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11 Best European Cities to Visit in February

Colder temperatures means way fewer crowds, making February a fantastic time to do some traveling! Whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland where you can relax by a cozy fire or experience the snow, or you’re looking for a sunny destination to beat the winter gloom, there’s an option for everyone on this list.

While many people don’t think of February as the ideal time to travel, there a lot of perks that come with traveling this time of year. You don’t have to worry about your hotel not having air conditioning (which we Americans usually find essential in the warm months!) and you have way fewer crowds and shorter lines to the sights.

Not sure where to go? From the dreamy Swiss alps to the Med, here are the top 10 best European cities to visit in February! 

READ: Where to Go in Europe in the Winter

1. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is magical any time of year, but it gets especially appealing in February with way fewer tourists competing for tickets to the sights and hogging the best photo spots! With temperatures in the mid 50’s (Farenheit), you can still walk around pretty comfortably. Just don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella, as this can be a rainy time of year.

There are also a number of cultural events happening in Barcelona in February, including concerts, theater performances, and exhibitions which can offer a more unique experience than other times of the year. 

June through August are Barcelona’s peak months, meaning you’re going to have some serious crowds that time of year. Take advantage of the slower season and see all of beautiful Barcelona, including iconic sights like La Sagrada Familia  without fighting the crowds!

2. Florence, Italy

Ultra-romantic and packed full of beautiful art and architecture, Florence is truly an amazing place to visit and experience. While it’s a fabulous destination any time of year, February is an especially great time to visit this Italian gem. Experience the city’s most iconic works of art by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Botticelli, without the crowds and hot weather!

Explore the city on foot, taking in all of its stunning Renaissance and Gothic design, then venture out to nearby vineyards for wine tastings and tours that are unlike any other.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

Winter in Prague is like something out of a fairy-tale. The iconic skyline of spires and the majestic Prague Castle are dusted with a layer of snow, creating a picturesque scene that can’t be missed.

Normally packed full of tourists in the summer months, you’ll have Prague mostly to yourself in February. This makes it the perfect time to bundle up and explore the winding streets of the city’s Old Town, before snapping a picture in front of the famed atomic clock – likely without a hundred people crowding your picture!

Warm up by visiting one of the city’s museums, like Prague Jewish Museum, the National Museum, or the Museum of Beer, before grabbing a pint at a local haunt. After all, you’re bound to enjoy a one (or a few!) beers when they’re notoriously cheaper than water here!

4. Edinburgh, Scotland

Emerging as an incredibly popular destination in 2023, Edinburgh has been seeing some major crowds during peak months. Explore this charming city during the slower months of November through March to really savor this charming city.

Enjoy misty mornings and quaint cobblestone streets as you visit Scottish pubs and show stopping Edinburgh Castle. It sounds like a dream doesn’t it?!

When you’re done exploring the beautiful downtown area of Edinburgh, rent a car to venture into the Scottish countryside. 

5. Porto, Portugal

Visiting Porto, Portugal in the winter is a magical experience that showcases the city’s unique charm in a whole different light. The city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Dom Luís I Bridge and the historic Ribeira district, are adorned with a subtle festive glow, creating a picturesque scene against the backdrop of the Douro River. 

Winter in Porto brings an opportunity to savor the city’s renowned port wine in the warmth of traditional wine cellars, providing a perfect respite from the crisp air outside – talk about a truly unique experience! 

Visit a local cafe for a delightful array of seasonal dishes that showcase the rich flavors of Portuguese cuisine after strolling through the vibrant Mercado do Bolhão or enjoying panoramic views from the Clerigos Tower.

6. Zurich, Switzerland

Another snow-dusted setting straight from a storybook, Zurich should be at the top of your list for a winter visit to Europe. 

The picturesque setting along the shores of Lake Zurich and the surrounding Alps creates a winter wonderland, that feels romantic and completely unique to the city. 

Zurich’s winter cultural scene flourishes with art exhibitions, music performances, and theater productions, providing indoor entertainment amidst the winter chill. Cozy cafes and fondue restaurants invite visitors to savor Swiss delicacies and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Zurich in the winter is a perfect blend of sophistication, winter magic, and outdoor adventures.

If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind mountain experience, or want to hit the slopes, we suggest you move on to the next stop on our list: Zermatt.

7. Zermatt, Switzerland

Of course, there’s more than one stop to make in Switzerland in the winter! Get your fill of the Swiss Alps with a visit to Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain towns.

Just a three hour train ride away from Zurich, Zermatt offers winter visitors a completely dreamy experience. Nestled beneath the iconic Matterhorn, the city transforms into a snow-covered paradise, offering a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. 

The village exudes a cozy Alpine charm with its wooden chalets and cobblestone streets, adorned with twinkling lights. Skiers and snowboarders can explore the extensive network of slopes, including the renowned Gornergrat and Schwarzsee, while non-skiers can embark on scenic hikes or take the Gornergrat Railway for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. No matter your daily activities, end it with a stop to traditional Swiss restaurants serving hearty cuisine, including the famous fondue. 

Zermatt’s car-free policy enhances the tranquility of the snowy landscape, allowing visitors to enjoy the crisp mountain air and pristine winter scenery. Whether taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow-draped streets or sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fireplace, Zermatt in the winter offers an idyllic retreat for those seeking a truly magical mountain escape.

8. Paris, France

We’d be remiss to mention the City of Love during a February trip – doesn’t it seem like the most dreamy place for a Valentine’s Day vacation? Known for being the most romantic city int he world, you absolutely won’t regret a visit to this European city in February. 

With off-season pricing at local hotels, and no lines to the city’s most iconic landmarks, a winter visit is a win-win. With fewer crowds, you’re free to spend more time exploring and less time waiting, while soaking in all of the snowy magic Paris has to offer!

Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for fabulous views of the city, and don’t forget to visit the Eiffel Tower lit up and glittering every hour on the hour after dusk for an incredible experience.

As a bonus, February tends to be the least expensive month to fly to Paris! 

9. Kyrenia, Cyprus

Looking for a destination sans snow? We don’t blame you! If you’re coming from a gloomy, snowy place yourself, we’re sure you’re more in the mood for a little sun. 

You won’t find any snow in Kyrenia in February, with temperatures sticking around 60 degrees. Located on the northern side of this Mediterannean island, you’ll find white sand beaches famous for their turtles and scuba diving opportunities galore. 

Explore the cobblestone waterfront before grabbing a bite of seafood at one of the local restaurants here, then check out the famous Kyrenia Castle and the Shipwreck Museum.

10. Reykjavik, Iceland

If experiencing an Arctic winter or seeing the incredible Northern Lights is on your bucket list, a visit to Reykjavik in February is an absolute must.

The city, draped in a blanket of snow, takes on an ethereal beauty against the backdrop of the rugged Icelandic landscape. February is an ideal time for witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights, and Reykjavik’s surrounding areas provide ample opportunities for aurora hunting. 

The city itself is alive with a unique winter energy, as locals and visitors alike partake in the annual Winter Lights Festival, celebrating the interplay of light and darkness. The geothermal pools, such as the iconic Blue Lagoon, offer a soothing contrast to the chilly air, allowing for a relaxing, rejuvenating, and truly one-of-a-kind experience. 

11. Valetta, Malta

Another warm weather destination, Valletta, Malta in February is a unique and enchanting experience. The UNESCO World Heritage site, with its stunning Baroque architecture and fortified walls, creates a picturesque setting for exploration. 

Explore cobbled streets and charming squares, such as St. George’s Square, or take a walk to the waterfront. With its panoramic views of the Grand Harbour, it remains a captivating spot to take a stroll or people watch. 

February in Valletta also coincides with the colorful Carnival season, infusing the city with a burst of energy as lively parades and vibrant festivities take over the streets. Whether wandering through the Upper Barrakka Gardens or exploring the city’s numerous museums and cathedrals, Valletta in February offers a tranquil and culturally immersive experience against the backdrop of Malta’s timeless beauty.

READ: Should I Visit Paris or Rome?

Europe Travel, Featured, Home Page

Where to Go in Europe in the Winter | Best Europe Winter Trip Ideas 2023

Europe in the winter is a magical experience. With most travelers looking to spend their summers exploring the continent, winter in Europe is an absolute must, at least once!

When the temperatures drop, it’s time to see sparkling holiday lights, snow-dusted cobblestones, and the bustling Christmas markets that dot Europe’s most beautiful cities.

In addition to their winter beauty, most European cities are much less expensive and typically crowd free (aside from the holidays). So whether you’re looking for a cozy escape or a big city adventure, read on to find your perfect winter Europe trip destination for 2023 or next year!

You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide to Rome

Photo: Pexels

Paris, France

There’s no bad time to visit Paris, and the winter seems extra magical to see the City of Lights. Picture taking an evening stroll, snow flakes flitting around you, and seeing the Eiffel Tower light up and glitter under a light dusting of snow – sounds like a dream doesn’t it? Make it your reality with a winter trip to Paris, and avoid the city’s notoriously large crowds while enjoying all the sights.

Nuremberg, Germany

If Christmas markets are what you’re looking for, look no further than the legendary and centuries-old Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany! Complete with horse-drawn carriage rides and homemade trinkets, this Christmas market is one for the books.

If you’re not visiting over the holidays, you can still enjoy the city’s stunning architecture, cozy haunts and plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants throughout the winter (or any time of year). 

Prague, Czech Republic

Another home to some of Europe’s most amazing Christmas markets is Prague. See the city’s iconic Charles Bridge dusted in snow, and explore Old Town Square to admire its Bohemian buildings and grab one of Prague’s world-famous beers.

Your trip isn’t complete without a trip to Prague Castle, a royal residence that dates back thousands of years, or a look at Prague’s Astronomical Clock (the third oldest in the world, and the oldest one still in operation).

Bruges, Belgium

Explore one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval cities during the holidays. With twinkling light displays set against charming architecture and cobbled streets, you can’t help but feel like you’re inside a story book.

Warm up with a mug of Belgian hot chocolate in a nearby cafe before your continue your explorations.

Vienna, Austria

No doubt one of Europe’s most beautiful cities any time of year, Vienna is especially stunning in the winter. Explore snow-covered streets, tour the world-famous opera house, and enjoy classical holiday concerts. You can even attend a Viennese ball, with the city hosting more than 400 balls each winter season – talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Interlaken, Switzerland

With majestic mountains that will take your breath away any time of year, Interlaken is particularly mesmerizing in the winter under heaps of snow. If you’re looking for a mountain-town escape that isn’t short on exploration, this is your winter haven.

In addition to beauty in all directions, you’ll also find loads of winter adventure activities for those looking to do more than just sightsee and explore. In addition to skiing and snowshoeing, you can also go paragliding down snowy mountains, winter kayaking on Lake Brienz, or enjoy curling at the local rink.

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France

At the foot of Europe’s highest peak, this once small village has become a cosmopolitan hub in the French Alps and is the perfect escape in the winter time. With more than 60,000 winter visitors, this small town of about 9,000 people experiences quite the influx in population as people from all over the world enjoy the jaw-dropping mountain views you’ll find here from any spot in the city. 

Enjoy a day on Chamonix’s famed ski slopes, or take a cable car up to one of the several nearby peaks offering panoramic mountain views unlike any other. 

Tallinn, Estonia

As one of the oldest medieval cities on earth, Talinn isn’t to be missed for those looking to take a step back in time. With many of its medieval churches falling under UNESCO protection, and ancient castles that are oh-so charming, a visit to Tallinn is a truly unique experience, especially in the winter time. 

Enjoy views from the Toompea Castle of the city covered in a layer of snow, and tour Tallinn’s oldest building: St. Catherine’s Monastery, built in 1246. 

Venice, Italy

Dying to see the Floating City without crowds in every direction? Winter is your season, then. With quiet canals and discounted hotel rates, you can explore this beautiful city and feel like you’re the only one in town! As a bonus, you can take all the pictures you want in Piazza San Marco without a bunch of strangers in the background, and tour St. Mark’s Basilica or Doge’s Palace without waiting in massive queues.

Geneva, Switzerland

Often called the City of Peace due to it being home to the European seat of the United Nations and international Red Cross headquarters, this European jewel is a fairytale under a blanket of snow. Sip hot chocolate in quaint cafes and explore the picturesque city, or hit the slopes before finishing the day off with Geneva’s world-class shopping.

Photo: Pexels

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a cozy, canal-lined winter wonderland. With picturesque bridges, twinkling lights, and charming narrow streets blanketed in snow, a visit to Amsterdam in the winter is a must. Enjoy beautiful Dutch architecture as you explore the city, and stop in for some hot cocoa and stroopwafels at one of the city’s many local cafes as you stroll through the historic streets!

Edinburgh, Scotland

Looking for a vibrant New Year celebration? Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival lasts three days and features outdoor concerts, fireworks, and traditional Scottish dancers. Even if a three-day party isn’t your thing, Edinburgh is still a fabulous winter destination, full of cozy speakeasies, excellent skiing, and even a botanic garden full of winter-flowering plants.

Enjoy your Europe winter travels!