Winter short breaks

Enjoy a fantastic winter short break

Russell Bowes

Russell Bowes
HomeAway travel expert

winter short breaks Cold, wet and grey. Winter at home can be depressing and the summer can seem an age away, so before the blues get you down, jet off on a winter short break to one of these great handpicked destinations. There are many great places in Europe for a winter short break. Across the continent towns and cities spring to life as winter wonderlands, with Christmas and winter markets filling town squares. Cities such as Brussels and Vienna are as famous for their winter markets and great shopping as they are romantic getaways.

A winter short break doesn’t have to be all about Christmas. December see’s the ski slopes of Europe start to open for a new season and if you travel early you might just pick up a bargain.


Great destinations for winter short breaks


Winter short breaks in Vienna Winter short breaks in Vienna

Vienna in winter is a snowy romantic destination surrounded by culture, art and architecture. For much of the winter there are the wonderful Christmas markets where you can find gifts for the whole family. The best of these are around Rathausplatz and include outdoor ice rinks at the Vienna Ice dream. The New Year sees Vienna’s ball season in January and February, the grandest is the Opera ball where you can dance to Viennese composer Mozart. Warm up in one of the cities opulent coffee houses or for be indulgent and visit the Sacher spa, where you can have a chocolate massage. For a dose of Vienna’s rich culture visit the Kunthistorisches Museum or world-famous palaces like the Hofburg.

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Winter short breaks in Montpellier Winter short breaks in Montpellier

Capital of the Languedoc- Rousillon region, Montpellier is a city which demands you relax with excellent restaurants and fantastic local wines on hand. Montpellier is a vibrant city with an old heart. The well preserved old town of l’Ecusson is excellent for wandering through its medieval streets and popping into cafes and quaint shops. It’s worth taking a guided tour to find out more about the old towns rich history. Montpellier has a lot to offer in museums, art and architecture and though an old city it has embraced the 21 century with a smart phone app "Contemporary Montpellier" to guide you around the must see sights. Even in winter the weather mild and alfresco dining can still be enjoyed.

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Winter short breaks in Brussels Winter short breaks in Brussels

Winter sees Brussels turn into a winter wonderland. Many of the famous squares fill with Christmas markets and fairs. The Grand Place fills with attractions and stalls. Try the big wheel which visits each year for a stunning panoramic view. Europe's capital lives up to the job in attractions such as the Royal museum of fine arts or the architecturally magnificent town hall. One of Brussels most striking and famous architectural and cultural sites is the Atomium, shaped like a giant iron atom and housing exhibitions. Next to this is the mini Europe park where you can stroll across the continent in miniature from the chimes of big Ben to the gondolas of Venice.

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Winter short breaks in Prague Winter short breaks in Prague

In the summer Prague is full of crowds of tourists. The winter months bring low temperatures and keep some of the crowds at bay. Wander the cobbled streets, through the Christmas markets of the Old town and Wenceslas and pick up a gift or indulge in the fine Czech street food. Prague is a beautiful city with wonderful architecture. A must for any trip to Prague is a visit to Prague castle. The castle is the largest coherent castle in the world and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Its buildings range from Roman to gothic and its well worth a day. Centered around the bottom of the castle is Mala Strana, the lesser quarter. With parts dating to the 8th centure it is filled with quaint side streets. At its heart are the baroque square as well as many baroque churches and old pubs.

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Winter short breaks in Verbier Winter short breaks in Verbier

For a more traditional winter short break try the classic Swiss town of Verbier. A skiers paradise, it is neslted in the four valleys region. Verbier boasts some of the earliest skiing in Europe and can often get large snowfalls relatively early in the winter months. Its best to visit early and enjoy the resorts spectacular scenary and skiing before the crowds descend. Though quieter there will still be quite a few 'ski bums' around to keep the party going. Verbier is as famous for its traditional chalet buildings as for its skiing, nightlife and is beautiful alpine views. Off the slopes there are art galleries, indoor swimming pools and plenty of luxury shopping.

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Whether for a long romantic weekend, a last minute short break or a luxury shopping trip to Europe’s winter markets a winter short break can be just the ticket to avoid a blocked nose and the dreary climate at home. Treat yourself to a winter escape, take to the slopes of the Alps, explore romantic old towns like Montpellier or stay in Brussels and visit the whole of Europe in a singel trip at the mini Europe park.

Winter doesn't have to be a grey and dark few months so brighten it up with a winter short break.

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