Vacationing in Europe for the winter means skiing, winter festivals and getting to see some of the highlights of the performing season. There are so many European winter destinations to choose from, so a lot of the work needs to be in determining what it is your family wants from their vacation. Keep in mind that post-Christmas can be one of the best times to visit a city that you have always wanted to visit so don’t leave anything out because of a limited budget, worry over crowded cities or a lack of activities.
Cold and wet might not sound ideal, but winter is actually the one time of year when you can expect to get around the city and stay dry. Both the weeks leading up to Christmas and the week of Carnavale are overcrowded, but Venice really does come to life and you feel as if you have stepped into another time. The winter weather gives the whole city a mysterious, fog filled look at night and a bright and shiny appearance during the day. Choose Venice if you’ve always wanted to tour any medieval city, because winter is when the locals really show off.
The entire country, from the big cities to the hard to reach islands are filled with tourists, super long lines and packed restaurants during the extra warm summer months. If ancient ruins and island hopping are your dream, visit Greece in the middle of winter. Be forewarned that a lot of sites will be closed during certain periods and open for shorter hours, but you can always see and appreciate these structures. The best part is, even though its winter, winter is pretty mild here so you can get around comfortably and even island hop.
Zurich is the cultural gem in winter, and it makes the perfect backdrop for a truly magical Christmas season. Experience the best of the arts, as most halls, theatres and the national performing organizations run most of their programming through the winter months. In addition to having some exciting things to do, Zurich features some of the best dining options in the world. Travel to Zurich to put together a packed week of skiing, music performances, holiday festivals, strolls through medieval streets and more Swiss chocolate than anyone can handle.
If you are looking for that European Christmas experience, Vienna is the best choice for Christmas markets and parties. Even if you do not know anyone in Vienna, there are events that are open to the public and your hotel can help you find just the one you are looking for. Families will be charmed by the many, many Christmas markets that have stalls filled with toys, trinkets, handicrafts and local goodies. Ski, skate and shop your way through this favourite winter destination.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!