Davina Baum's The best of europe in the winter
Collected by AFAR Traveler, AFAR Contributor
It's that diffuse, pale winter light: It makes everything more beautiful, more mysterious. Seeing Europe in the winter—after the summer crowds have dissipated—is an entirely different experience. Skate the canals, shop the holiday markets, and take in the atmosphere. Just bring a scarf.
2961 Kinderdijk, Netherlands
When waterways in the Netherlands freeze into glittering paths, overjoyed residents take to the ice. Visitors can buy or rent a pair of noren (traditional long-blade skates) to glide across town or take part in one of the country’s dozens of...
Horní Bečva, 756 57 Prostřední Bečva, Czechia
We could not have imagined a winter wonderland as picturesque as the one in Pustevny. Tucked away in Northeastern Czech Republic’s Beskedy Mountains, we arrived at night by car to this mini ski village of gingerbread houses. We stayed in the cozy...
Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
It's an unforgettable experience: Getting up at the crack of dawn in mid-winter, walking through the large municipal park on the Pest side of town, checking in to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (mostly with Hungarian pensioners because tourists...
Römerberg, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
There’s no better way to experience the festivities of the holidays than Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt) in Germany, and Frankfurt's is particularly beautiful. The markets take place usually in the center of the town, and you'll find all...
1 Hamilton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 7DR, UK
At the Arch Bar and Wellington Lounge in London's Park Lane Intercontinental Hotel, high tea is served without the tea. Order the Poor Man's Punch if you fancy gin and you may find you can never go back to drinking alcohol from a tumbler. Arriving...
Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris, France
Gornergrat, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
A trip up to the Gornergrat provides the best view of the Matterhorn without ripping a huge hole in your wallet. For less than 10 Francs, we were able to ride the lift up to Gornergrat and see one of the most spectacular views. At the top there is...
Auguststraße 58, 10119 Berlin, Germany
102 Rue de Provence, 75009 Paris, France
Teufelsberg, 14055 Berlin, Germany
Deep in Berlin's Grunewald Forest, Teufelsberg (literally, Devil’s Mountain; the name comes from the nearby Teufelssee, or Devil’s Lake) was once the site of a Nazi technology college. After the war, it was decided that the school...
Donkere Gaard 8, 3511 KW Utrecht, Netherlands
“Are you up for a little bike ride? To start the real Dutch experience?” My friend Lisa’s text reads. I see it while riding the train from Schipol Airport to Utrecht, the start of a week with two close friends. I love real travel experiences, but...
Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP, UK
I'm partial to the old-school charm of the afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel, with its dark wood paneling, the piano, and overstuffed setees underneath the window. Perfect for a fall or winter afternoon. The tables are as they should be, low and...
V Kotcích 516/15, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Near the base of the landmark Rialto Bridge, the historic Rialto Market is well worth a wander. Seek it out in the early morning when it provides an authentic local experience (and awesome social-media ops), with fishmongers hawking their fresh...
Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København, Denmark
We stood like a pair of Hemingway’s cats in the thin Scandinavian rain to photograph the oxidized lions washed dark at the front of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. A rainy day is always a good day to see a museum and the Carlsberg, the brainchild of...
Rue du Jardin Alpin, 73120 Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, France
LVMH’s contribution to the Courchevel high life, Cheval Blanc riffs on the Alpine theme with plenty of wood, leather, tweed, faux fur, cuckoo clocks, and even some wooly sheep in the oversize rooms and suites. Many of the guestrooms also...
4 bis Rue Meyerbeer, 06000 Nice, France
On a warm winter morning, the soft light of the French Riviera is streaming into the Cours Saleya Flower Market in the old section of Nice. Just a block back from the Mediterranean Sea, long rows of vendors are selling African daisies, violet...
Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Imagine listening to classical music while surrounded by the art and architecture of a former Augustine monastery. At the AMUZ concert hall in Antwerp, Belgium, you can do just that. AMUZ is home to the Laus Polyphoniea concert series each summer....
Aiguille du Midi, 74400 Chamonix, France
France's Chamonix Valley is one of the most scenic places on the European continent. It's a narrow river valley which houses everything from rock-climbing centers to pulsing bars and pubs, and on both sides of the river the peaks of the French...
Amalienborg Slotsplads 5, 1257 København K, Denmark
When you think of a royal palace, you usually think of one set building. In Copenhagen's case there are actually four distinct buildings which surround a large central square. Why four? Apparently, because it was originally inhabited by four noble...
The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder PH3 1NF, UK
There may not be a lovelier place to golf than Scotland, and Gleneagles resort has one of the most impressive backdrops for a game. The hotel, located on 850 acres in the Perthsire countryside, has three championship golf courses and is home to...
6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris, France
Ohhh, if these walls could talk, the things they would have to say! The café Saint-Régis, located on the quaint and quiet island of Ile Saint-Louis, just a few meters from Notre-Dame, is one of those cafés that make Paris what it is. Professional...
Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
As the winter solstice approaches, the light in Venice becomes diffuse. Multistory buildings cast the city in deep cold shadows that allow the canals to reflect the clear blue sky. It's the off-season. Many shops will close after Christmas until...
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