There’s something incredibly magical and romantic about Europe in winter. There are so many wonderful European winter getaways to choose from including the numerous towns that offer Advent markets, cruises to see the Northern Lights and river cruises on the Danube and Rhine that visit many of the Christmas markets.
From the fairy-lit cobbled streets and winter markets in towns like Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Basel to the dramatic landscapes and northern lights in Iceland, and cozy cafés that dot every city, it’s truly a wonderful time to beat the crowds and visit Europe
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In this post, you’ll some of my favorite winter experiences in Europe including cruises, hotels, snow-dusted medieval cities, and of course Christmas Markets. Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
If the idea of escaping to a gloriously majestic city in Europe or a quaint Christmas Market is your idea of the perfect winter getaway, this article is for you! Is your ideal winter getaway to Europe shopping a holiday market, sipping mulled wine in a cafe, strolling cobblestone streets, taking a cruise or visiting the famous lagoons in Iceland? If so, I've got some great tips and resources!
Get ready for lots of Gluhwein (glüwein), sparkly lights, handmade foods, and crafts as we take a spin around some of the most magical European Christmas markets in Europe! Each city has a unique take on the market and you’ll find that souvenirs, ornaments, food, decorations, and mulled wine will differ in each location. Click below to learn about the top 38 Christmas Markets in Europe!
Curious about a Christmas market cruise with Viking River Cruises? Celebrate an Old World Christmas on the Rhine while stopping at some of the most beautiful towns and Advent markets. The Rhine River trip includes seven Christmas markets including Strasbourg, France, which is the oldest one in Europe, dating back to 1570.
Catching a glimpse of the northern lights is often on most traveler’s bucket list. The northern lights are nature’s most dazzling light show. Also known as the aurora borealis, they make for a spectacular night sky. I share one of the most authentic opportunities to experience the spectacular coastal scenery of Norway as well as the amazing northern lights.
Iceland is situated on a ‘hot spot’ on the earth, resulting in a lot of geothermal activity. This mixture of geothermal activity, ice, and fire, has created numerous hot springs and geysers in Iceland. While the Blue Lagoon may be Iceland’s best-known geothermal hot spring, there are many geysers in the country and winter is the best time to visit.
Two weeks is a very common amount of time for a European vacation. The last time I visited Europe I went for two weeks and visited four countries. If your trip is a bit longer you shouldn’t pack more than you would for one week. Click below to find out why you shouldn't pack more and a great printable packing list!
Packing for a winter river cruise takes planning. You'll need to be prepared for the possibility of rain and snow which requires cold-weather clothing, which is bulkier to pack. Whether you start packing for a winter river cruise three weeks before the embarkation date, or you’re the type who throws together a bag a few hours before heading to the airport, here are my top packing tips for a European winter river cruise.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.