Whitened with snow, wrapped in a veil of mysterious mist and framed by a milky white sky, Some cities become even more exciting in winter.
So if you’re not afraid of braving the harsh sub-zero temperatures, it’s worth seeing some European cities transform during the cold season.
Between frozen canals and whitewashed roofs, you can warm up in the most beautiful buildings and museums, with a glass of mulled wine on the street or a cup of hot chocolate in the historic cafes.
Apart from the euphoria of the Christmas season when cities are decked out in lights and colours, winter is also the time when there are fewer tourists, prices drop and you can try to live like a local.
Finally, winter in many Northern European cities is the warm season for events and special occasions that are worth the trip. Here you are The 10 most beautiful European cities in winter.
Paris is always a good idea, but in winter it becomes truly magical when the lights shine brighter in the milky white sky and the silhouettes become more elegant.
Try to imagine the Ville Lumière covered in snow, ice rinks at the Arc de Triomphe, heated panoramic terraces where you can drink a cocktail with a view, the pleasure of retreating to a restaurant with a fireplace, to a spa of a large spa hotel, to a historic cafe where you can order hot chocolate, in a cinema at the end of the day.
Parisians don’t care how cold it is outside because life is exploding inside. So arm yourself with heavy coats and enjoy Paris in winter: a dream of elegance, beauty and poetry.
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Bruges is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and also one of the most charming in winter.
Trees are decorated with lights, shop windows sparkle and the city dresses up with Christmas markets and ice sculptures.
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Bruges is a water magic with Gothic buildings, bridges and churches reflected to admire along the canals. And when it’s too cold to stay outside, we retreat to the historic Grand Cafe Craenenburg for a Belgian hot chocolate.
Melancholic in its memory spots, austere in its architecture, creative in its effervescent artistic world, brash in its festive nights. Berlin is the city that everyone should visit in the winter when it is at its most lively.
Since reunification, Berlin has been reborn as a modern and innovative European capital, an ideal destination for hedonists, hipsters and families with children.
Full of history and at the same time projected into the future, Berlin does not want to stay in its past but interprets the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the time. The German capital is a buzz of cutting edge trends.
Let yourself be surprised, therefore, by its rugged charm, its cultural vibrancy, its joie de vivre. Among the places that marked the history of the twentieth century, you will find yourself in art galleries along the Berlin Wall, museums in former railway stations and luxurious Prussian castles.
And as in the best German tradition, in winter you walk between the lights of one Christmas market and another. Berlin has more than 60.
Vienna is another particularly fascinating city in winter when the lights of the Austrian capital with its Habsburg charm shine brighter on the waters of the Danube.
In the cold season you feel less guilty by retreating to historic cafes to enjoy Sachertorte and hot chocolate.
Mozart’s city warms travelers on cold evenings with its majestic imperial palaces with sumptuous baroque interiors and famous museums overlooking elegant squares.
With a bit of luck you can catch the sight of Schönbrunn Palace and St. Charles Church covered in snow.
When the snow settles on the spiers and roofs of the Old Town and the lanterns of the Charles Bridge light up at dusk, Prague looks like a fairy-tale city.
And if it’s not snowing, a little fog is enough to give the city that veil of mystery that will make you brave the cold to wander among the Gothic buildings and cobbled streets of the center.
A visit to Prague Castle will definitely immerse you in a fairytale atmosphere.
The capital of the Czech Republic also has Christmas markets that are considered to be among the most beautiful in Europe outside of Germany, where you can walk among stalls, lights and colors. Finally, winter is the season of Svařák, or mulled wine, which you’ll find everywhere on the streets of Prague to warm you up on chilly evenings.
When the temperature drops, Amsterdam becomes more welcoming. Throughout the month of December, the city enchants with ice rinks, concerts, markets and a festive atmosphere.
During the day warm up at the Van Gogh Museum or the Rijksmuseum, in the evening at the Christmas concerts held at the Concertgebouw or at the Carré theater to see the famous Christmas Circus.
But even in the other winter months the city shines with snow-covered canals, cafe and restaurant lights and special events.
For example, between December and January the Amsterdam Light Festival takes place, whose magnificent light installations make the entire historic center shine.
Tallinn is known as the city of Christmas for its traditional celebrations, the thousand lights of the historic center and the markets that attract thousands of visitors to the Town Hall Square every year.
The capital of Estonia enchants with its turreted castles and its location on the Baltic Sea.
It has one of the best-preserved historic centers in Europe, where you can admire medieval churches, merchant houses and Gothic palaces. From Toompea Castle the city looks beautiful, even more so if it is covered with snow.
The sight of the Hungarian Parliament surrounded by a blanket of ice on the Danube is worth the trip. Budapest in winter is a real sight. In December, Christmas markets, lights and concerts make the city shine.
The Hungarian capital also has the largest outdoor ice rink in Europe, in the heart of the Municipal Park, next to the fairytale Vajdahunyad Castle.
Winter days are spent among museums, cafes and excellent restaurants, or warming up in Budapest’s famous spas, which are decidedly more welcoming during the cold season. Finally, winter is the best time to indulge in a good goulash.
Mysterious, gloomy, romantic, Edinburgh is a Scandinavian fairytale perfect for a winter getaway. It is called the “Athens of the North” because of its special layout on the hills and the castle that dominates the entire city from above.
The old town, another of Europe’s best-preserved historic centres, is a maze of medieval streets, while the new town is an excellent example of Georgian-era architecture. A fascinating city, Edinburgh is known for its turbulent past which is often associated with the figure of Queen Mary Stuart.
The ‘City of Literature’ as declared by UNESCO, Edinburgh has inspired many famous authors of mythical characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Harry Potter.
A fascinating, melancholic and magical city, Edinburgh will make you lose your mind amidst residential palaces, royal gardens, ancient castles, gothic churches and underground cities.
There are many reasons to visit Tromsø, the Norwegian city about 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.
Land of endless forests, snowy landscapes, it is one of the perfect places to admire the Aurora Borealis. Once you’re out of town, don’t miss a visit to the Polar Museum to learn about the history and oddities of Arctic exploration.