Think about a European getaway and you’ll probably picture something in summer. While we at Snaptrip love unravelling beneath the summer sun, we’re firm believers in the fact that no time of year is as beautiful as winter. When the cold weather brings out nature’s soft, blue palette and a crisp, cleansing freshness enters the air. Europe is lovely at any time of year. But visit in winter, and it’s about as beautiful as the world can get.
Best for: A bustling city break
Make sure you see: Nervion Christmas Market
Home to streets lined with orange trees, tapas bars and flamenco shows, Seville is everything you search for in Spain, rolled into one bustling city. Its architecture draws from Roman, Christian and Islamic influences, making its buildings not just striking but utterly unique. While the fourth largest city in Spain, Seville still has a small-town feel and is easy to navigate on foot.
Our ideal afternoon during the winter months would be spent with a hot chocolate in one hand, a special someone in the other, wandering Seville’s beautiful and ornate streets. If you find yourself doing just that, make sure you stop by the Nervion Christmas Market. While only eight years old, it’s already been voted one of the 20 Best Christmas Markets in Europe in 2019.
Featured property: Sleek, modern and in the heart of the action, this Quaint Sevilla Apartment is everything you’ll need on your escape to Seville. In the mornings, you can enjoy your breakfast on the terrace, overlooking the beautiful, bustling city. Once night falls, you’re moments from dozens of award-winning restaurants, bars and even flamenco dance halls, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the Spanish scene.
Best for: Wonderful winter walks
Make sure you see: Mount Pelion
When winter comes around, there are two types of people. Those who love exploring the great outdoors and hearing the crunch of frozen ground beneath their feet, and those who prefer to stay curled up inside, with a glass of mulled wine in hand. If like us, you fall into the first category, then Pelion is the place for you.
Nestled in South East Thessaly, in central Greece, Mount Pelion is home to both the mythical Centaurs, and come of the most beautiful walking routes on the planet. Hike through magic forests, past misty lakes, and if you’re a fan of winter sports, up to some of the area’s world-class skiing sites, for a seasonal adrenaline rush.
Featured property: Located just across the water, in Elia, this beautiful three-bed Cloudberry Villa is surrounded by the idyllic mountain scenery that makes a trip to Greece unique. Immersed in Mediterranean forests that give way to sandy beaches and serene, sheltered bays, you won’t even have to leave your private swimming pool for an incredible view of the glittering Aegean sea.
Best for: One of the world’s most beautiful coasts
Make sure you see: Pinhao Beach
In the Summer, Lagos is rammed with tourists. Known for its clear blue waters, multi-hued cliffs, and rock formations that jut from the water like mythical creatures, this gorgeous coastal town is one of the most popular vacation spots on the planet. For almost all of the year, taking in its storybook beauty can be tricky, when so many other holidaymakers block the view.
During winter, however, Lagos becomes significantly quieter. While swimming may not be on the cards, its clear white sands and craggy coast may actually be more stunning than during peak tourist-season, taking on a soft, purple tint. Best of all, you’ll have them almost entirely to yourself.
Featured property: Overlooking the jaw-dropping Algarve coast, this gorgeous Villa Adao is for anyone who’s after a little slice of luxury. If you fancy a stroll of the area’s unrivalled shores, you’re just a short stroll from the family-friendly Praia Padre Vicente beach. For those days when the winter weather makes the outside sound a little too chilly, you can kick back in the master bedroom’s indulgent Jacuzzi.
Best for: Incredible photo opportunities
Make sure you see: Costa Tropical
From the cobbled streets covered in snow to the smell of roasting chestnuts dancing through the air, visiting Granada in winter is like stepping inside a fairytale. But the city is much more than just a pretty face. Ideal for fans of winter sports, Granada is a short drive from Europe’s southernmost ski resort.
If you don’t have access to a car, buses head from Granada to the slopes several times a day. Best of all, Granada is one of the few places on the planet where you can spend your morning racing down a snowy mountainside and be strolling down a sunny beach by lunch. The Costa Tropical lines the southern edge of Granada and promises soft, warm sun year-round.
Featured property: Nestled beneath the beautiful Alhambra palace, amidst a bustling city centre, this 16th-century Mirador apartment is the perfect base for exploring everything Granada has to offer. Moments from dozens of award-winning restaurants, cafes and incredible photo opportunities. There’s even a bus stop just 20 metres away, which can take you up to Granada’s snowy mountains or down to its sunny beach.
Best for: A trip for lovers of wine
Make sure you see: The Meursault Vineyards and wine cellars
A walled town in the centre of Burgundy, Beaune is known for two things. It’s colourful geometric architecture and being in the heart of one of the world’s main winemaking regions. Travelling to Beaune in winter means being surrounded by wine festivals. From wine tastings in cellars to wandering through snow-swept vineyards, there are only a few places more appealing to lovers of wine.
While we won’t deny that during winter Burgundy can get pretty cold, the weather only adds to the area’s charm. The cobbled streets take on a kind of Christmas sparkle and the air has a soft, blue tinge. What’s more, there’s nothing quite like a classic, French chateau coated in a thin layer of snow.
Featured property: Large, stately and utterly beautiful, Château De Champ Carre is the ultimate choice for taking all your friends on a trip to Beaune. A 19th-century chateau, the 6-bedroom home looks like it was taken from an old French tale. As well as its incredible architecture, the property boasts just about every amenity you can think of. This includes a swimming pool, gym and massage room, while a world-famous vineyard sits five minutes down the road.
Best for: A spectacular natural lights show
Make sure you see: The Northern Lights
Sweden is a country that comes alive during the colder months. While you’ll want to pack your thickest winter coat, this northerly nation is about as close to a real-life winter wonderland as it’s possible to get. Book a place down South, and you’ll be near Lund Cathedral and the Malmo Museum. These are the country’s most beautiful buildings, coated in the layer of snow. Head up north and you’ll be around one of the most spectacular performances our natural world has to offer.
There are a few sights that cement winter as the most beautiful season and one of them is the northern lights. Most clear during the winter months, as the dark nights let the colours really shine, take a day trip to Abisko’s National Park and see nature’s dazzling performance, that put all other Christmas lights to shame.
Featured property: We think the best way to experience Sweden in winter is by immersing yourself in nature. Sat across from the wilderness, this charming farmhouse lets you do just that. Outside Letafor Herrgard, stunning Swedish scenery unravels in every direction, with a fishing lake and winter sports facilities within easy reach. You’ll also have an on-site cinema and even a barn that’s been converted into a large games room.
Best for: Music, dancing and hot chocolate
Make sure you see: Caffe Florian
Venice is on just about everyone’s list of cities to visit and we think that winter may be the perfect time to finally go. As well as being free from the crowds of holidaymakers who usually throng the streets, during winter, Venice Carnevale is on. Running from January 23 to February 9, for 17 days, the city comes alive with an open-air festival of music, masked-dancing and light.
However, there may be an even better reason to head to Venice when the weather turns cold. Italy’s oldest coffee house the iconic Caffe Florian that opened in 1720, serves what many see as the best hot chocolate in the world. Thick, creamy, and unimaginably uncomforting, this quaint Venetian cafe has done what we’ve been waiting for and brewed up a liquid hug.
Featured property: Comfortable, cosy and in the heart of Venice, Rialtino is a beautiful two-bed apartment that puts you within easy reach of everything the region has to offer. Best of all, however, it’s nestled down a quiet lane, meaning it’s still a peaceful place to retreat to, after a long day wandering along the canals.
The Canary Islands, Spain
Best for: Surprisingly warm winter sun
Make sure you see: Playa de las Teresitas beach
We know we’re being a bit cheeky calling Spain’s Canary Islands one of our favourite European getaways, but take one look at their silken sands and postcard-worthy cliffs, and you’ll see why we couldn’t leave them off our list. These stunning islands are the winter holiday of choice for anyone who doesn’t want to leave summer behind.
During our coldest months, when parts of Old Blighty are coated in snow, the Canary Islands stay above a gorgeous 20 degrees celsius, with their bright blue waters still perfect for swimming when February rolls around. Sun is guaranteed here, practically year-round, so if you fancy visiting Europe without your winter coat, the Canary Islands are the place to head.
Featured property: Nothing pairs better with sun, sand and sea than romance. Grand Duchess Villa is a gorgeous slice of paradise made for two. Home to a heated pool, hydro massage shower and a beautiful rustic stone finish, it reminds us of the way ancient Greek artists used to paint Olympus, with a range of luxury modern amenities thrown in.
Best for: A soft and peaceful beauty
Make sure you see: Sanssouci park
Berlin’s winters have a reputation for being, well, very cold. While we won’t deny you’ll want to pack your thermals if your heading to Deutschland this winter, what the city loses in temperature, it more than makes up for in aesthetics. For starters, the cold almost always means snow. Not the thin, grey sleet we so often see in England, but a thick, white, blanket that coats the city in the kind of seasonal tranquillity, usually confined to the front of Christmas cards.
What’s more, the air takes on a soft, blue hue, tinting Berlin’s buildings with a calming filter. Best of all, however, Berlin itself is a huge fan of winter and is full of things to do throughout the colder months. During December, the city has some of the world’s best Christmas markets, while ice rinks pop up across the city until well into the new year. Spas offer special deals for anyone who’s missing the warmth, and a winter walk at Sanssouci is one of the most romantic activities around.
Featured property: Berlin in winter is all about serenity. During its coldest months, the city takes on a soft glow, and getaways here are all about feeling at peace. Nestled amongst rolling hills and peaceful fields, Lina makes finding your inner calm all too easy. While the excitement of Berlin’s city centre is just a short drive away, here, you’ll have the chance to stroll through enchanting gardens and down past quietly babbling lakes, with the crisp smell of winter in the air.