• 6 October 2017

Don’t let your winter holiday wait a minute longer – any concerns or worries you may have about your winter holiday in Europe have been solved… We’ve collected all those burning questions that have stopped you from buying your tickets and we’ve made a Europe trip in December sound so good that we just might join you!

1. When does winter start in Europe?

Winter in Europe starts in December, as temperatures drop down to single-digits for the average highs. September to November is known as shoulder season and as the air temperature drops, so does the number of tourists. Then it’s onto full-blown winter in Europe in December, also known as low-season. If you’re not after the romance of a white Christmas you can head to Croatia, Greece and Italy – which have the warmest weather in Europe year-round.

If snow is what you’re looking for, then your best bet will be to venture to the ski resorts and make the most of that white powder. The rule of thumb for snow is usually – the higher you go, the better. So places like Jungfraujoch, known as the Top of Europe, are lucky enough to have snow all-year round.

Here’s a quick way to find the best snow for your outdoor adventure trip.

A stall at the beautiful Christmas market in Hamburg, Germany

Western Europe  – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and Switzerland.
Winter (December to February): High 5°C, Low 0°C

Eastern Europe – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia.
Winter (December to February): High 0°C, Low: -6°C

Southern Europe  – Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain.
Winter (December to February): High 7°C, Low 0°C

Northern Europe  – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Winter (December to February): High 1°C, Low: -4°C

Top Tip! Winter often means freezing temperatures and short days, so be sure to plan your days around the possible early closures of certain attractions!

Beautiful view of famous Prague during winter time in Czech Republic
Beautiful view of famous Prague during winter time in Czech Republic

2. Why is winter a good time to travel to Europe?

Winter is known as the low-season in terms of the number of tourists traveling to Europe. Along with the decreased temperatures and tourists, you can also expect lower prices for accommodation, attractions and flights. So not only will you be able to enter a place without having to stand in a line for ages, you will also be paying less! If you have a long bucket list and limited time, winter is a great time to work through the list as you won’t have to stand in long queues and your budget will be able to stretch further. You will enjoy indoors and outdoors, as you’ll venture into the museums and theaters to escape the chill, but also marvel at the beauty of Europe in winter.

Top Tip! Be sure to check the websites of the attractions you would like to visit as they may be closed for low-season.

3. What food can you expect in Europe in winter

Winter in Europe is synonymous with snow-covered mountain peaks, yuletide festivities, Christmas Markets and of course hearty and comforting food. Christmas time in Europe is when you’ll get a taste of all those gorgeous Christmas drinks and treats. Enjoy a Stroopwafel in Holland – sweet, sticky and delicious! Or sip on some mulled wine as you wander through the Christmas markets and savor the yuletide treats. In Switzerland you can warm up after a long-day of outdoor adventuring, who wouldn’t want to warm up with some melted cheese fondue or raclette? If you’re not one for an icy Christmas, then you can go to the warmer Southern Europe and indulge in the Greek food. Kourabiedes (or clove cookies) are Greek Christmas shortbread cookies, these treats combine fresh butter, roasted almonds and lashings of icing sugar for a crunchy bite and delectably fluffy exterior. Yum!

Nothing better than a warm waffle on a cold night

4. What is there to do in Europe in winter?

Of course, there are the markets. Every major city dresses up in its holiday finery and all the finest purveyors come out to peddle their goods in the brisk winter air. Amsterdam Christmas markets, for instance, are a remarkable sight. Think fragrant speculaas, marzipan, kerstkrans and warming Advocaat liqueur. Copenhagen and Prague Christmas markets are just as inspiring. And don’t leave jolly old England behind – Birmingham Christmas markets are renowned for their festive atmosphere.

When you think winter in Europe you probably think snow and skiing… But we’re here to show you that there is so much more to see, enjoy and explore…
While Switzerland is known for being the outdoor-adventure mecca, its Christmas markets, delicious food and unique traditions should really be part of Switzerland’s charm in attracting winter travelers. Thinking of spending your winter vacation in the United Kingdom? Then London is one of the best cities to enjoy winter and all its magical charms – ride the ferris wheel in front of Tower of London and see the sparkling Christmas lights from above, or skate around the rink in Hyde Park. Or if you’d like to sip on a few pints and celebrate Nollag in the capital of Ireland, Dublin’s joviality charm will leave you with the luck of the Irish and filled with stories of old as you explore Ireland’s past.

Europe comes to life with all the Christmas Markets and yuletide treats

5. Best places to visit in Europe for New Year’s

Europe is well-known for its epic NYE celebrations. Planning to end the year on a high note and start the new one with a bang? Then you’ll have to follow in the footsteps of the Scottish and celebrate Hogmanay – you can join in the street parade or watch a concert from the Gardens and have one of the best views of the firework display!

New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam holds something for everyone… Globetrotting revellers can look forward to everything from fireworks, dance and music on the Oosterdok, Rembrandtplein and Nieuwmarkt, to trance parties, masquerade balls, Gatsby-themed banquets and luxurious cruises along the city’s canals. Looking for a bit of La Dolce Vita? Florence plays host to DJs from around the world as the historic and modern world collide. This is a treat for your senses – stunning fireworks, traditional Italian food, a wonderfully jubilant ambience and plenty of little parties scattered throughout the city.

Ready to buy your ticket and head to Europe for winter? We’ve got a few tips on what to pack:
Layers, layers and layers are the way to go when packing for a winter holiday in Europe! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you’re given a bigger luggage allowance so be sure to pack smart – wear the heavy boots and thick winter jackets to the airport (you can always store it). If it’s not comfortable, leave it behind. You will only want to wear your warmest and most comfortable shoes when roaming the European streets in winter.

RELATED: We’d love for you to join one of our Christmas and New Year tours as we explore Europe in winter!

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