This week we’ve been checking out the best destinations for weekend winter breaks. If you’re not going out to the slopes this year, there are plenty of other locations to explore that are ideal if you can only spare a few days away.
Europe in the winter - except the UK - is pretty damn picturesque, sometimes more so than in summer. Cliche winter wonderland images spring to mind when overlooking the snowy rooftops of Prague, Budapest and Bruges, whereas Bergen in Norway will really show you how winter should be done.
Grab your merino jumpers, Forbes & Lewis weekend travel bag and snow boots then book your flight to one of these European winter destinations asap…
Bergen is otherworldly stunning in the winter. There are less tourists than Prague or many other European cities at this time of year but you can take the Norway in a Nutshell tour all year round (although going in winter is recommended to escape the crowds) and November to March are the peak times to see the Northern Lights.
If there’s snow, try sledding on Mount Fløyen (grab a sledging pass from the Fløbanen funicular and a sledge from a local toy or sports shop). If you can’t stay away from your skis, cross country ski trails are open until 10pm on Mount Fløyen.
Compact and easy to walk or cycle around (if you REALLY want to cycle in winter) - Copenhagen is a super green and environmentally conscious city. There are plenty of lush and pretty parks like the beautiful Tivoli Gardens and countless miles of harbourfront promenades perfect for a crisp and picturesque walk.
If you’re a foody, make the most of being in the birthplace of New Nordic cuisine, where chefs use hyper local, natural and seasonal produce often. It’s also home to the world’s best restaurant, noma, opening again in a new location in 2018.
Take a self guided tour of Budapest, exploring the best things about the Hungarian capital in winter. Visit the numerous tea houses, skate around the huge ice rink at the Vajdahunyad Castle and don’t miss the incredible Christmas market in front of the Basilica for mulled wine and gingerbread cookies.
If it snows, you can go sledging in the mountains, but if you’d rather spend time inside, Budapest is famous for its exhibitions so do some research before you go to find out what’s on, where.
Is there anywhere that looks prettier than Prague in winter? Probably not. Sure it can be touristy, but not if you stay away from the usual tourist traps. Travel by metro or tram to avoid high taxi fares and stick to the old town in the city centre for hotels where everything will be walking distance.
Explore the winding streets further out from the busier tourist areas where you’ll find the pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants that the locals love. Check out the views of the Old City from Letná Park and grab a takeaway sausage and if you get cold, head to the National Gallery to feast your eyes on Slavic Epic canvases by Czech painter Alfons Mucha.