Are you plotting a winter European getaway? Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that winter vacation in Europe will be gloomy. There is something quite magical that happens when winter’s chill casts stillness and sheets of white over Europe’s timeless cities. What’s more, several spots in Europe actually experience sunshine and moderate temperatures all year long. You may be wondering if you can realistically fit a trip to Europe into your budget this winter. The truth is that planning a cheap trip to one of the major cities of Europe may not be possible on a shoestring budget. However, there are some charming destinations that are surprisingly affordable to visit when you book a trip for an off-season month between February and April. Take a look at five cities to visit for a cheap European vacation this winter.
Barcelona becomes really affordable once you decide to visit this Spanish city during an off-peak month. You can typically find some low-cost flights to Barcelona during the period between February and April. What’s more, prices for hotels and rental cars typically dip pretty drastically after the holiday season. The truth is that Barcelona and Spain’s Catalonia region are beautiful at any time of the year. The reason why you are able to snag such cheap accommodations here after January is because most people travel to Barcelona to enjoy its Mediterranean climate. You’ll have to accept the fact that it’s probably going to be too cold to swim in the Mediterranean or enjoy long beach trips if you come between February and April. Of course, you can definitely warm up on some chilly nights with flamenco dancing and red sangria in Barcelona’s colorful streets! You may even find that you prefer getting to spend time with authentic city dwellers over being stuck in crowds when you go to visit spots like Barri Gòtic, Basilica de la Sagrada Familia and the Boqueria Market.
You may get such a great deal on airfare to Barcelona during the winter that you decide to tack on a few days in nearby Lisbon. The thing that makes Lisbon such an attractive choice for a budget-friendly vacation is that Portugal is considered to be the most affordable country to visit in Western Europe. Prices for things like hotel rooms and car rentals dip even lower during the off-peak months of the year. That means you’re going to have some extra cash for splurging on port wine and custard tarts! What’s more, you’ll be able to check out the great bars, shops and red-tiled homes of Bairro Alto without running into crowds. Lisbon’s mild climate and reputation for year-round sunshine will ensure that you probably won’t need anything more than a light coat while sightseeing. There’s also one very specific reason why a trip to Lisbon in the winter is actually better than a summertime holiday. Lisbon is a city of hills. Many tourists are unprepared to climb all of the hills of the city while sightseeing in the intense summer heat. One of the best things about coming to Lisbon during winter is the scent of roasted chestnuts from street vendors wafting in the air.
Croatia is having a big moment right now. Lots of people are heading to the Balkans to swim in the Adriatic and enjoy black-sand beaches in a part of the world that is really opening up to tourists. Of course, a visit to Croatia in the summer comes at a premium. You may not realize that planning a wintertime trip to Croatia can be extremely magical and economical! In fact, you may want to consider Croatia over other parts of Europe for a wintertime visit because it is actually substantially warmer than most of Europe. Croatian winters are quite mild. That doesn’t mean you won’t still see some cold-weather marvels! Spots like the Plitvice Waterfalls ice over to create a magical scene. Of course, cities like Zagreb actually stay quite comfortable for sightseeing during the winter. The big benefit of coming here during the off-peak season is that you’re going to be able to see spots like the Walls of Dubrovnik without any lines. Even the highways that connect Croatia’s major cities are essentially free from the traffic that you’ll encounter during the summer travel season. What if you had your heart set on swimming in the Adriatic during a holiday in Croatia? It’s actually not unreasonable to dip into the Adriatic for a quick swim during the winter. Temperatures routinely touch near 60 degrees Fahrenheit into January.
Who’s ready for some wintertime island hopping in Europe? Don’t skip Cyprus in the winter just because you think this is a place that’s only good for sunbathing and yachting. The good news for you is that lots of tourists overlook Cyprus during the winter months. That means you can look forward to cheap airfare, cheap hotels and small crowds. The big secret that makes Cyprus such a great place for a winter getaway is that it actually offers the warmest winters in the Mediterranean. Daytime temperatures routinely get into the 70s during the dead of winter. What’s more, this is one of the only spots on the globe that experiences more than 340 days of sunshine annually!
Slovakia’s tourism industry definitely slows down during the winter. Of course, a very particular type of traveler actually waits all year long for conditions to turn cold in this little corner of the world. Wintertime in Slovakia opens up a world of thermal spas, hiking trips, ski lodges and snowshoeing adventures. One of the best pieces of advice to remember when planning a wintertime visit to Slovakia is to use the train as much as possible. You can easily get from city to city quickly without worrying about driving on any icy roads. What’s more, the sparkling views of land covered in white snow will define your trip.
Why Europe Is Amazing in the Winter
You have the potential to visit some of the best cities in Europe pretty cheaply if you don’t mind leaving a little bit of room in your suitcase for a coat and gloves. Most people who book winter vacations in Europe are surprised to discover that they aren’t actually settling for a second-rate experience at all. In fact, many people exclusively book wintertime holidays in Europe after experiencing just how cheap and affordable an off-peak trip can be!
[Featured Image: Govisity.com/Flickr]
Source: frugal travel guy