The Best Snowy Destinations to Visit in Europe
Europe has so many stunning destinations, but many see that beauty enhanced when winter falls. Snow capped mountains, cosy ski lodges, and picturesque cityscapes makes certain places on the continent ones that shouldn’t be excluded from any bucket list. Below we have picked our favourites. Which one will you visit first?
The capital of Estonia has seen a real emergence as one of the most popular destinations for a Euro city break in recent years. Resembling a scene from Game of Thrones, the twisty cobbled streets fuse together medieval history with modern shopping centres. With a large English-speaking population, you won’t feel out of place as you drive through the city exploring this winter wonderland. As temperatures dip and snow falls, Tallinn is very much like a real-life snow globe. If you visit between October and April you are almost guaranteed a snowy welcome with a sliding 31-day snowfall of at least 1 inch. Visit in January though and an average of 5.3 inches of snow will cover the rooftops, decorate the trees, and transform the city into something even more magical. Head to St Olaf’s Church for great views and a step back in time, mill around the streets of the old town soaking up the markets and history, or just take a road trip and see what beautiful place you encounter next. Tallinn is full of them and in the snow its even better. Pack warm though, temperatures reach as low as -8°C in March!
When it’s snow you’re looking for, where better than Austria – where the Alps create the perfect snowy skyline.
Tucked within the Austrian Tyrol province, Innsbruck is a picture postcard type place, nestled within the heart of the Alps. You not only have snow as a stunning backdrop adorning the mountains, but you also see this winter sport loving city transformed visually, as rooftops turn white and the old towns, like Tallinn, takes on a totally different feel. Pastel coloured buildings appear almost sugar dusted and the famous Maria Theresien Street exudes a warmth during colder times.
With plenty of skiing to keep you exhilarated, the off-piste delights of Innsbruck are many. The Christmas markets are among the most legendary in Europe and the stunning views from the terrace bar at Cloud 9 are well worth the visit alone.
The skiing is a huge lure to many but whether a skier or not, you must take a visit to the Bergisel ski jump – 250 metres high with a 360-degree view, its remains one of the must see attractions of any visit. Couple this with a cable car ride and – if vertigo doesn’t get the better of you – reach for the stars. Hafelekar Peak touches the sky at an incredible 7657ft and on your way up you can stop at a 6000ft marker for a bite to eat at Seegrube. The views will clear the vertigo, we promise!
The hours of darkness that our Nordic friends endure gives a somewhat cinematic feel to the surroundings. With stunning sights like The Northern Lights illuminating the night sky and the snowfall producing a cotton wool effect blanket, every turn is one that is potentially inspiring. With glass igloos available as a perfect way to admire the stars and Santa himself living just down the road, Helsinki can appeal to many. Just be warned the high temperatures in winter months don’t often hit above 0. Compliment any trip with a walk on water experience in Töölönlahti bay or a visit to the Fortress of Suomenlinna and experience a fabulous part of Finland.
We’ve gone for an entire Nation here as it is just so pretty, gives access to two other countries, and ticks the boxes if you want to combine skiing and sightseeing.
With only 85,000 inhabitants (and only a third living there) you can wander the streets of Andorra and ski the slopes at your leisure. For an element of beauty, you can walk the Madriu-Perafita-Claror valley which is a UNESCO World heritage site that takes up 10% of the country! For an element of a winter wonderland, you can stay in an igloo hotel and, for a touch of relaxation, you can head to the Caldea spa, it’s the largest in Southern Europe with the complex covering over 30,000 square feet. Just don’t forget to hit the slopes in between all this; Andorra boasts some of the best skiing in Europe!
Barcelona is only a 2-hour drive away so you can hop in your hire car and tick off two places within the day with ease. Don’t stop there though, the capital – Andorra La Vella – doesn’t feel like a capital city and gives you a mix of quaint restaurants, picturesque scenery, and great shopping. Whilst a visit to Ordino is perfect for capturing the best photos of a snow kissed village.
No matter where you choose, enjoy your trip and remember when you hire a car for your European adventure, ensure you are insured to the best level you can be and avoid those excess fees. Direct Car Hire Excess provides holiday car hire excess insurance as well as single and multi-trip European and Worldwide excess car hire insurance cover. Get a quote today.