Winter in Canada can be brutal. With temperatures dropping an average of -15 degrees celsius and even possibly going further down at -40 degrees celsius, it is no wonder that Canada is part of the coldest countries in the world. And while you may have endured it for years, you may be interested in switching things up and spending the holidays this year in ETIAS countries in Europe.

There are hundreds of things you can do or see when you take a trip to Europe in December. From outdoor winter sports to sightseeing, there is never a dull moment in these winter getaways. If you don’t quite have an idea of where to go, then have a look at these 10 best winter destinations in Europe.

ETIAS Travels: 10 Best Winter Destinations in Europe to Visit

10 Best Winter Destinations to Visit in Europe 

Winter Wonderlands

Don’t want to endure the extremely cold weather but still want to keep the spirit of a winter holiday? Then check out these countries that make great snowy getaways. 

1. Arendal, Norway

Arendal is a summer favorite for many Norwegians since it is a coastal area. But in December, the city becomes a stunning cosy winter town where you can enjoy skiing, hiking, and ice skating. 

FUN FACT: Heard of the popular Disney movie hit “Frozen?” Well, this happens to be the mesmerizing town that the Kingdom of Arendal was based on!

2. Abisko, Sweden

This snowy Sweden village happens to be one of the best places to view the famous “Aurora Borealis” or Northern Lights, which illuminate the skies beautifully in December. You can also join the locals in some cross-country skiing husky mushing.

3. Salzburg, Austria

Experience a true winter wonderland when exploring Salzburg, a city where you can go on a sightseeing adventure in places like the Mirabell Palace, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and the Old Town area where the Christmas Market fills the air with the smell of fresh gingerbread.  

FUN FACT: The Julie Andrews classic movie musical “The Sound of Music” was shot in this city! 

4. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen comes alive most in winter, which makes it a perfect sightseeing destination. The charming castles such as Frederiksborg and Kronberg and the lit-up Tivoli Gardens turn this city into a winter fairytale.

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

Winters in Reykjavik are freezing cold, which makes hiking to the famous Blue Lagoon as one of the best things to do here this time of year. Enjoy a hot dip in the winter where you can also get a stunning view of the Northern Lights.

Warm Weather Destinations

If you want to leave the cold winter chill behind and start an early summer, then you can definitely check out these 5 European (literally) hotspots where the temperatures are nice and warm. 

1. Côte d’Azur, France

The sun shines in this winter landscape, making it a fantastic spot to go skiing down the alps at a fairly warm temperature. There are also many historical sites and beautiful attractions to explore. 

2. Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca is known for its crystal clear waters and mesmerizing beaches, which you’ll probably have most to yourself during winter. While this city is jam-packed in summer, it’s mostly free during this off-peak season. 

3. Tenerife, Canary Islands

The largest chunk of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is warm all year but is cool during December. So you can enjoy the beaches without the blazing heat of summer.

FUN FACT: Tenerife sits on a dormant volcano which happens to be Spain’s tallest peak!  

4. The Algarve, Portugal

With villages built on the side of cliffs overlooking the stunning seaside, Algarve makes a great summer-like getaway in December. You can even go on a coastal bike ride where you can enjoy the scenic views of the coast while immersing yourself in the city’s calm vibes. 

5. Valletta, Malta

Breathtaking views don’t begin to describe the Mediterranean gem that is Valletta, the walled city and capital of Malta. Enjoy the rich food and take a  historical and cultural trip down the many museums and impressive architectural sites in this city.

FUN FACT: UNESCO made Valletta a World Heritage Site in 1980. It was also named the European Capital of Culture. 

4 Winter Events to Check Out in Europe

If you’re more interested in experiencing winter culture in Europe rather than escaping the cold, then here are some events you may want to be a part of this Holiday season.

1. Rise Festival, Les Deux Alpes, France

Do you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and music? The Rise Festival has somehow compiled all three in a winter sports event paired with a music festival that lasts from December 14-21. Tickets include a lift pass as well as invites to daytime and night-time soirees.  

2. OBER Kerstbierfest, Belgium

Calling all beer lovers out there! The Objective Beer Essens Region or OBER will host their annual Christmas Beer Festival in Essen on December 14-15 this year. There will be over 150 Christmas and Belgian Winter brews present in this year’s festival.

FUN FACT: Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the festival. How’s that for a cheery Christmas party?

3. Kaiserball, Austria

Enjoy an elegant night of dancing in the famous Vienna Kaiserball, which will start on December 31. This event also comes with an exquisite gala dinner and performances from graceful dancers.

4. Amsterdam Light Festival, Netherlands

This 53-day event lasts from November 28, 2019, to January 19, 2020, featuring brilliant light exhibitions from talented artists that you can see throughout the city center.

 

Whether you plan to escape the cold or want to embrace it in another country, then feel free to start looking into your options for a European holiday trip. With winter being the off-season for many establishments in Europe, you may not find as many tourists here as much as there are in the summer. So go ahead and start planning your itinerary, because this Holiday season is going to be a good one.

By 2021, the ETIAS visa waiver will soon be required for Canadian citizens before entering Schengen areas. So if you’re planning your trip by then, you’re going to have to read up on it. Etiaseurope.ca has all the information you may require, being a reference for all ETIAS related news. And by the time it comes, this company can help guide you through the process and take care of all the hassle for you to have a worry-free travel. Contact us if you have more pressing questions and let us assist you in your European travels.

Was this helpful? Check out our news page for more interesting content.