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25 BEST EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT IN WINTER (UNTIL MARCH 2019) - Part 1: 1 to 10Previous Next
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.
There are the following islands to choose from:
- El Hierro
- La Palma
- La Gomera
- Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most popular ones.
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.
- 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 hussle of a public bus. rentalcars.com is a reliable website for comparing rental cars.
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.
Things to do in Lisbon over winter?
- Visit over 23 interesting museums with the Lisbon card.
- Take a day trip to Sintra, Cascais and Estoril
- Wander the old town
- Have a drink in a former brothel, the Pensão Amor
- Take a gourmet tour
- Enter the impressive Pena Palace and Park
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 Kiwi.com
Where to stay in Lisbon?
Stay central! You can find all hotels and guest houses in Lisbon central here.
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.
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.
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.
Check all flights to Granada here.
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.
Here you can find all hotels in Granada.
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 in 2015. 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
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!
4. Sevilla (Sun, culture, food)
A short train ride away from Granada, in direction Lisbon, this is Sevilla.
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.
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
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.
You can find and compare all hotels in Sevilla here.
My recommendation is Palacio Pinello.
It has an unbeatable location and the interior design is absolutely beautiful.
Also, if you are considering Andalusia for your trip, check out the guide by Rick Steves. It covers all the must-sees and some insider tips as well.
5. Barcelona (my beloved home)
Further up north, a bit colder, yet magnificent. This is my home: Barcelona.
You can find all my articles on Barcelona here.
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.
What to do in Barcelona in winter?
- Skiing and snowboarding (3 hours outside the city)
- Learn to cook paella at a local cooking class
- Drive a Ferrari (here you can even find a discount)
- Join a walking tour
- Admire Sagrada Familia
- Take epic photos at Park Güell
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 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.
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 Kiwi.com and find your flights.
There is also fast trains from Madrid and Paris.
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.
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
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 vibes in general. It feels really homey!
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.
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.
You can find all hotels in Berlin here.
8. Schloss Neuschwanstein in Füssen
Talking about Germany, do you know Schloss Neuschwanstein?
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, train or 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 Rentalcars.com by Booking group.
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.
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.
And as mentioned before, there is Prague not far away.
You can find the official train schedule with the German Train company here. You can find all flights to Munich here. With Kiwi.com you can just draw a circle over Munich and have a look on the prices.
You can also compare flights with Skyscanner.
Where to stay in Munich?
Stay central. Everything around Marienplatz and Stachus is perfect.
Here you can find all hotels in Munich.
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 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!
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)
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?
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.
Post writtem by: MATT - Matt loves bad puns in every language (even php), vintage cafés, and handmade design. At the age of 24 he decided to fulfill his childhood dream and move to Barcelona. Anna and Matt launched their business in 2014, the kick-off to the location-independent life.
Original Article can be found H E R E !