10 Cities to Visit Around the Holidays & Winter

Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Feliz Natal! Счастливого Рождества! Joyeux Noël! Vrolijk kerstfeest! Buon Natale!

The holidays are such a magical time of the year. Okay, I cringed as I typed that. But this time of year, basically all December long has a certain vibe in the air. It makes you want to walk around in the snow, sip on hot drinks, look at colorful lights and watch holiday movies. Unless you’re from Australia, California, Florida, etc. But even if you’re from a place where it’s warm during this time of the year, you probably also see this time associated with this particular aesthetic. Despite introducing this post with “Merry Christmas” in several languages, I don’t want to exclude those who don’t celebrate Christmas. Or even those who don’t celebrate anything at all. Perhaps ‘happy holidays’ is more fitting.

For me, when I begin traveling more I want to make sure I travel not only to places when/where i’s hot. Most people want to escape cold climates to go to a beach town or they take their summer vacation in a place that’s also warm, but more tropical. While that’s nice, I think it only shows one side of a particular destination. A city transforms throughout the year. You can likely attest to that wherever you’re from. Seriously, I highly encourage you to forego the mindset that traveling and vacation should only be reserved for warm climates.

I am going to list places, all around the world, that I feel would be amazing to visit around the holidays. If you’re ready to discover your next potential holiday getaway, keep reading. Also, I wanted to preface that none of these gorgeous photos are mine. I found them via Google search!

Manhattan, New York

As a New Yorker who pretty much avoids Times Square this is a funny one to add to the list. But even I will admit that the city is magical during the holidays/winter. The light shows, the Christmas tress at Rockefeller center, everything. Sure, it’s super crowded and cold, which is why now I’d rather stay home. But for people who don’t live in/near the city, I would say that NYC is amazing in the winter. It’s going to be crowded year round, but the winter is truly something else. Also, I would suggest going to see the Radio City Christmas show. I saw it a few times when I was younger and want to go back!

Paris, France

Even looking at this photo, it seems unreal. I haven’t been to Paris yet and I’m sure winter is one of the most crowded times to go. But for obvious reasons! The snow lined streets and Eiffel Tower covered in white seem to embody what we all imagine when we think of Paris. Also, can you imagine ice skating in Paris then finishing with lunch at a classic Parisian cafe? Priceless! Check out this Winter in Paris travel guide by fellow blogger Solo Sophie!

Prague, Czech Republic

This looks like it’s from a book! Of course pictures make everything look even more amazing than they are in real life. But I have no doubt that Prague in the Czech Republic will live up to its standards. If you’re not used to cold weather then going in the dead of winter may shock you soul. Heck, even if you are used to cold winters you’ll still be cold. But as a New York gal who spent four years in college in upstate New York, I can take it… I hope. I can’t wait to see the breathtaking astronomical clock located in the Old Town Square with my own eyes.

If you want to read about Prague in Winter, there’s a book just about that. Well, not really. It’s called Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War and details the life of the author when Nazis invaded Prague. Click the link of photo below to shop for it.

Strasbourg, France

If someone asked me what city in France I’m most excited to visit one day, it’d probably be Strasbourg. Yes, Paris looks beautiful and I can’t wait to go there too. But Strasbourg is such a quaint, little town that looks like it was frozen in time. Apparently Christmas time is popular for tourists because of their Christmas market. The markets usually last for a month, beginning towards the end of November and ending a couple days before the New Year. The day I am able to walk around Petite France and admire the houses alongside the canal, I will be a happy camper.

Milan, Italy

Milan has been on my travel destination wishlist since season 2 of America’s Next Top Model. Who else is still not over the fact that Mercedes didn’t win? Anyways, Milan is another destination that seems to sparkle even brighter around the holidays. I mean, look at the photo of the Duomo! Like the other European cities this town is not lacking in Christmas markets that drive tourists and local alike onto the streets. If you still need more convincing, watch the video below. Still not sold? Check out this photo diary from the website Boring Things on winter in Milan.

Bruges, Belgium

I feel like Belgium isn’t one of the most talked about countries when it comes to European travel. Maybe it’s my love for fries and the fact that I want to taste authentic Belgian fries. If you’re a fry enthusiast as myself, check out this post by Culture Trip featuring the 10 best places to get fries in Brussels, Belgium. But here, we’re focusing on Bruges. At their Christmas market many people ice skate right in the middle of it. The food, the scenery and the fact that the low season is right around the holidays make this a perfect place to visit around the holidays.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Ah, Copenhagen! Perhaps the most popular destination in Denmark. The Tivoli Gardens is one of the more well known attractions and during the holidays it looks even more appealing than usual. You may also want to see the Little Mermaid, which is a small statute of a mermaid near the water. I plan to take advantage of a walking tour when I visit so I can get some warmth while still discovering the city. Check out Heart My Backpack’s blog post where she details her stay in Copenhagen during the winter.

Munich, Germany

Most people think that Germany would be a perfect place to go during October. I mean, Oktoberfest, right?! For me, I’m not a drinker so that doesn’t appeal to me for that reason. Besides, I think that around the holidays and winter Germany, and Munich especially, looks beautiful. Munich has the largest “open air” ice skating rink, great Christmas markets and more. Check out this Trip Advisor forum for more ideas on what do in Munich around the holidays and winter.

Budapest, Hungary

Alexa, play Budapest by George Ezra. Many people who are travel obsessed like I am have probably heard of/seen the thermal pools in Budapest. If you want to read more about them, Lonely Planet has a great post covering them. Those seem amazing to cool off in during the summer. However, winter time in Budapest also deserves a visit. There are hot springs that you can enjoy in the winter, both indoor and outdoor. Additionally, and I’m going to sound like a broken record because guess what, more amazing Christmas markets!

Denver, Colorado

Started with the U.S. and I’m ending in the U.S. Denver is the state I want to visit the most in my home country… okay, maybe it’s tied with California. But, Denver is known for its snowy weather that make it the perfect destination for ski trips. Denver also has a Parade of Lights in which, you guessed it, the streets become lit with holiday goodness. Not sure why I described it like that, but I hope you get it! Denver also has Christmas markets, ice skating and other holiday activities. Check out Trip Savvy to discover more fun winter activities to do in Denver.

Thanks for reading!

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading it. I really appreciate it. I hope you were able to find at least one city you’d like to visit this winter or in the future. Keep checking back on my blog because I update it weekly. Also, subscribe to the newsletter.

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