Europe has culture, nature, fantastic cities and amazing festivals. But the continent is mostly seen as a summer destination. From the sunny steps in Rome to the blistering sun in Paris in June, Europe is mostly a summer destination.
Did you, however, know that Europe is absolutely stunning in winter as well? From the frozen canals in Amsterdam to the snowfields in the Alps and the Igloo hotel in Finland and the husky safari in Scandinavia…..What is not to love?
In this post, I will show you some of the most amazing things you can do in winter and what are the top destinations to go to when the thermometer drops below 0 Brrrrrrrrrrrr!
AMSTERDAM | FROZEN CANALS | ICESKATING LIKE THE LOCALS
Amsterdam is a pretty kick-ass city. It has an amazing culture a bobbing nightlife and some stunning canals. These canals (if it gets cold enough) freeze over. Since the Dutch are avid ice skaters, you will see hundreds and hundreds of people on the canals when that happens. This is truly something you need to do at least once in your life before global warning completely ruins our planet and there is no more snow in Holland.
IGLOO HOTEL | KAKSLAUTTANEN ARCTIC RESORT
These glass igloos in Lapland are world famous but still a definite must do. Kakslauttaten is of the most inspiring places to sleep in the world.
In between trees covered in snow you can find beautiful glass igloos. You have your own toilet but you need to go to the sauna building for a shower. It is beautiful to lay on your bed and see the night sky with all its stars, and suddenly seeing the Northern Light is just breathtaking.
This definitely is one of the more luxury accommodation, but it’s a lifetime experience. You get a very special place to sleep, but not necessarily a very luxury place to sleep. But who needs a luxury room when you can see the Aurora Borealis from your bed?
If your bucket list only had a few items on it, the odds are pretty good that “seeing the northern lights” would make the cut. People travel for once-in-a-lifetime experiences and seeing these lights is definitely one of those must-do items.
The northern lights are most frequently visible in Northern Europe between the 66°N and 69°N latitudes. This region is better known as the “Aurora Zone.” Stretching across Scandinavia—particularly Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland.
Another one of those experiences that is most likely on your travel bucket list – a husky safari or dog sledding. These dogs love to work and love running, so it is not harmful to them, the enjoy it.
Dog Sledding (Tromsø) | An amazing mini polar expedition across the snowy Arctic landscape.
Greenland | Arctic temperatures and several meters of snow are no match for the natural impressions and cultural twist that will warm your soul while dog sledding in Greenland.
Sweden | Winter adventures do not get much more real, or exotic than mushing your own team of Alaskan Huskies in the Swedish mountains, or in Swedish Lapland in the Arctic Circle.
Iceland | Iceland is a wonderful winter destination with plenty to do. Dog sledding is one of those things, and you’ll want to check out Dogsledding Iceland. This company is the only touring kennel in the South Coast of Iceland since 1998.
BEST SKI DESTINATIONS
Skiing in Europe is absolutely amazing. There are so manly places you can go to get some top-notch snow during winter season. Underneath I have listed just some of the many options to get your skis under and whoosh down a mountain.
Chamonix–Mont Blanc, France | Chamonix—at the intersection of France, Italy, and Switzerland is the mountaineering capital of Europe. The terrain is exhilaratingly beautiful in both winter and summer.
Val d’Isère, France | The area is home to exciting, high-quality, snow-sure slopes.
Cervinia, Italy | The lure of Breuil-Cervinia is endless. Set on a glacier-capped bowl at the foot of the Matterhorn, 6,726-foot Cervinia (as it’s more commonly known) is one of Europe’s highest ski resorts. That means consistent, high-quality snow and a ski season that runs through the summer on 16 miles of glacial trails.
Livigno, Italy | Known to be one of the most inaccessible resorts in Europe. It’s a great area for beginners and low intermediates, with terrain on both the Mottolino and Costaccia/Carosello sides of the valley,
Jasna, Slovakia | This is the largest and most challenging ski area in Slovakia.
BEST CITY TRIPS DURING WINTER
If skiing is not your thing and you want to stay more within the city limited of a city then Europe still has a lot of amazing cities to offer. Some you might not consider, some even more amazing and some are just un-skippable. Check out some of these kick-ass cities underneath.
Innsbruck, Austria | Innsbruck is known as the ski and snowboard capital of the world. Innsbruck is also known for its Imperial and modern architecture. The Nordkette funicular, with futuristic stations designed by architect Zaha Hadid, climbs up to 2,256m from the city center for skiing in winter and hiking or mountaineering in warmer months.
ABISKO, Sweden | If you’re a die-hard winter fan and freezing cold temperatures don’t bother you (as in – 20 degrees) Abisko is a pretty kick-ass place to go. It is located just about as far north as you can get in Europe, this Swedish town is known for its incredible views of the Northern Lights. A pretty amazing place to visit.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark | One of the most fairytale-like cities in Europe, especially in winter. This city was the home of Hans Christian Andersen ( He wrote “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and the Pea,” ) Must-see sights in the city include Tivoli Amusement Park, Christiansborg Slot, and Rosenborg Castle, which are all even more charming covered in snow.
Don’t miss out on Copenhagen’s winter culture month, Wondercool, which occurs in February and includes concerts in unusual venues, art shows, and culinary events. Splendid!
LUCERNE, Switzerland | This absolutely gorgeous city known for its preserved medieval architecture and features activities you won’t find on the slopes. This includes amazing museum tours ( a bit of culture never heard anyone) romantic ferry rides on Lake Lucerne and much much more.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic | This entire city just screams winter fairy tail! Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it’s known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. It is relatively tourist-free in the winter, which is surprising because the city’s natural beauty really comes to life under a blanket of snow.
BERGEN, Norway | colorful wooden buildings, scenic harbor, and sweeping views of the surrounding fjords, yep you will definitely feel like you are in a Nordic village. And a Nordic village should be visited during the cold winter months, to make you feel like you are Viking and conquering the world. If you are lucky you can also see the Nothern Lights in this town – so double cool!
REYKJAVIK, Iceland | Even though Iceland has been a very popular tourist destination for the last couple of years, I really wanted to add Reykjavik to this list. From geothermal swimming pools to amazing winter festivals, the city of Reykjavik is a must-see, especially in winter.
EDINBURGH, Scotland | With small winding streets, stunning castles and palaces, the city is a cool place for a city break. However, in winter they turn this place into a winter wonderland. From ice-skating n the center of one of Europe’s oldest cities to wandering the cold street during a cold winter night, this city is simply amazing!
PLANNING TO GO TO EUROPE SOON? THEN CHECK OUT SOME MORE TRAVEL GUIDES HERE:
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