winter-589600_960_720 Transylvania

6 Best European Cities for a Winter Getaway

Winter in Europe could mean dark days and nights and frigidly cold weather or sunshiny and pleasantly cold depending on which part of the continent you are spending it. But wherever you choose to go, you will likely find tons of stunning sights and great experiences to enjoy. So if you are thinking of taking a winter European sojourn, here are some of the best places to start.

1. Abisko, Sweden
Aurora Abisko
Sweden’s beauty may shine during the warm summer months, but you may be in for a great surprise once the winter sets in. With hundreds of ski resorts and picturesque ski villages, vast stretches of wilderness blanketed in snow, and a lot of attractions best enjoyed during the cold months, the country beckons to anyone up for some serious winter experiences. The small village of Abisko is hands down one of Sweden’s winter gems. You may not get to see much sunlight for weeks between December and January, but the promise of plenty of Northern Lights sightings more than make up for it. Some of the unmissable things to see and do include the Abisko National Park, the Aurora, dog sledding, and exploring the frozen wilderness on a snowmobile.

2. Athens, Greece
Acropolis, Athens
The Greek Isles offer many excellent spots for a winter break. But if you want to explore the Acropolis and marvel at the Parthenon sans the crowd, then winter in Athens is a must. Take a stroll along the city’s streets, get one of the best views of the Acropolis at Lycabettus Hill, and visit as many ancient sites and museums as you can — all with the added bonus of enjoying it all with fewer crowds.

3. Bouillon, Belgium
Bouillon, Belgium
The picturesque medieval town of Bouillon is an idyllic spot for winter meanderings, delicious eats, and breathtaking nature scenery. Venture out to the 13th-century Bouillon Castle or head out to the nearby village of Botassart all the while taking in the stunning winter scene that surrounds you.

4. Barcelona, Spain
If you are planning to spend your winter vacation lounging at the beach, Barcelona offers plenty of attractions worth visiting when autumn ends and the colder months set in. Experience the city with fewer tourists on the streets and explore its city’s treasure trove of art, architecture, culture, and tons of things to see and do at leisure.

5. Paris, France
The beauty of Paris knows no season. But the City of Light seems to shine even brighter in winter, especially at night. See the Christmas illuminations add to the already stunning scenes you will find as soon as evening sets in the city. Enjoy the festive atmosphere as you browse through the shops’ winter displays or get warm and cozy in a cafe or restaurant as you savor scrumptious French cuisines.

6. Transylvania, Romania
Transylvania winter
There is probably no better time to see Dracula’s lair but on the dead of winter. Experience a fairytale-like adventure in a place that provides the perfect setting that make you feel like you have stepped right into the pages of the famous story book. The grey skies, snow-coated fields, gothic castles, and beautiful medieval towns are just some of the things that provide the perfect backdrop as you set out to explore the city and nearby villages and towns.

window winter

Fun Things to Do in the Cold Months

window winter

Surviving the cold winter months does not have to be a chore, especially if you have an arsenal of fun activities for the winter to get you through it.

Visit musuems. Entertain yourself by checking out the museums, art galleries, or cultural centers in your area. Walking around studying period pieces and artifacts is not only a great way to soak up more knowledge. It can also give you the exercise you need.

Get organized. You don’t have to wait for spring to start decluttering and organizing your home. Beat boredom and get active cleaning your home. Sort your stuff so you can get rid of the things you no longer need. Put items you can give away in a box and look for a community homeless shelter where you can donate them.

Get some sunshine. Lack of exposure to sunlight can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle and affect your mood. Soak up some healthy sunshine by spending some time outdoors in the morning. Dress comfortably and go out for a long walk or a good run. Enjoying the right amount of sunlight exposure especially during winter can uplift your outlook.

Invite friends over for a movie or game night. Movie marathons and game nights are just some of the activities for the cold winter months that you can enjoy with family and friends. Organize a movie or game night. Get busy in the kitchen preparing healthy meals or snacks you can serve to your guests.

Read as many books as you can. The winter months are a great time to catch up on your reading list. If you don’t have a reading list yet, it’s time you make one and visit the library to check out the books you have always wanted to read. You can also join a book club or connect with your friends for a book reading challenge.

Get cooking. Preparing home cooked meals is also an excellent way to make good use of your time indoors. Hone your culinary skills by trying out healthy recipes that can help you manage your weight during the cold months.

Do something new. Arrange a weekend getaway to somewhere you have not been to before. Go skiing or book a room at a hot springs resort near you. You can also try some new restaurants or coffee shops with your friends.