Grab your winter woolies out and head up north where an icy wonderland awaits. Europe during the summer may be fun, but there’s a certain magic in the air during those colder months…

Throw fantastic in value for money (as much as 20 to 30% cheaper than summer prices) and you’re sure to see Europe in a different light.

Whether you’re a solo traveller or enjoy gallivanting with your bestie, or significant other, there are some incredible wintertime activities waiting for you in Europe, from browsing the festive Christmas markets of St Petersburg and Moscow, to tantalising your taste buds with a bit of haggis, and of course getting your fill of the incredible lightshow that is the Aurora Borealis.

If you’re not sure where to go, or how to go about it, try a guided holiday where everything is taken care of. Travel comfortably, keep warm, and get the most value for your rand by travelling in the best value travel season.

To get started choose from these top 5 European destinations to visit in winter, based on Trafalgar’s best-selling itineraries and a selection of new trips for 2019/20.

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1.     Iceland

The best months to see the Northern Lights are from August to April, so get stuck into your bucket list early by ticking it off first. Head to Iceland on a guided tour so you can be sure to experience the famous Blue Lagoon (bring your swimsuit), Viking World in Reykjanesbær, the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano and the Black Sand Beach. If you don’t see the lights, these attractions will certainly make up for it and the fresh air will also do you the world of good.

How cold is it? January is the coldest month in Reykjavik, with an average temperature of 0°C.

Copyright: alexeys / 123RF Stock Photo

2.     Russia

Don your winter woolies and take a slow cruise along the Moscow River, with a live ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre. Take on Moscow with a Local Specialist as you admire the oh-so colourful St. Basil’s Cathedral which was once nearly stolen by Napoleon. Visit key attractions such as the Hermitage Museum, Tsar’s Winter Palace, Red Square and the Kremlin. And, if you feel the cold creeping in, warm up with a nip of Vodka and a bowl of hearty beef stroganoff.

How cold is it? The average winter temperature is around -5°C in St Petersburg while Moscow sees temperatures of +/- -3°C

62798670 – christmas time in moscow, russia

3.     Scotland

Craggy peaks topped with snow, men in kilts, taffy ‘coos’, the elusive Loch Ness monster, bagpipes and whisky (the ‘water of life’), it can only be Scotland. The land of Nessie is undoubtedly one of the most strikingly beautiful places on earth and with Trafalgar’s new Best of Scotland travellers can experience ancient battlefields, lochs, glens and try some Haggis during the winter season. Travellers will also dive into culture at the Glengoyne Whisky Distillery for a wee ‘dram’.

How cold is it? The average winter temperature is 0°C with January being the coldest month

 

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Whisky Things. Did you know that the taste & flavor of the whisky highly depend on which cask (barrel) they mature the alcohol in? This distillery in the highlands mainly uses sherry casks from both American & European Oak. European Oak is more porous & interactive, giving the whisky a deeper, richer and spicier flavor. American Oak tends to be a denser, harder wood, leaving the scotch with a sweeter, brighter flavor, and with a dash of citrus! Every year the color & volume of the whisky changes, beginning with a full bottle of clear liquid. They play with the cask material, size & number of years to give the scotch different flavors. It’s amazing the attention they give to detail, and you’ll appreciate whisky after seeing how it’s made! 🙃 Tip: Smell the whisky first. Sip it, and hold it in your tongue before drinking. The number of seconds depends on the number of years! (10 years = 10 seconds) Then swallow! #TravelToScotland #Ediburgh

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4.     Switzerland

With Lucerne as your base you’ll get up close and personal with all the Switzerland has to offer. During the value seasons of November through March there will be far fewer crowds and snow in bucket loads, while the city itself turns into a winter wonderland.

Walking over the Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in all of Europe, at night with fairy lights twinkling all around will be a memory you’ll cherish forever. And while you’re in city buy a Swiss metal bottle and drink the freshest water you’ll ever taste. It comes directly from the nearby mountains to one of the many colourful historic fountains scattered through the city, and the Earth will thank you for not adding to the single use plastic problems dominating the headlines.

How cold is it? Expect to see average daily temperatures in Lucerne of between 2 and 4 °C in December

Lucerne, Switzerland

5.     Slovenia

The enchanting capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, is one of the hidden gems of Europe. The city’s rich history, beautiful architecture, green surroundings, and uber-friendly locals draw more and more visitors every year. This gorgeous city was named European Green Capital in 2016 and the centre is almost exclusively vehicle free. Bled, one of the most recognizable Slovenian tourist attractions, is only half an hour drive away from Ljubljana.

How cold is it? The coldest month is January with temperatures reaching -2°C, but the average winter temperature of the region sits at around 4 °C.

Lake Bled, Slovenia, beautiful view from hill Ojstrica, landscape, sunny day, woman sitting, island, church, blejsko jezero

For more information on travelling in the Value Season with Trafalgar call (011) 280 8440 or visit www.trafalgar.com. Book a trip by 29 August and take 5% off.