Winter holidays come in many forms in Europe. There is heavy snow in the Arctic North and no sunny week, with the sun floating in the soft Mediterranean, and the cozy coffee culture and Christmas spirit in the middle. This is an inspiring time to visit great metropolises and charming villages: with fewer queues, you can fit more into your itinerary, and low-cost off-season accommodations make your portfolio-friendly trip. Through Europe's rail network, you can explore the countries in your spare time, getting to know the locals who do their day-to-day business away from the busy summer tourist season.
1. Rovaniemi, Finland
The handful of Christmas cliches characterize Rovaniemi, Santa's "official" residence. Every man's favorite beard hangs in an Arctic Circle atmospheric grotto and is free to visit (but the pictures are another story). Snow and deer provide a festive spirit, while the Arcticum Museum gives an idea of life across these latitudes. This is a nice place for a winter vacation
Tip: Finnish thermometers have more numbers below 0 ° C than above, so wear serious winter clothing.
2. Christmas Markets, Germany and Austria
In December, these romantic historic markets appear throughout Germany and other countries in Central Europe. Expect sweet stalls selling everything from gingerbread to sleigh bells and lots of joy, toasting with a glass of glühwein.
Tip: Famous markets in Cologne, Vienna and Munich attract tourist crowds, but finding smaller cities is helpful.
3. Abisko, Sweden
Upstairs in Northern Europe by train, Abisko in Lapland is for winter lovers. The sun does not rise for several weeks in December and January, but this darkness makes it one of the best places in the world to see the majestic northern lights. Other attractions include a cross-country ski trail and husky mice.
Tip: Stop in Kiruna and see the famous Icehotel.
4. Athens, Greece
A true downer is trying to make Photoshop 500 people from his Parthenon photo to be rewarded, but this winter is no problem. All the stress of summer – crowding, tourist prices, intense heat, queues, air pollution – disappear more or less. This is the right time to explore the country's ancient heritage and learn about the local culture.
Tip: In any case, do some island jumping, but most accommodations close during the winter break.
5. Copenhagen, Denmark
For the winter of European fairytale, it's hard to beat the home of Hans Christian Andersen. Forget about the exaggerated little mermaid and head to the cozy bars and cafes of the city to see the snow flutter outside. In the heart of the city, Nineteenth-Century Tivoli Amusement Park is a romantic and playful delight around Christmas, with touching illuminations and glittering cups that warm the body.
Tip: Get out for food in Noma, considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world (reservations can be completed quickly, so try to book a few months in advance)
6. Budapest, Hungary
A pair of skates by hand, frozen in the breath of frozen air – no better place for this than the picturesque central park of the Hungarian capital Varosligeti Mujegpalya, with its huge outdoor track. Do you feel cold afterwards? Budapest is known for its rich thermal baths.
Tip: Look for “bar ruins” at night – an artificial atmospheric beverage spot created in a once abandoned building.
7. Jasna, Slovakia
Slovakia offers high quality skiing at affordable prices. The premises and food are reasonable, and some of the snowy alpine runs lack friendliness. The best resort in Slovakia is clear, with long descents surrounded by snowy spruce trees located in the rugged Tatra Mountains.
Tip: Direct flights to Slovakia can be expensive, so don't make it an entry point to Europe.
8. Andalusia, Spain
Parts of Andalusia are further south of the African coast, so there is a mild temperature in winter. Accommodation is cheap and crowds are smaller in such prominent places as the Alhambra in Granada or the Cathedral in Seville. In addition, tapas and urban nightlife are just as attractive.
Tip: Go to Sierra Nevada near Granada if you want action-packed sports.
9. Transylvania, Romania
You can't visit Dracula's lair on a sunny day with lambs heard in the fields, can you? Try steel gray skies, bare trees and a handful of snow. Brasov and Sighisoara, two hours by rail, are magnificent medieval cities with different connections to Vlad Tepes, the historic Dracula, although it is doubtful that you have set foot in his so-called castle.
Tip: Bram Stoker has never visited Romania, so don't expect many parallels with the book or movies.
10. Venice, Italy
Ghostly beautiful and somehow strange, Carnevale from Venice in February is a European high point. The elaborate costumes and the fearsome masks liven up the colorful history of the city canal. Hidden dancing is expensive, but you can have a ball while enjoying free events with a mask bought on the street, but be prepared for an epic cluster.
Tip: Book your accommodation in advance. The day you board and leave the train will greatly reduce the cost of your winter vacation.
These are the top 10 best places to visit for a winter vacation. Try them out.