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A Backpackers Tale’s Recommendations: Why You Should Go to Europe This Winter

One of our favorite blogs, A Backpackers Tale, recently posted his recommendations for why you should go to Europe this winter. We are happy to republish his post. 

Honestly, thinking about freezing temperatures, and the bite of a cold winter wind covers my skin in goosebumps, and makes me grimace. Go on, call me a Scrooge! One of the perks of my job (this website) is that I have the luxury to follow the sun, like a sad puppy dog, as it travels around the globe.

However, this year, I have found myself smack dab in the middle of winter in Europe.

What I discovered is that even through Europe is quite chilly that there are many positives to visiting Europe during the winter months that outway the cold weather.

Here are some of the reasons why I suggest visiting Europe in winter.


I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking through Europe while fighting the throngs of fellow tourist. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Europe just a few months ago is that the crowds are a fraction of the size compared to the summer months.

There were still lines, but they moved quickly and instead of waiting 3 hours to get into a site I would only have to wait around an 1 hour. This meant I could see many more places in a day.

I could also get some stunning photography shots without tons of people in them. If massive crowds aren’t your thing, and you want to visit Europe then, the winter is the perfect time for you to go.


The landscape in winter is a stark contrast to the summer, yet it holds its allure. Even when the sun is shining brightly there is a cold bluish tint to everything.

Imagine the beauty of wandering down the snowy streets of Zurich or Montreux in the winter months. The cities and people of Europe have a different personality in the winter, and it is quite charming.

As if all the locals peered out their windows, see that most of the tourist are gone, and decide to come out.You feel as if you are experiencing the real heartbeat of Europe and you can’t resist it’s charm.

The landscape is different, and has a frigid feel, but it captures a rare beauty that isn’t there in the summer.


Christmas markets are a craze in Europe. Whether you are traveling through Bordeaux, France or Helsinki, Finland, there is a Christmas market not to far away.

The smell of roasted chestnuts fills the air; the wooden stalls draped in festive decorations sell everything from cheese to mulled wine.

Locals stand huddled in small circles chatting and sipping their hot beverages; you can hear kids laugh as they play on the ice skating rink.

They are lovely places to visit to get a feel of local life during the winter. They are also a fantastic place to try all the delicious winter treats.


Christmas time in Europe is the off season which means that prices are a bit lower than they are in the peak season. For example a hostel in the peak season average around $25-$30 in the summer, but in the winter, they are around $20.

You can also find some incredible hotel deals in the offseason. The more off the beaten path you get the cheaper it gets as well so if you are heading to places like Alicante, Spain you can save a lot of money.

Saving a little money here or there adds up over time and can significantly reduce the overall cost of backpacking Europe.


Winter is an excellent time to visit Europe. While it is cold the cities still full of atmosphere, culture, and Christmas spirit. While I wasn’t sure I would enjoy fighting the cold to experience Europe in the winter, it turned out to be an enjoyable experience, and I would go again.

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This post was posted by A Backpackers Tale on February 27 2016.

Travel became Stephen’s passion when he was 22. It all started when in 2006 he took my first trip overseas to Ireland. For over two weeks he walked along the stony coast, wandered through castles, and listened to live music in the pubs.

He quickly fell in love with all the excitement travel has to offer.

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