular study abroad spots and it is among Europe’s coldest areas, there are many reasons why its capital is a must-see place. The annual Winter Lights Festival in February is one of the best European celebrations of winter and its abundance of winter sports, museums, and restaurants make it quite a happening place, not the frozen and barren land that most people imagine.
What makes Reykjavik even more special are the city’s many outdoor geothermal swimming pools, which are some of just a few in Europe. There is nothing quite like relaxing in their naturally warm waters while the snow falls around you. Every pool is unique, so don’t be afraid to try as many as possible!
9. Edinburgh, Scotland
The winding streets, stunning castles and palaces, and beautiful Princes Street Gardens transformed into a winter wonderland make Edinburgh a city to definitely visit in winter. There is nothing more charming than ice skating in the center of one of Europe’s oldest cities and wandering through the Edinburgh castle as the snow slowly falls, if you’re lucky to see it. Be sure to check out the highlands as well, which are exquisite in winter.
Arthur’s Seat, on the edge of the city, is the perfect place to take a snowy stroll while soaking up unparalleled views. Just be sure to pack an extra coat – it can get windy at what feels like the edge of the UK!
10. Bled, Slovenia
Bled’s incredible natural beauty combined with its peaceful surroundings make it one of the most superb alpine areas in Europe. Renowned for its healing climate, thermal lake water, and “tucked away” ambiance, this small city is perfect for anyone looking to have a relaxing winter escape. However, don’t shy away from Bled if you’re looking for a bit more adventure – its terrain is ideal for anyone interested in outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, or ice skating. In between relaxing and skiing, don’t forget to check out Bled Castle, a medieval fortress believed to be the oldest castle in Slovenia.
Whether you’re into shredding the slopes or strolling the quaint cobblestone streets, Europe has plenty to offer in the winter. Don’t get bogged down by the cold weather or cabin fever – just pop some cold-weather travel gear on and try something you otherwise couldn’t do in your own city.
For more tips for what to do and see around Europe, visit our Europe Travel Guides Pinterest board.
Photo Sources:@Doug88888 via Flickr,nate2b via Flickr, Michael Heilemann via Flickr, Tim Waters via Flickr, Tena Elman, Tori Van Sambeck, Joaquín López via Flickr, Leo-setä via Flickr, Mórka via Flickr, zoetnet via Flickr, mk_is_here via Flickr