Our top 5 European city breaks for this winter
Looking for your next favourite destination for a long weekend? Hoping to spend some of your winter break exploring a new city? Here are our top picks of winter city escapes.
Copenhagen and Stockholm tend to be the obvious choices when visiting Scandinavia, but in the winter Olso could be your best bet. Norwegians love their winter sports and combining urban exploration with outdoor activities is easy in Oslo. You can even reach the closest spots for skiing and snowboarding by metro. If skating is more your thing, the Frogner Stadion in the Majorstuen area is a popular option.
If you are not feeling sporty check out the great museums such as Munch, showcasing the works of the Edvard Munch, and the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. Or you could eat your way through the city's huge selection of restaurants.
The city works well for a grown-up getaway, but you might want to bring the kids too. Make sure you read our tips on family-friendly spots before you go.
Winter is a great time to visit Lisbon. The weather tends to be mild and pleasant, and the city is not too crowded. If you want to have a look around the iconic neighbourhoods, such as Alfama and Bairro Alto, now is your chance to do that without having to face an obstacle course of other travellers. Since the city is very hilly walking around is more fun too when it's not too hot.
Lisbon is also a great starting point for discovering the rest of the country. The popular destinations, such as Sintra, are just as interesting to visit in the winter season. If you want to explore natural sights and small towns have a look at our favourites here.
Frankfurt might be best known for its banks and business travel. It is however a great city for a short urban getaway too. The city's size makes it easy to get around and the public transport works well.
Frankfurt's booming economy has also made it a hotspot for great bars and restaurants. If you want to splurge on a Michelin-starred experience, it has some exciting options.
If you are more into museums, purchase a Museumsufer ticket. It lets you explore all 38 of them for two days, for a price of only 21 euros.
From Frankfurt, you can also start a road trip to see some wonderful fairytale castles and medieval villages. See our tips on where to go here.
For fashion lovers, winter is the best time to visit Milan. The winter sales are a chance to bag a bargain from one of the iconic Italian fashion brands – and the outlets surrounding the city offer even more to explore. The locals make a real effort with their winter styles and in February the fashion week brings in even more stylish people to admire.
Culture and arts are also easier to enjoy in the off-season when there are less queues and crowds. For example, Leonardo's Last Supper is often impossible to see, but in the winter there are slightly better chances of getting a ticket. In February there is even a very special cultural event; Carnevali Ambrosiani, a masked carnival not unlike the one in Venice.
Filled with tourists in the summer, Prague is an excellent choice in the wintertime, when you can enjoy the beauty of the city in peace. Even on the popular Charles Bridge, you can admire the view without huge crowds and move around the idyllic alleys of the old town effortlessly. If you travel to the city between the end of November and the beginning of January, you’ll be sure to find true Christmas spirit in the city's numerous Christmas markets.
Don’t forget to dress warmly for the winter season, and if the cold surprises you, warm up in the city's many interesting museums. You’ll be sure to find your favourite options ranging from Franz Kafka to craft beer loved by the locals. The most culture-hungry can also head to the National Theatre, where the opera house itself is already an impressive sight.
If you have more time and dream of a relaxing spa weekend, the spa paradise of Karlovy Vary is located less than two hours from Prague. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of wintery outdoor activities, you can put on skates at one of Prague's many ice-skating rinks or take part in the winter running event organised at the end of February.