When Old Man Winter arrives it certainly makes for some gorgeous cityscapes and natural wonders – check out our pick of the most stunning European cities under snow.
The Berlin skyline (pictured above) in winter is absolutely magical as the imposing structures of the Berliner Fernsehturm, Berlin Cathedral and the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall) dominate the view. There are a veritable feast of festivals and events in Berlin over winter which make this cultural city a must-visit: checkout the contemporary culture on offer at the Transmediale festival which is held each February; strut your stuff alongside the Berlin Fashion Week each January and soak up the lively nightlife, where the chill in the air makes everybody party just that little bit harder!
Prague, Czech Republic
There’s something distinctively romantic about snowy Prague; in particular the handsome Gothic Castle which looms rather ominously over the ice-laden River Vltava. This Czech capital is one of our wonders of winter and the perfect spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day on 14 February and kiss goodbye to winter with the annual Masopust festival, which bids farewell to winter on 1 March.
This is definitely the best season to explore this magical cultural city within the Baltics – the rowdy stag parties have abated, for a while at least. The World Heritage listed gem of Tallinn is bursting with fairytale-esque cobbled streets, fourteenth century churches and sumptuous medieval architecture. Try skating atop the Harju rink in the Old Town, surrounded by icy gabled rooftops lit with romantic flickering glows. Try your hand at cross country skiing in the Pirita district and get active with a spot of snowtubing and snowboarding at the blissfully wintery Nõmme Snow Park.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
I have to confess that I am more than a little bit obsessed with the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. It was built (along with several other impressive castles) by the infamous Swan King, aka Ludwig II of Bavaria, whose obsession would eventually see him bankrupted and turned into a virtual recluse. The richly ornate and decadently opulent interiors wowed influential figures including one Walt Disney, who use the majestic turrets of
Neuschwanstein as his inspiration for the Disney fairytale castles, which form the centerpiece of all the Disney parks across the world. Explore the beautiful Throne Room and the Singer’s Hall which is adorned with gigantic murals.
Icelanders don’t let a little thing like snow stop them from enjoying life – after all the natural landscapes are blanketed in the white stuff typically from October to early May. Winter sports are the order of the day with snowmobiling, dog sledding and monster jeep tours all a popular option. It’s also a great time to embark on a whale watching trip, sample the delicious fresh seafood available across Reykjavik and beyond and photograph the snow-dazzled coastline onboard a yacht. And of course this winter has been hailed as one of the best opportunities to glimpse the famed Aurora Borealis, aka Northern Lights. Pull an all-nighter and watch sumptuous oranges, mysterious yellows and vivid reds adorn the winter sky.