Sometimes it’s great to escape the vagaries of winter weather. If you’re more used to rain and wind than sunshine and snow at this time of year, here are five Winter European Destinations to consider fleeing to for a short while:
With an average temperature of 16°C in December the Canary Islands are still a viable option for sun and welcome warmth. With the contrasting landscapes of volcanoes and valleys, or otherworldly black and beautiful golden beaches, there’s plenty of choice on Tenerife depending on your tastes. Winter tends to attract an older and more family-centred crowd than summer so although this time of year can be considered high season it will still provide a peaceful, relaxing holiday.
Although many of the Greek islands effectively close during Winter, this time of year is one of the best for visiting the capital city. The tourists will have disappeared, leaving you to wander the Acropolis if not alone, certainly with vastly reduced numbers of fellow sightseers. The Plaka area with its restaurants is still mostly open although don’t expect to be able to dine outdoors. And if bad weather hits, there are plenty of museums to pop into, not least of these the recently opened National Archaeological Museum.
Venice, one of the most atmospheric and romantic cities in the whole of Europe, is even more beautiful at this time of year. Although flooding is very likely (you’ll be woken early in the morning with a warning siren if there’s “aqua alta” on its way) there will be plenty of stalls selling Wellington boots to let you get on with the serious business of discovering the canals, bridges and mysterious passageways in this labyrinthine city. And that’s without the enormous crowds that visit in the summer months.
What better way to spend a winter than in the snow-covered streets of a city who knows how to cope with proper winter weather? For those who get to see only an occasional smattering of snowflakes in winter, you’ll know that everything looks wonderful when it’s white, and this is certainly true of Norway’s capital city. Take a winter walk on the subject of Munch, or music and literature, or visit the shops in the little snow-covered 17th century houses and craft shops in the village of Bærums Verk. And for those feeling athletic, there’s Oslo Winter Park, just 30 minutes drive from the city centre.
With runs for beginners and more advanced skiers alike, you’ll be hard put to choose a better ski destination than Chamonix in France. Famed for being the site of the first Winter Olympics and backdrop for scenes in the Bond film, “The World is Not Enough”, Chamonix is one of the most well know European winter holiday destinations. For non-skiers, there’s Mont Blanc to admire, or a ride on the Montonvers Railway to take, and a glacier ice cave to visit. And let’s not forget a breathtaking helicopter ride over the mountain peaks.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out from under those grey skies and go do something more interesting instead!
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