Winter route planner: Europe
Soar into Munich in time for the ultimate Christmas market. Rooting back to the 14th century, Germany’s capital has become a hot-spot for festive enthusiasts in the build up to Crimbo. Located at Marienplatz in the heart of the city centre, purchase exquisite gifts, whilst chewing on delectable gingerbread. Don’t forget to wear your Bavarian wench outfit!
Stay with: Munich Park Hostel
Next stop, Prague. Journey east-bound before the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. Flock to one of the local squares – Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square – or join a boat party where you can gaze in awe as fireworks emblazon the frosty night’s sky.
Unwind after the festivities, and enjoy a few days laying low in medieval Bratislava. Dress warmly as temperatures stoop below freezing. Meander around the Stary Mesto’s (Old Town) narrow streets, and explore Devin Castle, or the “blue” church…
Venture west for a day or two of rest and recuperation in Vienna. Rathaus Park transforms into an ice-skating rink in front of the majestic city hall. But don’t stay in the chill for too long. Retreat away into the warmth of its contemporary museums, or one of its cosy coffee houses.
Slovenia’s capital is next on the agenda. Although small in size, Ljubljana, meaning “beloved”, boasts a wealth of activity – and a hill-top castle at its heart. Enjoy afternoons in cafes, visits to museums, or souvenir shopping – everything is within easy reach!
Stop by Venice for some romance or shop until you drop in Milan before ascending Italy’s mountain ranges for some adrenaline-fuelled snow sports. Hit its snow-covered slopes alongside fellow skiers and snow-boarders.
Explore Italy with: Italy on a Budget
Zurich and Interlaken:
Switzerland is synonymous with the winter season, with lodges, chalets and hostels providing a perfect respite after a long day gliding down the glistening Swiss slopes. January is a particularly good time as snow fall is aplenty. Zurich and Interlaken are ideal bases for exploration, both boasting dazzling lakes, mind-blowing views and easy access routes to the slopes – not to mention the funky bars!
Stay with: Swiss Hostels
A short escapade to the world’s richest country can’t go amiss. Nestled entirely within the Alps’ embrace, this pocket-sized country is an ideal spot for hiking, with its many trails. Take in the country’s natural beauty, quaint villages and friendly locals. Casting its shadow over the capital is the 14th century Castle Vaduz – the official residence of Prince Liechtenstein – which can be spotted from miles around.
End your trip with a waltz back to Austria. Tucked away amidst the Inn Valley, Innsbruck bestows historical buildings, snow-capped mountains, and breath-taking views. The alpine destination also lays claim to hosting two Winter Olympics, making it an ideal check-point for snow sports. The funicular will zip you from the centre to the slopes in no time. The Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) museum and the Hofkirche are just a few of the city’s landmarks.