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.
Winter transforms Edinburgh into a magical wonderland, with its historic buildings and fortresses draped in a snowy blanket. Exploring the city's narrow streets becomes an enchanting experience. As night falls, head to the Grassmarket area, where pubs and restaurants offer warmth, local brewery beers, and traditional Scottish cuisine. Consider spots like The Last Drop or Biddy Mulligans for an authentic experience.
For a more active outing and a break in nature, venture into Holyrood Park. The park's dramatic landscapes provide a visual feast, and from the summit of the legendary Arthur’s Seat, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Edinburgh. The park also has a lake where temporary fishing permits are granted.
Winter is also the best season to explore the city’s famous cultural offering. The city is renowned for its impressive theatre and performing arts scene, offering a mix of classic plays and innovative performances. Check out programs at venues such as Edinburgh Playhouse, Traverse Theatre and Summerhall.
Start your winter day in Hamburg by exploring the HafenCity area, the city's most modern district filled with futuristic architecture and intriguing cafes. From the Elbphilharmonie concert hall's viewing platform you can admire the cityscape and the Alster Lake, which transforms into a frozen spectacle in winter.
If you're traveling with children, don't miss Miniatur Wunderland, the world's largest model city exhibition. It's a mesmerising experience for both kids and adults, featuring imaginative miniature worlds, some with interactive elements.
For an extended day trip, visit Blankenese, a picturesque fishing village. Its narrow streets and colourful houses create a charming winter scene, especially in the dim afternoons. Indulge in local seafood and try a Fischbrötchen, a delicious sandwich filled with fried fish.
To immerse yourself in the winter atmosphere of Vienna, head straight to Naschmarkt. This famous market boasts 120 vendors, some selling ingredients for your cooking adventures and others offering ready-to-eat delights. Sample amazing cheeses, then stop by a nearby bar for a glass of wine. On Saturdays, the market also hosts a flea market.
For a bit of exercise, try ice skating on Vienna's ice rinks. Eistraum, Vienna's Ice World, brings a massive skating rink to the city center from mid-January to early March. Another option is Wiener Eislaufverein, a slightly smaller but traditional skating rink just outside the old town. Both places offer skate rentals, allowing you to spontaneously hit the ice.
Every visitor to Vienna should indulge in the city's splendid coffee culture. During the winter, hot drinks and sweet treats are especially fitting. Instead of coffee, try a hot chocolate from Café Demel or Schokocompany.
Munich's winter landscapes resemble scenes from a fairy tale. Visit Nymphenburg Palace's beautiful gardens, open to visitors for free. Consider exploring the opulent interiors of the palace as well. Another lovely outdoor spot is the Englischer Garten, the world's largest urban park. If winter brings freezing temperatures, you might even be able to ice skate on the park's own lake Kleinhesseloher See.
Munich is famous for its beer culture. A hearty meal and a pint of local beer are the perfect way to recharge after outdoor activities. Even if you're already familiar with Munich, traditional beer halls like Hofbräuhaus are worth revisiting. Other excellent options include Augustinerkeller and Paulaner Bräuhaus.
Experience the unique charm of Trondheim by taking a stroll through the Bakklandet neighbourhood. Admire picturesque wooden houses with snow-covered roofs, reminiscent of a fairy tale. Continue your walk to Nidaros Cathedral, undoubtedly the city's most impressive structure, situated in a stunning location. Bakklandet also boasts many cozy cafes, perfect for a leisurely break. Try places like Dromedar or Skydstation.
Food culture is integral to life in Trondheim, and classic hearty Norwegian dishes are perfect for winter. Sample raspeballer, comforting potato dumplings, or indulge in a creamy soup made from local salmon.
Naturally, Trondheim is a prime destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The surrounding areas offer well-maintained ski trails and ample snowshoeing terrain. For cross-country skiing, you can reach Bymarka in just ten minutes from the city centre. If you're looking for various winter activities, Vassfjellet ski resort has a lot to offer.