Winter city trips are excellent, especially in Europe. High season is over, and even the bone-chilling cold can’t hide the romantic side of each city. Explore the 6 best European Cities in Winter with us! Imagine a sunshine getaway to popular favorites or winter paradise with glittering snowflakes, frozen rivers, and the smell of mulled wine filling the air. We have tips for the best European cities in winter, what to do there, and where to stay! If you are looking for a warm place to travel, check our best place to travel in February.
Here are our 6 Best European Cities in Winter:
Best European Cities in Winter for Sun and Mild Temperatures:
Check out Valencia for a sunny winter weekend getaway if you need a break from the snow and rain! Temperatures can still be as high as 20 degrees Celsius (70°F) during the winter, and the sun shines all winter!
Valencia is really an unsung hero of Spain and one of the best European cities in winter. Most travelers have visited Barcelona, Madrid, and Costa Brava, but some of the other Spanish Cities, like Valencia and Malaga, really surprised me with their wonder. We spent a week in Valencia exploring this beautiful city but highlighting the best parts in a perfect 3 days in the Valencia Itinerary below.
Valencia is so much more relaxed than the other Spanish cities. It is quieter, less touristy, and has so much to offer from Paella to Flamenco, from the wonder of a walkable old town to the incredibly modern City of Arts and Sciences. This city has everything: delicious food, beautiful beaches, a pretty old town, the largest aquarium in Europe, and lovely people. Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain and one of its oldest cities.
Where to stay in Valencia
- Mon Suites Catedral is an excellent option with a fantastic location in the heart of the old town next to the Valencia Cathedral.
- Fetén is another excellent, very central option. Some rooms have a small kitchen to cook breakfast in the morning.
- Atico Tapineria is a more budget-friendly option. It is also in Old Town and has private rooms with private bathrooms.
- The River Hostel is a fantastic option if you are looking for the most budget-friendly option.
Rome is another of the best European cities in winter due to its mild temperatures and absence of crowds. In the summer, Rome can be so crowded that it is hard to enjoy. Hit the classic highlights like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum Tour, and the Vatican in peace without all the crowds of summer.
We booked more formal tours in Rome to learn more about the history. We loved our Vatican Tour and Food Tour around Trastevere. The Vatican is massive, so we recommend getting a Vatican Tour guide to show you around to ensure you learn the history. Go on a foody Rome Tour to learn more about the history of Roman food! Rome for foodies, without a doubt! We loved this food tour! We also recommend drinking in the square in front of the Pantheon, especially at night. It is a beautiful way to end the day and take time to enjoy the beautiful view. It is expensive but worth it for one drink.
Where to stay in Rome (All in our preferred neighborhood – Trastevere):
Dubrovnik, a city that needs no introduction, is a living testament to history, beauty, and cultural richness. It has very mild temperatures over the winter, with days still from 10°C-14°C. Get lost wandering the Old Town and soak in the stunning views from the city walls. We did a walking tour on our first day, which was great for understanding the history of the area and the city. We spend the rest of the first day getting lost and eating along the way.
Our Airbnb had stunning views, so we took one of our favorite wines for the day and enjoyed it from the Airbnb balcony. I highly recommend it. It was right outside the city wall, so you could get your car very close to drop off the suitcases, but it was still super easy to walk into the city. Be careful staying inside the city walls if you have a big suitcase as you will be toting your luggage up many cobblestone streets and stairs. If you have a more extended trip, check out our full Croatia Roadtrip.
Best European Cities in Winter to Enjoy a Winter Paradise:
Switzerland is a classic choice if you are looking for a winter paradise. Snuggle into a cabin and admire the snow globe views out your window. Interlaken is between two lakes, so it is beautiful to walk around the lakes. The area has excellent beginner ski slopes if you want to try skiing. If you are up for something more adventurous, try paragliding!
When I visited Switzerland, I knew it was the perfect place to try paragliding. The unbelievable mountain views combined with experienced guides and companies. I was utterly terrified, but it was absolutely worth it! I went around Interlaken, and it was spectacular. I would recommend 10/10. The views were incredible. The company was experienced and handled my anxiety well throughout the trip. The cheapest place I found to book was Interlaken, with an established company called Skywings. If you are staying close to Lucerne, my friend used this company on her trip and loved it.
Amsterdam is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and one of the best European cities in Winter. It is lovely in winter to enjoy the main attractions without any of the crowds. Get out of the touristy center and, walk the beautiful canals and explore everything this historic city has to offer!
Start with a walking tour of the city to get an overview of the history of Amsterdam and explore the key areas of the city. Head to Van Gogh in the afternoon and walk around Museumplein. Have dinner in the neighborhood where you are staying, as it is a long day!
Take a canal cruise or rent a boat for the morning since the city is quieter and more peaceful; have a pie at Winkel 43, take a stroll around Jordaan (the most beautiful neighborhood in Amsterdam), and then head to Anne Frank if you already have tickets, and finish with an Italian dinner in La Maschera. Have an Amsterdam Brunch near your apartment. Head to the Resistance Museum in the afternoon, and finish with a beer at Brouwerij ‘t IJ (The beer is great, and it is under a windmill, so it’s a classic Dutch experience). Read about our full Amsterdam Itinerary or our write up with visiting Amsterdam with kids.
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Our favorite hotel is Hotel Not Hotel. It is a quirky hotel that is a little outside of the touristy area so the restaurants are better and you have more of a local feel. It is still easily walkable to get into the tourist areas.
If you are looking for a budget option: The ClinkNoord hostel in Noord is super well located and connected well by transit. Noord is a funky neighborhood that is connected to Amsterdam Central with a free boat that travels back and forth every 5 minutes. Make sure you check out Straat if you are staying in Noord. If you already live in the Netherlands, escape with these best places to travel in February and escape Dutch winter.
Poznan is one of THE discoveries of the year! This lovely Polish city is as cool as Berlin and as pretty as Tübingen. Perfect to discover by foot! Especially the old marketplace with its colorful houses. There, you’ll find many cozy cafés and rustic Polish restaurants. In mid-November, you can buy the delicious St-Martin croissants everywhere in town. A traditional Polish cake with almonds, white poppy seeds, and nuts. If you’re not into sweets, I have some other tips for things to do in Poznan.
Where to stay in Poznan: I really liked the Hotel City Soleil, a boutique hotel close to the old city center.