Whilst we all love a summer holiday, there’s something special about jetting off to a new destination in the midst of winter. Winter breaks provide a much-needed period of relaxation in the midst of festive stress and bleak weather which we experience in the winter months and there are so many must-visit destinations in Europe and around the world that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
Strolling through quaint streets, visiting museums and art galleries and enjoying cafes and local cuisine are all part and parcel of short breaks, no matter if you’re heading to snowy conditions or enjoying the winter sun in the Mediterranean. Choosing a destination for your winter break can be tricky, especially if you’re not too sure where you want to go, so here are 4 must-visit winter break destinations to consider.
If you’re looking for a “proper” winter destination, then Bergen in Norway has it all. This destination is famed for its UNESCO world heritage and is filled with narrow alleyways, colorful buildings and, most importantly, proper snow! Bergen is a compact city, making it ideal for visitors who want to explore but not go too far.
With its cobbled streets, a charming old-quarter and an array of snug cafes and boutiques, there is plenty to do if you just want to relax and take it easy. If you want something a little different, then take a cable car up to the 1,000ft high Mount Floyen where you can sled and ski until 10 pm. If you do take a trip to Bergen, be sure to wrap up warm – temperatures here average at around 0º during the winter!
The Algarve, Portugal
Perhaps one of the warmest European destinations during the winter months, Portugal is a popular destination for travelers looking for some winter sun. The Algarve, in particular, is an ideal destination if you enjoy relaxing in warm weather and at this time of the year, you can get luxury Algarve villas and hotels for a much better price than you can in the midst of the summer season. With charming towns, beautiful churches and monasteries and mouth-watering dishes, The Algarve has such a huge character, making it into a memorable city destination.
If you want a break which is a little closer to home, then Dublin is a great city break location, especially if the weather is a little cold! Dublin has something for everyone and, if you’re looking to warm up after a few hours spent exploring the Christmas markets which are dotted around the city, then there are plenty of welcoming pubs with open fires and, of course, great pints of Guinness! The compact size of the city means that it can be easily explored on foot and has a great selection of restaurants with many serving arguably the best seafood outside of mainland Europe.
If you love wilderness, cold weather and traditional Christmas traditions, then Reykjavik is a must-visit destination and should be at the top of your bucket list. Surprisingly, the city is rather cosmopolitan, thanks to its compact size, and due to its northern location, it gets a large amount of snow during the winter.
The colorful houses, twinkling lights, and bustling tourist scene mean that Reykjavik really comes alive during the Christmas season, complete with street carols, church services, markets, and traditions. Spending a few days here will truly get you in the festive spirit and if you’re looking for somewhere to get away from all the Christmas stress, then this is also a great destination as the city shuts down from lunchtime on Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. During these days, enjoy a relaxing dip in the nearby Blue Lagoon, enjoy traditional Icelandic dishes or just spend time unwinding in many of the steam rooms or spas in the city’s hotels.