If you want to feel the winter in its whole then a trip across Europe will be the best choice for you. Starting from the North and polar feel like, where the temperatures are under the scale, and the hometown of Santa Claus, moving through the centre of the land where the real magic Christmas welcome is felt, and to the south, the Mediterranean mild place, where the sun rays are struggling with the cold weather. Wherever you start and end your trip it will definitely be worthy and will give you that winter and cosy Christmas feeling. You will experience the Christmas magic that travels through the air all around you.
Also at this time of the year, off season, the prices for accommodation and the means of transport are much cheaper than in the summer. This trip will be wallet-friendly at the same time, not just adventurous. The train line is the best means of transport you can choose at this time of the year. It will offer you an insight of the beautiful landscapes surrounding the countries you visit, and will take you through villages and cities, and if you like the magic in some of them you can simply get off, explore it and then wait for another train to catch.
Rovaniemi in Finland
We can’t begin to speak about a Christmas magical place, without mentioning Rovaniemi. This is the homeland of the favourite white bearded man, Santa Claus of course. There is an Arctic Circle grotto where people gather to see this man. The temperatures are far below the scale, that’s why you should get many warm clothes. The inevitable snow cover and the reindeers add one scenic look of the whole place and with the feeling that you’re in Santa’s home town, it brings about that Christmas spirit of yours to grow even stronger.
via flickr by Tarja Mitrovic licensed CC BY 2.0
Budapest in Hungary
This central European place will give you one delightful and quality spent Christmas time. You can start your days wandering around the city and paying a visit to some amazing sights, and be fascinated of the Christmas spirit that moves along, and exists in every ornament in the city. Or go in the Városligeti Műjégpálya, the central park and enjoy an hour of ice skating. And if you want to get warm after the wander or skating, then pay a visit to some thermal baths in the city, which are lavishly ornate. You can spend the nights in Ruin pub, which is one artfully created place located in an abandoned building.
Jasna in Slovakia
Here you can enjoy some quality time – skiing in the Tatras Mountains around the Christmas time period of the year. It is the best Slovakian resort, where the friendliness is on the first place, unlike the Alpine slots, where this is missing. The descents are long and there are spruce trees from place to place, which makes the skiing more exciting. The prices for skiing, accommodation and food are quite reasonable too. Just the trip to there might cost you. But choosing the right means of transport and the best starting point can handle that as well.
Copenhagen in Denmark
This fairytale city is hard to beat during the winter season. There are many bars and cosy cafes where you can settle in the warm and watch the flurrying of the snow, thinking how freezing it would be to be there, and then you take a sip of glögg, which is the best body warming drink. You must be wondering also, what else you can do there. Well, pay a visit to the 19th century Tivoli amusement park. In the winter, and particularly around Christmas, this park invigorates with all those heartwarming illuminations and one romantic delight is spread around the gentle wind. And don’t miss the chance to have a meal in Noma – the world’s best restaurant, as claimed by many. However, you should book months ago in order to be able to sample its food.
Abisko in Sweden
This is the furthest place you can get to if you’re travelling North via train in Europe. Here the sun may not appear for weeks in the top winter season, December and January, but who misses the sun, when there is the amazing Aurora Borealis appearing in the sky. It is a perfect place for those winter lovers, that seriously want to experience the real cold and darkness the winter carries. You can enjoy skiing here, and also you can try and learn how to husky mush, and enjoy the mushing around the place, experiencing the national park trails. On the way to Abisko, you must stop by nearby Kiruna and visit the well known Icehotel.
Venice in Italy
The fun in Venice doesn’t end with Christmas or New Year, when the real magic is felt. But, this town is full with surprises even in February. If you’re on a long travel adventure, then preserve Venice last on your list and visit it during the Venice’s carnival. This is one European highlight. Detailed and spooky masks presenting the city’s history parade on the streets. There are many pricey affairs and costume dances on the street. You can be part of this show, but you must have a mask. If you haven’t made one for yourself, then you can purchase one from the street markets and get ready for the epic crowding. Despite the carnival, you can make small trips on a train to the surrounding cities that will increase your travel experience and at the same time this won’t cost you a fortune. Also, the accommodation here will be very wallet friendly and cheap.
Andalucia in Spain
Here you won’t experience much of a snow, but a mild temperature even in winter, since it’s located in the far South. Why it’s best to visit it in winter is that you can enjoy the walks and sightseeing more than in summer. You can welcome Christmas and New Year without the snow. There are no crows before the attractions that represent the place, like the Seville’s cathedral or the Granada’s Alhambra. And if you miss the snow and the skiing, then you can simply climb up the Sierra Nevada near Granada and enjoy the snow sport action. Also, the nightlife here will be so tempting.
Athens in Greece
What is a real mess in summer can be a real relaxing place in the winter. The air pollution, the crowd, the intense heat, and the high tourist prices, they all disappear around Christmas. You can enjoy your stay there and get to explore the local culture and the ancient heritage more and do some photos of yourself only, not a thousand people behind you caught on the photo (and having trouble to Photoshop them all afterwards).
Transylvania in Romania
You’ve visited count Dracula’s castle in the summer and don’t find it too scary. Try visiting it in the winter, when the sky is grey and the trees are bare, and everything around covered with snow. You can start the trip from some of the medieval towns of Brasov or Shisoara and continue with a train to the Vlad Tepes’s castle. Yet, it is still nowadays suspicious whether he has ever set foot in this castle.
The Famous Christmas Markets in Austria and Germany
These Christmas markets appear in every country of Europe during the December season. But what is special about the ones in these two countries is that in these romantic, historic markets you can find merely everything from sleight-bells to gingerbread. And that is all spiced with the best and warming glühwein that will contribute about the cheer. The markets can be found in every smaller town too, and there they can be really rewarding, but the most famous among the tourists are the ones in Vienna, Munich and Cologne.
via flickr by c_pichler licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 Main Square Linz / Austria – Hauptplatz Linz
Still hesitating where to spend your winter holiday and welcome Christmas and New Year. Good, I don’t believe so. Google up something more if you don’t believe my words, or just be a witness by paying a visit there. You’ll understand what I’m referring to when I say that these are really worth visiting and save some bucks at the same time, since the prices are more affordable than in the summertime.