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

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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!

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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!