Downhill Skiing in Val d'Anniviers, Switzerland

For many foreign travelers, the time to travel to Europe lies during the summer months, when the weather is warm, the sidewalk cafes are buzzing, and the street performers are busy plying their trade, to the amusement of everyone within view.

The same sentiment doesn’t exist for this grand continent during the cold, dim days of winter, where the low light and grotty weather conditions scare away most punters. Well, their squeamishness is your gain. Europe still has much to offer the intrepid trekker during the colder months of the year, and unlike the hectic pace of the high season, you’ll have the delights of the Old World mostly to yourself during this time.

There are three places in Europe that are exemplary when it comes to getting away on your winter holidays, and below, we will discuss them in great detail.

1) Val d’Anniviers, Switzerland

One of the world’s best regions for downhill skiing, the Val d’Anniviers area in Switzerland has well over 220 kilometres of piste waiting to be taken on and conquered, all amidst of the finest alpine scenery that can be found anywhere in the world. Those that prefer to stay on flat ground for their winter enjoyment can strap on the cross-country skis instead and enjoy the natural surroundings of the area without worrying about wrapping themselves around a tree.  At the end of the day, luxurious spas will be waiting to work your exhausted body into a state of bliss, the way all days on winter holiday should end!

2) Reykjavík, Iceland

One might wonder why you would head to Iceland, which is frighteningly close to the Arctic Circle, in the dead of winter, when the sun makes a paltry appearance of roughly 4-6 hours a day.  Being this far north, the Northern Lights make an almost nightly performance during the cold months, securing Reykjavik a place on your list of must-see destinations before you die.  These ghostly green apparitions wow just about everybody who witnesses them, but if that isn’t your cup of tea, maybe the legendary nightlife that has grown here out of necessity will rouse you out of your winter stupor!

3) Lapland, Sweden

Want to get friendly with a bunch of energetic huskies?  Then make journeying to Swedish Lapland a priority this winter season.  Introductory dogsledding courses are available here for anybody who wishes to take a sled into the quaint and charming Swedish forest, where tuffs of freshly fallen snow cling to the spruce trees will make you feel like you are within a fairy tale. For those seeking alternate activites, snowmobiling, reindeer herding, and ice fishing are all exciting and status quo busting ways to have fun and do something that you have not tried before!

While many tourists avoid Europe during the winter, it does not mean that there is nothing worthwhile to do at that time.  By embracing the season for all its strengths and charms, you can experience Europe through an entirely different lens.