25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December til March)

25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December 2023 to March 2024)

Europe is gorgeous – in winter and summer, all year long. The trick is to know where to visit. We are Europeans and we’ve visited the big cities and hidden gems at different times of year.

This is my list of the best European cities to visit in winter 2024. It’s a brand new article, leading you to cold, warm and beautiful destination from December to March and ahead.

So give it a read.

We also included approximate costs of accommodation, transport to get here as well as ideas for itineraries.

Read: best Christmas Markets in Europe

Getting around Europe

The best website to score cheap flights is skyscanner.com and Omio.com

Where to travel in Europe in Winter?

In this list we have everything from warmer places, to European Christmas market and beautiful landscapes. In this list you will find great places to travel as a solo traveler as well as family.

Without any further ado, let us start with some warm weather, food food and beaches: the Canary Islands!

We have created a map for you with the best places to visit in Europe for Winter.

At the end of this article, we even added a map with itinerary ideas for you. Keep scrolling!

1. Canary Island (it is warm here!)

Our #1 European winter destination is Canary Islands.

Although, geographically speaking, it is Africa, the Canary Islands are part of the kingdom of Spain.

Enjoy warm weather, long beaches and amazing Spanish culture. considering Spain in winter? Then read our guide to one week in Spain here. One excellent alternative to Canary Islands in Winter is Cyprus – also on this list.

There are the following islands to choose from:

  1. El Hierro
  2. La Palma
  3. La Gomera
  4. Tenerife
  5. Gran Canaria
  6. Fuerteventura
  7. Lanzarote

Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most popular ones.

Our Guide to One Week in Spain

I especially felt in love with Fuerteventura. It’s a semi-desert island. It is perfect for nature lover, surfers, kite-surfers and beach-goers. The culinary scene is also not to miss.

You can

  • climb volcano’s
  • relax at white and black beaches
  • drive a vehicle through the dunes
  • and explore hidden beaches and even a small grand canyon.

However, if you prefer nightlife, then Tenerife and La Palma in Gran Canaria are the places to be.

How to get to Canary Islands?

Check out the flights to Canary Islands here. Just draw a circle of the islands, simple as that.

You can also take a ferry to the Canary Islands, BUT: it takes around 1 1/2 days just to get there. Unless you want to bring a vehicle and stay long-term, it is not really an option.

Smart tip: Fly first to Madrid or Barcelona. From here you can score cheaper flights plus you can visit a major city in Spain.

Also smart: Rent a car. It is the easiest way to get around without the hassle of a public bus. Discover Car Rental is a reliable website for renting you car in Europe.

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Let us continue this amazing list with another sunny and warm city.

Lisbon is also a fantastic choice during the colder month.

July and August are the busiest months, it is tourist-packed over summer. In winter you can enjoy the city at a slower pace. Soak in the culture, and get lost in the culinary scene and nightlife.

In the area around Lisbon you can also go surfing all year long. A wet suite is necessary though, but your surf school will share the required details.

There are many surf spots dotted around Lisbon. Some of them however remain closed in the colder months. Keep this in mind. Here is our guide to spend 7 days in Lisbon.

Our Guide: One Week in Lisbon

Lisbon is sunny all year long

Things to do in Lisbon over winter?

How to get to Lisbon?

Lisbon has its own big airport. Therefore, it is fairly easy to get here. You can find cheap flights to Lisbon with Skyscanner.com

Where to stay in Lisbon?

Stay central! My personal recommendation is the Lisboa Pessoa Hotel. Enjoy breakfast and dinner on the roof top terrace. It comes with an amazing view over the city.

More on a budget? Then here’s a few cool hostels in Lisbon too:

  1. Sunset Destination (best hostel for solo-travelers)
  2. Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (top pick for backpackers)
  3. Lisbon Calling (awesome for couples)

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel

3. Granada – Sweet sun & Alhambra Aura

If you are expecting cold destinations in South Spain, Granada is the place!

Granada in winter is COLD!

However, Granada is sunny all year long. It stands out like a painting. The old town Albaicín climbs up the mountain, the majestic Alhambra rules the panoramic view from every point in the city.

In the background, you see the snow covered peaks of Sierra Nevada.

The highest mountain on the main land of Spain is snow covered all year long – even in summer. The contrast is spectacular.

At winter times you can still expect sunny but cold weather, super tasty food and south Spanish culture to fall in love with.

Important: Get your ticket to Alhambra as soon as you can! It is almost impossible to get tickets for the same day. Since this is a must-visit, you should get your tickets to Alhambra here.

Granada with its beautiful panoramic view

How to get to Granada?

Granada has its own airport as well as a well-connected train station. You can come here from all major destinations around. Easiest way would be to get here by train from Madrid or by flying from Barcelona.

Where to stay in Granada?

I love the area of Albaicín, it is the old town climbing up the mountain. If it is snowing, I would stay however in the city center, below Alhambra.

My personal recommendation: Stay at Casa Bombo!

The Casa Bombo comes with a STUNNING view to the Alhambra. This is especially awesome at night since it is illuminated!

I stayed here back in 2015; long time, still awesome in 2024 – I checked! The staff was amazing, super helpful. The breakfast was super delicious and the neat design was 100% Granada.

It simply loved it here!

Smart tip: They have a superior double room in a tower with private terrace. From the bed you have the BEST views.

Therefore, try to book the room “Double Room with Private Terrace”. I included here a photo for your reference 🙂

For the traveler on a budget, check out the best hostels in Granada Spain.

Casa Bombo in Granada

This is the room with the private terrace at Casa Bombo.

The room is on the left hand.

The only “con” of this room? The bathroom is downstairs. I did not care a bit. It’s worth it the view!

Private Terrace at Casa Bombo in Granada

4. Sevilla (Sun, culture, food)

A short train ride away from Granada, in direction Lisbon, this is Sevilla. Or in English: Seville. The capital of Andalusia is Sevilla. When visiting Granada, include Sevilla in your plans.

The connection is easy, direct and fast via train or bus. Check Omio.com for schedule and prices. Sevilla is a synonym for bull fights and flamenco. Expect nothing less!

Things to do in Sevilla:

  • visit the impressive cathedral in the cities heart
  • Giralda Tower
  • Real Alcazar of Seville (Europe’s oldest Royal residence)
  • Plaza de España(this is where they filmed partially Star Wars)
  • Try Tapas and have a cold caña (beer)

Sevillas Cathedral and Old Town to admire in Winter

Here is a short video of Star Wards with Plaza de Espana. Once you walk along here, you will recognize it, no doubt.

Therefore, click on the short video and get a glance:

How to get to Sevilla?

As mentioned, the train connection is great. You can come here from Madrid, Granada and Lisbon. There is also the Sevilla Airport. It is well connected to the rest of Europe.

Find your flights to Sevilla here.

Where to stay in Sevilla?

I have been several times to Sevilla. The most enjoyable area was around Old Town. My recommendation is Palacio Pinello. It has an unbeatable location and the interior design is absolutely beautiful.

Palacio Pinello in Sevilla

5. Barcelona

Further up north, a bit colder, yet magnificent. This is my home: Barcelona. You can find all my articles on Barcelona here. I recommend to read my 12 tips to prepare before travelling for Barcelona.

It’s worth it to visit all year long (except New Year’s Eve. New Years Eve is nothing too special in Barcelona, in my opinion).

The temperature at day time is around 10-15 degrees, the coldest months are January and February. It can happen that there will be snow. BUT…that only happens every other year, and it’s just a few snow flakes.

Seriously, if you are used to snow, this is nothing!

In the colder months you can enjoys less crowded Barcelona; less tourists, lower prices. If you are lucky, you can find flights to Barcelona for less than 10€ and accommodation prices drop as well.

Our Guide: One Week in Barcelona

What to do in Barcelona in winter?

There’s plenty:

  • Skiing and snowboarding (3 hours outside the city)
  • Learn to cook paella at a local cooking class
  • Join a walking tour
  • Admire Sagrada Familia
  • Take epic photos at Park Guell

Here is my full list of things to do in Barcelona.

I also summed up the best things to do in Barcelona at NIGHT.

Where to stay in Barcelona?

My favorite area is El Born. I wrote up a huge guide on where to stay in Barcelona for first-time visitors.

I included maps for all types of travelers – from families, couples, solo-travelers.

My #1 recommendation for accommodation here is Casa Bonay. It is a beautiful, hipster hotel. Find more of the coolest hotels in Barcelona here with lesboutiquehotels.com

It is located in a typical Barcelona Apartment with hydraulic floors and high ceilings.

Traveling more on a budget? Find the 3 coolest hostels in Barcelona here.

Cheap hostels in Barcelona are:

Roof top terrace at Casa Bonay

How to get to Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the best connected airports in Europe. You can fly here from anywhere, basically. Go over to Skyscanner and find your flights.

There is also fast trains from Madrid and Paris. Again, I always check Omio.com to see the train schedules.

One Week In Barcelona - Complete Guide

6. Prague (snowy fairyland)

I’ve visited both in summer (September) and winter (December). Both times, I loved it.

And both times, a total different experience.

In winter times the old town is less busy and usually the city is covered in snow and ice.

It is a real romantic city break.

Wander along the famous saint James bridge. Join a tour all the way up in Prague’s castle. It’s a beautiful view from here. The castle is part of key moments of Czech history.

We really recommend to take the Castle tour here to learn about the Defenestrations of Prague. The citizens literally throw their politicians out of the window…

Our Guide: One Week in Prague

Prague in February

How to get here?

In my itineraries (at the end of this article), I included Prague on the trip between Berlin – Dresden and Vienna – Budapest.

This is the perfect journey to take by train. After Prague you can take the train to more wonderful destinations such as

  • Munich
  • Nuremberg
  • Budapest
  • Vienna
  • Dresden
  • Berlin

Where to stay in Prague?

I seriously admire the Old town. However, I think that New Town is the hipper part. It is a bit more local and only  a 5 minutes walk from the busy Old Town.

My #1 hotel in Prague is Bed and Books Art Hotel.

It is located in-between Old and New Town, so a perfect compromise for me. They also offer family-rooms, and I really enjoyed their family-friendly vibes in general. It feels really cozy and like home!

Traveling on a budget?

  1. Sir Toby’s – stylish place
  2. Hostel One Prague – the backpackers choice

Check here the coolest hostels in Prague.

Book and Art Hotel in Prague

7. Berlin (Christmas Markets and History)

Germany’s capital, paradise for techno music, alternative lifestyle, major key player to the last 60 years of worlds history.

Yes, this city has to be on your bucket list for your European Winter Journey.

Berlin has many stories to tell. The colder months are a big part of German culture. Visiting Berlin and Germany between December and April only makes sense.

You can have a hot mole wine at the Christmas market, drive an old Trabi car along the historic Berlin wall, and visit endless museums and monuments.

Our Guide: One Week in Berlin

Trabant Tour in Berlin

Bring super warm clothing, it gets easily -5 degrees in Berlin.

To warm up regularly, I recommend to write down some nice cafes, bars and restaurants. Those usually offer hot coco or coffee. Another “PRO” of this: You can try several different delicious cake. Cafés usually offer cakes here in Berlin.

Now that I’m writing this, don’t miss trying cake in Germany – in general!

How to get to Berlin?

It actually goes without saying, Berlin is well connected. You can catch flights from Paris, Amsterdam, London, Madrid and anywhere. It is a hub!

Find your flights to Berlin here.

Where to stay in Berlin?

Berlin is really big. For me it was quite confusing in the beginning. Now, after I have been there several times, I know now that the best area to stay is around Alexanderplatz and Berlin Mitte.

However, there is this stunning hotel is just love. It is the 25 Hours Hotel.

It is the latest hip hotel chain. Every single one is unique though! Even if you are not staying here, you can stop by here for a cocktail in their monkey bar.

Looking for a fun hostel? Check out these 3 best hostels in Berlin:

  1. The Circus Hostel – great for couples
  2. Grand Hostel Berlin Classic – top pick for female solo travellers

25 Hours Hotel in Berlin

8. Schloss Neuschwanstein in Füssen

Talking about Germany, do you know Schloss Neuschwanstein? Of course you should. I mention it several times in my guide to best cities to visit in Germany.

It’s the real-life Disney Castle.

It is a magical place, both in winter and summer.

Include this as well in your European Winter Itinerary. In winter times, it may be even more fairyland-like. The snow-covered mountains, landscape and castle…that’s a bit of magic there, I can tell you that!

This one is definitely recommended for couples and families.

How to get to Schloss Neuschwanstein?

Best way to get here is by car, by train or take an organized tour. You can come here for instance for a full day trip from Munich.

I would recommend renting a car actually. The way to Schloss Neuschwanstein is beautiful and you will find many places you want to stop at and take pictures.

For renting a car, I recommend Discover Car Hire.

When you prefer renting a car, you can park your car on a free parking on the bottom of the mountain. You can take a public bus up to the castle, walk for ±45 minutes or take a horse-drawn carriage.

Planning to stay in Schwangau or Füssen, near Neuschwanstein Castle? These are the villages around or better to say, below the castle.

You will find plenty of Airbnbs to stay near the castle here. Just add Neuschwanstein and press search.

25 Best European Cities to Visit in Winter (December til March)

9. Munich, Germany

Talking about Germany and Schloss Neuschwanstein, head over to Germany – obviously.

Munich is a beautiful city! Wide, nostalgic buildings and a rich and proud Bavarian culture. As said before, it is just a day trip away from Schloss Neuschwanstein and very well known for its famous Oktoberfest at the end of September and beginning of October.

It actually goes without saying, but here are the MUST visits:

How to get here?

The Airport of Munich is well connected. So you can easily find flights here.

However, the flights to Munich are generally speaking expensive.

My recommendation? Fly into a cheaper destination like Prague, Frankfurt/ Hahn and such. From there you can take the train around Germany, including Munich, Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Okay, I mentioned this several times but always check Omio.com. It helps you planning and get prices. they summarized all transport options.

And as mentioned before, there is Prague not far away.

You can also find the official train schedule with the German Train company here. You can find all flights to Munich here.

Where to stay in Munich?

Stay central. Everything around Marienplatz and Stachus is perfect. My favorite one is the BEYOND by Geisel Hotel.

Why? Some of their have stunning views to Marienplatz directly.

Well, you cannot beat that!

Traveling more on a budget? Find a detailed guide with the 3 best hostels in Munich here.

The budget accommodations are:

  1. Wombat’s CITY Hostel Munich – for solo-traveller
  2. Gspusi Bar Hostel – for stylish traveler and couples
  3. Euro Youth Hostel – backpacker choice

BEYOND by Geisel Hotel in Munich

10. Vienna, Austria

The little or bigger brother of Munich, that’s Vienna.

Vienna is located between Munich and Budapest, perfect for a city break as well.

The Christmas market is famous all over Europe, so when you are interested in that…here you go!

But even after Christmas, winter times in Vienna can be beautiful. I certainly enjoyed it!

Here’s my handwritten guide to spend 7 days in Vienna Austria. Make sure you also check my guide on 32 best fun things to do in Vienna.

What to do in Vienna in winter? Here are my ideas:

  • Eat Mozart Kugel
  • warm up again at Viennese Coffee House Culture. It is world famous and even recognized as an UNESCO cultural heritage
  • admire Schloss Schönbrunn (but get the Skip the line ticket)
  • Visit Naschmarkt & Brunnenmarkt (a classic)

As for your accommodation, I also created a map with all neighborhoods of the Austrian Capital. Check out my guide for best places to stay in Vienna.

Our Guide: One Week in Vienna

Viennas Christmas Market in December

How to get to Vienna?

Train and flights are again the best options. The trains are heated and you can enjoy a beautiful winter landscape when opting in for the train ride.

You can find all train schedules in Austria here.

Where to stay in Vienna?

I wrote a big and detailed guide to where to stay in Vienna for first-time visitors.

I recommend book-marking it. It is the absolute best guide you’ll find as it written by a local guide!

Vienna has quite amazing hotels and fun hostels.

As for a hotel, I love the Hotel Rathaus Wein and Design.

The concept is pretty obvious, I suppose. But it’s not just that. I also enjoyed the atmosphere, it is casual, warm, friendly. Last but not least, their terraces plus the enormous rooms.

Traveling on a smaller budget? Check the top hostels in Vienna here.

Hotel Rathaus Wein und Design in Vienna Hotel Rathaus Wein und Design in Vienna

11. Amsterdam

Oh Amsterdam, Ohhhhh Amsterdam.

This list would not be the same without you!

Amsterdam is one of my absolute favorite destinations in the world. It goes the same category as Barcelona, Venice and other worldwide spots.

You can come here to party all night long. BUT…you can come here as well to enjoy a long day of rich culture. From art, museums, history, architecture….

Amsterdam is AMAZING! Sorry, but I cannot express my love for this destination enough. There is just something about it…

Our Guide: One Week in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Cycling in Winter Times

How to get to Amsterdam?

No question about it, Amsterdam is very well-connected within Europe and the world. There are numerous of cheap flights here, so this would be my best recommendation.

Find your flights with my friends from Skyscanner.com.

KLM, the Dutch Airline, is based here, and they have sometimes really sweet offers. You can check their official website here. FYI, KLM is a great Airline. It is really recommended, I always love taking them!

Where to stay in Amsterdam?

Soooooo many to choose from. I simply had to put together a guide to where to stay in Amsterdam as first-timers.

When looking for an apartment, I recommend the B&NOB Sosial Spaces. Stylish apartments in the very city center!  There is also incredible luxury hotels dotted around the city center. Here is a complete guide on the top luxury Amsterdam hotels.

You can also chose between crazy party hostels up to upscale Boutique Hostels.

Here is a guide to the best hostels in Amsterdam; compared.

  1. Cocomama – for female solo travellers
  2. Ecomama – top pick for solo travellers and groups
  3. ClinkNOORD

 B&NOB SOSial Spaces

12. Venice (less tourists, more beauty)

Even in the colder month, I LOVE Venice.


I never thought I would fall in love with such a touristy city. But once you have been here, there is no way around it. The touristy parts are mainly on Piazza San Marco and the main street taking you from Piazza San Marco to the train station.

Go left, go right. And get lost!

It is a big part of the Venice experience. Therefore, my best recommendation for Venice would be: don’t plan too much, just enjoy.

Important: The only thing I would plan is the visit of the Doge’s Palace and the Basilica Tour.

Our Guide: One Week in Venice

Doge's Palace and the Basilica Tour

Where to sleep in Venice?

No surprise, I had to write down all my tips on where to stay in Venice Italy. I have been several times and there is a bunch of things you can do wrong in terms of accommodation in Venice.

My best tip: Stay on the main island!!!!

My absolute favorite hotel in Venice is H10 Palazzo Canova.

You are staying in the heart of the city. It comes with a roof top terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.

Come on, this is just beautiful and so unique! You will love it as much as I did!

Book H10 Palazzo Canova here

Where to stay in Venice: H10 Palazzo Canova

Where to stay in Venice on a budget?

Sleep at COMBO Hostel.

It is recommended for all ages and types of travelers – unless you are looking for party! It is a former monastery, located on the main island. You don’t have to take a ferry to come here.

Around the corner you have amazing,non-touristic restaurant.

The best part? The rooms come with a canal view. It is absolutely amazing!

Book Combo Hostel Venice here

WE Crociferi Venice WE Crociferi Venice

13. Strasbourg (hidden gem)

Strasbourg is located in the Eastern part of France, right at the border with Germany.

It is a true European hidden gem! Make sure you read my insider guide I wrote when I was in town for 7 days in Strasbourg. The most beautiful area here is “La Petit France“. It is an area with old buildings and canals wandering through the old town.

For me it is a romantic city break. Find my full article on things to do in Strasbourg here.

I also wrote up the best 10 Instagram spots for Strasbourg.

I would stay here for 1 night and move on towards Paris or Switzerland. If you bring a bit more time and are keen to rent a car, head over to the small cities of Colmar and Besancon.

I included them as well in the 35 most beautiful cities to visit in France.

Our Guide: One Week in Strasbourg

Strasbourg Alsace traditional houses

14. Zagreb, Croatia

Have you considered Zagreb?

Zagreb is the capital of gorgeous Croatia. Croatia is actually known for its thousands of islands. Sure, those are the best destinations in summer.

For winter, I enjoy Zagreb. With all the cafés, the busy nightlife, street art and culture, it is a kind of unexpected joy to be here.

You should include this destination in your itinerary when traveling in the Balkans and East Europe.

Church in Zagreb Street Art in Zagreb

15. London (free museums)

Another top city to visit in Europe during winter is: LONDON! With all their free museums, it is perfect for families and couples. And if you think “nah, museum are boring”, think again! London has museums for EVERYTHING.

Check my complete guide to spend one week in London here.

If you are really lucky, you will get a bit of sun shine…but more realistically you will have a grey sky and rain. Nevertheless, we are here for the numerous museums anyway.

The British Museum is a must-visit! The Science Museum and Natural History Museum even got into an epic twitter-battle of who has the better exhibitions. Super curious to watch what kind of exhibition they feature.

As for accommodation, check out my big detailed guide on where to stay in London for first-time visitors.

I also write a guide on the 14 best restaurants in London.

How to get around London? Well, check Omio.com. You will need to get the Oyster card to get around in the metro and buses.

Our Guide: One Week in London

Sun is shining in London Winter Destination - London is a top choice

16. Reykjavik (Northern Lights)

The Northern Lights are spectacular. It’s seriously breath-taking. You can only admire the Northern Lights in winter times, and only up in the North of Europe.

Therefore, go to Iceland, visit Reykjavik and the whole country. Here is an interesting article to find the Northern Lights in Europe at winter times.

Northern Lights

17. Sicily, Italy

Finally, another sunny destination.

Sicily has a mild climate in winter, yet it can get fresh. Here you can find the average climate in Sicily and all other destinations.

It’s worth it to rent a car and drive all over Sicily – from Palermo to Catania to tiny villages. Although some places remain closed in the off-season, the beauty if the country remains. Take advantage of this!

And yes, you can find accommodation all year long, don’t you worry!

The photo below shows the tiny, beautiful Castelmola, Italy.

Castelmola, taly

18. Oslo, Norway

The Norwegian capital has two sides to it. The hills and the center itself.

I stayed at a camping site in the hill, overlooking the city of Oslo. Okay, I know, it’s to cold in winter for camping but there are a few hotels around the hill side as well.

My nightlight in Oslo was the boat tour as well as the beautiful white Opera House. I sat here at the seashore for hours, reading the books of Jo Nesbø.

If I were you, I’d keep an eye on the events of the opera house.

Reflection of Opera House in Oslo

19. Stockholm, Sweden

Moving on in Scandinavia. Here is my guide to one week in Stockholm with itinerary. Stockholm is surrounded and basically build on water. It is the same story as Venice, yet it’s not that touristy. Get lost in the narrow streets, taste different pastries and wander the museums of Stockholm.

A must-visit is the ABBA Museum, the Swedish legend. The Drottningholm Palace and the Royal Palace can also not be missed.

There is a tourist bus around the city. However, the more fun way to explore Stockholm is by Archipelago cruise. Stockholm is beautiful. I think it’s more special to visit during the colder months.

Why? It’s a big part of the Swedish culture, it’s less crowded plus it gives you reason to enter more of their design-led cafes, restaurants and museums.

Good to know: Stockholm is VERY cold in winter! Make sure you stay warm and wear warm clothing.

Stockholm in winter - even more precious

20. Copenhagen

At the moment, Craft beer is very trendy around Europe. And Copenhagen is certainly a hot spot for this. Try to visit a craft beer tour, even if you are not that into beer itself. It is really interesting.

And yes, I obviously wrote up my top tips for Copenhagen as well. Read my guide on my best Copenhagen itinerary here.

I recommend to stay at least 2 nights in Copenhagen. There is a lot to explore, like Copenhagen Opera House, the royal palace and the Kastellet with the nearby little mermaid of course.

The alternative area Christiania is famous as well. I recommend taking a tour here, especially for families.

Our Guide: One Week in Copenhagen


21. Porto (a gem)

I already covered Lisbon in this list. But let us not forget about Porto. It is the pearl of the North. Porto and its hilly neighborhoods are one of my favorite hidden gems in Europe.

With time moving on, more and more tourists discover Porto. Make sure you come here before it gets too busy.

The main highlight of Porto is, quite obviously, tasting a real Port wine. There are numerous wineries in the area. You can even take a cruise to the wineries. Make sure you wander along the rivers bench and take some photos of the Dom Luís I Bridge.

Good to know: There is a small cable car bringing you from the bottom of Dom Luís I Bridge up. In my opinion, it’s not worth it the money.

Hidden Porto and its old town

22. Lyon (the better Paris?)

It is the Little Paris.

Maybe even the “better Paris“? It is definitely less busy than the world famous Paris. Many locals come here to live since it is still a big city, but not too overwhelming.

Even in winter times you can wander the old town, go shopping and dive in one of the finest cuisines of the world. Many Michelin-star awarded chefs like Paul Bocuse are from Lyon or live here. So?

Lyon is a foodie paradise!

Talking about food. Head over to the local market “Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse”. Here you can eat like a queen and king. From the Basílica Notre-Dame de Fourvière you have a beautiful view over the city.

If you are planning to come by car to Lyon, this is where you can also park for free! When you start to get cold feet, head over to Puzzle Café, downtown.

It’s a small, cute, hip café with creamy coffee, design-led magazines and super tasty pastries.

Lyon in France

23. The French and Swiss Alps

This list would not be complete without skiing and snowboarding. The best spot to do so is the French and Swiss Alps. In Europe we say, “Skiing the big four: France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy”.

You can also go for skiing in the Pyrenees. There you can choose between the French Pyrenees, the Spanish ones or Andorra.

24. Budapest (Spa’s and Nightlife), Hungary

First time I visited Budapest it was in February. Deep winter. Everything covered in white, fluffy, cold snow.

It. Was. Awesome! Check out my itinerary for Budapest.

I visited the “museum of terror” (it was super interesting!) and I ate my way through different restaurants. My highlight however was the Széchenyi Spa.

Although it was freezing outside, I visited the SPA. It has an indoor and outdoor area. You can be outside with a lot of things to do. And you can jump inside into the warm when it’s getting to cold. When you are done with the Széchenyi Spa, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, spas, bars and indoor experiences.

I recommend taking a walk up or take the small train to the Budapest Castle. There is an Art Gallery inside. Nearby you can also find the Citadella, a fortification located upon the top of Gellért Hill in Budapest.

From both points you have wonderful views over the city.

Looking for some nightlife? Well, in Budapest you will find it. There are rural bars and numerous nightclubs. Here is a guide to nightlife in Budapest.

Our Guide: One Week in Budapest

Budapest is worth it to visit in Winter

25. Cyprus – Warmest Place in Europe for Winter

Coming in last but certainyl not least: Cyprus!

Cyprus enjoys mild winters with temperatures around 15-20°C (59-68°F), making it a warm escape from Europe’s chill.

Winter travel is budget-friendly with cheaper flights and accommodations, plus fewer crowds at tourist spots.

What can you do in Cyprus in Winter?

Explore Cyprus’s rich history at places like the Paphos Archaeological Park. Indulge in delicious Cypriot cuisine, including moussaka and souvlaki, and try traditional sweets like loukoumades.

Discover the Troodos Mountains for scenic hikes and the chance of snowfall, or explore the Akamas Peninsula’s nature trails.

Take a wine tour and taste Cyprus’s renowned local wines.

Enjoy lively festivals, like Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, with music, food, and fireworks.

While swimming might be too cold, relax on beautiful beaches.

Explore charming villages like Lefkara for handicrafts or Omodos for wineries and cobblestone streets.

Our Guide: One Week in Cyprus

Rent a car to explore cyprus easily

Itinerary for the best European cities to visit in Winter

The easiest way to get around Europe is by plane and train. However, if you have only One Week in Europe, you do not want to spend most of the time in a vehicle.

Here are a few itineraries I suggest for when traveling in Europe during winter.

  1. Madrid – Toledo – Granada – Sevilla – Lisbon
  2. Lisbon – Sevilla – Córdoba – Granada
  3. Berlin – Dresden – Prague – Nuremberg – Munich – Neuschwanstein Castle
  4. Barcelona (3 days) – Lyon (2 days) – Paris (3 days)

Please find below a map I created for you (you can open the full map in a new tab here)

Here you have more ideas for itineraries inside Europe. Always check transport with Omio.com, it helps you to see schedules and prices.

Those are my generic ideas to get the most of out your trip. Not all of them fit into one week though.

The budget estimation

You can calculate your costs for flights with Skyscanner and Omio.com.

Generally said, every flight under 100€ is a great deal, under 200€ is totally fine. A flight inside of Europe should not be more than 200€.

Flights in Europe for Winter

As for trains, there is no generic rule. I am sorry. I would live to give you an estimate for train travel, but it is so diverse. I recommend you to check out RailEurope. They list all trains around the different countries.

This way you can get a better understanding of the prices and rates.

A word of advise though: Keep an eye on special weekend deals or day-tickets. Sometimes you can get some fantastic deals!

Food: General speaking, you can find a daily menu for around 10€-15€, while dinner is around 20€.

Websites to use for planning your Europe trip: There is many useful websites and apps to use. I wrote up a summary of the best websites to use to travel Europe.

Accommodation: I would calculate around 70€ and 150€ for a double room in all destinations. It all depends on availability and location.

Talking about where to sleep…

Where to stay/ sleep when traveling in Europe

Try to stay as central as possible! This way you are centrally located and you save time in transport. As for finding accommodation, I recommend using Booking.com and Airbnb.com.

They both have the biggest inventory and by far the best prices.

Booking is more for hotels while Airbnb is more for apartments.

Hostelworld is a great option for booking budget accommodations like hostels and guesthouses.

Please use my link here for your bookings and Hostelworld.

This way I receive a small commission of your booking and can maintain this website – with NO extra cost for you. =)

And again, another awesome website I love to use is Airbnb. Here you can rent a full apartment from locals directly. You can also just rent a room inside an apartment. I wrote up a big guide on 42 alternatives to Airbnb too.

Packing List for European Winter

Wherever you go, you will need a jacket. Even in the South with Canary Islands, a light jacket is a must. The closer to the North you are, the more and warmer clothe you will need.

The most important items on your packing list are:

Furthermore you need:

Bare in mind, you can always jump into a coffee shop to warm up. This is what I always do.

Packing List for Traveling Winter in Europe

Summary: 25 Best Winter Cities to visit in Europe

Finally, I summed up all my favorite 25 winter destinations in Europe in one list. Here is another great guide to find winter destinations.

I hope my list and the itinerary suggestions are a big help to you.


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