The winter months seem to come and go quickly, with the season being dedicated to different celebrations that bring people closer in the colder part of the year. It’s time to immerse yourself in the amazing festivities, but why limit that to home? With mesmerising lights and outdoor markets coming to life all around the world, there are some places to visit in winter that are sure to get you in the spirit. From the iconic markets in Germany to the much-loved northern lights in Iceland, the only limit is your imagination. Here are our top 6 picks of places to visit in winter for a winter getaway.
The Best Winter Holiday Destinations
The Berlin market is perhaps one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe. However, delve a little further into Germany and you’ll find Frankfurt Christmas Market. Though it’s not as big as Berlin or Munich, Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany and offers an amazing winter experience. Frankfurt is one of the best places to visit in winter with Christmas markets, ice skating rinks and cocktail dens bringing some extra warmth to the cold season. The picturesque buildings and scenic surroundings just add to the magical experience.
It’s a city that is amazing to explore in both the day and evening and its creative choice of architecture is simply beautiful. December is always a good time to visit Frankfurt as one of the best winter holiday destinations for a weekend away as the flights and accommodation prices become much lower. What’s more, because of the increase in tourism around this time of year, they also offer more guided tours around the city with a special Christmas Market Tour in December.
A City that is perfect in the winter, Edinburgh is known as the cultural capital of Scotland, and its medieval alleys, Georgian buildings and castle make it a city full of history to explore. Thanks to its famous arts scene - largely due to the huge Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the city has become even more of a must-visit destination. Edinburgh’s modern restaurants and shops make this one of the best places to visit in winter if you're wanting a day filled with festive shopping and evening of entertainment. The city also celebrates Hogmanay in December, which is an end of year festival that includes concerts, fireworks and other processions to enjoy.
Prague, Czech Republic
Regarded as one of the best winter holiday destinations to visit at Christmas, Prague offers multiple layers to the reasons you come to this historic city for the winter. It’s festive Christmas market lights up the city, with two main markets in the centre. Every year there is a theme for the markets, in 2017 it was ‘History of Prague’ but they’re yet to announce what it will be for 2018. There are also some smaller markets dotted around, so you get a great feel for the city when you market hop! You might even find some gift inspiration while walking across the Charles Bridge.
With open city squares full of entertainment, gothic architecture and an iconic cathedral, Prague has endless lists of things to do for the weekend. The opera and ballet season is in full swing during November and December, so you can treat yourself to a show in the evening before heading off to one of the high-end restaurants for a delicious meal.
Another city that embraces the winter for what it is, cold and dark. However, Reykjavik offers plenty of winter entertainment which is unlike anything around the world. Though Christmas markets have never been a predominant theme in Iceland, the surge in tourism is encouraging this to change, with new pop-up markets adding to the magical atmosphere. The newest addition is the Hlemmur Mathöll Food Hall which only opened last year. They serve fresh, traditional Icelandic dishes including tasty baked goods and ice cream.
Even though it’s one of Europe’s coldest countries, being able to see the northern lights is unlike anything else and being able to relax in geothermal swimming pools is becoming very popular. It’s not often you can sit in a naturally heated pool while snow falls on you from above. February sees this city in celebration of the Winter Lights Festival and its lists of restaurants, museums and winter sports makes it a firm favourite among the winter holiday destinations.
One of the top European tourist attractions in the winter. The city becomes a very exciting place during the Carnival of Venice, with bizarre entertainment daily keeping tourists and local spirits warm. While taking a stroll through the city you’ll be enticed by the trinkets and festive handmade objects from a variety of vendors. Once you’ve browsed the markets head over to the food Christmas market held in Strada Nuova for traditional delicacies that can be devoured on site or given as a thoughtful Christmas gift.
Among the many events held around this time, it’s worth mentioning that the costumed event can set you back a hefty, so it’s a good idea to start looking into the events further before you book. Asides from the Carnival, Venice is one of the best places to visit in winter as it has a much slower pace and you can really soak up the culture and enjoy a much quieter place than compared to it’s bustling summer months.
There’s always plenty of events to check out in your local cities, but if you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see over the past few years and you're looking to make some new memories - why not jet off to visit one of the many European Christmas markets? Experience some brand new culture at the most magical time of year. Whether you’re looking for a romantic winter getaway or simply want to celebrate the season in a different city with your family - don’t forget to bring your Trtl Travel Pillow for the journey to your winter wonderland!