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How to Explore Europe in the Winter

There is no place on earth like Europe in the winter. That is not just opinion, it is an undeniable fact. The picturesque cities covered in snow. The lights blinking through the night. The crisp air when you take a deep breath.

Maybe we’re getting a bit poetic here, but you get the point. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s less crowded too. You’ll probably end up saving time and money too. Yep, Europe in winter is where you want to be.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide on how to explore the continent during the winter. We’re your experts on the subject. We’ve been offering adventure travel insurance and tour insurance for a while, so we know our stuff.

Read on for some seriously helpful tips on how to explore Europe in the winter!

Get Prepared for the Weather

Most of Europe is pretty chilly during the winter. This isn’t true across the board, but major tourist hubs like Paris, London, and Berlin can get cold. You’re going to want to pack long sleeve shirts, pants, and a jacket or two. We’re fans of mixing and matching layers for an added bit of style.

Now, if you’re looking for something a bit more temperate, we’re big fans of Southern Europe. Southern Italian cities like Naples and Alberobello, and southern Spanish cities like Jerez de la Frontera and Ronda, are amazing all year, but really shine over the winter months. Greece doesn’t get too cold and offers views of amazing coasts.

Pay Attention to Country-Specific Holidays

You know what is worse than planning an outing, doing all the research, preparing to have a great time, and having your plans derailed because there is a local holiday happening? Nothing. Stores closed, streets packed with loud celebrators, restaurants booked up, and a lack of transportation are just a few of the drawbacks local holidays bring with them.

There are forty-four countries in Europe and many, many more regions within those countries. There is a good chance you’re going to experience at least one local holiday during your European vacation. Make sure to consult a guide on regional holidays, like this awesome one.

Check Out Local Holiday Markets

Speaking of local holiday festivities, make sure to check out some holiday markets. From Vienna to Strasbourg to Budapest and beyond, you’ll love the charm these local bazaars have to offer. We’re talking about good food, good cheer, beautiful decorations, and an all around warm, fuzzy feeling.

Bonus tip for unique gift givers out there: you’ll be able to find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family.

Less Daylight = Shorter Hours

This is one of the more frustrating parts of traveling Europe in the winter. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and many tourist attractions shut down earlier. Some don’t even run at all. English language tours, for example, are rare during winter months.

It’s also important to remember that time is based on the twenty-four-hour clock, what we call military time, in Europe. So, not only is the day shorter and places close earlier, but telling time takes a little getting used to. If you need a refresher on military time, check out this chart.

Our Favorite City

Paris. Cliché, we know, but Paris during the winter is absolutely jaw dropping. It has to be the most beautiful place in the world. Here’s our version of a Paris packing guide.

Not only is it beautiful, but there are a lot of neat things to do. Everything from ice skating at the Champs-Elyees to visiting the Musee de l’Homme to plain old window shopping down Rue Saint Dominique. You won’t want to miss the City of Lights in Winter.

Booking your winter European trip now? Awesome! Make sure to request a custom travel and travel health insurance quote from us today!

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