If you’re a skier, a visit to the Alpine region of Austria, Switzerland or Italy is likely on your bucket list. The beauty of the Alps offers the perfect backdrop for winter visitors. Skiers will enjoy breathtaking runs of all difficulty levels. Those who don’t ski won’t be disappointed, either. Winter hiking, cozy cafés, shopping and fabulous wellness spas are just a few of the other activities that will entice. The splendor of the snow-covered Alps will appeal to everyone.
“Christmas markets” offer a special experience for the winter vacationer from late November into December. While you can find Christmas markets throughout Europe, some of the most popular can be found in Germany and France. The holiday spirit will come alive as you stroll through open-air markets with the smells of gingerbread, mulled wines (“Gluhwein”), roasted chestnuts and grilled sausages. Artisans in wooden stalls display and sell their crafts as shoppers meander through the markets. If you’re considering a visit to the Christmas markets next winter, consider taking a river cruise–it’s a great way to see many of the best markets!
Finally, if you’re looking for a bit of warmer weather, consider the coast of southern Spain. The Costa del Sol region is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. Here you’ll find long stretches of beaches on the calm Mediterranean waters. With its mild climate, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities year round. Plus, this destination boasts some of the best golf courses Spain has to offer.
So while many of us primarily think of Europe as a summer destination, you may want to consider this for your next winter vacation, too! Tune-in as the Winter Olympics kick-off in Sochi this February, and get a glimpse at Europe in the winter.