When winter is approaching, you will find a good excuse to escape from the routine and embrace a nice trip abroad. This list of the best European winter city breaks is ideal for who is looking for inspiration. The old Continent is full of great cities to visit during winter. The magic atmosphere of old towns and castles, the charm of a nice glass of red wine in front of a fireplace while is snowing is a must-do in wintertime.
15 must see places in Europe in Winter will give you some highlighted destinations for your next weekend break. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a trip in December, January or February. From the most important airports, you can find really good bargains to travel to the most attractive destinations in winter in Europe.
Consider a winter city break in Europe to some of the underrated places, not just the Capitals. In a short weekend break in winter, you can visit Tallin in Estonia or Hamburg in Germany. Good food and music in the last destination, proper East European Culture for the first one. From snowy destinations such as Venice and the close Trentino to typical cultural treatment in the museums of London. Let’s go in deep in our list of best places to spend winter in Europe.
15 places to visit in Winter in Europe
- Nice in Winter, France
- Rome, Italy
- Paris, France
- Warsaw, Poland
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Venice, Italy
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Hamburg, Germany
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Budapest, Hungary
- Vienna, Austria
- London, Uk
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Bruxelles, Belgium
Nice – Cotè Azur in Winter
Nobody will say that the best period of the year to visit Nice on the French Riviera is in Winter. But we actually do. We have been visiting Nice in winter, in January because the airfare ticket was cheap. Just 10£ return ticket from London. We have enjoyed high temperature in winter, around 20 degrees in January that made us walking through the streets with short sleeves shirts all the time.
Visit Nice in winter is not just a nice place for warmer temperature compared with other European Destinations in Europe but also because is less crowded and cheaper.
Generally associated with a good lifestyle and the high rate prices, Nice is an underrated destination in Europe to visit in Winter. A glass of fine Bordeaux wine in a posh bar on the main shopping road will cost you less than 5 euro, that will make sense to visit it during winter. It is true that you can’t enjoy the beach and a nice swim in the turquoise Mediterranean water, but you can visit the close Montecarlo or the popular cine place Cannes.
Rome – Italian Classic destination
The capital of Italy is a must-visit all year. In winter this destination becomes less crowded but still getting nice weather. Visit Rome in October or late February will give you sunny days with 20 degrees or more. But, there is an amazing experience in Rome to do at Christmas time. During this period the lights or Rome are more beautiful than ever. You can’t miss visiting the amazing Xmas Market of Rome in Piazza Navona. Get a Rome Christmas walking tour and get amazed by the architecture of the old eternal city.
We suggest planning your itinerary of Rome including the most popular attractions. Visit the Colosseum and Via dei Fori Imperiali. Stroll around the masterpieces of the city centre as Fontana di Trevi or Piazza di Spagna with the amazing luxury shopping street of Via Condotti. Rome is amazing and Romantic too, that’s why we suggest you walk along the river and visit the local market, or cross it and eat at one of the best restaurants in Trastevere. Take a food tour of Rome and taste the proper Italian Food.
Rome is two cities in one. You can stroll around the popular sightseeing of the city, or visit the Holy state of Vatican City. Visit the Sistine Chapel and do a tour of the Vatican Museum. You will be surprised that the prices to visit the smallest country in Europe is so cheap. The fast-track for the Sistine Chapel 5$ and the self-guided tour 20$ and the full tour 50$. Book it now!
Paris – Romantic weekend escape in Europe
The romantic roundup of Europe, after Rome, will go forward to Paris. The most romantic city in Europe and maybe in the World. Choice wisely the place to stay and maybe take one with the best view of Tour Eiffel.
Of many locations to visit in Europe in Winter, Paris is for sure one of the most expensive and Luxurious. We have been in Paris many times, but the best was a few days before Christmas. The windows of the shops look incredible and the lights of the big shopping centre Lafayette make us feeling the period atmosphere.
We can’t forget the way up to the Tour Eiffel, adorned with sparkling lights and visible from all over the city. In Christmas Time the popular attractions of Paris dress to impress, that’s why we advise you to book the ticket for this incredible European winter city break.
To get up the Tour Eiffel is better that you book in advance your ticket to reach the sum (it will cost 50$ to skip the queue that will be so long – Check here)
But Paris is not just Tour Eiffel and shopping. Point on your list of places to visit in Paris also the Louvre, one of the best museum in the World (Tickets here) or outside of the city the Royal Palace of Versailles (Book your skip the queue and guided tour ticket here)
Warsaw – Eastern Charm – European winter city breaks
Europe is full of beautiful places to travel to, but there are many countries underrated with some of the best cities. Personally, the most known location where to spend a winter weekend in Europe are well recognised, but some others need to just to be promoted because cosy, less touristy and best of all, cheapest.
Warsaw, Poland is one of those hidden gems, outside of the Tourists radars. You can reach the city from many airports in Europe. That makes it the perfect destination even just for a weekend winter trip in Europe. Not many people know that Warsaw is the birthplace of Frédéric Chopin, the famous Polish composer. The city connects art and culture into a romantic atmosphere. This largest Capital in northeast Europe is ideally for the winter and autumn seasons, giving to the last one the most impressive scenarios. Yellow, Orange and Red colours of the leaves fulfil the parks and the main roads. Warsaw is worth a visit, because of the atmosphere in between the old communist past and the attempt of the young generations to approach the new Europe.
The main attraction that can give you this idea is the Palace of Culture and Science, the Pałac Kultury i Nauki in Polish. This building stands right in the centre of Warsaw, and for many years has been the second-highest building in Europe, with its 238 metres.
Walking through the streets of Warsaw will make you feel special. Many people love to seat on the benches on the side of the streets, which are automated to play the music of Chopin (You can go to a Chopin Concert for just 14 Euro, check the tickets here). Visit Warsaw in winter will be a cheap European city break, that can be romantic, cultural or relaxing too.
Check all the offers for the cheapest tours of Warsaw:
Warsaw Hop-On Hop-Off Bus for 17 euro
Chopin Concert + Drink – 14 Euro
Polish Beer Tasting Tour of Warsaw – 33 Euro
Warsaw Polin Museum and Jewish History – 6 Euro
Stockholm – Perfect winter break in Europe
The northern city capital of Sweden is really a quiet place where to travel. It is really a popular destination in Europe, especially for trips from Stockholm. Many of the most interesting snowy experiences are taking place outside Stockholm or within a reasonable distance from the Capital. If you like wildlife we suggest you go for a safari close to Stockholm and wildfire dinner as well or a Kayak Adventure
Stockholm is a peaceful city where spend winter, we suggest at least 3 days in the city because is really big and the sightseeings are everywhere. We also suggest following the local tradition of Fika. A particular time of the day, that can be associated with other European breaks as Aperitief and you can have after work. It is making local reaching the near pub with friends and enjoy a pint or two with a few snecks.
Prague – Cheap destination
The little Capital of the Czech Republic is one of the favourite winter destinations in Europe. It is also together with Brussels, the best destination to reach for beers lovers. There are many attractions you don’t have to miss in Prague. The Castle of Prague, and a boat tour on the river.
The old Town Hall and the Astronomical Clock. If you are planning a full visit of Prague, we suggest buying the cheapest Prague Card, that allows you to get entrance free in the best attraction of the city, free transport and discount for food end popular places.
Venice – Head here for the famous Carnival
Winter is maybe the best season to visit Venice without a crash in tourists everywhere. Venice is awesome but really popular among tourists. This destination appears in our list of best European winter city breaks because is the best time of the year to visit it. If you have no fear of throngs of tourists, head here in February in order to attend the famous Carnival. The northern Italian city is well known for the constant flooding water and the amazing Square “Piazza San Marco”.
Venice could be really expensive too, so we suggest to use it as a good excuse to visit Italy and then just stroll around other folkloristic Italian cities nearby, like Verona. If you like mountains and would just look for a relaxed place where enjoy landscapes and good food, Trentino is what you need. This is an underrated destination in Europe, ideal for Mountains and nature lovers. Some of the best ski slopes and ski chalets in Italy are in Trentino.
Iceland is for sure one of the coldest areas of Europe, so be ready to wear your best jacket. The temperatures in winter go really below the zero, but it still one of the most popular spots to visit. In Winter, in February in Reykjavik, there is the annual Lights Festival. The celebration of Winter is really popular in Europe, and if you are a winter sports lover you have to spend a few days there.
Reykjavik is not just well known for winter sports and celebrations but also for geothermal swimming pools and termes. Maybe this is the things that take many tourists to choice Iceland as winter break or just for a weekend trip abroad.
Reaching the city centre from the airport is quite easy, you can book it from here for cheap. The popular sightseeing is not actually a building but a natural attraction. The Northern lights that are not happening every time and everywhere are the first thing you have to pin on your list. Check a complete tour to see the Aurora Borealis for 30$.
You can also go Whale watching on board of an expensive, luxurious yacht in the cold North Sea. The tour is not expensive and will take you to an amazing adventure. (Check this tour) But what makes us really want to go there is the Blue Lagoon. A Geothermal experience in hot water, surrounded by cold and ice. Give yourself a relaxing day in the Blue Lagoon for one of the best experience in your life. (Check the tickets here)
Hamburg – Music culture and great food
The North German city of Hamburg is well known for the popular seaport, but not many know that is also an amazing location where to spend a winter city break. The worm you up with good music, strudel, beers and likeminded people. Hamburg looks completely different in the festive city, transforming the German into a fairytale Christmas Capital. From Autumn to Winter Hamburg has got a charm unique in Europe. It is also a romantic city, with an amazing seaside walking the path and the iconic Elbphilharmonie, the Concert Hall of Hamburg.
Copenhagen – Must do in November
Copenhagen is an amazing city to visit all year, but winter is absolutely a top one. Is easy to find a cheap flight from many airports in Europe, and also is the best way to start a tour of the Scandinavian Area. The fairytale city on the Northern Sea has a lot to offer to tourists, history and culture with many castles located in the city centre. In winter is really cold, so be ready to wear heavy jackets, hats and gloves.
For ski lovers, is well to know that in Copenhagen there are the best-equipped ski centres in Europe.
See our post about the best things to do in Copenhagen in winter.
Budapest – European winter city breaks + Spa retreatment
This is maybe the most favourite location of Alessia and the ideal location for a winter retreat in Europe. Budapest will make you want to stay more than just a weekend in winter. Budapest with the many Spa and thermal centre is the ideal location for every kind of tourists, family, young people or couples. We have loved everything of the Hungarian Capital, the food, culture and the amazing sightseeing.
Some of the best sightseeing of Budapest is the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Parliament and the Buda Castle. Check the amazing tours of Budapest we suggest to you.
The most romantic thing you can plan in Budapest is in order a Spa Experience (Check the tickets for Széchenyi Skip the queue) and a Night Cruise with a view of the Parliament for 15$.
Vienna – Cultural Europe trip
The cultural Austrian Capital is a relaxing holiday, worth even for just a winter city break. The glamorous and charming city in central Europe is well-linked with many other cities. You can easily reach Vienna from Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia and Hungary. This position makes Vienna the ideal city were to start a tour of central Europe or East Europe. We enjoyed our little retreat in Vienna, while in a tour that takes us to explore Budapest in two days and then Bratislava, the cheapest way to fly off. The glorious past of Austria has left Vienna with many important landmarks.
Visiting Vienna in Winter will make you feel in a theme park rich in light and emotions. Even if it is most underrated Vienna will be the best European winter break for us. Enjoy a coffee at the impressive Sacher with a piece of cake typical. The building of the Opera of Vienna, where famous composer and artist has played is paying itself the cost of the ticket. Planning Vienna as winter European vacation will be a good and wise choice.
London – The largest city in Europe
The classic European city to spend a lovely winter in full of interesting activities and amazing sightseeing. London is the first city poping in mind once you are thinking about a winter break in Europe. It is also the most expensive location on our list of European winter city breaks. Of course, you can plan to visit London in a few days, but don’t expect to see the best of the city in just a weekend.
The largest city in Europe has a lot to offer, from the iconic Big Ben to the most famous Wheels in the World, the London Eye. (Make sure to have the Skip the line tickets beforehand). There are so many activities to do in London for everyone. Camden Town is the Borough to visit if you are looking to be surrounded by young people, meet up with some friends for a beer or two. Visit Portobello Road and Notting Hill for a weekend around the local vintage market and the colourful facades of the posh streets.
As we love to give any sort of advice, it is good to plan to visit some of the best museums in the World. The public Museums in London are access free and are open even on Sunday. We suggest you plan visits at the National Gallery, the British Museum, Albert and Victoria and the Tate Modern on top of all. Planning a trip to London, make sure you read our guides.
Bratislava – Most underrated Capital in Europe
Bratislava is a newly established capital in Europe. In this underrated gem of Europe, you can find all the Embassy and State departments. A city that is living the transition from the old Communist Epoque and the new modern European style of life, with many important financial activities and tech companies relocation in the city.
Bratislava is the capital of the Republic of Slovakia, the result of a division of Czechoslovakian Republic. It is not really popular because surrounded by more popular destinations like Budapest and Vienna (You can reach Bratislava from Vienna, by boat with a mini-cruise on the Danube for 50$). We highly suggest you visit this lovely East European city in winter. The Castle on the top of the hill will show you the amazing landscape over the meadow of Slovakia, until the board with Hungary on one side and Austria on the other. You can reach Bratislava from many airports in Europe and the airport is close to the city centre, reachable by public bus, for a cheap fare.
Tallinn – Best places in Eastern Europe in Winter
Tallinn in Estonia is one of the top 10 technologic cities in the World. The little Tallinn’s Old Town is really popular, an example of well preserved medieval cities in Europe, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the northern part of Estonia, is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The temperature in Tallinn goes really below the zero in winter, but this doesn’t take it out of the list of the European winter city breaks to do.
Visiting Tallinn for the first time we highly suggest you book a tour with a local. Letting a local showing you around will help you to understand better the city, get a warm welcome and tips on where to eat and drink. Instead for 10$, you can have an amazing sightseeing boat tour of the Tallinn’s Bay, seeing the city from the seaside.
Bruxelles – Chocolate and Beer
Bruxelles is the centre of Europe, because of political and financial reasons, but also because is one of the most variegated city we have seen so far in the old continent. The mix of different culture makes it a worthy place to visit in winter in Europe. Not many know that in Belgium there are three official languages, French, Dutch and German, but English is spoken by many people.
We have loved so much Brussels for two things, Beers and Chocolate. In winter those two things are the best for keeping you warm. Plan ahead to visit the Delirium Cafè, a Pub with more than 200 kinds of beers, a proper paradise for beer lovers (We did a full guide of Brussels for beer lovers by the way!). During Christmas Time, Brussels holds one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe, with a big wheel visible from all over in the city.
Some other cheap winter city breaks in Europe
There are many other cities in Europe not mentioned above. Was impossible to write about all the winter destinations in Europe. But there are many that you have to consider for your next winter Europe Itinerary. Berlin is one of the popular destinations all year, with some of the best budget hostels in the Continent. So, if you are looking for budget travel, think about Berlin. Another cheap weekend breaks in Europe could be Naples in Italy or Barcelona in Spain. Dublin is one of the upcoming surprising destinations to visit in Europe, and also an unusual winter breaks.
From late November to early March is the timeframe Months for winter in Europe. Of the above list, you can see Prague, Bratislava and Budapest as the cheapest city breaks in Europe. But, the best Christmas Europe Breaks is for sure Bruxelles, for sure for the Christmas Markets.
The New Year celebrations are all for London, with the fireworks from London Eye attracting over 1 million persons every year along the riverside. So, we have highlighted some o the best European cities to visit in winter. Like always we are open to other submissions. If you want us to write about cities that you think are worth to be in this list, we will be really happy to include it.