Why the Winter is a Good Time to Visit Europe

Schloss Charlottenburg im Winter

Most people associate traveling to Europe with the warmer seasons of the year. However, the winter is well worth considering for a number of reasons. Hotels and airlines often have much lower off-season rates during this time. Also, many of the tourist attractions aren’t so crowded. Some places in Europe have nicer weather during the winter. It’s fairly mild in Mediterranean destinations, unlike during the boiling summer.

Some of the winter events in Europe are the Christmas markets and the Mardi Gras celebrations. The Christmas markets in Germany usually start on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent, and continue until around 1 pm on Christmas Eve.

WeihnachtsmarktMuenchen

The main Christmas market in Munich features a Christmas tree which is as tall, or taller, than the four-storey City Hall behind it. It’s surrounded by wooden huts offering goods like wooden and glass Christmas tree ornaments, nativity scenes, and snacks ranging from roasted almonds to glazed fruit to bratwurst rolls. The scent of warm mulled wine hovers in the air.

Although it’s not as major as Christmas, Mardi Gras is another notable season. Many cities host parades in the days leading up to it. Two of the major ones are in Mainz and in Venice. If you come during this season, be prepared to see a lot of costumed people in the streets.

Carnavalsmaskers Venetië

One has to pack a bit more clothing for a winter visit than a summer one. Although Europe hasn’t been getting as much snow these past few years as it used to, a pair of shoes with thick rubber soles with a good grip is advisable. Even if you’re going to a milder part of Europe, a winter jacket will probably also be needed. Winter temperatures can go down below freezing in Madrid, and to 13° C (44° F) in Athens. An umbrella and some warm sweaters and heavy woolen socks would also be good to pack.

 

7 thoughts on “Why the Winter is a Good Time to Visit Europe”

  1. wow, with this post i have desire to visit Europe. I always watch movie and see how people wear in winter there and it seems that the weather is amazing.But when the snow falls , it asks much attention.

    I hope i will visit Europe soon and enjoy the weather.

    Thank you for the post

  2. I never considered traveling to anywhere during the winter. Like other tourists, I usually do my traveling in the fall and summer and its always so crowded everywhere you go. That is the only part about traveling that is disappointing. 

    But you said that during the winter there is usually less tourists around at all the famous spots, that makes so much sense. I’m left wondering if that applies to most places, since people generally don’t like freezing to death.

  3. This is such a great idea! As you say, the flights and hotels are cheaper, and I bet there are less crowds, too. It would be interesting to see some of these places without the large numbers of tourists blocking the venues.

    I’ve often thought I’d like to visit a smaller European city during the off-season and stay in one place for a couple of weeks and experience it more like the normal population instead of as a tourist.

    Something to bookmark and consider. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Lovely post! It reminded me of my Christmas in Europe. I spent my winter in Lisbon, but during the Holiday season I travelled to Strasbourg for Christmas and Berlin for New years.

    I can completely recommend that for anyone that wants to go. Strasbourg is the capital of Christmas and you really feel like you are inside a fairy tell. Getting vegetarian food was hard for me though. I guess their diet is more about duck.

    Berlin, on the other hand, is about uniqueness, it is one of my favourite European cities and one of the best places to spend new years! 

  5. Hi there,

    I rarely post comments on the internet, but I couldn’t go without thanking you for this amazing article which contains a lot of interesting information. Today I was wondering how to surprise my family during the Christmas vacation, and you gave me a great idea. The whole family loves to travel, but we haven’t been able to visit many of the countries in Europe during the winter.. (normally we go in the summer). However, I would like to ask a question concerning the ticket prices. Is October too late for catching the cheaper tickets? And if “Yes” could you tell me when is the best time to buy them?

    Thank you in advance,Nick.

  6. I’m always talking about how I need to travel more and of course Europe is on my list someday. Normally I’ve already heard that people tend to gravitate towards not going during such a cold time (especially being from Florida) but if you want to save costs by buying tickets in the off season. But, that’s exactly why I found this article so interesting because I could see the specific benefits of going during that time. I will definitely be able to keep the market and seeing those costumes in mind when I get to go. Great read!

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