Some people like to travel when cities are full of people and others when they are empty. I think there are advantages in both cases; it all depends on what you are looking for. If you are not afraid of cold weather and you love to roam streets of unknown places, discovering as you go along, then the deepest winter months are made for you to travel. Here are a few ideas of where you should go this winter, if Europe is your destination.
Traveling Europe in Winter
You are looking for the right destination? There is no doubt one of the cities below will accommodate your needs and your desires, this winter. Once you have booked your flight, don’t forget your travel health insurance, in order to get into the Schengen area you can find the right plan for you and your family on this previous link. Then, pack your bags according to the weather where you are going, and soon enough you’ll be walking European streets and alleys again.
Choosing to travel in January and February usually means that you won’t have to wait in line to visit museums, and that you’ll be able to enjoy all the sights and activities in a much calmer way than in summer time or during various holidays. If you go alone, it will be complete freedom of choice and as a couple, the perfect romantic trip.
To Feast Your Eyes: Paris, France
Although Paris might not be the most original idea on the list, it remains one of the most beautiful European cities to visit, at any period of the year. So why winter? Because Paris possesses that unique melancholic flavour in winter, that suits the city particularly well. Walking around Opéra and Place Vendôme, under a gray sky, with a light drizzle… There is simply nothing more authentic than this about Paris.
Also, there are many parks to discover inside the city, where you can walk and really feel the magic of the City of Light. Le Jardin du Luxembourg is the perfect place to start your day (or to end it before you go back to the hotel). And there are so many museums that it is hard to decide which to visit! The Louvre is the best known, but unless you are completely fanatic of visual arts, it may not be the best one, as it can take days to complete the tour. Try the Rodin Museum, for a more human touch and if you want to see one masterpiece after another, then there is but one choice: Musée d’Orsay.
To Go Back in Time: Krakow, Poland
Warsaw is the capital of Poland, but Krakow is where all the magic takes place, especially in winter time. Chances are you will get to walk around town as snow gently falls down. Even if you were born in a region where it snows every year, I guarantee you that the feeling you will get on a snowy day in Krakow is simply unforgettable.
The old part of the city is built within a fortress on top of a small hill. Looking at the walls from outside or walking inside will bring you back to medieval times. You will cross paths with young nuns and priests, in this catholic town, which is still very conservative, adding to the time travel sensation. You will also visit the old Jewish quarter that was emptied during the Second World War. If you really want to understand how brutal this whole period was, take a tour to Auschwitz, but be ready to be shaken up by what you see. On the lighter side, you can also tour a salt mine (if you are not claustrophobic). You will be amazed at all the sculptures artists have created inside the tour path. When you arrive in the church, entirely carved in salt, you will simply be speechless, as there are no words that can describe such a work of art.
Finally, the food is adapted for winter. In fact, don’t be surprised if you leave Krakow with a few more kilograms then when you arrived. The food is just too good, and a little on the heavy side.
To take some sun: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
We are cheating a little with the choice of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is a place where Europeans like to go in winter, to get a sunny break. It is not quite warm enough to go swimming in the ocean (although some will), but it breaks with the very cold weather from Northern countries. The island of Tenerife is part of the Canary Islands. You will eat especially well and at a very low cost. This is your destination, if you want to sit in the sun and let it warm you for a while, before heading back to the rigours of winter.
Whatever your choice is, Europe will satisfy your every need with its charm and its food. In winter, airline tickets and hotels will also be cheaper, so don’t hesitate and go to spend some time away from your day to day, to recharge your battery and face the long winter nights.