where to go in Europe when its called, Europe destinations in the cold, winter europe destinations

10 European Cities to Visit During the Winter

european cities to visit in winter

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


where to go in the winter in europe

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.


where to go in europe when it's cold

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!


cities to visit in the winter during study abroad

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!

Read next: 6 Fun Activities to Do in Europe During the Winter


winter destinations during study abroad

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

Rebecca’s plan to travel the world and learn as many languages as possible started when she was 12 years old and taking her first Spanish class. Now, 4 languages and 17 countries later, Rebecca fills her time writing about and marketing amazing places all over the world. When not convincing people to travel, she can be found eating hummus, belting out showtunes, and watching penguin videos. For more travel tips, baller cinnamon bun recipes, and pictures from her mountain home, follow her on Twitter (@heyrebeccabroad) and Instagram (@rebeccamoree).

32 thoughts on “10 European Cities to Visit During the Winter

  1. K

    Transylvania is not a city. There are plenty of worthwhile cities in the area- Brasov, Sibiu, etc., but this is a pretty gross error.

  2. Sudhi

    A good list of places…Why is there no “Swiss” cities in this list? I find basel and Zurich really good during the months of December and January.

  3. thea julia

    I wanted to know if you know of any places other than Lapland that we can get to from Rome for a Reindeer sleigh ride in early december! I have been having trouble finding an option for my Hubby’s 40th…

  4. barbara

    hi I think the best top 10 to visit is Austrian Vienna it the most beautiful of Europe history culture scenic and a lot more with nice and friendly people especially when you visit their
    Christmas market it was really stunning.

  5. Chris

    Great list! Don’t give too much on the “snowy” description of Edinburgh though, we’ve only had about 3 days of snow (like 1 inch) here this year and none last year, Scotland’s winter is nowhere as cold as its reputation 🙂

  6. Manuj Saxena

    I am looking to visit Swiss, Itay, France & UK during Feb, 16 for celebrating my 25th marriage anniversary.
    share your thoughts

  7. Anil Goyal

    I am looking to visit Swiss, Itay, France & UK or european best place to visit during Feb, 16 for celebrating my 25th marriage anniversary.
    share your thoughts

  8. Roxi

    Hi! I’m from Romania and I’m very happy to see that Transylvania is on your list (indeed, it’s not a city, but not this is important). The whole country is very beautiful and we have a lot of traditions.
    Congrats for this cute article! 😀

  9. Mike

    I’m planning a trip for the end of January. Which one of these cities on the list would you recommend for a 3-day trip? I’m scared that if we hit somewhere big I won’t be able to fit it all in 3 days. Places not on the list are also welcomed suggestions!

    Thank you.

  10. Velizara

    I would also add Vienne to your list! One of the most beautiful European capitals and it’s especially popular during the Christmas holidays. A must-go!

  11. Mery

    Madrid is beautiful in Winter! Specially during Christmas time and end of February as the weather starts getting ready for Spring. 🙂

  12. Aniil A Pamnani

    We r planning a Mediterranenan cruise for a week starting from Barcelona n covering places like Marseille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo and Valletta in Feb 2017. Its for our honeymoon. Is it a good idea to visit these places aroubd 1st n 2nd week of Feb?

  13. Ritu

    Which places would u recommend in early January in Europe for our 25th we’ve around two weeks vid us.

  14. Arpit

    Hi – Could you suggest top 2 cities/countries to visit in the 3rd week of Jan? I have a weeks time and I ll be travelling from india.

  15. Steven

    Hi, we are planning our family holiday for two weeks in mid to end of December 2018 in Europe. Any suggestion where is good places to visit.

  16. Sara

    We will be visiting Europe for 10 days in the last week of January for our15th anniversary. The only thing which might restrict us is that I am pregnant in my 25th week. What would be the best suitable destination based on your research?!


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