The Winter months are often an ideal time to get away from it all and to do some travelling. This generally hectic time of the year is the perfect excuse to pack your bags and indulge in a short European break away from the madness of the Christmas season.
Whether you are looking to escape to warmer climates for a few days or to wander around snow-covered streets and to soak up the winter atmosphere there are plenty of locations to choose from that are the perfect bolt holes during the cold winter months.
Seville is the place to go to if you are looking for sunshine and warmth and to escape the cold winter month’s. Spain’s southern city is the capital of the Andalusia region and has a rich Moorish heritage and boosts a large collection of historical landmarks such as the Cathedral, which lays claim to being the largest Gothic building in the world and the castle Alcázar which dates back to the 1300s and is a rich tapestry of amazing architecture, which was given a UNESCO World Heritage award in 1987.
Although Seville is generally known for it’s scorching Summers, with temperatures staying in the 30s the Winter months provide pleasantly mild days, ideal for anybody looking for a warmer destination during the Winter months or for anyone wanting to explore this beautiful city away from the heat of the Summer, indeed January which is considered to be the coldest month normally has an average temperature of 15°C and it never reaches freezing.
If you are looking for a break away before Christmas, Seville hosts a number of Christmas markets making it an ideal place to combine some winter sun with some Christmas shopping. The Christmas period is a magical time to visit the city as Seville, like many parts of Spain, being a predominantly Catholic country takes great pride in the Christmas festivities and has the Belén tradition which means that the whole city of Bethlehem is depicted not just the nativity scene and many celebrations are carried out.
New Year also sees a host of traditions being carried out that visitors to the city can take part in. The tradition of eating twelve grapes as the clock strikes twelve strokes of midnight is a long tradition that is celebrated to bring luck for the following year and many people will gather in the Plaza Nueva to eat their grapes and watch the fire works whilst the New Year is rung in.
Apart from all the festivities that go on over the Christmas period, another great reason to visit Seville during the Winter is to avoid the large number of tourists that flock to the city during the Summer months, enabling you that chance to soak up the beauty and atmosphere of this enchanting city without hordes of people around.
The stunning capital of Austria, Vienna, is a beautiful place to visit at anytime of the year and has plenty of appeal during the Winter months even when the temperature drops below freezing and there is snow on the ground, as for some, this is when Vienna can look its most eye-catching. Even during the colder months there is plenty to do in the city and it is well prepared for the colder season with cafes and bars aplenty, waiting to entice you in to their warm and cosy interiors to escape the cold and to warm up with a hot beverage.
Vienna is one of the best places to go in Europe during the Christmas season as there are many Christmas markets to visit and the whole look and feel of the city seems to encapsulate what Christmas for many people is all about, crisp air, snow on the ground, steaming mugs of mulled wine and an almost fairy tale quality to the entire city. The Christmas markets are on from mid-November until Christmas and are a real joy to walk around and explore whilst picking up some fantastic presents along the way.
Even if you don’t visit Vienna before Christmas there are still plenty of things to do in the other Winter months. When it is cold outside there is never a better time to partake in some in door activities and there are plenty to keep you entertained. Why not visit one of the many galleries or museums that the city has on offer and explore the best of the culture and art on display. If you are visiting in January, then this is the month of the Balls season in Vienna with most major guilds and societies partaking in them. If you would rather indulge in some relaxation and rejuvenation after the Christmas period then book your self in for a spa or sauna session and finally this is the city of the cafe culture and there are plenty of coffee houses to keep you snug and warm whilst watching Viennese life go by.
Vienna is truly a year round city and even the colder winter months offer the visiting an exciting and enjoyable time with so much to do and see it won’t be long before you want to make a return visit.
Although many people regard Nice as a Summer resort, at one time it was only seen as a Winter destination, enjoyed by the rich and elite of Europe to escape the harsh, cold winters in their own countries. Now though everyone can delight in what Nice has to offer during the Winter months and when travelling at this time of the year you will be able to view this city in a completely different way from a trip during the warmer months.
Winter in Nice is free from the tourists and is populated only by locals and so in this way you get to see the real Nice. The usual places of interest such as museums and galleries are free from the Summer crowds and at this time of the year you can partake in the real delights of the season, indulging in spiced mulled wine and hot chocolate in the cafes, strolling down the uncrowded streets in the crisp air and waiting until the true delights of the city take hold in the evening when the lights come on and the over the top lighting and illuminations light up places such as the Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena.
Before Christmas you can witness many of the French traditions that take place during this season, from the giant nativity scene at Place Rossetti, midnight mass in the Cathedral or if you fancy something a little bit more energetic, taking a trip to Monaco and going ice skating on the giant outdoor swimming pool that is transformed into a huge ice skating rink.
Nice is also a great place to stay and travel to indulge in some skiing during the winter months being only 90 minutes away from resorts such as La Colmaine or if you just want to sip hot drinks and soak up the great outdoors without skiing then take a trip to Valberg.
All in all Winter is a great time to fully explore this great French city and whether you go for the Christmas period or travel after the New Year you will find plenty of things to do and see and will enjoy it as much as during the Summer months.
Best European Cities to visit in Winter – Final Words.
Europe has some of the best cities in the world to visit during the Winter months and whether you are looking for sun and warmth or the thrill of the Christmas markets and soaking up a Christmas atmosphere then you will be spoilt for choice in so many destinations. Seville, Vienna and Nice are three such cities that offer the traveller a rich mix of culture, entertainment and Christmas delights and whether your stay is for a long weekend or a couple of weeks you will find plenty of ways to enjoy your visit and get the most out of your Winter break.