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Best European Winter Destinations: 8 Unmissable Gems

Posted on 9 Nov 2023

Refreshingly crowd free, winter can be the best time to visit European destinations, but may get overlooked for their summer counterpart. While some may start planning their next trip during this quieter period, others are making the most of the peaceful streets and experience a more intimate feel for the local cultures. Stroll the river banks of Venice, the wild rugged landscape of the Highlands, or cheers your warm cups of hot chocolate at a festive Christmas market. Just because this time is often considered out of peak, doesn't mean there are no stories to be made.

Table of Contents:

Why You Should Visit Europe in Winter

Yes, taking a trip around Europe in winter can be a magical experience. The climate is cooler, there are less crowds, and it can often come with a healthier price tag compared to peak summer season. So why do we all still choose summer over a tour in winter? More often than not we like to feel a type of escapism to warmer weather that we don’t often get to experience in our home country. Plus the addition of school terms restricts families to certain times throughout the year. But now it's winter’s time to glow. Journey through our top destinations to visit this winter and say hello to hot chocolates by the fireplace and wrap up in your favourite knitwear.

Top 8 European Winter Tour Destinations

  1. Highlands, Scotland
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. Lake District, England
  4. County Tipperary, Ireland
  5. London, England
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. Wye Valley, Wales
  8. Prague, Czech Republic

Agree to more adventures this winter when you find the best European destinations. You’ll impress your loved ones with your snippets of knowledge or meet new friends when booking a small-group tour. The experiences you share together can fuel your desire to branch out to new continents and bring back more than just souvenirs. Ready to find your next European winter destination?


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1. Highlands, Scotland

Aye a tour of the bonnie Scottish Highlands. What would a European winter trip guide be without mentioning the scenic landscapes of the Scots? Made famous for their excellent whisky craft and competitive Highland games, winter doesn’t stop anybody from enjoying this idyllic area. When touring this region of Scotland, enjoy the warming colours of heather, golden sunsets above snow capped mountains, and the faint noises of the local wildlife. Is that a local playing the bagpipes?... Who knows a coo or two may join you along the way. But as our saying goes, the first rule to seeing a coo… don’t ask to see a highland coo.

Combine this winter destination with the immortal beauty a tour of Glencoe can provide.

2. Venice, Italy

Displaying its serene nature, winter is arguable one of the best times to visit this European destination. Venice's canals are quieter, mist descends to add atmosphere, and there’s even enough room for you to take a selfie or two without others crowding. If you’re considering touring Italy, be sure to add Venice as a winter stop and become a Venetian for the day.

It is worth noting that during the winter, there may be attractions closed and / or have reduced opening hours.


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3. Lake District, England

Quintessentially British, an idyllic landscape to embrace during winter is a tour of the Lake District. Open water landscapes that shimmer in the cool daylight, this part of England can be a festive treat for the whole family. With roaring fires keeping sheltering pubs warm, plenty of hills for sledging if the weather permits, and clear night skies for keen stargazers. Whether you're more of a novel in front of the fire person or an avid explorer ready to trek through the frost layered carpet of the surrounding hills, an English tour of this World Heritage Site should be on your list for winter.

4. County Tipperary, Ireland

The Emerald Isle is a worthy contender for the best European destination in winter. Shining a light on a lesser-known Irish tour location, County Tipperary has a lot to offer its guests, in particular the Rock of Cashel. Fans of history unite to celebrate the significance this attraction displays, providing monuments such as a Gothic cathedral, and a fifteenth-century Tower House. Travelling during the winter months not only allows guests to wrap up in their favourite festive jumper, the weather can often provide an atmospheric backdrop to this already ghostly location.

Experience the castle grounds on our Dingle, Killarney & the Wild Atlantic Way 3 day tour from Dublin.

5. London, England

The timeless charm and magic that can take you back to childhood, this is what it feels like to embrace London in winter. Arguably one of the city's busiest periods, you will be spoilt for choice when considering your first festive activity. From Winter Wonderland and ice skating at Somerset House, to watching Covent Garden’s lights switch on. And when you're done, the city is the perfect base to start your adventure to see the rest of England. Tour from London and discover why it’s one of the best European winter destinations to add to your list this year.


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6. Copenhagen, Denmark

As the home to the cosiness concept Hygge, it’s no surprise Denmark made the list for best European winter destination. Not only is it one of the safest countries in the world to visit, there are many outdoor activities worth wrapping up for. From a walk along the canals to visiting the Tivoli Gardens, each moment spent in this country is as inviting as the last.


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7. Wye Valley, Wales

To round out our best European destinations for winter is the beautiful Wye Valley in Wales. Hear the birdsong call from miles around. Inhale the dramatic viewpoints which open up the landscape further. Finish the day warming your feet by the log burner. A tour of Wales can be an understated destination, but will capture your heart from the moment of first arrival. We’re proud to visit this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on our Mountains & Coasts of South Wales 3 day tour departing from Bristol.

8. Prague, Czech Republic

Proud to host a selection of the best Christmas markets outside of Germany, our list of winter destinations in Europe wouldn’t be complete without listing Prague. Whether you're touring solo or surrounded by loved ones, each corner of this city is waiting to be discovered. Often covered with a dusting of snow during the colder months, be sure to wrap up or hunt down the best mulled wine and trdelnín (sweet dough fried) the festival stalls provide.

When going alone, consult our Europe solo travel guide which provides helpful tips to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch.

Embrace the Cold with a Winter Tour Destination

Wrap up warm and head to Europe for the cooler climate, now you’ve discovered the 10 best locations to add to your bucket list. Our team is ready to embrace you with open arms as you wander through the enchanting streets each country presents. What’s more, feel safe in a European location when a part of our small-group tours. Led by knowledgeable, english-speaking driver-guides, you have the comfort of companions as you undertake a journey of a lifetime. Ready to come onboard?