With pumpkin lattes on the mind, it's tough to get in the peppermint chocolate mood when winter has not yet greeted us. But if you're taking advantage of travel this winter, consider these destinations known for being a perfect winter wander-land. Also, winter is the off season for Europe in general, so you're more likely to find less expensive accommodation, cheaper flights, and have shorter lines at popular attractions.
You may come across snow in the mountainous areas, but do some research online to see when it is just cold and when the snow generally falls. If you love (or hate) snow, you can probably plan around whether it's going to fall if you're lucky.
5. Vienna, Austria
One of the most popular European Christmas markets is in the center of Vienna, Austria's capital city.
There's seriously nothing more charming than holiday music, the smell of mulled (warm) wine and other treats while you browse the stalls for unique gifts.
4. Salzburg, Austria
Smaller city charm than Vienna, Salzburg is where the Sound of Music was partially filmed. The hills are alive...during wintertime! You'll also find Christmas markets around the area here as well.
3. Interlaken, Switzerland
Known for being a popular winter sports lover's version of paradise, Interlaken packs everything in from skiing or snowboarding on Matterhorn to a cozy traditional fondue dinner. It truly is a postcard-worthy town (and has outdoor activities to do all-year round as well).
2. Munich, Germany
Munich is much more than Oktoberfest (though you know how much I love Oktoberfest). As the first European city to host a Christkindlmarkt in the Middle Ages - early 1300s! - there's no doubt that Munich's market is top notch.
Aside from Christmas markets, there's nearby Neuschwanstein Castle or skiing for a day trip, or other activities to do in the city.
1. Rome and Florence, Italy
While the weather in Rome is mild during winter, you'll see Christmas lights strewn between the buildings, making it a magical scene nonetheless!
Florence and Rome being the more popular Italian cities, winter is a great time to beat the enormous summer crowds at the Colosseum or Duomo (Florence Cathedral).
Pack your parka - let's go to Europe!