7 reasons why you should travel to Europe in winter

“Europe in the winter?” you ask. “But it’s cold and rainy – why would I want to travel then?” Our question to you is – why would you not want to travel to Europe in the winter?

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We travelled to Europe during January a few years back during our round the world trip, and it was awesome. At the time, being on a student budget meant that we wouldn’t have been able to afford such a trip in the summer months. There are many perks to European travel in the winter, and the following are but a few!

Rialto Bridge Venice

1. It’s cheaper (a lot cheaper)

We’re budget travellers here at The Global Couple, so visiting an expensive region like Europe requires a careful consideration of cost. Hotels and attractions often have low-season prices in winter. For example, we stayed in a hotel in Venice during winter and Petra’s parents stayed at the same place the following summer, and the room rate was double what we paid in winter!

2. It’s much less crowded

Have you seen the Mona Lisa, or were you too short or too far away to see over the throng of people in front of you? When we visited the Louvre in winter, we got to see her from the very front, just behind the barrier – try doing that in summer without waiting and pushing! The same goes for most other attractions and destinations: winter = less crowds.

Colosseum Rome

3. Many of the attractions are indoors, anyway

It’s easy to keep out of the rain/snow/cold when visiting Europe’s attractions, as many of them are indoors. Most of them are even heated! There’s no reason why you can’t visit art galleries, churches, and museums in the winter months. And an extra bonus – you won’t have to wait long in the line outside because there are less crowds!

4. Enjoy winter sports

Embrace the winter weather and strap on some skis! The ski resorts throughout Europe are world-renowned and are well worth visiting if you’re into snow sports. There is a huge range of other fun winter sports on offer too, depending where you go – you can try curling, snow shoeing, or ice skating to name a few.

Lake Tahoe skiing

5. Christmas markets and local food

Europe is the home of some of the world’s most amazing Christmas markets. To get you in the holiday mood, think fairy lights, cute souvenirs, and delicious local foods to warm you up. Another point about local food – some European food just tastes better in the winter. Would you rather have fondue, mulled wine, and hearty meat pies in winter or summer?

6. You look fashionable in winter clothing

Yes, winter clothes are more bulky, but you only need one coat and one pair of boots when travelling to Europe in winter as layering is key. You’ll also look far more fashionable with a nice coat, scarf, and hat compared to summertime when you end up being a sweaty mess! Tip: pack merino wool layers, gloves, and warm socks!

Sacre Coeur Paris

7. It’s easier to be spontaneous

You don’t need to worry about advance booking for accommodation and flights for winter travel. During the summer months, most accommodation is booked out months in advance. In winter there are lots of last-minute deals that you wouldn’t find in summer, and if you want to go to that in-demand restaurant tonight, you can!

There you go – seven great reasons why travelling to Europe in the winter is better. Just remember to wrap up warm and take an umbrella with you!

Do you have any more tips and reasons for travelling to Europe in the winter? Or do you think other times of the year are better? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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18 comments

  1. I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe in winter!! I’m hoping to get there again at the end of next year. Looking forward to smaller crowds, cheaper expenses, and of course, getting dressed up in a nice coat, scarf and boots! 🙂 x

  2. I did a few weeks around Europe during the holidays a few years back. It was great! There were less travelers, and more opportunities to meet locals and people I may not have met during the busy holiday months. The highlight of this trip for me was going to the bathhouse in Budapest. They had an outdoor area that was open. The water was so warm and steamy yet we were outside, which was pretty cool. And of course I love the Christmas Markets, especially in Berlin!
    Great post,
    Katie

    • Petra
      Author

      Thanks Katie! I totally agree. The bathhouse sounds amazing! We were in Europe just after Christmas so missed the markets – will have to go back someday! 🙂

    • Petra
      Author

      Haha! Seems like a common topic! It really is the best time to travel to Europe though, especially for us Down Under where our dollar doesn’t stretch as far!

        • Petra
          Author

          Yeah – we also found that a lot of buildings were undergoing repair, like the Pantheon in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Still, the benefits outweighed the cons!

  3. I love this! Thank you for the awesome tips! I am planning to be staying in Europe from October-late December (or longer) next year and am super pumped for everything that you just mentioned! Great for introvert travellers!

    Cheers,
    Lexie

    • Petra
      Author

      Thanks Lexie! Winter is definitely an awesome time to travel to Europe – and by being there in October you’ll get the tail end of the summer weather too! Bonus!

    • Petra
      Author

      Yeah the cold can be a bit of a downer, but at least when it snows it’s so pretty! Agreed – avoiding the crowds is one of the main reasons why winter travel is better 🙂

  4. Thanks for the post! I agree with the Christmas Markets! Currently writing a similar post on why you should visit Germany in winter and that is definitely my #1 reason! The food!!! I wish I could go back now for more.

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