As The UK turns white under a carpet of freshly fallen snow, we thought what better chance to highlight the top snow-covered destinations in Europe? As we Brits struggle to contain our excitement at the prospect of sledging around the garden and snowman-building competitions this evening, navigating the snow is a daily business for some of the most beautiful cities in the continent, making the ultimate holiday choice for lovers of the colder climate. Whether you love skiing, saunas, culture or sightseeing, there’s a whole host of places to visit for something a little bit different from the usual sun, sea and sand. Here’s our list of the best snowy destinations in Europe, and just what you can expect from each of them.
If you love all things cultural then Geneva needs to be at the top of your list! Regarded as a ‘global city’ and the smallest metropolis in the world, this French speaking Swiss city has over thirty museums, an abundance of art galleries and is home to The United Nations headquarters, The Palace of Nations. The city is surrounded by two mountain chains, The Alps and The Jura, so the usual snow-themed activities are readily available if you fancy stepping it up a gear and taking on the peaks. With a beautiful alpine location and an ever-growing reputation, Geneva is one of the cities to visit right now.
As the largest city in Switzerland and with an incredible backdrop of The Alps, the gothic-styled Zurich is a must-visit. Nestled between wooded hills and the stunning Lake Zurich, this city is one of romance, history and is definitely worth exploring. Discover the Grossmünster Cathedral and the spectacular Fraumünster Church, or take a cruise along the lake making the most of the photogenic surroundings. The snow-covered mountains give Zurich the charm of The Alps, without having to step into a pair of skis.
With baroque architecture, world-famous composers, UNESCO World Heritage sites and some of the most stunning scenery you’re likely to find in Europe, Salzburg is top of most people’s lists when thinking of winter breaks. Austria’s capital offers everything a visitor could want, whether it’s culture, cuisine, history or action, Salzburg has it all. Visit the ice caves of the Salzach Valley or take a guided bus tour through the beautiful landscape that features in The Sound of Music. With so much to see and do in Salzburg, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Split in two by the Alpine Divide, Tyrol sits between snow-capped peaks and the Italian border creating a very intriguing destination. As one of the top skiing resorts in Europe, the state of Tyrol hosts many cities popular with lovers of extreme winter sports. The city of Innsbruck brings in the most visitors, and as the two-time host of the Winter Olympics it’s easy to see why. The ideal base for some high quality slopes and some breathtaking scenery, Tyrol is the ultimate combination of beautiful landscapes and adrenaline fuelled activity.
My favourite destination for 2013, Reykjavik is becoming ever-more popular with tourists as they look for something different. With a picturesque cityscape of the Öskjuhlíð and Skólavörðuholt hills, Reykjavik offers everything from winter sports to unique food and amazing attractions. Discover the world-famous Gullfoss Geyser, or the best that nature has to offer in the incredible Northern Lights as you explore one of the most unique cities in the world. Rarely seen without snow, Reykjavik is one for those who like the extreme winter climate, but for the chance to experience once-in-a-lifetime occurrences, it’s definitely worth it.
Are you heading on a winter break in Europe?