Winter city breaks
The cold days of winter are rarely seen as the ideal time for a long weekend away in a new city. But the winter months are the ideal time to see some of the worlds best cities. Not only are flights and accommodation often much cheaper, you will also avoid the crowds of summer. You can wander through galleries and museums or enjoy dining out in more peaceful surroundings.
Top destinations for winter city breaks
HomeAway has been looking for winter city break ideas and put together a list of recommended destinations. Whether its shopping in the sales in New York, or walking in Ernest Hemmingways footsteps through Madrid there is a winter city break for everyone.
Winter city breaks in Stockholm
Sitting on the northern edge of Europe is the Swedish capital, Stockholm. The stylish and fashionable heart of scandinavia, Stockholm is one of the most vibrant cities in northern Europe and is a great destination for city breaks. The city is packed with cultural activities from the grand castles and architectural wonders such as the grand city hall and the Royal palace (one of the largest in Europe). Stockholm is a walking city and a great place to wander through is Gamla Stan, one of the best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. Enjoy crisp mornings and cosy romantic evenings amongst the romantic waterways. Just outside the city center is the archipelago with idyllic villages, towns and marinas.
Winter city breaks in Madrid
Step into the footsteps of Hemmingway and Goya and explore Spain’s capital. Madrid is often described as having nine months of winter and three months of hell, but the winter weather is no problem for travellers from the UK. Warm up from the cold winter weather with some Chocolate con Churros (a Spanish doughnut with dipping chocolate) in one of the cafes or bars around Plaza Mayor. Madrid is the city of Goya and his artworks are on display at the world famous Prado museum as well as the dome of the Basslica de San Francisco el grande. Traditional attractions such as flamenco go on through the winter months and there are always more places to try the tapas as you work your way through the bars like Hemmingway. The Retiro park with its crystal palace and boating lake are beautiful on a crisp winter's morning.
Winter city breaks in Budapest
Essentially two cities (Buda and Pest) separated and united by the Danube, Budapest is a magnificent city to look at. So much so that the view for the Danube embankment and of the castle district have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Visiting in winter can mean very changeable weather and its best to pack a variety of clothes just in case. Budapest is full of galleries, such as as Mucsarnk palace of art, and museums. One of the most important is the Buda castle which houses the history museum. If the weather takes a turn for the worse head inside to do some shopping at the covered central market. Warm up and experience a full Turkish bath in one of the cities bathhouses where you can relax, rejuvenate and get a massage too.
Winter city breaks in Hamburg
Hamburg is one of Germanys most lively and cosmopolitan cities and the winter is an excellent time to visit. Running from November to December each year is the Hamburg Dom. Also running each winter is the Hamburg winter beer festival, a traditional German festival. Both are two of the largest festivals each year in Germany and have many family friendly attractions. Outside the funfairs in the city itself there is plenty to do. You can enjoy ice skating after a stroll through the botanical gardens or a boat trip around the busy port. There are plenty of shopping streets to meander through as well as flea markets where you can pick up a bargain. From 7am each Sunday the Fish market comes alive where one can buy just about anything and enjoy a breakfast of beer and sausages whilst watching the dancing.
Winter city breaks in New York
When thinking of a winter city break one destination always springs to mind, and that has to be New York. Though many will travel to the big apple before Christmas to pick up that perfect gift travelling in January means the crowds are gone and the prices are lower, not just in the shops but for flights too. New York is a city which is far more attractive in the winter. Though the weather is crisp there are many activities to enjoy, take a carriage ride through Central Park or ice skate at the Rockefeller center. Late winter also see restaurant week, New York’s celebration of food where you can sample fixed price menus at some of the cities finest restaurants.
Great destinations for winter city breaks
With so many great cities to choose from for a winter city break the only question is which one to choose! A winter city break can be a impromptu long and lazy weekend or an exciting trip to the fair. There are many great winter city break destinations just a short flight away on mainland Europe or venture further afield to the dizzying heights of New York. Winter city breaks in any of the fabulous destinations are easily accessible flying from the UK. Why not make it a more romantic trip and travel by train across the continent.