8 European Cities that are awesome to visit in winter
Winter doesn’t have to be gloomy – some places were just made to be seen in the snow! Check out our 10 European Cities that are awesome to visit in winter!
1. Romantic Prague
Romantic year round, Prague’s Bohemian appeal is even more charming in the snow as the ‘city of 100 spires’ is less crowded and looks magnificent in the snow, and before Spring arrives they throw a big carnival party! The local cuisine is just made for cold weather – soups and stews and cosy beer halls are one of Prague’s specialities! Catch a glimpse of the church spires and gothic and medieval buildings with a dusting of white from Letna Hill or from Prague Castle – the largest castle complex in Europe. Enjoy the historical Old Town without the crowds and get a winter landscape view from Charles Bridge looking across the Vlatva River.
If you’re here at the end of February or beginning of March you can catch the Masopust – the Czech traditional goodbye to winter celebration that takes place 6 weeks before Easter. This marks the start to carnival with feasting and celebrating – what more could you ask for?? Carnival in Prague is known as Bohemian Carnevale and includes an open-aired masked party.
If you’re heading to Prague then book your bed at the stylish Czech Inn Hostel and enjoy their cellar bar and cool design!
2. Cool Copenhagen
This Danish beauty looks just great with a dusting of snow – the cobbled streets, the colourful houses in the harbour at sunset, the canals and spires – plus ice skating outside. What’s not awesome about Copenhagen? Check out the heart of the city in the old town and pedestrian street Stroget through the centre of town (best for shopping) and the nearby harbour of Nyhavn. This cool city is made for cold weather – just ask the locals who love to bike around whatever the weather! On sunny days you can sit out on terraces (blankets provided) or enjoy ice skating outside. The parks look lovely in the snow, and the view from the city’s round tower is completely charming! Tivoli Gardens is closed until spring but you can still see the palace at Amalienborg Slot and Christiansborg or check out the most famous Danish babe – the Little Mermaid – sitting in harbour waters. Hit up alternative Christiania and you’ve got a perfect winter weekend away!
Take part in the Winter Jazz Festival, Frost Festival, and the ultra cool Sauna Festival! Find out what’s on at the uber cool and retro Copenhagen Downtown Hostel.
3. Vibrant Vienna
Looking good even on the coldest winter days, Imperial Vienna is famous for its grand palaces and Habsburg history, but it also has a modern buzzing nightlife scene to enjoy. Walk the old town streets, see the splendid architecture and St Stephen’s Cathedral, and savour the laid-back cosy cafe scene on a cold day. Check out the Schloss Schönbrunn and the Hofburg Palace for some sightseeing in the snow. The former Belvedere Palace is now the Austrian Gallery so you can check out a national treasure and stay warm inside. Enjoy winter with this coffee and cake loving city!
If you’re heading to Vienna then check into the friendly ホステル Ruthensteiner in the centre of town.
4. Sauna loving Stockholm
The Vikings weren’t afraid of a bit of cold weather – get yourself to one of Stockholm’s coolest activities – a sauna on ice followed by a dip in the freezing sea! We’re not even joking… Check out the tours from City Backpackers Hostel for this traditional sauna experience!
Sweden’s capital has over 50 bridges crossing this Baltic archipelago, meaning that from all over the city you can see the water and skyline of the famous colourful old town. Don’t miss out on visiting in winter when the snow meets the ice on the islands and the water. Gala Stan (the Old Town) is the postcard perfect medieval island with the 13th century cathedral and famous buildings painted yellow and red. You can also visit the Royal Palace here and home to the Nobel Prizes – the Nobel Museum.
Book your bed at City Backpackers Hostel for an awesome Stockholm experience – they even have their own sauna…
5. Alpine Salzburg
This Austrian Alpine winter wonderland is not only famous for the green hills and Mozart, but it also has a well preserved historic medieval town with the 900 year-old Festung Hohnensalzburg (fort) overlooking the city. The impressive skyline with the castle, river and mountains behind, can be enjoyed from all around the city. Check out the impressive Domkirche Cathedral, Mozart’s birth place and residence – complete with instruments – and the winding medieval streets. There’s also one of our favourite cultural sights – the Stiehl-Brauwelt brewery – complete with beer tower. Not only is it 525 years old but you can happily taste their beer!
You can also go skiing in the Austrian Alps from Salzburg – there are free bus transfers from the slopes to the centre from December until March 19th.
If you’re visiting Salzburg book your bed at the long standing Yoho International Youth Hostel – right in the centre of town and with an awesome late night bar and spacious rooms.
6. Bavarian Munich
Bavaria’s winter charm isn’t just in the snowy hills and mountains – Munich is just as awesome to visit in winter when the streets are lightly dusted with snow (or maybe a bit deeper actually…) There’s plenty to do around town, whether you’re into art galleries and museums or want to enjoy walking around the Aldstad (Old Town) sights such as Marienplatz and the Neo-Gothic Town Hall.
One highlight is ice skating on the frozen canals with the beautiful backdrop of the Nymphenburg Palace – this is a great spot on a sunny day to see the locals out enjoying the ice! You can also go sledging in the snow at one of the parks in the city – there’s plenty of space to make a snowman!
If you’re visiting Munich then book your bed at Euro Youth Hotel – with a central location and an awesome guest bar – this is the best place in town!
7. Chill Out in Zagreb
Croatia’s coolest city wins our hearts with it’s Gothic and Austro-Hungarian architecture, particularly good looking on a snowy day. As a colourful city, Zagreb never looks gloomy, and the pedestrian streets of Tkalčićeva Street and the main square Ban Jelačić are full of terraces to relax and enjoy the views. You can warm up with a rakia! Make like a local and hit the bars at night – enjoy the Zagreb scene with some seriously cool partying.
Relax at the Chillout Hostel Zagreb – the biggest downtown hostel with modern design and a cosy atmosphere.
Poland’s capital has an atmospheric old town packed full of history, equally enjoyable in the winter time with snowy squares and plenty of cosy cafes. With it’s urban nightlife, hip bars and plenty of tasty restaurants; there’s lots to enjoy on a cold day. For culture vultures there’s also lots to see and do in the Old and New Town including the Royal castle, Church of St Martin and Old Town Market Square. Love music? Then don’t miss the Chopin museum. We love the 15th century stone stairs too!
The Praga district is where the hip kids are – on the east of the river you can find the arty Zabkowska Street with plenty of alternative bars. Try Saviour Square (Plac Zbawiciela) for a hip bar scene and the Church of the Holiest Saviour, or try the cafes and shops in the Mokotow neighbourhood. So – get your warmest coat on and get cosy in Warsaw!
if you’re heading to Warsaw then don’t miss out staying at Oki Doki Hostel – it’s brimming with character and right in the center of all the action!