4 of the most alluring cities in Europe to visit in the winter
If your travel bug is restless, the world is now clad in its dreamiest golden hues, slowly transitioning into the sterling silver of winter. To craft your own travel fairytale, take you pick among some of the most alluring cities that seem to have been dreamed up in a Disney story – tall castles, intact nature and Christmas tunes chiming in the streets.
Prep for your winter adventures
Before you embark on your snow-laden journey, make sure that you’ve packed your essentials and created a schedule. First and foremost, no itinerary should be so packed that you need to skimp on sleep – rest is essential to stay healthy on the go. Research the destination of your choice; this way, can visit cafes and restaurants with affordable and healthy meals, so that your diet is also under control.
But all the walking and the winter weather can wreak havoc on your immune system nonetheless, so always bring cheap vitamins with you for a health boost on the go to fend off the flu and the common colds. Another note to travelers who like exploring on foot: bring a trusty hat or a cap, and waterproof footwear to prevent the harsh cold and winds from messing up your trip!
Prague’s enchanting culture
Europe truly doesn’t need special introductions for its winter galore, as the sheer beauty that spreads across its vast cities is well-beyond all images you’ve seen. And Prague is the epitome of a Christmas fairytale, starting early in November with its autumn hues, and lasting throughout the snowy months.
Gothic cathedrals towering above the city streets, marvelous bridges that have stood the test of time, and the heart of the city is filled with stalls of mulled wine, chocolate-covered strawberries and hot sausages in buns, served with curry. But among so many goulash soups and souvenir stores, the city is perfect for getting lost among its winding cobbled roads and snapping photos of the fog-covered Vltava.
When in Rome
This is where magic goes in winter to bask in all its glory, and if you’re in love with Italian culture, its vivid history and monuments, there’s no time like the present to hop on a flight that takes you straight to Rome. And while the temperatures tend to rest soothingly above zero, you can still skate in the heart of Rome, and explore the city with a pack of roasted chestnuts in your hands. Romance up the wazoo!
Culture vultures will enjoy the all-day-long trips to the Vatican museums, visits to the Colosseum and the iconic Piazzas of Rome. Around New Year, the streets and piazzas become hotspots of fireworks, confetti and all-around celebrations that last for days on end.
Truth be told, the times for traveling to the heart of Catalunya are difficult – riots and protests are still in full swing, so caution is advised. But for a careful traveler, the beauty of wintertime in Barcelona isn’t diminished – Gaudi’s generous artwork vibrantly embellishes the most prominent sightseeing spots, including the famous and stunning La Sagrada Familia, the structurally related Colonia Güell and the residential La Pedrera, unsurpassed in its ingenuity.
Winter in Barcelona is comfortably mild, with clear skies and sunny days, while the streets are as packed with tourists as during summers. As a result, you’ll have a chance to mingle with the locals and rarely come across a tourist in a hurry. If you’re a fan of hot chocolate or coffee (and who isn’t?), stop by La Granja, and sip on some of their fine artisan mixtures that will whisk you off your feet.
Edinburgh for Hogmanay
Few people need special incentive to travel to the capital of Scotland, a known treasure-trove of natural beauty, ancient castles and classic architecture with a contemporary twist. Whatever’s your winter preference, you won’t be able to peel your eyes off the majestic masterpiece that is every single street of Edinburgh. Stroll around the Royal Botanic Garden, go on a shopping spree in Victoria Street and immerse yourself in the beauty of Holyrood Park.
When the calendar strikes December, you can time your travels to coincide with the famous festivities of Hogmanay, which sums the spirit of the nation into several days of concerts and, for the bravest of the brave, the Loony Dook January 1st swim in the ice-cold waters of River Forth!
Pro tip: make sure you bring an extra pair of warm shoes and a change of clothes, and find your seat at a nearby café to restore your exploring capacity.