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21 best places to visit in europe in january (2024 guide).

Vatican, Rome

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Europe in January? 

The festive season may be over in many countries, but that doesn’t mean that these European destinations aren’t worth visiting. 

In fact, pro travellers know that January in Europe has a lot to offer; whether they’re seeking mild temperatures in the south, skiing in the mountains or the northern lights in the north. 

Some European winter destinations hold onto the festive period for a little bit longer, with celebrations like Spain’s Three King’s Day and Orthodox Christmas taking place at the start of January. 

As an avid winter traveller, I’ve visited places all over Europe in January – you can see my entries for Lisbon, Cappadocia and Reykjavik in this article – but I also asked some expert travel bloggers to contribute their favourite places on the continent in the first month of the year. 

So, if your New Year’s destination was to travel more, consider a winter trip to any of these Europe January destinations! 

This blog post may contain affiliate links

Table of Contents

Best places to visit in Europe in January for winter sun

Warm weather? In January ? 

While none of Europe is hot in the winter months, there are certainly some spots where you can enjoy mild conditions. 

In these destinations, winter days reach daytime temperatures of around 17C – maybe even touching 20 on the warmest days. 

So if you’re gazing at the rain or snow falling in London, New York or Amsterdam and want a dose of sunshine, check out these warm January places to visit in Europe! 

Malaga, Spain

Bright blue skies in the background with the Alcazaba and the king in the foreground.

If you are looking for a winter sun holiday in Spain, Malaga is an excellent choice .

It’s one of the best places to enjoy mild and sunny winter, with temperatures of 17°C/ 62.6°F during the day – sometimes it dips a bit lower than this, but it almost never gets to freezing ( snow in Malaga is virtually unheard of).

You can discover Malaga’s main attractions, like Malaga Cathedral and Gibralfaro Castle, and go on scenic hikes throughout the month. 

However, if you love all Christmas-related things, you must visit Malaga at the beginning of January.

Christmas doesn’t end until the 7th of January, so you can still see the impressive Christmas light decorations, go to the Christmas markets and attend the famous Three Kings Parade on the 5th of January.

The latter is a fantastic event to attend, especially with small kids.

If you aren’t into Christmas, head to Malaga in the middle of the month to find better flight and accommodation deals.

You’ll also experience fewer crowds, both in the city and on the Costa del Sol. 

By Cristina from My Little World of Travelling

Peloponnese Peninsula, Greece

Sun setting on Monemvasia, with the sea in the background.

If you want to forget that it’s winter in Europe, look no further than Greece’s Peloponnese Peninsula .

The Peloponnese Peninsula is at the southern tip of mainland Greece and is known for its abundant ancient archaeological sites.

The pristine location of the Peloponnese on the Mediterranean leads to mild, sunny winters.

With average January high temperatures ranging from about 15-16°C (59-61°F) along the coast, a swim in the sea along the Peloponnese is not unheard of!

The Peloponnese features some of the most famous historical sites in the world, including Olympia, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Messene, Mystras, Sparta, and Acrocorinth.

In January these sites are basically empty due to the lack of other tourists and they’re also half-price to enter (off-season prices).

The Peloponnese is also known for gorgeous beaches and dramatic mountains, but in January it might be tough to do Alpine hikes and lay on the beach.

You can, however, enjoy some of the charming villages without the hoards of other tourists!

Most restaurants will be closed, but more local joints remain open. 

Be sure to check out the coastal village of Limeni and the charming medieval city of Monemvasia.

In the city of Nafplio, things will be livelier, as people actually live there, and there are endless ancient fortresses to explore.

By Chris from Around the World With Me

Paphos, Cyprus

Empty mpitheater in Paphos with blue sky in the background.

Paphos is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. 

This coastal city is located in the southwestern part of Cyprus and is known for its very rich history.

Over the centuries, various civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, Turks, and even the British have made left their marks in this place.

The old part of Paphos has been a European UNESCO World Heritage Site for 40 years now, thanks to its exciting and important history.

Paphos has lots of attractions to see such as the Tombs of the Kings or the Archaeological Park.

There’s also a white lighthouse with a great view of the sea within the area of the archaeological park.

Temperatures are around 10-15°C in January, so it’s never too cold. Plus it’s low-season which means lesser crowds and a more authentic feel.

By Alina from World of Lina

Albufeira, Portugal

Albufeira Beach in Algarve, Portgual

Albufeira is a wonderful destination in January – it’s one of the warmest places in Europe during this month .

While it is famous for its summer vibe, party scene, and beaches, January offers a more tranquil atmosphere and there are still plenty of things to do in Albufeira and its surroundings.

The old town is enchanting with its whitewashed houses, traditional Portuguese churches, and the archaeological museum where you can learn about the area’s prehistoric history until now.

There are also numerous boat tours you can take to discover places like Benagil Cave.

Albufeira has fabulous shopping whether you want to browse through local boutique shops in the old town or you prefer spending the day at one of the nearby shopping malls.

Nearby, you can tour the Ria Formosa Natural Park by boat either from Faro or Olhao in the eastern Algarve or you can hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail from Carvoeiro.

January is generally a great month for hiking in the area as the temperatures are milder than other times of the year and there is not much shade.

But there might also rain, so while some days are perfect for beach dwellers to get some winter tan, other days might be best spent shopping, wandering museums, or eating delightful Portuguese food in the old town’s bars and restaurants.

By Linn from Amused by Algarve

Cordoba, Spain

Arches of the mosque in Cordaba, Spain

Gorgeous Cordoba is a must-visit in Andalusia.

Cordoba is the city with the highest number of UNESCO-protected sites in the world – it has four World Heritage Sites!

The masterpiece Mezquita-Cathedral is the best-rated historical monument in Europe by travelers.

The historical center has the prettiest allies and the most beautiful courtyards in Spain.

And the food’s worth talking about too. 

Rabo de toro (the famous Spanish bull tail stew) and salmorejo (the popular Spanish tomato puree) originate from the city.

Daily temperatures are around 57°F (14°C), making it one of the warmer European destinations in January. 

It’s also low season in Cordoba – which means low season comes with lower prices and lesser crowds.

However, the Three King Parades, one of the most famous festivals, happens in January. On January 5th, the streets of the historic Cordoba welcome the arrival of Three Magic Kings of the East on the floats who throw candies to the public.

The Eve of Epiphany is one of the most magical nights in the region!

So, if you are searching for a great place in Europe in January, consider Cordoba, Spain !

By Milijana from World Travel Connector

Best places to visit in Europe in January for snow

Winter sunshine is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. 

But for many, pulling on warm clothes and stepping outdoors in chilly weather is what a European winter’s all about. 

Personally, I see the charms in both. 

From Scandinavia to the Swiss Alps, here are some of the best destinations in Europe for snowy weather, these are the best snowy places in Europe in January!

Oslo, Norway

Cross country skiing with setting sun near Oslo in Norway

January is one of the coldest months in Oslo, but it is a good time to see snow, try some of the winter activities and visit its museums.

The famous Viking ship museum is closed until 2026, but at Viking Planet, you can learn more about this important period in Norwegian history.

They sailed all over Europe in open ships and even colonised some Scottish islands such as the Hebrides – these were called Scandinavian Scotland !

Another must-visit is the new Munch Museum, which sits right next to the Opera House and has the biggest collection of Edvard Munch pieces in the world.

Or, head to the harbour – close by, you’ll find several floating sauna huts which you can hire.

After warming up in the sauna, take a refreshing dip in the freezing water of the Oslo fjord if you dare!

Due to global warming, snow is unfortunately no longer guaranteed in Osle in winter. 

But, even if there is no snow in the city centre, there is nearly always some in the areas outside the city!

From Oslo, you can easily Frognerseren and Tryvann on public transport. At Tryvann you can rent skis and try both downhill and cross-country skiing.

It gets dark early at this time of year, but ski slopes are floodlit.

As are the ice skating rinks in the city centre – at Spikersuppa, which is between the Castle and the Parliament, you can rent skates and test your balance!

The Thief is one of the best places to stay in Oslo, with views out over the Oslo fjord.

A more budget-friendly option is Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz, which is part of a Norwegian hotel chain.

By Kristin from Scotland Less Explored

Zakopane, Poland

Illuminated Zakopane city in winter and milky way at night

Zakopane, located in the Tatra mountains of southern Poland, is one of Europe’s best destinations for a winter getaway.

If you’re looking to escape the grey skies and cold winter weather of home and experience some unique winter activities, Zakopane should definitely be on your list!

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast then you’ll be in for a treat.

The Zakopane ski resort is the perfect place to hit the slopes, with some of the cheapest skiing prices in Europe!

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of trails and runs to keep everyone entertained. Just remember to pack some comfortable winter shoes !

For a more laid-back experience, check out Zakopane’s thermal baths. Relax in the warm waters or indulge in one of their therapeutic spa treatments for the ultimate pamper session.

By Lowri from Many Other Roads

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Snow storm over Eiger glacier

Grindelwald is one of my favourite places in all of Switzerland.

Not to be confused with the Harry Potter franchise’s evil villain in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy, it’s a stunningly beautiful town tucked away in the Swiss mountains.

Christmas is very busy, but in January you’ll find this beautiful resort village a bit quieter and is perfect for some adventure sports: snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, cliff walking and sledding.

They have specific sections of the slope dedicated to each form of adventure sports, ensuring that the mountain can be enjoyed by all visitors safely and is perfect for all ages!

Enjoy traditional Swiss hospitality with quaint wooden chalets covered in thick snow and warm mugs of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Make sure you walk into town each night for a dinner of cheese fondue, or try some of the famous raclette dinners made with Swiss Alpine cheese and red wine – it’s delicious.

Cosy up by a warm, crackling fire, roast a few marshmallows and watch the night lit up with stars scattered across the sky.

By Adriana from Wanderlicious

Abisko, Sweden

STF Abisko Turiststation: Northern lights in Abisko - 1

If you’re looking for an adventurous place to visit in January in Europe to enjoy cold weather and (probable!) northern lights, the Swedish Lapland could be the perfect spot.

Located above the Arctic Circle is Abisko, a small town surrounded by the beautiful Abisko National Park.

The national park is full of hiking trails that you can use even in the winter, though you’ll want snowshoes or cross-country skis if there is a lot of recent snow.

Abisko is one of the best places to see the northern lights because it has more clear nights than any of the surrounding areas.

I saw the northern lights almost every night while I was in Abisko – although some nights they were faint!

Stay at the STF Abisko Turiststation , a hotel and hostel within Abisko National Park.

From the Turiststation, you can take tours to see the northern lights, go ice climbing, and try cross-country skiing.

There is also gear available to rent, so you can explore on your own if you prefer.

If you’re at the Turistation on a clear night, you can walk or snowshoe down to the lake and have a bonfire.

Other guests tend to make their way down to the fire, so it’s a great way to meet other travelers.

By Amber from Amber Everywhere

Geneva, Switzerland

Winter landscape of lake Geneva or Lac Leman, Switzerland

Switzerland’s ranking as the third- happiest country in the world according to the World Happiness Report – and it’s even jolly during the dark months of winter!

If you’re into skiing, consider heading to Geneva in January. This is the month blessed with the most snowfall, receiving 108 mm (4.25 inches) of snow, making it the prime time for a skiing adventure.

You’ll find several appealing ski resorts near Geneva Airport, such as Morzine Ski Resort and Les Gets. Morzine, just a 75-minute drive away, offers something for every skier: the Pleney area for beginners, Nyon for those with more experience, and Eagle Park Border for the adventurous freestyle skiers.

Only 60 minutes from Geneva Airport, Les Gets Ski Resort welcomes skiers of all levels with its 110 km of slopes. If you’re traveling with family or need some lessons, Les Gets has plenty to offer, including child-friendly ski lessons.

By Ossama from Awesome Traveler

Tyrol, Austria

Tyrol in Austria skiing

The Tyrol region in Austria is known for snow and winter sports in January.

This includes the Kitzbühel ski resort , near Munich in Germany, and the Arlberg ski resort, located in the Oberland, the so-called highlands of Tyrol.

Specifically, Kitzbühel attracts over 60000 visitors on the classic Hahnenkamm downhill skiing race weekend, which is held every year in January.

Celebrities love Tyrol – you might even come across Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bernie Ecclestone at the Hahnenkamm Après ski party!

January is traditionally a snow-filled season and visitors will almost definitely see fresh snowfall in that period.

If you’re a cross-country skiing enthusiast, enjoy accessible kilometer-long tracks leading through forests and undisturbed picture-perfect winter landscapes.

There’s also the option to experience a snowshoe walk on full moon nights!

By Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina

Cappadocia, Turkey

valley in Cappadocia

Cappadocia’s famous fairy chimneys and rugged landscapes take on a mesmerizing form in January, as the snow settles upon the peaks and valleys .

The land may be frozen , but it’s still possible to wander through the snow-clad paths of Göreme National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws nature lovers year-round.

Winter’s touch on the ancient rock formations creates a surreal visual contrast, as the snow blankets the warm tones of the rocks.

The region’s natural beauty is accessible via guided tours or even on horseback. 

The winter season in Cappadocia shouldn’t deter you from one of its signature activities: hot air ballooning – float above the wintry scenes at sunrise, with the golden rays reflecting off the snow, and take in some of the most amazing views in Turkey!

While this activity is weather-dependent, many operators continue to offer tours in January, though it’s wise to confirm availability ahead of time.

Weather not so great? Delve into the region’s history at the Underground City of Derinkuyu.

This subterranean marvel extends several levels below the earth and offers a glimpse into the innovative survival techniques of ancient communities.

There’s plenty of cosy, warming food to enjoy in Cappadocia too.

Testi kebap, a traditional meat and vegetable dish slow-cooked in a clay pot, is particularly satisfying in the cooler weather. 

Don’t miss lentil soup too – I ate tonnes of this when I was in Cappadocia in January! 

And don’t miss an overnight stay in one of Cappadocia’s cave hotels.

Carved into the region’s soft volcanic rock, these accommodations provide modern comforts within an ancient setting, a cosy retreat after a day of traversing the wintry landscapes.

Average temperatures are low in winter in Cappadocia, and snow is common, although it’s never guaranteed. But it’s still one of the coldest winter destinations in Turkey .

Best places to visit in Europe in January for city breaks

 Why do a winter city break in Europe in January ?

For one, you’ll enjoy beautiful architecture (let’s be real, most cities in Europe have it!) without the teeming crowds of the summer months. 

Less crowds often equals lower prices too, making it an excellent time for budget travellers. 

When the tourist crowds disappear, local flavour typically remains in these Europe cities. 

Enjoy delicious food without queuing for hours or have a leisurely chat with a bartender about the city. 

Here are the best city break destinations in January. 

Coimbra, Portugal

Bridge over bright blue river in Coimbra, Portugal

Coimbra is a fantastic destination to kick off your year.

In January, the city receives few tourists and experiences a mild winter climate so you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city’s treasures at your own leisure.

Start your journey by visiting the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world.

Wander through its historic buildings and admire the stunning Joanina Library, an architectural gem that’s often considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

Another one of the best things to do in Coimbra is visit the Old Cathedral which is where the early kKings of Portugal were crowned. This Romanesque masterpiece offers a serene atmosphere.

In January, don’t miss the Fado ao Centro performances where you can experience the soulful sounds of Coimbra’s traditional Fado music.

The intimate venues and heartfelt performances will leave you with a deep appreciation for this unique art form.

For accommodation, I recommend the Quinta das Lágrimas hotel. This luxurious hotel combines modern comfort with a historic atmopshere and is actually set in the grounds of a former palace. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and located near the old town, it offers a peaceful retreat after a day of exploration.

By Megan from Traveller’s Elixir

Copenhagen, Denmark

Terraced coloured buildings in Copenhagen, Denmark

One of the best places to visit in Europe in January is Copenhagen, a European city with plenty of hygge !

The capital city of Denmark is a wonderful place to begin your new year. 

The city is pretty cold in January, and there is a chance of snow in Copenhagen at this time of the year.

But it’s Scandinavia – and you can experience it at its most authentic in January, one of the coldest and darkest months of the year!

There are plenty of things to do in Copenhagen in January.

For the first 2-3 weeks or so, Tivoli Gardens are open. 

It’s the oldest theme park in the world, and it’s spectacular to spend a day in.

Some people visit Copenhagen for Tivoli alone!

There are also lots of public outdoor ice rinks at this time of year.

Visiting in the winter is cheaper than visiting in the summer – since  Copenhagen is so expensive , saving money where possible is a welcome idea!

By Josh from A Backpacker’s World

Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw city centre in Poland

Seeking an enchanting winter getaway?

Look no further than the beautiful city of Wroclaw, Poland, undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

The city experiences a continental climate, meaning January brings cold temperatures and transforms into a breathtaking winter wonderland with occasional snowfall.

While the festive season officially ends with the New Year, Wroclaw’s Christmas markets still sparkle through early January. You can indulge in seasonal treats and marvel at the festive decorations.

One of the most significant advantages of visiting Wroclaw in January is the reduced number of tourists. With fewer crowds, you’ll have a more intimate experience exploring the city’s attractions, museums, and historic landmarks. Additionally, this off-peak season brings cheaper accommodation rates.

One of the best things to do in Wroclaw is to take a leisurely stroll through the medieval streets of the Old Town, admire the colorful facades, visit the iconic Market Square, and climb St. Elizabeth’s Church tower for breathtaking panoramic views.

Wroclaw is also known for its over 400 dwarf statues scattered throughout its streets. These small, whimsical sculptures add a touch of magic to every corner. Hunting down these charming dwarfs has become famous among visitors and locals

For a comfortable and convenient stay, consider The Monopol, a boutique hotel in Wroclaw’s heart.

By Baia from Red Fedora Diary

Reykjavik, Iceland

The Sea Voyager sculpture on the Reykjavik coastline. It looks like a viking ship but is actually a monument to the sun.

Reykjavik’s January days are short and dark, but the city comes alive with twinkling lights and seasonal festivities. 

I visited Reykjavik last January and thought it was the perfect destination to kick off a year of travel. 

As the snow gently covers the city streets, the Hallgrímskirkja Church stands tall and glistening.

For those who venture to the top, a panoramic spectacle of the snow-covered rooftops awaits – visit at 10:00 – 11:00 am to enjoy the sunrise. 

The famous Winter Lights Festival is a highlight of the season, illuminating the city with dazzling displays, art installations, and events.

One of Reykjavik’s most extraordinary experiences is the chance to witness the Northern Lights.

While sightings are never guaranteed, January’s long nights provide ample opportunity – I saw a fantastic display on my Europe trip !

Restaurants serve hearty traditional dishes like lamb stew and fresh seafood.

And don’t miss the opportunity to warm up in one of the city’s geothermal pools, such as the Blue Lagoon . 

Short winter days can be well spent absorbing the rich heritage indoors.

If you’re interested in the history of Iceland, the National Museum offers insights into the country’s unique past, from Viking origins to contemporary culture.

A short drive from Reykjavik , you’ll find the Golden Circle, where geysers erupt, waterfalls flow, and tectonic plates meet – and seeing it in January is even more magnificent . 

Snow’s never guaranteed in Reykjavik , but you’ll usually find it in January. If it’s not snowing in Reykjavik, you’ll find it elsewhere in Iceland too ! 

Also, Iceland’s one of the best European countries to visit from the East Coast of the USA – you can easily do a city break to Reykjavik from New York or Boston!

Lisbon, Portugal 

Cityscape image of street of Lisbon, Portugal with yellow tram.

As cold weather embraces most of Europe, Lisbon basks in a milder winter climate .

The River Tagus glimmers in winter sunlight; the thermometer generally hovers around 15°C/ 59°F – it rarely drops below 10°C (50°F) and it barely ever snows .

January brings a festive spirit to the city.

Kings Day, celebrated on January 6th, fills the streets with joyful parades, traditional music, and sumptuous feasts.

On this day, families come together to exchange gifts, keeping alive a cherished tradition that tourists are welcome to experience.

There’s plenty to do in Lisbon in January outside of King’s Day, too. 

History aficionados will find pleasure in visiting the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, both boasting architectural brilliance from the past, yet without the usual crowds.

Want to try some Portuguese food?

There’s plenty on offer in the winter – delve into the flavors of Portuguese cuisine, from savoring the fresh seafood at Mercado da Ribeira to indulging in the famous pastéis de nata at pasteis de Belem – where they were created. 

For art enthusiasts, the Berardo Collection Museum awaits, displaying some of Europe’s finest modern and contemporary art, while the Gulbenkian Museum offers a broader collection from various epochs.

The capital’s definitely one of the best Portugal winter destinations !

Best places to visit in Europe in January for extended Christmas

In some destinations, festive cheer prevails. 

Orthodox countries, like Serbia and Georgia, don’t actually celebrate their Christmas until 7th January, whereas Spain commemorates Three Kings Day on 6th (the Three Kings are like the Spanish version of Santa Claus!). 

Other places, like the Orkneys and Shetlands in Scotland, still 

So if you’ve not quite had your fill of Christmas just yet, book a ticket to one of these destinations! 

Belgrade, Serbia

Orthadox church in Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade , the capital city of Serbia, is a wonderful city to visit in January.

It can be quite cold during that time, with temperatures ranging from around -5°C to 5°C (23°F to 41°F).

But, if you enjoy winter activities, cultural events, and experiencing a different side of the city with fewer tourists, Belgrade in January’s ideal. 

In January, Belgrade is often covered in snow, creating a picturesque landscape.

The atmospheric conditions can enhance the beauty of historic sites, such as the Sava Cathedral, the Belgrade Fortress and the Kalemegdan Park.

But it is not only the snowy winter wonderland that makes Belgrade a great city to visit in January. January is also a festive month.

Experience the Serbian Orthodox Christmas celebrations, which typically take place on January 7th as well as the Serbian New Year which is usually mid-January.

The city is adorned with lights and decorations, and there are often traditional performances, music, and festive markets.

January is considered the off-peak tourist season in Belgrade.

This means you can explore the city’s attractions without dealing with large crowds, and hotel rates and airfare tend to be more affordable during this time.

By Ellis from Backpack Adventures

Tbilisi, Georgia

View of Tbilisi in Georgia

For an alternative European getaway in January, consider Tbilisi. The capital of Georgia in the Caucasus, Tbilisi has a fairly mild winter climate – temperatures rarely dip below freezing, and rain/snow is rare.

As an Orthodox country, Georgia celebrates Christmas and New Year in early January.

Festivities – including light displays and pop-up souvenir and food markets – kick off in mid-December and run until Epiphany.

One of the highlights of this period is the Alilo, a traditional procession that takes over the streets of Tbilisi on Orthodox Christmas Day.

January is associated with several special Georgian dishes including gozniaki, a sweet hazelnut brittle.

When visiting Tbilisi in January, be sure to book a private room at the sulphur baths .

Immersing yourself in the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters – and indulging in a hammam-style scrub down called a kisi – is a Tbilisi tradition.

A Georgian wine tasting at one of the city’s many bars is the perfect way to while away a chilly winter’s eve, and for active travellers, January is the ideal time to get out into the hills around the city and explore one of Tbilisi’s urban hiking trails.

By Emily from Wander-Lush

Orkney Islands, Scotland

Orkney Islands in Scotland

Surrounded by the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Atlantic Ocean, the Orkney Islands are home to mountainous landscapes, sweeping beaches, ancient history and charming towns.

Located off the top of mainland Scotland, United Kingdom, Orkney is an archipelago of 70 islands, although only 20 are inhabited.

Whilst the weather is wilder in the winter months, January is the perfect time to immerse in a peaceful retreat in the rugged Scottish countryside.

Nature lovers have many hilly hikes and coastal walks to choose from. Orkney is one of the best places to see cetaceans in Scotland and orcas, dolphins, porpoises and migratory whales are often spotted off coastal paths.

Another of Orkney’s highlights is its ancient historical sites. Known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Mainland include the Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness, chambered cairn Maeshowe and Skara Brae, Europe’s best preserved Neolithic village.

While Ness Battery and the shipwrecks of Scapa Flow are home to more recent stories from the World Wars.

Other adventures include island hopping by boat, visiting the sea stack known as the Old Man of Hoy, taking the shortest flight in the world and even catching the elusive Northern Lights.

Visitors who decide to see in the New Year can celebrate Hogmanay (the last day of the old year) in one of Orkney’s many local pubs.

But the real fiesta happens on the first day of January, when the traditional street ball game, known as the Ba’, is played annually in Kirkwall in front of St Magnus Cathedral.

By Lucy and Dan from Throughly Travel

( Editor’s note: While in the Orkneys, you could also pop over the neighbouring Shetland Islands. On the last Tuesday in January each year, there’s a festival called Up Helly Aa which is a fire festival that symbolises the end of Yule. I’m planning on going in 2024!). 

Rome, Italy

Coliseum at night with colorful blurred traffic lights.

Although it is a favorite destination throughout the year, Rome takes on a truly special atmosphere only in January.

The Italian tradition of Christmas festivities dictates that they begin on December 8 and end on January 6th.

The closing date coincides with the holiday of Epiphany.

In Italy, especially in Rome, on the evening between January 5 and 6, children leave a glass of milk and a cup of espresso coffee by the stove to offer to Befana, the Italian Christmas witch .

She will visit homes at night and leave children with sweets – or coal if they have been too mischievous during the year!

January 6th is a national holiday, and on that date and the following days, Roman families gather in Piazza Navona to celebrate Befana.

Piazza Navona is the most beautiful square in Rome, decorated with Baroque fountains, churches, and palaces.

On this occasion, the square hosts merry-go-rounds and a candy and handicraft market, while women dressed as the Befana wander around joking with children.

There are also street performers, which only lend to the exhilarating atmosphere.

January’s also a low-season month in Rome, so its world-famous attractions will be much quieter!

After January 6th, the sale season begins in Rome – this continues throughout the month.

If you love to shop, January’s the perfect month to visit Rome and get some real bargains without the usual crowds!

By Annalisa from Travel Connect Experience

FAQs about visiting Europe in January

snowy hiking in Cappadocia

Where in Europe is the warmest in January?

The warmest places in Europe during January are typically found in the southern regions.

Destinations such as the Canary Islands, Malta, and southern parts of Spain and Portugal offer milder temperatures and a chance for some winter sun.

Is January a good time to visit Europe?

January can be a fantastic time to visit Europe, depending on what you’re seeking.

Winter sports enthusiasts may find the snow-capped mountains ideal for skiing, while those looking for quieter city experiences will appreciate the reduced crowds in many popular destinations.

Where is nice to go in January in Europe?

From winter festivals in Reykjavik to skiing in the Alps, exploring historic sites in Rome without the crowds, or enjoying milder weather in places like Barcelona and Athens, there’s a variety of experiences to choose from in Europe in January.

Is it too cold to visit Europe in January?

While northern and central parts of Europe can be quite cold in January, you’ll be fine if you bring the right clothes (take it from me – I went on a winter trip to Iceland !).

Southern Europe has milder temperatures, making it suitable for those who prefer less chilly conditions.

Which country is the best time to visit in January?

The “best” country to visit in January depends on your interests.!

Skiers and snowboarders might prefer Switzerland or Austria, but if you’re seeking winter sun, you could head to Spain’s Canary Islands or the Greek Islands.

Is January high season in Europe?

Generally, January’s low season in many European destinations, particularly in cities and beaches known for their summer tourism.

However, some winter sports destinations, such as the French Alps, are in the swing of high season!

What country is hot and cheap in January?

If you’re seeking warmth and affordability in January, destinations like Portugal’s Algarve region, Spain’s Costa del Sol, or some areas in Greece are ideal.

These locations bask in mild weather and can be more budget-friendly during the winter months!

Are you ready for Europe in January? 

Girl standing on the North American tectonic plate at Thingveller National Park on the Golden Circle in Iceland, wearing a beige coat, red and black checked scarf and burgundy hat, with the view of "no man's land" in the background before the Eurasian plate.

The colder months certainly don’t all have to be spent indoors, and whether you want to explore the rich history of Europe’s cities, take in stunning views from the Alps’ ski slopes or retreat to the south for stunning beaches bathed in a little sunlight, Europe in January delivers. 

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Claire Martin

Claire is an expert in exploring Europe in the winter! She's from the UK and has been to over 20 countries on the continent in the winter season. She loves every bit of Europe in the cooler months, including finding winter sunshine in Spain, skiing in the Alps and the charm of the Nordic countries in the festive season.

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The Best Places to Travel in Europe in January

Come January, the holiday season is over, and you may be a few pounds heavier and a few (hundred) dollars lighter. You might be sick of traveling, too, if you had to make your way through jam-packed airports and bumper-to-bumper traffic to see friends and family this holiday season. That said, if you stop traveling in December, you’ll miss out on some magical experiences. Winter is an amazing time to visit Europe so you can take advantage of cheaper prices, fewer crowds, and picturesque winter wonderlands . You may have to brave colder temperatures, but that can be part of the fun. Bundle up in warm jackets, hats, scarves, and mittens and enjoy snowy activities, including sleigh rides and ice castle tours in some of Europe’s most fascinating cities and landscapes. Then, take a break from sightseeing and warm up in cozy restaurants and interesting museums. Book a winter getaway at one of these best places to visit in Europe in January.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is the perfect destination for a wintry vacation filled with snowy fun. Get around on a snowmobile, a dog sled, or a reindeer sleigh, and try some winter sports including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or ice fishing. Rovaniemi is also a great walking city, and there are several walking tours and museums to experience to learn a little more about this Finnish town. Consider buying the Culture Pass, which gets you into three attractions for one price. With this pass, you can learn about the history of Lapland and Arctic research at Arktikum, get to know northern contemporary art in the Korundi House of Culture, and familiarize yourself with the northern forests at Science Centre Pilke.

Take a Hurtigruten Cruise along the stunning Norwegian coast this January for a unique winter vacation. The cruise line offers trips that take you to the Arctic Circle and North Cape, where you’ll take in picturesque winter scenery. Plus, there’s a chance you can even catch a glimpse of the northern lights. Be sure to check out Oslo, where you take a fjord cruise or learn about Nordic history at the Viking Ship Museum. Try cross-country skiing or sledding at Korketrekkeren. While you’re there, visit Frognerseteren, an old-fashioned cafe that has views of the Oslofjorden and serves apple pie, hot chocolate, and, of course, Norwegian waffles.

The Canary Islands

If you want to skip the wintry wonderlands and go for a warm island vacation in January, try the Canary Islands, which share Africa’s climate but are actually part of Spain. While on the islands, you hike on volcanoes, like the famous Mount Teide on Tenerife. You can also try tackling Roque de los Muchachos, which reaches almost 8,000 feet in elevation (but it gets cold in the winter, so bundle up if you plan to reach the top).

While it might be a little too chilly to enjoy the beaches, there are plenty of other activities on the islands. Take time to go off-roading on sand dunes and enjoy the local Canarian cuisine.

A New Year's swim on the first day of the year is a Canary Island tradition in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Be sure to also check out the Canary Islands International Music Festival, which happens in January and February.

Vienna, Austria

This city is famous for its Christmas markets, but you can enjoy its unique history and culture in January without the holiday crowds. Stop into a local cafe to experience Viennese coffee house culture and warm up with a toasty beverage after a day of touring the city. If you’re in Vienna for the New Year, try following the Silvesterpfad, a New Year’s Eve trail which takes you to different stages with live music. Stop and enjoy a glass of mulled wine or champagne while you prep for the coming year.

Bavaria, Germany

Southern Germany is lovely throughout the year, but it turns into a snowy wonderland during the winter months. Think about basing yourself in Munich, an urban center that is walkable and offers several nearby day trip options. Consider traveling to Salzburg, Austria or visiting Munich Residenz, the former home of the royal family and the largest city palace in Germany.

January may be the best time of year to visit the nearby famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. This castle is known as the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World, and it’s going to look even prettier covered in snow.

London, England

Take in this historic city in January and skip the holiday crowds. You can wander down quiet streets and visit museums like the Tate Modern (which features modern art) or the National Gallery, which has works from da Vinci, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo.

During the day, visit historic sites like the Tower of England (where you can view the Crown Jewels) or Westminster Abbey. Then warm up in a cozy pub with a pint and some fish and chips.

Gstaad, Switzerland

January is the best time to visit western Switzerland. There’s tons of great skiing, with runs to fit every level — from beginners to experts. You can even try night skiing at Rinderberg, which stays open late with floodlit slopes. Each year, the nearby town of Château-d’Oex hosts a nine-day hot air balloon festival, and the snow-capped mountains make a perfect backdrop for the hundreds of colorful balloons that decorate the sky.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Consider ringing in the new year in the party city of Amsterdam. You can visit fascinating museums during the day and enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife in the evenings.

Each January, Amsterdam is filled with art installations for the Amsterdam Light Festival, which lasts until January 19. There are 30 different light installations to explore around the city. Then, you can try ice skating at Ice Amsterdam at Museumplein, or celebrate National Tulip Day on January 18, where you can pick up a tulip in Dam Square.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

January offers a taste of the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix (held every May) with the Monte-Carlo Rally, held at the end of January. Even though it’s not as exciting as the main event, this race still brings parties and excitement to the city.

While in Monaco, be sure to check out the iconic Monte Carlo Casino, made famous in the James Bond films and books. Stop by the Oceanographic Museum to learn about marine life, or go shopping at the Metropole Shopping Centre and Fontvieille Shopping Centre.

Sierra Nevada, Spain

If you want great skiing without the frigid temperatures, try the southernmost ski region in Europe in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain. This resort area has 65 miles of trails with lots of routes for beginner and intermediate skiers.

Be sure to check out the beautiful Alhambra in nearby Granada. The walled palace dates back to the 13th century, and it was home to King Charles V and Queen Isabel during the 16th century.

Related Articles

trip europe january

73 BEST Places to Visit in Europe in January [2024 UPDATE]

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January is a great time to visit Europe if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy some of the best attractions that the continent has to offer at an affordable price. From stunning mountain landscapes to charming old towns and vibrant cities, here are 73 best places to visit in Europe in January .

Do you have travel insurance for your winter trip to Europe??

If you plan on traveling to Europe this winter, I highly recommend getting travel insurance . I used to travel Europe without it, but after a trip where the airlines lost my luggage AND my flights got canceled and I ended up sleeping on an airport floor, I never travel without it now. SafetyWing is ridiculously affordable (we’re talking $42/month of travel affordable ), so it’s silly NOT to get it.

In this post, you’ll find some of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather in addition to the best spots for skiing and winter spots. You’ll even get the lowdown on Europe in January weather for every spot on this list and some awesome travel tips for your journey!

I’ve also included some lesser-known areas ( be sure to check out Norway and Finland if you want to see the northern lights this January! ) that you may have never heard of before.

Happy Travels!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Romance

If you’re thinking about going on a winter honeymoon or simply want a romantic getaway in Europe, consider these top destinations!

1. Paris, France – undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for romance

Paris is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a romantic European city to visit in January, look no further than Paris . The city is still decked out in holiday decorations, and the Christmas markets are still open ( at least for the first week of January ).

Plus, there are great shopping sales to be had during the bi-annual sale season that takes place in January. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch some snow! Best of all, flights and accommodations are usually much cheaper this time of year.

You also won’t have to share precious lawn space with other tourists while you watch the evening Eiffel Tower light show! So if you’re looking for a winter getaway, Paris is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January 2022. Just be sure to pick up some souvenirs !

2. London, England – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for iconic sites and romance

London isn't just among the best places to visit in Europe in January, it's also among the best cities to visit in Europe year-round

The capital of England and the heart of the United Kingdom, London is high on our list of the best places to visit in Europe in January! Known for its sophisticated vibes and historical significance, London offers a plethora of winter attractions to explore including The Tower of London , Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum.

And if you’re a Harry Potter fan… have you ever considered exploring Hogwarts in the snow? Plus, January is the best time to score deals on hotel prices and flights in an otherwise insanely expensive European city .

London hosts endless concerts and shows throughout the month including ongoing Christmas carols as well as popular operas and plays. It also has some really fun British souvenirs to check out!

If you can brace against the cold with a smile, then London will surely be one of your favorite cities in Europe this winter.

3. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

trip europe january

This magical city is encompassed by the gorgeous Vltava River and is overflowing with fairytale-like architecture. Visit the historic castle, take a boat ride down the river, and enjoy traditional Czech cuisine all during your winter trip to Český Krumlov.

In particular, I recommend the trdelník (a sweet cinnamon pastry slathered with chocolate hazelnut spread) and svíčková, a tender beef dish served with bread dumplings and cranberry sauce – perfect for the festive winter months!

In January, the locals celebrate Three Kings Day with parades and festivities, making it the perfect time to visit if you want a unique experience.

In my personal opinion, Český Krumlov is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

4. Rome, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for romance

Rome comes alive in the winter when most of the tourists have left making it one of the best best cities to visit in Europe in January

We’ve all seen the pictures of the 6-hour wait to get into the Colosseum … but, doesn’t that primarily happen in the summer months? YES!

Come January, many of Rome’s main tourist attractions including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Saint Peter’s Basilica have shorter wait times and lower ticket prices. Plus, the weather is still mild and it’s not peak season for tourists anymore so you won’t be battling for elbow space at the Trevi Fountain.

Plus, Rome is known for its incredible cuisine. When you’re there in January ( because let’s be real. you WILL be visiting ), be sure to try the traditional Roman dishes like carbonara and cacio e pepe.

Honestly, any form of cheese, pasta, bread, pesto, gelato… you get it… is going to be incredible, but we recommend seeking restaurants and cafes outside of the main squares even in the winter months since you’ll find less touristy options and better quality products. Ciao!

5. The Hague, Netherlands

trip europe january

Situated on the Netherlands’ far western coastline, The Hague is best known for being the seat of government and home to the Dutch royal family. But in January, the city transforms into a winter wonderland filled with ice skating rinks, festive markets, and cozy cafes.

Be sure to check out Madurodam, a miniature city made up of iconic Dutch landmarks, all decked out in twinkling lights! While the weather can seem a bit harsh the farther north in Europe you travel, The Hague is actually quite beautiful come wintertime.

Plus, you can always warm up with a mug of Dutch hot chocolate… if you haven’t tried Dutch sweets yet, be sure to check out the food section of my article on the best souvenirs in Amsterdam !

6. Bruges, Belgium – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for medieval architecture

Not only is Brues one of the best places to visit in Europe in January by popular demand, it's also one of my favorite placed in all of Europe

Oh, man… Bruges ! One of my personal favorite cities in all of Europe. Adorned with medieval architecture, ornate squares, and cozy taverns, January is the perfect time to explore this charming city.

Bundle up for a stroll along the canals while you look at all of the festive lights before warming up with some delicious Belgian chocolate or waffles.

While there typically won’t be many boat vendors ready to provide a tour of the canals, you just may get lucky and see one or two still in operation!

At this time of the year, the individual vendors decide whether or not they want to run, so you may come across someone who’s ready to go regardless of the temperature. Be ready with cash on hand, as all sales are on the spot! Souvenirs from Belgium are also often paid for with cash, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about picking something up off the street.

Bruges isn’t just one of my favorite spots in Europe, it’s also easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January by popular opinion.

7. Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne is gorgeous year-round, but the massive price break tourists get on accommodations puts it on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January

Ever seen the iconic photograph of the flower-studded bridge with swans swimming under it in a seemingly perfect utopia? Yup, that’s Lucerne!

Often identified for its old town and mountainous surroundings, Lucerne is best known for its Chapel Bridge and Water Tower which was built in the 13th century. In January, the cold weather adds a romantic touch to the city as it’s blanketed in snow since there’s no end to the cozy opportunities to be had.

Warm up at one of the numerous spas offering incredible massages or beauty treatments, or treat yourself to a luxury villa overlooking Lake Lucerne. Whatever you do, if you’re wondering what the best places to visit in Europe in winter are, don’t miss Lucerne if you decide to visit Switzerland!

8. Annecy, France

Annecy is well deserving of its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming European town to visit in January, look no further than Annecy, France . This fairytale-like town is located in the Alps and offers stunning views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding Lake Annecy.

There’s also some great hiking to be had in the area ( La Tournette is a popular mountain to brave for alpine enthusiasts ) and the food is amazing (a mix of French, Swiss, and Italian flavors). Plus, Annecy is a very expensive town year-round, so it’s best to take advantage of the fantastic travel deals available to tourists in January.

Annecy is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for tourists looking for all of the fairytale town romance with none of the tourists! And it’s close to some of the best wine regions in the country .

✈️ Pro Tip: be sure to check out Hotel Les Grillons on the eastern side of Lake Annecy in the small town of Talloires… it was truly one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at in my life!

9. Copenhagen, Denmark – one of the best places to visit in Europe in December/January for romance

When it comes to the best places to visit in Europe in January, Copenhagen surely doesn't disappoint with its stunning Nyhvn Harbor

Touch down in Denmark ! This vibrant port city is known for its stunning architecture, cozy cafes, and amazing shopping. Did you know that Copenhagen has actually been referred to as the “happiest city in the world?” Well, now you know!

Plus, January is the best time to catch some beautiful winter scenery along Nyhavn Harbor. There’s a good chance you’ve seen pictures of this canal lined with vibrant buildings in many travel magazines and websites throughout your travel research. And with good reason! It’s gorgeous, to say the least.

But, the downfall of the summer months is that you can never find even a good spot to stand because there’s always someone or something trying to get around you. Hello, January! Tourists have moved on and many locals have limited their fishing for the year so it becomes much quieter of a city, but equally if not more beautiful.

If you want to see a culturally vibrant city without all the tourists, then Copenhagen is absolutely one of the best places in Europe to visit in January!

10. Zaandam, Netherlands

Zaandam is eaasily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you want to see the windmills

Ah, Zaandam. Easily recognized around the world for housing the historic neighborhood of Zaanse Schans where some of the world’s last windmills are still in operation, this Dutch town is the perfect escape from the busy city of Amsterdam.

Reachable in just 30 minutes by train from the Dutch capital, this small city is also known for its beautiful canal-lined streets and charming architecture. January brings the best opportunity to view Zaandam’s famous ice sculptures, which are illuminated and on display throughout the town during the month.

Warm up with a mug of advocaat ( a traditional Dutch winter drink that closely resembles egg nog with the addition of brandy ) while you explore the beauty and history of Zaandam as its one of the best places to visit in Europe during winter.

11. York, England

trip europe january

Ever heard of a Yorkshire pudding? Well, it’s from York. And York is absolutely one of the best places in the U.K. and for sure one of best places to visit in Europe in January 2022. Why?

Well, York, England is known for its well-preserved historical architecture as it used to be the Roman capital back in 71 AD ( known then as Eboracum ).

But today, you can walk around and explore the beautiful York Minster, the second-largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, or take a stroll down The Shambles, one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.

And if you want a break from all the sightseeing, drop into one of the local pubs for a pint and incredible conversation. But, couldn’t you do all of this in the summer months? Yes! That’s what is so great about Yorkshire.

Practically everything that you can do in the summer months is also open and available in the winter months! But, at a much more affordable rate and with far fewer tourists making it the best place to go in January in Europe!

12. Dinant, Belgium

trip europe january

Perfectly etched into the side of a mountain, the town of Dinant is best known for its beautiful cathedral and the citadel overlooking it.

January is a great time to explore the town’s quaint streets and cozy cafes, as well as partake in some winter sports at the nearby ski resorts. As the native town of the infamous Adolphe Sax, Dinant is quite historic and stunning to witness.

Easily recognized for its vibrant buildings lining the Meuse River, be sure to take a stroll over the Charles de Gaulle Bridge for some epic photos of the city’s dramatic layout. If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Europe in January 2022, do your best not to skip Dinant as its truly a remarkable city in Belgium .

13. Ghent, Belgium

trip europe january

On the northwestern side of Belgium, Ghent is known for its charming medieval architecture, canals, and delicious Belgian food. January is the best time to visit because it’s off-season and less crowded, plus you can see Ghent illuminate during its annual Light Festival in mid-January.

Popular among tourists who love fairytale canals and cobblestone streets, Ghent is often called the “Venice of the North” ( along with numerous other cities in Europe ).

January brings chilly temperatures and far less sunshine, but it’s worth bundling up for the Christmas markets and ice skating on frozen canals. And don’t forget to indulge in Belgian chocolate and beer while you’re there!

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in the Winter

If you’re more of a city hopper, these iconic European cities are sure to keep you entertained all winter long!

14. Helsinki, Finland

trip europe january

We’re off to Finland! The Finnish capital of Helsinki lies in the far southern region of the country on its own peninsula in the Gulf of Finland.

While most travelers Finland to be a summer destination due to the icy temperatures that accompany the fall and winter months, January is actually a wonderful time to experience the beauty of the snow-covered streets, frozen lakes, and cozy cafes.

Don’t miss taking a dip in one of Helsinki’s famous ice pools, or visiting one of its many design shops and art galleries. Take a stroll down Mannerheimintie and admire the stunning architecture and Christmas lights that adorn the city during this festive time of year.

Before you go, be sure to check out the National Museum which showcases Finnish history dating all the way back to the stone age!

15. Birmingham, England

trip europe january

Ah, good ol’ Birmingham. Easily recognized for its famous canals and colorful street art, Birmingham has become a hot spot for tourists in recent years.

January is the perfect time to visit as the Christmas markets are still up and running early in the month, plus you can catch some fantastic deals on accommodations in an otherwise high-end city.

Often overlooked by its nearby sister city with a population nearly 9x its own (London), Birmingham has so much to offer winter travelers including ice skating rinks, annual shopping sales, and a dramatic perspective of the city’s historic past once the winter clouds really set in.

If you’re wondering where to go in January in Europe, Birmingham is a great destination to consider.

16. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon isn't as warm as its southern counterparts, but it's still no doubt deserving of its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January for its outstanding scenic overlooks and mild temperatures

Time to talk about Portugal . One of my top countries in Europe and where I’m always sending my clients in the winter months, I would absolutely call Lisbon one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

The weather is mild with a good amount of sunshine and you’ll avoid the peak season prices that accompany the influx of tourists that come during the summer months.

Don’t forget to check out Belem Tower , spend a day at one of the nearby picturesque beaches in Cascais , enjoy some Portuguese wine, and listen to some fado music for the ultimate day in Lisbon.

Want an amazing view of the city? Check out these 19 amazing hotels in Lisbon with a rooftop pool ! The pools may be seasonal, but you’ll get free, endless views of the Portuguese cityscape right from your accommodation.

17. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva becomes a winter wonderland putting it among the best places to visit in Europe in January

Delicately perched around Lake Geneva, this sophisticated Swiss town offers charming cobblestone streets, stunning Alpine views, and world-renowned chocolate shops. Not to mention over a dozen Michelin-star restaurants!

Discover cozy cafes serving up decadent hot cocoas, vibrant street markets, and iconic landmarks like the Jet d’Eau Fountain and St. Peter’s Cathedral. January is a great time to visit as the city transforms into a winter wonderland with snow-covered roofs and frozen lakes.

Be sure to pack plenty of layers as this town experiences frigid temperatures, but the beauty and charm definitely make it worth it.

18. Porto, Portugal – one of the best places to visit in Europe in 2023

Porto is a great stopping off point for entering the northern mountains of Portugal making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter sports

Want to indulge in Portugal’s off-season by visiting the northern parts of the country? Head to Porto! Recognized worldwide for its close relation to the Douro Valley and port wines, this stunning area is truly unique come wintertime.

Many tourists use Porto as a departure point for skiing in the Serra da Estrela Mountains , but the city has much more to offer if you’re looking for an excuse to stick around.

Explore the beautiful architecture and take a scenic ride along the Douro River, stopping for some of the best seafood in all of Europe ( the squid ink pasta blew my mind… I never thought to try it until then, and it’s highly recommended! )

It may not be wine season in Porto , but don’t be fooled, there are still plenty of wine tours you can take! If you want to know our opinions on where to go in January in Europe, take our suggestions and include Porto in your winter Portugal itinerary!

19. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the most iconic cities in Europe and earns its spot as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January with its gorgeous canals

Of course, we had to include Amsterdam ! Known for its boating canals turned meandering ice skating rinks, Amsterdam is easily one of the best places in Europe to visit in January.

This city of “chaos” is well known for its adventurous Red Light District, cobblestone streets, and infamous coffee shops. And with a variety of museums to choose from – including the famous Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House – there’s plenty to do indoors as well when the temperatures are just a little too frigid.

Grab a warm and melty stroopwafel from the popular Albert Cuyp market ( yes, it’s even open in January! ), and cozy up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine at one of Amsterdam’s many charming cafes . Just be sure not to confuse a coffeeshop with a cafe .

If they ask for your ID at the door, you might be in the wrong place if you were hoping for a cappuccino! What they’ll be offering likely wasn’t the Dutch souvenir you were hoping for…

Plus, with the exciting Amsterdam Light Festival ( one of the best things to do in Europe in January ) happening throughout January along the city’s iconic canals, there’s really no better time to visit one of Europe’s best cities!

20. Oslo, Norway

trip europe january

For Norway , we’ll start in the capital! Oslo is a gorgeous Nordic city known for its stunning architecture, including the Opera House and City Hall. In January, visitors can experience stunning light displays, ice sculpture competitions, and the Holmenkollen ski festival!

But, outside of the typical activities, visitors can also enjoy cross-country skiing, ice skating, and all types of tours right within the borough of Oslo.

Enjoy a hot mead, coffee, or herbal tea as you make your way through town before retiring to a cozy Scandinavian hotel for the evening.

21. Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's capital of Stockholm becomes void of many tourists after the holidays making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you want to score a good deal on accommodations

Sweden’s elegant and sophisticated capital city actually resides on 14 different islands across the Baltic Sea’s unique archipelago. It’s best visited during winter when its waterways freeze over and visitors can enjoy ice skating on the canals without the sky-high prices of the summer months.

During your trip, be sure to check out Gamla Stan where Stockholm’s stunning Old Town is located, along with the Royal Palace and Nobel Museum. Easily one of the most popular cities in the European Union, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock when we say it’s also one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

Be sure to dress warm though! Just because this city is world-renowned for its beaches doesn’t mean it won’t get cold while you’re there. January brings average temperatures of around 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius).

22. Frankfurt, Germany

trip europe january

Last on our list of German destinations is Frankfurt! This southcentral city is best known for its skyscrapers and finance industry. But it also boasts a rich history, with its Medieval Altstadt (Old Town) and historic sites like the Dom-Römer Quarter.

In January, Frankfurt transforms into a winter wonderland, with ice skating rinks popping up throughout the city and holiday markets filling the streets with festive cheer.

Be sure to pack some warm gloves and a hat as it’s no doubt the city will be brisk , but a winter visit to Frankfurt is a wonderful way to end the holiday season!

23. Cobh, Ireland

County Cork's Cobh is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a city to visit in Europe in January that is full of history and color, Cobh should do the trick. Located on an island in Cork’s city harbor , Cobh was actually the Titanic’s last port of call in back in 1912 before disaster struck.

Today, it’s known for its famous “deck of cards” houses that line Cork’s West View street with a perfect view of the Cobh Cathedral in the background. Winter is a great time to visit Cobh because you can watch the storms roll in from the comfort of one of its many pubs or bed and breakfasts lining the harborfront.

Cobh is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter for its local pub scene and stunning scenery off of Ireland’s southern coastline.

24. Dublin, Ireland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for nightlife

Dublin is undoubtedly one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter

If you’re looking for a lively city to explore during your January travels in Europe, look no further than Dublin ! With its rich history and culture, amazing pub scene, and hearty food, Dublin is the perfect place to spend your winter vacation.

Plus, with deals on airfare and accommodations easy to come by during the colder months, there’s no reason not to add Dublin to your list of best cities to visit in Europe this winter.

You can add it as an easy stopover on your way to a seasonal ski trip, or make it the main focus of your vacation. Either way, you’ll enjoy experiencing the never-ending chaotic city life and meeting the lively locals in Dublin .

Start planning your trip now and experience why Dublin is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

25. Belfast, Northern Ireland

With its close proximity to the Giant's Causeway, Belfast earns its spot on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

Claiming its spot as one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter, Belfast shouldn’t be overlooked.

Known for its location nearby the popular Giant’s Causeway , this historic city has tons to offer visitors, including food and walking tours, pub crawls, and some very unique museums for art and history enthusiasts.

As the capital of Northern Ireland, it’s the perfect spot to start any European vacation and makes for a great winter stopover spot en route to some warmer cities in Europe. With its lively city atmosphere, there’s never a dull moment in Belfast.

26. Edinburgh Scotland – one of the best European cities to visit in January and February

Thanks to its medieval architecture, Edinburgh is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Scotland’s capital is easily recognized around the world for its stunning architecture, including the historic Edinburgh Castle, as well as its vibrant culture and legendary New Year’s Eve celebration, known as Hogmanay.

The weather can be a bit brisk, but visitors are rewarded with fewer crowds and lower hotel prices. Winter visitors can also take part in the city’s famous Burns Night celebration, honoring Scottish poet Robert Burns, or attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival in late January.

You may need to bundle up for a chilly but memorable trip to Edinburgh this January as it is truly one of the best cities to visit in Europe during winter.

27. Aberdeen, Scotland

Aberdeen is one of the lesser known best places to visit in Europe in January on this list

The quaint port city of Aberdeen in the northeastern United Kingdom is a “seriously, please don’t miss this” spot on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Known for its notable fishing and oil industries, Aberdeen also offers stunning views of the North Sea and surrounding countryside.

Take a stroll along the Victorian-era promenade, visit stunning castles like Craigievar or Drum Castle, or spend the day exploring Balmedie Beach. And don’t forget to sample some deliciously fresh seafood while you’re there!

The winter weather adds a crispness to the air and the city’s Christmas markets make for a festive atmosphere in early January. Plus, hotel prices tend to be lower during this time of year compared to the peak tourist season, so you can travel to even one of the most expensive countries in Europe without breaking the bank!

Aberdeen is often overlooked but it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in December/January.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Christmas Markets

If the holidays are your jam, then Europe in January is the place to be. While many cities have stunning Christmas markets with unique goods, festive lights, and hot mulled wine, some are… well, more experienced than others.

Check out some of our favorite European cities for Christmas markets in early January below!

28. Nuremberg, Germany – one of the best places to visit in January for Christmas markets

Nuremberg is undoubtedly #1 on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January when it comes to Christmas markets

The Christmas market capital of the world brings us to Nuremberg, Germany! This iconic German town is best seen in the winter months, when their famous Christkindlesmarkt takes over the city center with traditional Christmas goodies , decorations, and cheer.

Which, let’s be honest… is one of the top reasons to visit Germany !

Spend some time exploring the old town, with its colorful houses and gothic churches, before indulging in some glühwein ( mulled wine… my favorite! ) and bratwurst at the market. And don’t miss the Imperial Castle, where emperors of the Holy Roman Empire once ruled.

Nuremberg is overflowing with powerful history, enchanting architecture, and gorgeous scenery. But. if Christmas markets are at the top of your priority list, then Nuremberg is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

29. Munich, Germany

Munich's Christmas markets are some of the best in Germany earning its place on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January

We all know what Munich is famous for… Oktoberfest! But, unfortunately, this iconic annual folk festival ends the first week of October. So, is it still worth visiting Munich in January? Absolutely!

Munich is a beautiful city in its own right, with stunning architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. And, while there may not be an Oktoberfest to attend, you can still experience the best of Munich’s beer culture by visiting one of the many traditional Bavarian pubs.

Plus, January is prime time for winter sports in the nearby Alps or for getting lost in the old-time streets lined with local taverns designed by talented German architects.

If you’re debating between including Munich in your winter itinerary, keep in mind that it is often rated one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January.

We actually have an entire post dedicated to the best accommodations in Munich for the winter months , so that alone should speak for itself!

30. Strasbourg, France – undoubtedly one of the best places to vist in Europe in January for Christmas markets

If you're looking for the best places to visit in Europe in January, Strasbourg should be on your list

When it comes to European cities with a unique blend of French and German influences, Strasbourg is just the place! This charming city is located on the northeastern border of France and offers stunning architecture similar to that of Colmar.

As the capital of France’s Grand Est region ( also known as Alsace ), Strasbourg offers a wide variety of unique activities and winter events.

The locals are incredibly friendly, and you can find some great travel deals at this time of the year. If you visit, the local bed and breakfasts are the best spot to spark up a conversation with the locals and learn about their unique culture.

The Ill River adds to the charm as it meanders its way through the city, especially if the town’s received a beautiful backdrop of snow recently.

So if you’re looking for an interesting and affordable destination in Europe, Strasbourg is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

31. Dresden, Germany

trip europe january

Situated near the eastern border of the country, Dresden is another popular winter town often recognized for its enormous and thrilling Christmas markets. But don’t let the word “Christmas” fool you as every individual of every faith is welcome to join in the celebration and enjoy the stunning displays of lights and festive decor!

Dresden is also known for its historical landmarks, including the famous Frauenkirche church and Zwinger Palace which come alive when dusted with bright white snow.

Dresden’s dramatic Baroque architecture and unique culture set its spot on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January 2023.

31. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January for tourists seeking beautiful Christmas markets and local taverns

The city of Prague is known for its fairytale-like architecture, historic castles, and tasty beer. But, what about in January ? Well, Prague also turns into a winter wonderland!

With its Christmas markets open through the beginning of the month and the higher possibility of snow blanketing the city, Prague is easily one of the most popular places to visit in Europe in January.

Plus, Prague is already known for being one of the best-value cities in Europe, so by taking advantage of the winter sales and travel deals, you can experience all it has to offer without breaking the bank.

Prague happens to be one of my favorite cities in Europe at any time of the year, but in January… well, you have to see it for yourself!

33. Brussels, Belgium – often overlooked, but one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for Christmas markets

If you want insanely decked out Christmas markets, then Brussles is definitely going to be one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for you

We’re finally at the capital of Belgium! Brussels is a beautiful, bustling city best known for its neverending lively atmosphere and delicious chocolate, waffles, and beer. You can get lost down its artistic network of cobblestone streets while taking in the festive lights and do some gift shopping while you’re at it.

January is one of the best times to visit Brussels because of the winter festival that takes place in the Grand Place. The square will be filled with lights and ice sculptures, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors!

Plus, the weather may be frigid, but there are so many unique pubs, cafes, and romantic restaurants to warm up in. We actually prefer the outdoor tables with a lovely fire or heater nearby!

Those looking for some of the best Christmas markets in Europe should be sure to include Brussels on their list of best places to visit in Europe in January. With all of these amazing Belgian cities, it can be hard to know which one you should choose !

34. Colmar, France – easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for Christmas markets

Colmar has some incredible Christmas markets and is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming European town to visit in January, Colmar, France is a great choice. Situated on the border of Germany, this small town is studded with beautiful wooden houses and Renaissance-era architecture.

Plus, it’s located along the Alsace wine route, where you can find some of the best wine estates in the region. Many of them offer discounted wine tastings in the off-season, and you can easily find cozy bed and breakfasts to truly immerse yourself in the local culture.

The town itself is like a fairytale, nestled on the Lauch river with charming bridges and historic buildings lining the water. January is a great time to visit Colmar, as you can really meet the locals and experience true French hospitality.

If you’re looking for a quiet getaway this winter, Colmar is definitely worth considering.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Winter Sports

If you couldn’t spend more than a day or two in the cities before you’re aching to hit the slopes, check out some of the best winter sport towns in all of Europe!

They’re simply packed with adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, ice climbing, hiking, and more!

35. Chamonix, France – easily one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for alpine enthusiasts

Chamonix isn't only on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January, but it's also my personal favorite place in Europe

If skiing is your #1 priority this winter, then Chamonix, France is easily one of the best places to consider in 2022. This charming town is located in the French Alps and is home to some of the best skiing in the entire world .

But there’s much more to Chamonix than just its slopes – travelers can take advantage of its stunning location by enjoying activities like paragliding ( I leaped off of Mont Blanc with Absolute Chamonix Paragliding Co. ) hiking, and sightseeing.

And don’t forget the food – La Raclette and cheese fondue are two dishes not to be missed ( you get served either a melting cheese wheel or a giant pot of liquid cheese to pour over a beautiful plate of vegetables, potatoes, and freshly baked bread! )

Chamonix is my personal favorite place in Europe and I can honestly say that it is truly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

36. Zermatt, Switzerland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter enthusiasts

At the base of the Matterhorn, Zermatt will always be one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for winter sport enthusiasts and enchanting village seekers

If you’re an outdoors/mountain/nature enthusiast like I am, then chances are you’ve probably heard of Zermatt and why it is well deserving of its place on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January.

Home to the Matterhorn, this enchanting town offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Europe, as well as other winter activities like tobogganing, ice skating, and snowshoeing.

And let’s not forget about the stunning views of the alps on every corner and endless hot cheese fondue peering through every window in every home.

Nestled in the mountains, Zermatt offers the perfect balance for winter travelers – an active winter escape and a cozy mountain village ideal for relaxing and indulging in delicious food.

37. Interlaken, Switzerland

trip europe january

And we’re onto Switzerland! A land of mountains, breathtaking lakes, and Swiss chocolate, Interlaken is a must-visit during the wintertime. The best part? You can ski or snowboard at one of the many nearby resorts like Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen.

And let’s not forget about all of the cozy fondue restaurants to warm up in for the après-ski hour.

Located in central Switzerland, Interlaken is by far one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Book a beautiful mountain chalet or stay at a cozy hotel like the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa for the ultimate winter vacation.

Just be sure to bundle up, because it can get quite chilly up in the Swiss Alps!

38. The Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

trip europe january

Identified as the region surrounding the iconic Jungfrau mountain peak, this area is best known for its famous ski slopes, but it also offers amazing views and hiking opportunities in the summer.

January is a great time to visit for mountain enthusiasts seeking extreme winter sports opportunities, but don’t get the impression that you’ll be avoiding the tourists by visiting in the winter months like in most other places in Europe.

Come January, the Jungfrau Region is swarmed with international visitors seeking their next PR ( personal record ) on the rugged downhill slopes, but that just adds to the excitement.

Don’t let this mere fact push you away from visiting the Jungfrau Region in Switzerland, as it’s truly one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter!

Best Warm Winter Destinations in Europe

We get it, not everyone loves the snow. Some of us are beach bums! If you’re seeking a mild to warm European getaway this winter vacation, we have a few places up our sleeves that surely won’t disappoint!

✈️ Pro Tip: Almost nowhere in Europe gets hot during the winter months, so if you’re seeking temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit or higher, you may want to consider the Caribbean or South America.

39. The Greek Islands – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

trip europe january

If you’re wondering why we’re referring to all of the Greek islands and not just one or two, that’s because they’re all incredible! The Greek islands offer beautiful weather in January, most notably Santorini and Mykonos. You can relax on the beaches, explore ancient ruins, and indulge in delicious Greek cuisine.

You’ll still want to pack a sweater since it cools off in the evenings, but overall the temperatures are mild and perfect for outdoor exploring.

Spend some time wandering the streets of Santorini’s iconic blue and white buildings or lounge on the beach in Zakynthos. And don’t forget to try the fresh seafood and famous traditional feta cheese on a fresh Greek salad!

40. Algarve, Portugal – the warmest place in Europe in January and February

Algarve is by far one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather

Diving more into the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather, the Algarve is in the top 3, no doubt.

The Algarve region in Portugal offers stunning beaches, quintessential natural rock formations such as the Benagil Caves, delicious food, and amazing wine ( which would make for an amazing Portuguese souvenir if you’re checking a bag! )

January is the perfect time to visit as it’s not too crowded ( well, in comparison to the summer months but quite crowded if you compare it to the rest of Europe ) yet still warm enough to enjoy some beach time or take a kayak ride through the gorgeous grottos.

With temperatures averaging at a high of 17 degrees Celsius and a low of around 9 (55-63 degrees Fahrenheit), pack your swimsuit and sunscreen , but also make sure to bring some layers for the cooler evenings!

41. The Azores, Portugal – one of the best places to go in Europe in January

The Azores are an outstanding destination year-round, but when winter hits and all most of the tourists leave, that's when it comes one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Lying nearly 950 miles off the western coast of Portugal, the Azores are a hidden gem in Europe. In January, the archipelago offers mild weather and stunning natural beauty, with options for hiking, whale watching, hot springs, and more.

The ultimate winter destination for warm weather seekers looking to maintain a European style with the luxury of being on an island, the Azores are the perfect fit.

Be sure to visit the town of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, where beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets provide a charming atmosphere, as well as Furnas, where you can soak in natural hot springs surrounded by rich green landscapes.

If you want the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather, look no further than the Azores!

42. Sicily, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

Sicily will always hold a special spot on the list of best places to visit in Europe in January with its amazing scenery and hospitable locals

And we’re off to Italy! Sicily sits right at the southwestern end of Italy’s “boot” and offers some of the best Mediterranean views and flavors in the region. January marks the start of the low season, so you can enjoy all that Sicily has to offer without the summer crowds ( and the summer prices at that ).

Make sure to visit Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, and sample some authentic Sicilian cuisine like arancini ( my absolute favorite… ) and granita ( kind of like a snow cone mixed with sorbet ).

Now, don’t get me wrong. The temperatures in Sicily in January will be chilly, but that just means layering up and enjoying a cozy meal inside one of the cute trattorias dotting the city!

43. Valletta, Malta

trip europe january

This tiny island found in the Mediterranean Sea beneath Sicily is sure to wow you on a visit at any time of the year, but we prefer January. This stunning island country is recognized for its Baroque architecture, stunning views, and delightful Mediterranean cuisine.

With its warm weather and off-peak tourist season, it’s the perfect time to explore Valletta’s historical sites like St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the ancient city walls without the summer crowds.

On a winter visit to Malta, be sure to spend some time lounging on the beaches and visiting the Blue Grotto sea caves in Qrendi.

With temperatures averaging a high of 16 degrees Celsius in January (60 degrees Fahrenheit), it’s the best time to visit this little gem.

44. Bari, Italy

Bari is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January if you're seeking warmer weather

If you haven’t heard of Bari on the eastern coast of Italy, you’re in for a real treat. This incredible city is recognized far and wide for its culinary delights, specifically the fresh seafood and handmade orecchiette pasta.

But cuisine aside, Bari also has a rich history dating back to medieval times. The Old Town of Bari is filled with winding alleys and beautiful architecture, including the iconic Basilica di San Nicola (Saint Nicholas’ Basilica).

Known for its enchanting Christmas markets, Bari also celebrates the Epiphany on January 6th in grand fashion with parades and festivities throughout the city.

If you’re looking for some of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter, Bari is no shy contender!

45. Naples, Italy – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for foodies and mild temperatures

Naples is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its delicious food and homey feel

Ahhh, can you smell the pizza? Naples, Italy is the birthplace of pizza and a must-visit destination in January. With mild temperatures and fewer crowds, it’s the perfect time to explore this historic city and indulge in some of the best Italian food you’ll ever have.

Yes, it may be a bit chillier with average temperatures in the low-50s, but that’s no reason not to overstuff yourself with gelato too… just bundle up! There’s also the opportunity to explore the stunning architecture of Naples’ historic center or take some day trips to nearby Mount Vesuvius!

With so much to do and see in this incredible Italian city throughout the summer months, it’s only natural that January brings a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing for a truly authentic and immersive experience.

Although this list doesn’t go in any particular order, Naples would be at the top of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

46. Barcelona, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for mild temperatures

Barcelona made its way on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January with its warm weather and stunning scenery

The city of endless tapas surely deserves a place on this list of where to go in January in Europe! Barcelona offers a mix of beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, and delicious food.

Plus, January is the best time to visit in winter as most of the holiday crowds have subsided but many businesses are still in full operation.

Come February, Barcelona tends to be a little bit less lively and vibrant than in the rest of the year, so January is the perfect time to visit. Also, Spain is actually one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather if you’re looking to escape the winter chills!

The further south you travel, the warmer it will tend to be, with temperatures averaging in the mid-50s (around 13 degrees Celsius) throughout the month in Barcelona.

So, you will likely still need a sweater or light jacket when combing the beach for pretty seashells, but flip-flops are not only allowed, they’re recommended!

47. Valencia, Spain

trip europe january

Travel a little further south to the bustling city of Valencia where you’ll find the best paella, stunning architecture, and vibrant nightlife. January is a great time to visit as the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller, though you’ll always find a lively atmosphere in Valencia no matter when you decide to visit.

Fantastic for those seeking a fun and lively night scene without those brutally cold temperatures, Valencia, Spain is easily one of the best warm places to visit in Europe in winter.

48. Málaga, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

trip europe january

On the southern end of Spain near the Straight of Gibraltar, Málaga offers winter sun and warmth, along with stunning beaches, historic architecture, and delicious cuisine. January is a great time to visit because it’s off-season for tourists, making it easier to explore the city’s attractions without all the crowds that this lively city typically brings in.

But, don’t be fooled… there are still thousands of other tourists who got the memo on Málaga being one of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather. So, you won’t be completely alone.

While you’re there, try the famous salted fried fish dish, pescaíto frito, and visit the Museo Picasso Málaga to see a collection of over 200 works by the famous Spanish artist.

49. Cádiz, Spain – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its beaches

Cadiz is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for warm weather

Situated just west of the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales in southern Spain, Cádiz is one of the best destinations in Spain for warm weather in January. You’ll find stunning beaches, historic architecture, and a vibrant culture that makes Cádiz unique.

And on January 5th, the city celebrates the festival of Los Tres Reyes Magos with parades and parties throughout the town ( so be sure to plan your trip around this if you can! )

But, if you’d rather enjoy the beaches that the island of Cádiz has to offer, you can visit Playa de la Caleta, an idyllic beach framed by beautiful 18th-century fortresses.

If you’re interested in good nightlife, incredible seafood, and warm weather this winter, then Cádiz should be a must-visit on your Spain itinerary !

50. Almeria, Spain

trip europe january

Our last pick for Spain brings us to Almeria… a small coastal town with big charm! January is a fantastic time to visit, as it’s not too hot like in the summer months and as we’ve seen in most places across Europe , the crowds have subsided.

Plus, the famous Alcazaba Fortress is a must-see during this time of year when the waves are crashing all around its boundaries.

Almeria is truly a special place with architecture dating to the 17th century in the Old Town all the way to the 20th century in the recently revitalized new town. History enthusiasts seeking the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather, Almeria is the #1 spot on this list!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for History

Are you a history buff who’s ready to dive into Europe’s past? From ancient ruins to famous battles, here are the best places to visit in Europe in January 2023!

51. Berlin, Germany

trip europe january

Berlin is overwhelmed with history, culture, and stunning architecture all year round, but in January, the city becomes even more magical.

The Christmas markets are still up and running through the first week of the month or so, and the winter temperatures create a picturesque setting for exploring the city’s famous landmarks like the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate.

In the summer months, Berlin is completely overcrowded with people trying to get a selfie in front of Checkpoint Charlie or the Holocaust Memorial.

But, in the winter, you’ll find yourself with incredible opportunities to truly immerse yourself in the tragic history that took place here and come to remember why Berlin is such a historically significant city.

But, while art and history enthusiasts will certainly enjoy themselves, that’s not to say that foodies and sightseers won’t ! January brings some of the best deals on flights and accommodations, making it a budget-friendly destination.

Plus, with insanely popular restaurants like POTS in Potsdamer Platz and bars like Klunkerkranich offering rooftop views of the city, there’s something for everyone in Berlin during the winter.

52. Normandy, France – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for history buffs

If you can spend at least 3 days in Normandy, it's without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a place to visit in Europe in January that won’t be packed with tourists, Normandy is a great option.

While the beaches here are beautiful year-round, they’re far less crowded in winter and there are plenty of D-Day tours available to give you a deeper understanding of the history that took place here during World War II ( they typically book up very fast in the summer months ).

In addition, the towns and villages in Normandy are super charming and offer plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, and simply taking in the picturesque scenery.

53. Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg offers a unique display of art and literature, particularly the works of Mozart, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January after all the tourists have left

From the epic Christmas markets to the stunning architecture, Salzburg oozes winter charm.

In January, the city is often blanketed in snow and decorated with lights for its annual Winterfest event where you can enjoy a stroll through the city or catch one of the incredible concerts offering glamorous displays of some of Austria’s top performers.

Once the home of Mozart, the city also offers incredible musical experiences throughout the month with concerts and operas happening almost daily. If you’re heading to Europe to experience a true winter getaway, then a visit to Salzburg should be on your list of top places to go in Europe in January.

54. Split, Croatia

trip europe january

Found along Croatia’s central coastline, this small city lures in thousands of visitors with its beautiful Adriatic views and historic old town.

Split’s best attractions include Diocletian’s Palace, a well-preserved Roman ruin that now houses shops and restaurants, as well as the nearby Marjan Hill, a forested park perfect for hiking or picnicking with sea views.

Despite January bringing in some chillier temperatures, Split’s Mediterranean climate still offers relatively good weather for outdoor exploring.

Split is also known for its gorgeous beaches like Bačvice, a popular spot for locals to play the traditional game of picigin.

Split is for sure one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for its historic background, insanely beautiful views, and vibrant culture!

55. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

trip europe january

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina are not two different countries. This one country is made up of a variety of beautiful backgrounds including Serbian, Croatian, Bosniak, and so on making it one of the ultimate eastern European destinations.

Sarajevo sits on the Miljacka River and is best experienced on foot, so bundle up and explore the historical sites such as the Latin Bridge or Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. Learn about Sarajevo’s tragic past at the War Childhood Museum or take a cable car to the top of Mount Trebević for stunning views of the city.

January brings chilly weather, but the small city’s beauty is well worth your efforts. Sarajevo happens to lie just outside of the famous Trebević mountain peak which is perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and more!

If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, then Sarajevo is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter.

56. Aarhus, Denmark

trip europe january

Found on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, Aarhus is known for its beautiful harbor and stunning architecture. In January, the city celebrates with Nordic light festivals, ice skating rinks, and Christmas markets as a precursor to February’s iconic Vinterjazz ( winter jazz festival ).

Popular amongst locals and tourists alike, be sure to check out ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum to see the famous rainbow-colored walkway and contemporary art exhibits.

If you’re considering where to go in January in Europe, Aarhus is one of the best European cities to visit in January and February!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Northern Lights

Want to be swept away by the stunning natural phenomena of the northern lights in Europe? Look no further than these top destinations.

57. Tromsø, Norway – one of the best places in Europe to visit in January for the northern lights

If you want to see the northern lights, Tromsø is absolutely #1 on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you haven’t yet marked down that Tromsø is the best place to visit in Europe in January, do it now ! World famous for its stunning displays of the aurora borealis ( otherwise known as the northern lights ), Tromsø is a dream destination for anyone looking to witness this natural phenomenon.

And January has some of the best chances for clear skies and optimal aurora visibility! The city also offers plenty of other winter activities, such as ice fishing and snowshoeing, as well as cultural experiences like visiting museums and trying traditional Norwegian cuisine.

I always recommend immersing yourself in the most unique cultural experiences possible, so instead of booking a fancy chalet, book a room in someone’s home instead.

Tromsø is home to very hospitable people who are willing to share their homes, their meals, and their hearts with you and it truly shouldn’t be missed!

58. Lapland, Finland – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for a winter wonderland scene

if you're looking for a winter wonderland, them Lapland, Finland needs to be on your personal list of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Ever wanted to see the purest form of a winter wonderland on Earth? Well, here’s your chance. Lapland, Finland is known worldwide for its stunning snow-covered landscapes, and January is the perfect time to visit.

Yes, it WILL be cold… but, you’ll get to experience dog sledding, reindeer safaris, and spending night after night soaking up all the amazing displays of the northern lights this region of the world has to offer. Don’t forget to dress warm though!

Lapland isn’t unfamiliar with extremely harsh temperatures, so a proper winter packing list should be by your side while preparing for your trip.

You can also attend the Finnish Ice Marathon, where you can participate or cheer on those who do! And last but not least, Lapland is home to Santa Claus Village – the best place to have a magical encounter with Old Saint Nick himself.

Trust us, it’s worth braving the cold for these unforgettable experiences and Lapland is absolutely one of the best countries to visit in January.

59. Svalbard, Norway – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January for the northern lights

trip europe january

A dream destination of mine ( I’ve actually been looking at flights here recently ), Svalbard is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, located between Norway and the North Pole.

In January, you’ll find it blanketed in snow, but mostly ice, making for a unique winter wonderland experience with opportunities to see polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.

And don’t miss out on the chance to witness the incredible northern lights dancing overhead! It’s easily one of the best things to do in Europe in January!

Locals here will tell you all about the polar bears that roam free and how to heat your home in consistent negative temperatures for weeks on end.

If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime European experiences , Svalbard is highly recommended as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January!

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January for Incredible Scenery

Whether you’re roaming the green hills of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland or hiking through the snow-capped Swiss Alps, January offers incredible scenery in Europe.

60. Sligo, Ireland

Sligo is quite remote but insanely beautiful and far fewer tourists than the Cliffs of Moher, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you want to know where to go in January in Europe, a trip to Sligo will not disappoint. With its stunningly tall Slieve League cliffs and beautiful coastal scenery, Sligo offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Plus, with its remote location in the northern communities of County Donegal, Sligo is often overlooked by tourists – which means you’ll get to enjoy all the best sights and sounds without having to deal with crowds!

Take a day trip to the Sligo Cliffs ( which happen to be nearly 2.5x higher than the ever-so-popular Cliffs of Moher ) before practicing your photography skills (hint: a wide lens is highly recommended!) Just be sure to bundle up before you go out exploring this stunning, yet incredibly cold Irish gem.

61. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik may not be as warm as you might think, but it is nevertheless so beautiful and definitely deserves to be on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January

The popular tourist destination known as “the Pearl of the Adriatic” is just as beautiful in the colder months.

The winter season offers fewer crowds and a quieter atmosphere, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the stunning medieval walls and architecture of Old Town Dubrovnik. Plus, January falls within the city’s winter festival season, featuring events such as the Winter Festival and Christmas Market.

While not as warm as in other parts of Europe with temperatures in the upper-40s Fahrenheit, the mild winter temperatures make for perfect weather to explore the city on foot ( just be sure to grab a mug of some rakija to keep you going ).

And, with Dubrovnik’s manageable size, visitors can easily see all the best sights in just a few days making it one of the good places to visit in Europe in January.

62. Cotswolds, England

The lesser known Cotswolds offer truly unique beauty making them one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

Found amidst England’s southwest region, the Cotswolds are made up of rolling hills, cozy villages, and stunning gardens. January is the perfect time to visit as the crowds from peak season have died down and you can truly appreciate the region’s charm.

Be sure to check out Bibury, a village known for its picturesque row of cottages on the River Coln, or explore some of the many English gardens lining the streets. Come wintertime, temperatures have dropped but the region still receives sunshine ( though it is on the less frequent occasion ) and is overflowing with friendly locals in all the pubs and cafes.

If you’re wondering where is best to go in Europe in January for a local getaway void of wandering tourists but full of charm, the Cotswolds should be high on your list.

63. Kotor, Montenegro – one of the best places to visit in Europe in January to get the best travel deals

trip europe january

Just south of Croatia brings us to the smaller western European country of Montenegro where we can find the charming city of Kotor. January brings mild temperatures and fewer crowds, making it a perfect time to explore the Old Town and visit the nearby Kotor Beach.

With unique cuisine options including the traditional Brav u Mlijeku or the famous Montenegrin smoked ham, Pršut, Kotor offers special culinary experiences for any traveler.

Come January, Kotor’s off-season sets in which means amazing photographs of the dramatic landscape of Montenegro.

Use this stunning city set in the mountains as an arrival and departure point for reaching the amazing Bay of Kotor or the beautiful Durmitor National Park, or simply indulge in the uniqueness of this stunning Balkan country!

64. Isle of Skye, England – one of the most remote places to visit in Europe in January

The Isle of Skye is among the most beautiful and best places to visit in Europe in January

Situated in the far northwest of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Skye is one place that winter enthusiasts dream about. Known for its dramatic landscapes, including the towering cliffs of the Quiraing and the fairy pools of Glenbrittle, this small island is best explored during the chilly months.

In January, you can also experience the Isle of Skye in all its winter glory with potential snowfall adding to the already breathtaking scenery. While you’re there, be sure to try the fresh seafood like salted cod, or you could stick to the classics like English black pudding and traditionally made tea biscuits.

The Isle of Skye is one of the most unique places to visit in Europe in January as it’s not a place that most tourists typically consider. It’s remote and tucked away on the edge of the Norweigan Sea, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in the winter in our opinion!

65. Le Havre, France

trip europe january

If you’re looking for a place to visit in Europe in January that has plenty of things to do, Le Havre, France is a great option. This iconic fishing town is located in the vibrant Normandy region of France and is home to some fantastic seafood restaurants.

Plus, the Perret show flat – a museum showcasing the lifestyle and designers of the 1950s – is well worth a visit. And don’t forget the beautiful beaches!

This is one of the best regions in France for photographers aiming to get a glimpse of old-time France, so don’t forget your camera if this sounds like something you’d like to capture.

66. Donegal, Ireland

Remote Donegal earns its place on this list of best places to visit in Europe in January for its vibrant culture

Donegal is located in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland ( it’s in the northern part of the Republic, not to be confused with Northern Ireland… ) and is known for its Donegal tweed, which is made from the wool of local sheep by hand.

Known for its cultural traditions, the historic town of Donegal is also home to Donegal Castle and the Slieve League Cliffs, which are less than an hour away by car. It’s also one of the best stops to pick up some traditional Irish souvenirs !

On those brisk winter days, what could be better than a seaside location like Donegal? And with its beautiful Irish heritage on full display, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe.

And if you’re a fan of seaside towns, you’ll love Donegal’s location directly on the Atlantic coast – perfect for watching those winter storms! If you want to know where to go in January in Europe, Donegal offers the perfect getaway from the more popular European cities.

Just be sure to pack warm for Ireland as this region of the island nation gets quite chilly by the time the fall months set in!

67. Étretat, France

trip europe january

If you’re in dying need of a beautiful European town to visit this January, then you have to check out Étretat, France .

This charming seaside village is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country ( ever heard of the magnificent L’Aiguille or the Needle natural rock formation? ), and its hospitable locals make it a great place to relax and take in the fresh air that comes with the late winter months.

Plus, with its chilly weather and affordable prices, Étretat is a perfect destination for budget-minded travelers. Art enthusiasts should also consider Étretat as it was once the home of the famous French artist, Claude Monet!

So if you’re looking for a winter escape that’s both picturesque and affordable, Étretat is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January.

68. Inverness, Scotland

trip europe january

Of course, we included Edinburgh on this list ( I mean, seriously… what’s more beautiful than the capital of Scotland covered in white lights…? ), but have you ever considered visiting Inverness in the Scottish Highlands in January? Probably not.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s the best time to visit this charming city. Inverness is known for its stunning lochs and castles, like the famous Loch Ness and Cawdor Castle (yes, THE Cawdor Castle from Shakespeare’s Macbeth).

But what really sets Inverness apart in January is the annual Hogmanay celebration come New Years’ Eve when the whole town is ready to light those lanterns.

If you want to know some more destinations you should consider visiting for New Years, check out my article on the 25 Best Places in Europe for New Years Celebrations !

This always makes Inverness stand out as one of the best places in Europe to visit in January, but its truly the hospitable locals that get people to stay. Once you’re there, be sure to snuggle up in a cozy B&B with a traditional hot toddy and a good book on those cold winter nights!

69. Bristol, England

trip europe january

Harbored in the United Kingdom’s southwest region along the Atlantic Coast, Bristol is one city that you probably didn’t expect to see on this list. So, why have we included it?

Well, for starters, the city is absolutely charming in the wintertime with its historic architectural beauty and cozy cafes. Plus, January brings about some of Bristol’s best events including the annual Festival of Ideas and the International Kite Festival.

Not to mention, the English coastline is known for its stunning wintery display of ice-covered mossy rocks and old-time taverns set against a constantly perilous cloudy landscape.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge also looks fierce when dusted with snow, so be prepared if you happen to visit during some snowfall.

Absolutely one of the best places to visit in Europe in winter, Bristol is one destination that you shouldn’t overlook!

70. Dingle, Ireland

trip europe january

Ireland is a land of stunning beauty, with its rolling green hills and misty cliffs. And the best time to see it all? In winter, when the harsh weather brings out the best in the landscape. One great place to visit in Ireland during winter is Dingle, the heart of the Dingle Peninsula.

This region offers some of the most breathtaking views of the rugged Irish coastline in the entire country. Plus, January brings epic waves and mighty winds that make this region crazy to experience – but it’s also one of the most beautiful times to be there.

Dramatic views and scenic landscapes are abundant come winter, so if you’re looking for adventure and some unforgettable scenery, don’t forget that Dingle is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in the winter!

Visiting Dingle this winter? Here are the best places to stay on the Dingle Peninsula !

71. Doolin, Ireland

There's nothing better than seeing the Cliffs of Moher without tourists making it one of the best places to visit in Europe in January

If you’re looking for a charming, off-the-beaten-path town to visit in Europe in January, look no further than Doolin, Ireland. This quaint fishing village is located just south of Galway on Ireland’s western coastline and is full of hospitable locals who will make you feel right at home.

While it may be small, Doolin offers plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay. From exploring the stunning Cliffs of Moher to enjoying some of the best fish and chips at Russell’s Fishshop or beer at my favorite pub in Ireland ( Gus O’Connor’s ), there’s something for everyone in this little gem of a town.

So if you’re wondering where to go in January in Europe, be sure to add Doolin to your list!

72. Bergen, Norway

trip europe january

If you’re looking for some snow-filled fun, head to Bergen in January. This charming city is known for its colorful wooden houses and stunning fjords, and during the winter it transforms into a winter wonderland!

Ski or snowboard on Mount Ulriken ( or take the cable car up for insane views ), go hunting for the aurora borealis, or indulge in some traditional Norwegian cuisine like lutefisk ( air-dried white fish ) or reindeer meat.

Don’t miss visiting the famous Bryggen area, a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of historic wooden buildings that were once part of the Hanseatic League trade empire.

73. Geiranger, Norway

if you want to see Norweigan fjords, Geiranger is obviously one of the best places to visit in Europe in January to see them all frozen over

Located at the head of the iconic Geirangerfjord, this stunning Nordic coastal town is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Well known for its waterfalls, including the Seven Sisters and the Suitor, Geiranger’s winter landscape only adds to its beauty when it turns to ice come wintertime.

Take a hike along Eagle Road for stunning views of the fjord or enjoy a leisurely drive through the breathtaking scenery ( just be sure to plan ahead for icy roads and snow! )

January also brings the small opportunity to spot orcas in their natural habitat when they come to hunt, but remember that there’s far less daylight during this time of the year so spotting them can be tricky.

As one of the best places in the world to visit in January, Geiranger is certainly not going to disappoint!

If you plan on traveling to Europe this winter, I highly recommend getting travel insurance . I used to travel without it, but after a trip where the airlines lost my luggage AND my flights got canceled and I ended up sleeping on an airport floor, I never travel without it now. SafetyWing is ridiculously affordable (we’re talking $42/month of travel affordable ), so it’s silly NOT to get it.

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Is Europe Too Cold in January?

While it’s true that Europe can get quite chilly in January, it’s not so cold that it’s unbearable. Having lived in Alaska through the winter consistently enduring temperatures well into the negative forties and fifties Fahrenheit, I promise you Europe is nothing like that.

Depending on where you go, you might experience snowfall and below-freezing temperatures, particularly in Northern Europe and the Alpine regions. However, if you pack the right winter gear, you can comfortably enjoy the stunning winter landscapes.

Southern Europe, on the other hand, enjoys a milder winter, with temperatures rarely dropping below the 40s and 50s, and almost never dropping below freezing during the day. Plus, many hotels and restaurants can get exceptionally cozy in the winter, offering a warm retreat after a day of exploring. So, no, Europe is not too cold in January—it’s just different, and that’s part of the charm!

Europe in January Weather

trip europe january

January in Europe brings a diverse range of weather conditions, varying dramatically from one region to another. In Northern Europe, countries like Norway and Finland are blanketed by snow, with temperatures often plunging below freezing – providing an idyllic setting for winter sports enthusiasts or anyone seeking the ultimate winter wonderland destination.

The Alpine regions, including Switzerland and Austria, also experience a cold yet charming winter, perfect for skiing and snowboarding.

The Central and Eastern parts of Europe, such as Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, also witness cold temperatures, but seldom as extreme as their Northern counterparts. You may experience occasional snowfall, giving the cities a picturesque, frosted look. Overall, however, average temperatures remain bearable, rarely dipping below zero during the day.

Conversely, Southern Europe enjoys a much milder winter. Countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, and Greece experience milder temperatures ranging from the 40’s to 50’s Fahrenheit, occasionally even going higher.

The days are pleasantly cool, with plenty of sunshine, offering a winter experience that is quite different from the frosty north. So despite the month, there’s a perfect European destination waiting for you in January, regardless of your weather preference.

FAQ: Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

In this next section, I’m going to dive in to answering some questions for you that you’re sure to have when planning a winter trip to Europe!

If you still aren’t sure where you want to go, consider taking my winter travel quiz ! It’s aimed at helping you find the perfect winter destination based on your travel preferences and interests!

Is January a Good Time to Go to Europe?

trip europe january

Absolutely, January can be a fantastic time to explore Europe! It’s the off-peak season which means fewer tourists and lower prices for flights and accommodations. Plus, the cooler weather is perfect for enjoying winter sports in places like Switzerland, the Czech Republic, or Norway.

For those looking for milder climates, the southern parts of Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece can provide pleasant temperatures and ample sunshine. In addition, many European cities embrace the winter season with festive holiday markets, outdoor ice rinks, and twinkling lights that create a magical atmosphere.

I personally found Europe to be at its peak come January (since I’m a massive fan of winter sports and après-ski life), so don’t let the fact that it’s the “off-season” turn you off from wanting to visit.

Should I Visit Europe in January?

January is a great time to visit Europe if you want to save money on flights and accommodations and explore with far fewer tourists around

You should absolutely visit Europe in January! January is a great time to visit Europe because the crowds are far smaller than in the busy summer months and the weather is still mild in most places.

You can also score great deals on accommodations and flights after the holidays, so it makes traveling to more expensive European countries obtainable for more travelers!

However, January can be very cold in northern Europe ( think: Germany, Poland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, etc. ), so be sure to pack warm clothes if you’re visiting that region.

trip europe january

Which Country in Europe is Best to Visit in January?

Paris is so beautiful in the snow and should be on your list of cities to visit in Europe in winter

In our opinion, the best country in Europe to visit in January is the Algarve region of Portugal.

Public transportation is still in full operation ( though some schedules may be more limited ), you’ll experience mild temperatures perfect for exploring, and stunning sunrises and sunsets make a notable appearance without the influxes of thousands of tourists standing in the way of your camera.

You can still take amazing kayaking tours through the Benagil Caves or rent a jeep to take you to the best spot to watch the sunset over the Atlantic.

And while Portugal is very affordable anyway, you can still receive a cost break on many of the activities you decide to do as well as accommodations and travel bookings!

Portugal’s Algarve region is definitely at the top of our list of best places to visit in Europe in January.

What is the Warmest Part of Europe in January?

trip europe january

The warmest part of Europe in January is usually the south-Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece.

The Canary Islands can also be warm during winter, with temperatures up to 18 degrees Celsius! If you’re looking for warmer parts of Europe in January then these areas are your best bet.

Of course, you should also take into account other factors such as cultural attractions and availability of accommodation when planning your trip.

Where is the Warmest Place to Travel in Europe in January?

Spain and Portugal are amongst the warmest European countries in winter

Spain and Portugal are the best places to visit in Europe in January if you’re looking for warm weather. They both have average temperatures of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in January. Other countries that are relatively warm in January include Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

For the warmest weather, consider Spain’s Canary Islands which have higher average temperatures around the low 70s Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius).

Overall, Spain and Portugal are two of the best places to travel in Europe in January for warm weather.

What European Country Should I Visit in January?

Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are going to have the nicest warm weather in January

The best places to visit in Europe in January are those that offer the most pleasant weather for the activities that you would like to partake in. Countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece offer mild temperatures and sunny skies during the winter months of January and February.

But, if you would rather be shredding up the slopes on your skis or snowboarding in the mountains of Austria and Switzerland, that’s a fantastic option as well!

When it comes to the aurora borealis (or the northern lights as most people refer to them), Norway, Finland, and Iceland ( though Iceland isn’t technically in the European Union ) are the top contenders.

Should I Rent a Car for Europe in January?

If you happen to be visiting one of these best places to visit in Europe in January, then a rental car can be a great way to get around with a flexible schedule

Depending on where you are traveling, renting a car for Europe in January can be a great decision. If you are planning on going skiing in the Alps, then perhaps you should have some more experience driving in the snow before considering renting a car.

However, if you are visiting cities like Paris or Rome, it may be best to rely on public transportation as the roads can be quite crowded and navigating can be difficult.

Is Train Travel Better for Europe in January?

trip europe january

If you aren’t super comfortable driving in winter conditions (particularly in countries where most cars are manual and they drive on the opposite side of the road and sit on the opposite side of the car – hello, Ireland ), then train travel in Europe can be a great substitution.

The trains in Europe are reliable, comfortable, and most importantly – they come with amazing views. Trains can also help you save money on accommodations as it’s easier to take overnight trains and sleep on the way to your destination instead of spending money on a hotel for just one night!

The Wrap-Up: Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

We also have some articles dedicated to the best places to visit in Europe in December , March , April , May , and July ! These may just be some of the best places to visit in Europe in 2023/2024.

January is a great time to visit Europe because you can enjoy mild temperatures and sunny skies in many countries, while also taking advantage of the festive atmosphere that comes with the holiday season.

If you’re looking for a winter getaway, consider Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, or Iceland! Each of these countries offers something special and unique that will make your January vacation unforgettable.

But, on this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January , they’re all pretty unique.

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Hey there! I'm Emily Concannon, a seasoned globetrotter who has backpacked her way across over a dozen European countries, immersing myself in the diverse cultures, languages, and cuisines of the region.

My passion for travel transcends personal experiences; I've spent years learning how to transform my globetrotting knowledge into personalized itineraries for fellow travelers worldwide.

With a tally of 26 countries (and counting!) under my belt, my day job involves extensive research on different countries which often leads me to booking a new adventure every chance I get!

35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

January in Europe  is one of the coldest months in the year with the entire continent wrapped in the blanket of thick snow. The continent gets a different look during this month painted in either white and grey or white and black.

So if you are not afraid of the cold, and  planning for a European vacation , January is the most beautiful time of the year.

The days are bright with snow-covered mountains, valleys, and roads to go for snowboarding and  mountain hiking , while the nights are glamorous with exotic cultural events, festivals, and opera nights.

It is one of those times of the year to watch the dreamy snowfalls or taste the lip-smacking European cuisine sitting by the fireplace. The continent has got a lot to offer for the visitors during this time being less crowded and  extremely cost affordable  due to off tourist season.

What is the weather in Europe in January?

The entire month of January is the  coldest winter month in Europe  while the temperatures and snow keep on varying in different parts of the continent.

  • Northern Europe  is cold during January having a maximum temperature of 1 degree and a minimum of -7 degrees.
  •   Western Europe  is equally cold, having temperatures between 1 to 5 degrees.
  •   Eastern Europe  also experiences chilly weather having temperatures between 1 to -3 degrees. All of these parts have extremely shorter days ranging for few hours due to freezing temperatures.
  •   Central Europe , however, is a bit comfortable during winters where the weather is cold and pleasant having temperatures between 7 to 17 degrees. It gives you comfort from freezing and also has moderate snow. This is the warmest part of the continent during January.

So to prepare your  travel bucket list , let’s have a look at the best  places to visit in Europe in January .

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Table of Contents

Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

Advantages of Traveling in January

January is often overlooked as a prime time for travel in Europe, but it’s one of the best months to embark on a city break . Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, breathtaking landscapes, or simply a change of scenery, there are numerous advantages to visiting Europe in January. One of the most compelling reasons to go to Europe in January is the significantly lower number of tourists. 

Many people travel during peak seasons, leaving January relatively quiet and serene. This means you’ll have more personal space to explore popular attractions and landmarks without the usual crowds. 

It’s truly a unique experience to have famous sites almost entirely to yourself. Furthermore, traveling in January lets you fully appreciate each destination’s authentic charm and character. 

With fewer tourists around, locals are more likely to engage with visitors personally, offering insights into their culture and way of life. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in local customs and traditions while forging genuine connections with the people you encounter. 

Another advantage is that cities are more affordable during this time of year. Accommodation rates and flight prices often drop significantly compared to peak tourist seasons. 

Lower costs mean your budget can stretch further, allowing you to splurge on unique experiences or indulge in local cuisine without breaking the bank. January is also ideal for outdoor enthusiasts as several European countries offer stunning winter landscapes perfect for skiing or snowboarding. 

From picturesque alpine villages nestled amidst snow-capped mountains like Zakopane in Poland or Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in France , there’s no shortage of breathtaking vistas awaiting adventurers. If you appreciate art and culture, visiting museums and galleries becomes an absolute treat during this time. 

With fewer visitors jostling for space, you’ll have uninterrupted access to renowned masterpieces at places like The Louvre Museum in Paris or The British Museum in London. Take your time, savor the beauty, and truly absorb the artistic creations without feeling rushed. 

January is an underrated gem when it comes to deciding to visit Europe. From the tranquility and personal space to the affordability and unique winter landscapes, it’s clear that this month presents countless advantages for travelers. 

So why not break away from the conventional travel seasons and embark on a city break in Europe this January? You will be satisfied by the abundance of places to go in Europe during this time, offering experiences that are absolutely one of the best. 

Are you planning your travels? Here’re my top travel resources!

I’m a serial planner both in life and in travel – I have bucket lists, things to do, see, and everything. So, I always love when my life is sorted easily using tools and resources that would make my general planning a little smoother and easier. Therefore, in my many years of traveling the world, I’ve seen myself returning to these travel resources repeatedly. And here I am, sharing my tips to make your life easy and breezy so you can stress less, travel heaps, and focus on the fun part of travel!

  • Booking.com  – I book all my hotels through this website and don’t honestly use anything else. They always have the best prices, in my opinion.
  • Airbnb  – If I’m traveling long-term to one destination, I book my flats through Airbnb.
  • Skyscanner  – The best place to find cheap flights on flexible dates. I use this a lot to score cheap flights within Europe!
  • SafetyWing  – Always travel insured! Never leave your home country without one. It is worth the extra money, I promise you!
  • GetYourGuide  – Hands-down, the best place to find cool and unique tours if you don’t feel like winging it, and go straight to a local expert. I use this a lot in new destinations to get acquainted with the area!
  • My Pretty Wild World Travel Diary (coming soon)  – A book you can write down your travel plans, create itineraries, track down your budget, and dot down memories along the way! A handy book you can keep and read later to revisit memory lane.
  • Pretty Wild World Travel Planning Printables (coming soon)  – Are you a nut like me when it comes to planning? Yes? Good. My travel planning resource in one zip file is an easy-to-use printable planner that comes with tips that helps you plan your travels during the planning stage, a pre-flight checklist, an itinerary planner, and so on.

Top 35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

1. ghent, belgium.

Best places to visit in Europe in January: ghent, belgium, architecture

Ghent is a beautiful city of  Belgium  that is famous for its edgy historical architecture from the medieval era giving the city a small-town look that is beyond beautiful. It is not a famous tourist destination compared to other cities of Belgium and is more of a  hidden gem . It is one of the  picturesque places  to visit in Europe in January.

The climate during this time is extremely cold, having temperatures between 2 to 6 degrees. Ghent receives very little sunshine in January, and the weather is either cloudy or rainy. One of the mysterious winter attractions in Ghent is the Winter Wonder Castle which is also called the count’s castle.

You can spend the daytime exploring its history and surrounding areas, explore the  city of Ghent  through boat rides, go skiing in the ice skating rink, take the carriage rides in the city streets like royals, visit the museums, the great butcher’s hall, take the canal boat tours and many more entertaining activities.

The nights are beautiful with winter pop-up bars, Zebrawoods winter festival, having luxurious beers at The brewery, trying the handcrafted meatballs, burgers, Lebanese  cuisine , etc.

Learn more about Ghent and Belgium: Places to Visit in Belgium , Things to do in Ghent , Day Trips from Ghent , Things to do in Brussels

2. Malta – one of sunniest places to visit in Europe in January!

Places to Visit in The Mediterranean Valetta Malta

Malta is the warmest country in Europe  which is known for its coastal beaches and warm weather in January in Europe. It is a Middle Europe  Mediterranean destination , and hence it is the warmest place in  Europe in January  due to the extremely comfortable climate with temperatures ranging between 13 to 16 degrees.

The Valletta International Baroque Festival is organized during this time celebrating the annual event for 15 days starting from talented performances to the Baroque-themed ball. The colorful event is an eye treat for all visitors in  Malta  in January. You can also spend the day trekking through the offbeat areas, enjoy the beautiful sunset in the evening at Dingli cliffs.

Also, pay a visit to the mysterious hypogeum, enjoy some warm sunshine on the lovely  beaches , a taste he Maltese pastizzi with hot coffee or tea, try out the traditional Mediterranean cuisines indulge yourself in the luxurious treatment at Myoka Spa, visit St. John Cathedral and enjoy Mediterranean cruising in the  picturesque local destinations . The destination can be awarded for having the best weather in Europe in January.

Read more about Malta: Places to Visit in Malta , Things to do in Malta , and Day Trips in Malta

monaco, monte carlo, france

Monaco is one of the best places to visit in January Europe.

Monaco is a western  European destination  that has varying climatic conditions in January with sometimes temperature dropping to 7 degrees while most of the time it remains pleasantly cool between 12 to 15 degrees.

The weather is most comfortable to explore the  beautiful attractions  of Monaco unless you are interrupted by rainfall, which is quite common here in January turning the climate extremely cold.

Some of the best attractions to enjoy here are Monte Carlo Casino, Prince’s Palace, the gorgeous Musee Oceanographic, Monaco Cathedral, Les Jardins Saint-Martin overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Opera nights at Opera de Monte Carlo, and many more.

If the temperature is pleasant, you can even visit the lovely beaches of  Monaco  like Larvotto Beach, Baie du Soliel beach, Plage Garmagilla Beach, Plage Mala Beach, Plage Paloma beach, and lots more to spend some quality time under the sun aloof from the summer tourist crowds.

Read more about Monaco: Places to Visit in Monaco , Thing to do in Monaco , and Day Trips from Monaco

4. Oslo, Norway

The Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway , is undoubtedly one of the best winter destinations in Europe, and January is a great month to visit this stunning Scandinavian city. With its picturesque landscapes, enchanting fjords, and delightful blend of modernity and history, Oslo offers a unique experience for travelers seeking a memorable winter getaway. 

During January, Oslo transforms into a wonderland of snow-covered streets and beautiful parks. The city takes on a serene ambiance as locals and visitors embrace the season’s magic. 

One of the sunniest places in Norway during this time, Oslo allows you to enjoy crisp winter days with just the right amount of sunlight. There are numerous places to visit in January while exploring Oslo. 

Start your journey at the iconic Vigeland Park, where over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland are displayed among majestic snow-covered trees. This open-air museum celebrates art and offers breathtaking views across Oslo. 

For those looking to delve into history and culture, visit the Viking Ship Museum. Here, you can witness awe-inspiring Viking vessels impeccably preserved for centuries. 

The museum provides an intriguing glimpse into Norway’s rich maritime heritage. Another must-visit location is Akershus Fortress, which overlooks Oslofjord. 

This medieval castle boasts incredible architecture and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Walk along its walls and feel transported back in time as you imagine centuries-old battles fought within these walls. 

If you’re interested in contemporary attractions, explore Aker Brygge. This vibrant waterfront district has trendy shops, delectable Norwegian cuisine restaurants, and lively bars offering warmth amidst the winter chill. 

In addition to its cultural offerings, Oslo embraces winter sports during January. Whether you’re an experienced skier or just starting out on cross-country trails, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as skiing or ice skating. 

The famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump is also a must-see, offering breathtaking views and an insight into Norway’s passion for winter sports. Oslo, Norway, should be high on your list of places to visit in Europe in January. 

With its majestic winter landscapes, cultural treasures, and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities, this city offers a perfect blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty. So pack your warmest clothes and get ready to embrace the enchantment of Oslo during this magical time of year. 

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid Copenhagen, Denmark

If you’re looking for the best winter destination in Europe, Copenhagen should definitely be on your list. 

January is the coldest month in Denmark , but it also offers one of the best winter experiences in the world. With its charming streets dusted with snow and cozy cafes serving hot drinks, Copenhagen truly comes alive during this time of year. 

One of the best things about visiting Copenhagen in January is that you can avoid crowds and long queues. Unlike other popular European cities, which are bustling with tourists year-round, Copenhagen experiences a quieter period during winter. 

This means you can easily explore attractions like Tivoli Gardens and Christiansborg Palace without feeling overwhelmed by crowds. January is also great to enjoy some of Copenhagen’s best food. 

The city is famous for its culinary scene, boasting numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and trendy eateries. From traditional Danish dishes like smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) to innovative Nordic cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate. 

When exploring the city’s cultural attractions, January offers an advantage, too. The National Museum of Denmark and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek are two must-visit museums where you can delve into Danish history and art without battling hordes of tourists. 

For those seeking outdoor activities, Copenhagen has plenty of options during winter. You can rent ice skates and glide across frozen lakes or join locals for a refreshing dip in one of the city’s many open-air winter baths. 

Copenhagen should be high on your list if you’re looking for the best European places during winter. In January, this vibrant city offers one of the best winter experiences with its picturesque snow-covered streets, delicious food scene, cultural attractions free from crowds, and plenty of outdoor activities. 

6. Lapland, Finland

Reindeer in a winter forest in Finnish Lapland

Lapland  being extraordinarily beautiful in winter is one of the reasons why you should visit this place in January. The weather is completely freezy here having extremely lower temperatures between -9 to -12 degrees with minimal sun.

The beautiful location of  Finland  is like a dream to the travelers offering a series of winter activities like riding the sled by huskies and reindeer, snowshoeing,  skiing , snowboarding, and ice fishing.

The snow-covered location looks like a paradise having beautiful structures, roads, trees, and everything dipped in snow. Try the exotic  Finnish sauna  in the freezing climate, explore the  magical northern lights , go for snowshoe hiking through the forest areas, visit the ice hotel, go ice climbing, tank riding, and whatever you have dreamt of doing with the snow. It is a perfect destination for snow-addicted people.

Read more about Finland:  Places to Visit in Finland , Winter in Finland , The Best Finland Guide

7. Helsinki, Finland

TOP THINGS TO DO IN HELSINKI

Helsinki , the capital of Finland, is a charming destination to visit in January. Despite being located in the northernmost part of Europe, Helsinki offers a truly magical and unique winter experience. 

In fact, many travelers consider January to be one of the best times to visit this stunning city. One of the main reasons Helsinki is an ideal place to visit in Europe during winter is its picturesque snow-covered landscapes. 

The city transforms into a winter wonderland, with its streets adorned by twinkling lights and cozy cafes offering warm drinks and delicious Finnish pastries. The pristine white snow blankets the parks and waterfront areas like a soft, serene quilt, creating postcard-perfect scenery that will leave you in awe. 

Moreover, Helsinki experiences relatively mild temperatures compared to other European cities during this time. Though it can get chilly with temperatures hovering around -5°C (23°F), it’s still considered quite bearable when properly dressed for the weather. 

In fact, Helsinki is known as one of the sunniest places in Northern Europe during January, making it an even more attractive destination for those seeking some winter sunshine. When visiting Helsinki in January, be sure to embrace the local tradition of ice swimming. 

Many Finns participate in this invigorating activity by plunging into icy waters through holes cut into frozen lakes or at designated swimming areas along the coast. It may sound extreme, but it’s a popular way for locals to boost their immune systems and enjoy a refreshing experience amid nature’s icy embrace. 

Aside from embracing winter activities like ice skating or wandering through snowy parks, plenty of indoor attractions and cultural experiences are available throughout Helsinki. Visit museums such as the Ateneum Art Museum or Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art to indulge your artistic side or explore historical sites like Suomenlinna Fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which showcases Finnish history dating back several centuries. 

Traveling to Helsinki in January also offers the advantage of finding some of the best deals on accommodation and flights. With fewer tourists compared to the peak summer season, you can benefit from lower prices and avail yourself of special offers at hotels and restaurants. 

This allows you to indulge in Helsinki’s vibrant culinary scene, trying traditional Finnish dishes like reindeer stew or salmon soup without breaking the bank. Helsinki is a fantastic place to visit in Europe during January. 

From its picturesque snowy landscapes to its unique winter activities, Helsinki offers a truly immersive experience combining natural beauty and cultural exploration. So, if you’re looking for one of the best European winter destinations, Helsinki should definitely be on your list! 

8. Tallinn, Estonia

tallinn, historic center, estonia

Tucked away in the Baltic region, Tallinn , Estonia’s capital, is a hidden gem that comes alive in January. Despite being one of the lesser-known countries in Europe , Tallinn is a captivating place to visit during this time of year. The city’s medieval charm blends harmoniously with its modern vibes, creating an unforgettable experience for any traveler. 

When you wander through the cobblestone streets of Tallinn in January, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking city views. The snow-covered rooftops and ancient architecture create a picturesque scene that seems like a fairytale. 

As you stroll through the Old Town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The well-preserved medieval walls and towers tell stories of centuries past and invite you to immerse yourself in history. 

January is a fantastic time to visit Tallinn if you’re looking for one of the sunniest places in Europe during winter. While it may be chilly outside, the clear skies offer an abundance of sunshine that adds warmth to your explorations. 

The crisp air invigorates your senses as you traverse Kadriorg Park and Palace, where stunning gardens await amidst snow-dusted landscapes. Take a moment to embrace nature’s beauty before heading to Pirita Beach for a refreshing seaside walk. 

One must explore the vibrant Christmas markets in Europe during winter, and Tallinn’s market is no exception. Early January still sees remnants of these enchanting markets lining Town Hall Square with festive lights and wooden stalls selling local crafts and delicious treats like piparkoogid (gingerbread) and mulled wine . 

Indulge your taste buds while experiencing true Estonian hospitality from friendly locals. For those seeking cultural experiences unique to this time of year, visiting Tallinn also means delving into Kumu Art Museum or enjoying performances at the Estonia Concert Hall. 

Immerse yourself in the country’s rich artistic heritage, showcased through various exhibitions and shows. The contemporary art scene in Tallinn is thriving, and January provides an opportune moment to appreciate the creativity of local artists. 

Tallinn, Estonia, is undoubtedly one of the best places to go if you seek a memorable European destination in January. From its captivating views of the city to its vibrant Christmas markets and cultural experiences, this hidden gem offers delights for every traveler. 

Whether exploring the medieval Old Town or indulging in local delicacies, Tallinn will leave a lasting impression on your heart. So pack your winter gear and embark on an adventure to this charming Estonian capital that promises to be a true winter wonderland. 

9. Paris, France – a romantic place to visit in Europe in January!

is paris safe for travelers? louvre, architecture, buildings

Paris, France, the City of Light, is a must-visit destination for travelers looking for the best winter experience in Europe. With its charm and iconic landmarks, Paris in January is like stepping into a fairytale. 

Whether you’re strolling along the Seine River or taking in the breathtaking views of the city from atop the Eiffel Tower, there’s something truly magical about this winter destination in Europe. One of the best cities to visit in Europe during January, Paris offers a unique blend of culture, history, and gastronomy. 

The Louvre Museum beckons art enthusiasts with its vast collection of masterpieces, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Take a leisurely walk through Montmartre’s charming streets and visit Basilique du Sacré-Cœur for panoramic city views. 

January is one of the best times to visit Paris to escape the crowds that typically flock to this iconic city. The streets are quieter, allowing you to explore at your own pace without feeling overwhelmed by tourist masses. 

Plus, you can fully immerse yourself in the authentic Parisian experience with fewer people. If you’re looking for a unique way to discover Paris in January 2023, consider taking a leisurely stroll through one of its picturesque parks or gardens. 

Jardin des Tuileries is perfect for enjoying a cup of hot chocolate while marveling at statues and fountains adorned with glistening frost. Alternatively, head over to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and take a scenic walk around its hilly terrain while enjoying breathtaking views over the city. 

Regarding culinary delights, January offers an abundance of cozy cafes and bistros where you can warm up with classic French dishes like boeuf bourguignon or coq au vin. Indulge your sweet tooth with mouthwatering pastries from famous patisseries such as Pierre Hermé or Ladurée. 

And, of course, a visit to Paris in winter would only be complete with sipping on a steaming cup of chocolat chaud at a charming cafe. For those seeking a touch of romance, a leisurely boat cruise along the Seine River is an absolute must in January. 

As you glide past iconic landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre, you’ll witness the city’s beauty illuminated by twinkling lights, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. If you’re looking for the best European winter destination, Paris in January should be at the top. 

With breathtaking views, cultural treasures, and delectable cuisine, this city offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking charm and romance. So bundle up and embrace the magic that awaits you in Europe’s most captivating capital city. 

10. Nice, France

top 10 best beach cities in europe. Nice, France.

January unveils many enchanting destinations to explore in the picturesque landscape of Europe. As we navigate this wintery wonderland, one city that beckons with its undeniable charm is Nice, nestled on the glamorous French Riviera . 

Renowned for its stunning beaches , vibrant culture, and mild Mediterranean climate, Nice presents an alluring option for those seeking respite from the cold even in winter. Throughout January, Nice experiences relatively mild temperatures compared to other European cities. 

With average highs hovering around 14°C (57°F) and lows around 6°C (43°F), it offers a pleasant escape from the harsh winter conditions elsewhere. This makes it one of the warmest places in Europe during this time of year. 

While you may not be basking in tropical heat, Nice’s moderate climate creates an atmosphere conducive to exploration without excessive layers of clothing. Strolling along the Promenade des Anglais is a quintessential experience while visiting Nice in January. 

This iconic boulevard stretches along the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and boasts breathtaking views. Take leisurely walks or rent a bicycle to soak up the serene coastal beauty while enjoying fresh sea air on your skin—an invigorating way to start your day. 

Venturing into Old Town (Vieux Nice) is another must-do activity during your visit to this charming city. Lose yourself amidst narrow cobblestone streets with pastel-colored buildings adorned with wrought-iron balconies overflowing with vibrant flowers. 

Explore bustling markets such as Cours Saleya and indulge in local delicacies like socca—a savory chickpea pancake—and freshly caught seafood. January is also an opportune time for art enthusiasts as Nice houses several world-class museums worth exploring. 

The Musée Matisse showcases an extensive collection dedicated to renowned French artist Henri Matisse—providing insight into his life and artistic journey. For contemporary art lovers, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) exhibits a diverse range of works by internationally acclaimed artists. 

As you immerse yourself in the cultural delights of Nice, visit the iconic Colline du Château. Although the castle no longer exists, reaching its ruins offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city, coastline, and majestic mountains. 

Take a leisurely hike or an elevator ride to enjoy this breathtaking vantage point that captures the essence of Nice’s allure. In January, Nice emerges as one of Europe’s best cities for those seeking respite from harsh winter climates. 

Whether exploring its coastal beauty, embracing its vibrant culture in Old Town, delving into art museums, or marveling at stunning vistas from Colline du Château—this French Riviera gem promises an enchanting escape. So why not add Nice to your European itinerary and bask in the city’s sunshine-filled ambiance? 

11. Munich, Germany

35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Munich, Germany , is a city that truly comes alive in January. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and Oktoberfest, Munich offers an array of experiences for travelers visiting Europe in January. Despite the chilly temperatures, this city always captivates visitors with its charming architecture and lively atmosphere. 

One of the best things about Munich in January is its magical winter markets. The most famous one is the Tollwood Winter Festival at Theresienwiese. 

This bustling market features an enchanting combination of food stalls offering mouthwatering traditional German delicacies like bratwurst and glühwein (mulled wine) and unique handcrafted goods created by talented local artisans. The festive ambiance with live music performances and dazzling lights makes it a must-visit spot during this time of year. 

For those seeking cultural immersion, Munich boasts an impressive array of museums and art galleries perfect for exploring in January. The Alte Pinakothek houses a magnificent collection of European masterpieces from renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Botticelli. 

Meanwhile, the Deutsches Museum offers fascinating science and technology insight through interactive exhibits catering to all age groups. A visit to Munich would only be complete with diving into its rich beer culture. 

While Oktoberfest may be over by January, there are still plenty of beer halls where you can raise a stein or two. Hofbräuhaus is unquestionably one of the best places to experience authentic Bavarian beer. 

This historic establishment has been serving up frothy brews since 1589 and continues attracting locals and tourists with its lively atmosphere. If you want to escape the winter chill for a while, why not visit SEA LIFE Munich? 

Located at Olympiapark, this underwater wonderland allows visitors to explore marine life from all corners of the globe without leaving the city. From awe-inspiring shark tunnels to interactive touch pools, SEA LIFE Munich is a great destination for families and animal lovers. 

Every trip to Munich in January would be complete with a visit to the stunning Nymphenburg Palace. Surrounded by sprawling gardens, this former summer residence of Bavarian rulers is an architectural marvel that showcases the grandeur of the past. 

Take a leisurely stroll through its opulent halls and learn about the fascinating history of the Wittelsbach dynasty. Overall, Munich truly shines as one of Europe’s best winter holiday spots during January. 

With its charming markets, cultural attractions, lively beer scene, and captivating landmarks, this vibrant city has no shortage of things to see and do. So pack your warmest attire and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in one of Europe’s most captivating destinations! 

12. Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Regarding European cities to visit in January, Berlin , Germany, should be on your list. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and thriving arts scene, Berlin offers a unique experience that is truly captivating. 

Visiting Berlin in early January means you’ll experience the city during its festive period. The Christmas markets might still be open, allowing you to indulge in delicious traditional treats and shop for unique handcrafted gifts . 

The city’s streets are beautifully adorned with twinkling lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere that adds a touch of enchantment to your January vacation . One of the highlights of Berlin in January is the annual International Green Week trade fair. 

This event showcases the best of global food and agriculture and attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s an excellent opportunity to sample delectable cuisines from various countries and learn about sustainable farming practices. 

If you’re up for some winter sports activities, Berlin’s surrounding areas offer fantastic opportunities for skiing or snowboarding. With several ski resorts nearby, such as Wittenberg or Feldberg in the Black Forest region, enthusiasts can hit the slopes and enjoy some exhilarating winter fun. 

Berlin has an array of museums and landmarks for those interested in history and culture that will captivate your attention. The iconic Brandenburg Gate is a must-see attraction that symbolizes unity and peace in Germany . 

Stroll along Unter den Linden boulevard towards Museum Island, where you can explore world-class institutions like the Pergamon Museum or Alte Nationalgalerie. January might be considered the coldest month in Berlin; don’t let that deter you from exploring this remarkable city. 

Bundle up in warm clothing and embrace the chilly weather as you wander through cozy cafes offering hot chocolate or mulled wine – perfect ways to warm yourself up. Visiting Berlin in January offers one of Europe’s best experiences. 

This city truly has something for everyone, from its festive atmosphere and winter activities to its historic landmarks and cultural treasures. So, grab your coat, embrace the cold, and embark on an unforgettable journey in one of the most captivating destinations in Europe. 

13. London, United Kingdom

35 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

London, United Kingdom, is one of the best cities to visit in January. Despite the chilly weather, this iconic city offers a unique and magical experience during this time of year. 

London is a winter destination worth exploring because of its rich history, vibrant culture, and endless attractions. One of the best winter experiences in London is witnessing the city’s transformation into a winter wonderland. 

The streets are adorned with twinkling lights, and famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge are beautifully illuminated. Take advantage of visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where you can enjoy ice skating and thrilling rides and indulge in delicious festive treats. 

If you’re looking for indoor activities to escape the cold, London has an abundance of world-class museums and galleries. The British Museum is a must-visit, housing many artifacts worldwide. 

The Tate Modern allows contemporary art enthusiasts to admire incredible works by renowned artists. And remember the iconic Madame Tussauds wax museum – get up close and personal with lifelike wax figures of your favorite celebrities! 

January is also an ideal time to explore London’s vibrant theater scene. With fewer tourists in January, you’re likelier to snag tickets to popular shows like “The Lion King” or “Phantom of the Opera.” Additionally, many theaters offer discounted rates during this off-peak season. 

For those seeking retail therapy or seeking sales after Christmas season splurges, London’s shopping scene won’t disappoint either. Oxford Street is known for its vast shops catering to every taste and budget. 

If you’re looking for luxury brands and designer labels, head to Harrods in Knightsbridge or Selfridges on Oxford Street. A visit to London would only be complete with indulging in traditional British cuisine. 

Warm up with hearty dishes like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie at cozy pubs scattered throughout the city. Treat yourself to afternoon tea at one of London’s elegant tea rooms, where you can savor finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and various exquisite teas. 

London is one of the best places in Europe to visit in January. From its stunning winter scenery to its diverse cultural experiences and shopping delights, this historic city has something for everyone. 

Whether you want to explore iconic landmarks, immerse yourself in art and history, catch a theater performance, or enjoy British cuisine, London will captivate your senses during winter. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to discover one of the world’s greatest cities in all its wintry glory! 

Read more about London and the UK: Places to Visit in the United Kingdom , Things to Do in London , Day Trips from London

14. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

castles in the united kingdom edinburgh castle scotland

Regarding picturesque European destinations, few can rival the enchanting city of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. This historic Scottish gem offers many attractions and experiences, making it one of the best places in Europe in January. As winter casts its spell over the city, a magical atmosphere descends upon the cobblestone streets, creating an unforgettable holiday experience. 

One of the highlights of visiting Edinburgh in January is the opportunity to immerse yourself in its vibrant festivities. The city comes alive with various monthly events and celebrations, including the world-famous Hogmanay festival. 

Hogmanay is a traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration that attracts visitors from around the globe. Join locals and revelers as they gather on Princes Street for a spectacular street party, complete with live music, dancing, and a mesmerizing fireworks display. 

If you plan your visit to Europe in January, explore some of Edinburgh’s iconic landmarks. Start by discovering the imposing Edinburgh Castle that proudly sits atop Castle Rock. 

From this vantage point, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city below and beyond. As you explore further, go down the Royal Mile – a charming street lined with quaint shops, cafes, and historic attractions such as St Giles’ Cathedral and The Real Mary King’s Close. 

Edinburgh offers an array of intriguing museums and galleries for those seeking artistic inspiration or cultural enrichment during their European adventure in January. The National Museum of Scotland showcases fascinating artifacts that tell stories from across history. 

Meanwhile, art lovers will solace at venues like The Scottish National Gallery or The Fruitmarket Gallery. Every visit to Edinburgh would be complete with indulging in its culinary offerings. 

Warm up with hearty dishes at traditional Scottish pubs or sample local delicacies at one of many fine dining establishments scattered throughout the city center. Exploring Edinburgh’s vibrant farmers’ markets is a must for foodies looking for something unique during their European escapade. 

From fresh produce to artisanal crafts and delectable treats, these markets offer a delightful sensory experience. Regarding weather, it’s important to note that January in Edinburgh can be quite chilly. 

Bundling up in warm clothing and layers is essential, as temperatures can drop below freezing. However, this wintry climate adds to the city’s charm and creates a perfect backdrop for cozying up in quaint cafes or exploring the stunning Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano offering panoramic views of the city. 

Edinburgh truly stands as one of Europe’s best winter destinations, and visiting it in January allows you to witness its unique allure firsthand. Whether captivated by its rich history cultural events, or simply seeking a charming place to escape during the colder months, Edinburgh promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning for more. 

15. Bucharest, Romania

Europe in January

Bucharest , Romania, often referred to as “Little Paris,” is a hidden gem that offers one of the best experiences for those who visit in January. With its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and rich history, Bucharest is one of the best European cities to visit during this time of year. 

Whether you are seeking a winter wonderland or an urban adventure, Bucharest has something for everyone. One of the best things about visiting Bucharest in January is the charm and beauty of its winter landscapes. 

The city transforms into a picturesque wonderland with snow-covered streets and parks. Stroll through Herastrau Park and enjoy the serene atmosphere while taking in breathtaking views of the frozen lake. 

For more adventure, head to Cismigiu Park, where you can go ice skating or indulge in hot mulled wine from the nearby stalls. If you’re a skiing enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that Romania offers one of the best ski resorts in Europe – Poiana Brasov. 

Located just outside Bucharest, Poiana Brasov is easily accessible and provides excellent ski opportunities with its well-groomed slopes and stunning mountain views. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert skier, this place is perfect for enjoying your January vacation. 

Aside from its natural beauty, Bucharest also boasts a vibrant cultural scene that appeals to art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Explore some of the city’s impressive museums, such as the National Museum of Art, or immerse yourself in Romanian folk traditions at The Village Museum. 

Remember to indulge in traditional Romanian cuisine at local restaurants where you can savor mouthwatering dishes like sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled minced meat rolls), and cozonac (sweet bread filled with nuts or chocolate). January is also one of the best times to visit Bucharest to experience its bustling nightlife without dealing with large crowds. 

The city offers many bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can dance the night away or simply unwind with a drink. The Old Town area, with its narrow streets lined with historic buildings, is a hotspot for nightlife and offers a unique atmosphere combining tradition and modernity. 

Regarding accommodation and travel in Bucharest during January, you can find some of the best deals. Many hotels offer discounted rates during this off-peak season, allowing you to experience luxury at a fraction of the cost. 

Additionally, fewer tourists mean shorter queues at popular attractions and a more authentic city experience. Bucharest in January offers one of the best European winter experiences. 

With its charming winter landscapes, cultural richness, and vibrant nightlife scene, it’s no wonder why this city is becoming increasingly popular among travelers seeking an unforgettable winter getaway. So pack your warm clothes and get ready to explore all that Bucharest offers during this magical time of year! 

16. Zakopane, Poland

buried, skis, skier

Zakopane, Poland, is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January. This charming town at the foot of the Tatra Mountains offers a unique winter experience that attracts tourists worldwide. Zakopane is a haven for winter enthusiasts with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and exciting outdoor activities. 

January is the perfect time to visit Zakopane as it transforms into a winter wonderland. The town is covered in snow, creating a picturesque setting straight out of a fairy tale. 

The Tatra Mountains are ideal for skiing and snowboarding, offering well-groomed slopes for beginners and experienced thrill-seekers. Strap on your skis or snowboard and enjoy some of Europe’s best winter sports. 

Aside from skiing, there are plenty of other activities to indulge in during your visit to Zakopane. Take a scenic hike through the snowy trails or ride an adventurous sled down the slopes. 

If you’re up for a challenge, try ice climbing on frozen waterfalls or test your skills at snowshoeing through the pristine wilderness. Zakopane also offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Polish culture and traditions. 

Explore Krupówki Street, lined with quaint wooden stalls selling local crafts and traditional delicacies. Indulge in hearty Polish cuisine like pierogi (dumplings), kielbasa (sausage), and oscypek (smoked cheese). 

Warm up with mulled wine or hot chocolate as you stroll around this charming town. Zakopane provides nature lovers access to stunning national parks such as Tatra National Park and Pieniny National Park. 

Embark on guided tours or witness breathtaking vistas of frozen lakes, towering peaks draped in snow, and majestic waterfalls partially frozen against serene backdrops. Zakopane should undoubtedly be on your list if you plan a city break in January. 

Experience the magic of this winter wonderland and enjoy the best Europe offers during this enchanting time of year. Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking for thrilling activities or simply want to soak in the beauty of nature, Zakopane promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to treasure for a lifetime. 

17. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic Prague, the charming capital city of the Czech Republic, is a truly magical destination in January. 

With its fairytale-like architecture and rich history, this city offers a unique and enchanting experience during the winter months. Known as one of the best places to visit in Europe in January, Prague is sure to captivate you with its beauty and charm. 

January is a great time to visit Prague for several reasons. Firstly, the city is less crowded compared to other peak tourist seasons, allowing you to explore its iconic sites without feeling overwhelmed by crowds. 

It’s also an excellent opportunity to score some of the best deals on flights and accommodations since it’s considered off-peak travel season. Despite being early January, when temperatures can drop quite low in Europe during winter, Prague offers a delightful experience. 

Wrap up warmly as you stroll through the cobblestone streets lined with picturesque buildings adorned with snow. The Christmas decorations might still be up in some areas, creating a cozy and magical atmosphere. 

One of the best things about visiting Prague in January is witnessing its charming Christmas markets. While many European cities close their markets after December 25th, Prague keeps them open until early January. 

Here, you can indulge in delicious local food like Trdelník (a sweet pastry) or savor a warm cup of mulled wine while browsing through unique handicrafts. If you seek cultural experiences, visit Prague’s museums or galleries. 

The National Museum and the Museum of Communism are just two examples that offer fascinating insights into Czech history and culture. Additionally, explore Prague Castle- one of the largest castles worldwide and provides breathtaking views over the city. 

Regarding European weather in January, it’s important to note that while temperatures may drop below freezing point, it doesn’t deter visitors from enjoying Prague’s charms. The city is well-prepared for winter, with many indoor cafes, restaurants, and shops to warm up in. 

Just dress appropriately in layers and embrace the chilly weather as part of the experience. Prague is undeniably one of the best winter destinations in Europe. 

Visiting this enchanting city in January allows you to explore its historical sites without fighting through crowds, enjoy the magical atmosphere of Christmas markets, and indulge in Czech culture and cuisine. So, if you’re looking for a city break during the winter months, Prague should be at the top of your list! 

Hold up! Have you thought about the importance of travel insurance?

Remember this:  anything can happen. Travel is fun, but your health is more important; thus, I always, always, always recommend getting insured during the duration of your trip. I have benefitted from having one multiple times, and it has been covered for thousands of euros!

The latest one is not necessarily “health” related – it was during the peak of the unspeakable terrible C that consumed the world. I was living in Vietnam when I received an email from SafetyWing (my travel insurance) that if I want they’ll fly be back home to Finland as the world goes through a global emergency alert. I flew back fully covered, and dealing with  SafetyWing  was a breeze despite the roar of people in contact with them trying to get back home.

I can’t highly recommend them enough. Otherwise, I rarely get sick; hence I don’t always need to head to a hospital, but knowing that I have travel insurance makes me feel safe at the very least.

Read my post about  why you should get travel insurance  for more information. Otherwise, you can get a free quote from  SafetyWing  – they’re the best, in my opinion.

18. Ljubljana, Slovenia

ljubljana, smarna gora, city

Ljubljana  in Slovenia is freezing cold in January having a maximum temperature of 2 degrees and a minimum of -5 degrees. The beautiful location  Ljubljana  is packed with entertaining events and activities for tourists in January provided they have no issues with freezing weather.

January is one of the best months to visit Ljubljana due to its fun-filled environment and gorgeous winter sceneries. Starting from a fun Ice skating at i-Lucky Land to enjoying the influential opera event of Placido Domingo.

Spend fun times with family watching the ice skating and enjoying Russian circus “Moscow Circus on Ice,” visiting the  musical festival  Ment Ljubljana, and trying out the adventurous cable car dinners over the snow at Krvavec Ski Resort, Ljubljana is among the exciting destinations to spend your winters in January.

Ljubljana is also one of the  cheapest destinations in Europe .

Read more about Ljubjana and Slovenia: Places to Visit in Slovenia , Pretty Castles in Slovenia to Visit , and Day Trips from Ljubljana

19. Venice, Italy

Gondola near Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

The most  romantic  location of Venice becomes one of the cheapest places to visit in January in Europe due to a very less tourist crowd. January is a little bit cold in  Venice , but it is comfortable if you have the right set of woolen garments. The temperature ranges from 3 to 6 degrees and sometimes even drops to 0 degrees.

This is an excellent time for travelers to enjoy its chilly grey atmosphere accompanied by some hot chocolates for extreme pleasure. The location is also perfect during this time for winter photography and takes a casual walk through the streets. You can experience luxurious accommodations at cheaper prices.

The mornings are beautiful in Venice Beach watching the people taking dips in the freezing water, watching the Italian people celebrate Epiphany and Befana with La Befana’s good witch doll.

Join the feast of Saint Anthony’s day and explore the local attractions like Palazzo Ducale, walkthrough Ponte Dei Sospiri, take the Gondola ride at Canal Grande, etc. while the nights are beautiful concerts at Teatro La Fenice and visiting the strategically beautiful riverside  restaurants .

Learn more about Venice and Italy: Things to do in Venice , Day Trips from Venice , Top Places to Visit in Italy

20. Florence, Italy

most visited tourist attractions in europe florence cathedral florence italy

Florence , Italy, is a destination that should definitely be on your radar if you’re looking for the best places to visit in Europe during winter. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence offers one of the best cultural experiences you can find. And January is actually one of the best times to go! 

I know what you might think: “But isn’t January the coldest month?” Yes, it is chilly in Florence during this time of year, but trust me when I say it’s worth braving the cold for all this magnificent city offers. One of the best things about visiting Florence in January is that you’ll experience its renowned art and architecture without navigating through hordes of tourists. 

The famous Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Museum, home to Michelangelo’s David, are much more enjoyable when you don’t have to fight through crowds just to catch a glimpse. Moreover, January is also an ideal time for exploring Florence’s charming cobblestone streets at your own pace. 

Take leisurely strolls along the Arno River and marvel at iconic landmarks such as Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti with fewer distractions. You’ll have more space and time to truly appreciate their beauty and historical significance. 

For those seeking a cozy escape from the cold, Florence offers some delightful indoor activities, too. Warm up with a cup of delicious Italian hot chocolate at one of its charming cafés, or treat yourself to traditional Tuscan cuisine at a local trattoria. 

Indulging in hearty dishes like ribollita (a delicious vegetable soup) or bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan-style steak) will surely warm your body and soul. And let’s remember shopping! 

Florence is renowned for its high-quality leather goods and designer fashion outlets. In January, many stores offer enticing discounts during their winter sales, making it the perfect time to score some stylish finds at a fraction of the usual price. 

If you are planning a trip to Europe in January and are seeking a destination that offers both cultural richness and a chance to embrace the winter season, Florence should definitely be on your list. With fewer crowds, stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, and enticing shopping opportunities, this jewel of Italy is ready to enchant you during your winter escape. 

21. Pisa, Ital y

man-made structures in europe leaning tower of pisa

Pisa is one of the best destinations to  visit in January in Europe

Pisa in  Italy , which is world-famous for its leaning tower experience cold weather in the month of January with temperatures between 7 to 10 degrees and can drop up to 3 degrees at night. Pisa may not be the warmest place in Europe in January; still, the location enjoys quite a good amount of sunshine, which is a pleasure for the  European winters .

Pisa is such a breathtaking location with its picture-perfect tourist destinations and  historical heritage sites  that it adds a different flavor every month of the year in terms of its weather influencing the scenic beauty.

Some of the best attractions to explore in Pisa are –  Leaning Tower , Banks of the Arno, Piazza Dei Miracoli, Battistero, ski in the districts of Tuscany and  ski resorts , enjoy the Opera nights and Tuscany winter festivals and Carnevale, visit the Santa Maria della Spina, take a stroll at the Guelph tower, explore the beautiful Mezzo Bridge and many  attractive tourist destinations .

Learn more about Pisa and Italy: Things to do in Pisa , Day Trips from Pisa

22. Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

If you’re planning a trip to Europe in January, Rome should definitely be on your list of must-visit destinations. Known as the Eternal City, Rome offers a unique blend of ancient history, stunning architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine that will leave you awe-inspired. January is a great time to visit Rome for several reasons. 

Firstly, the city is less crowded than the peak tourist season, so you can enjoy some of the best attractions without long queues or overwhelming crowds. Plus, you’ll have more space and time to explore at your own pace with fewer tourists. 

One of the best places in Europe to visit in January is undoubtedly Rome. The city boasts mild winter temperatures perfect for exploring its picturesque streets and iconic landmarks. 

While it may not be beach weather, you won’t have to worry about extreme cold or snowstorms. There’s plenty of options regarding things to do in Rome during this time of year. 

You can start by exploring the historic Colosseum and Roman Forum – two attractions that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Stroll through cobblestone streets with charming cafes and boutique shops in neighborhoods like Trastevere or Monti. 

Winter sports enthusiasts will also appreciate that January is one of the best times to hit European ski slopes. Although Rome doesn’t offer ski resorts nearby, it’s well-connected with other winter destinations in Italy, such as Cortina d’Ampezzo or Livigno, where you can enjoy thrilling downhill runs or even try snowboarding. 

But let’s remember the culinary delights that Rome has to offer during this season! Indulge yourself with authentic Italian cuisine – from piping hot bowls of pasta carbonara and delicious thin-crust pizzas topped with fresh ingredients to decadent pastries like cannoli or tiramisu – your taste buds are in for a treat. 

Rome is an incredible European city to visit in January. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and delectable food, you will surely have a memorable experience. 

So pack your warm clothes, explore the ancient ruins, savor Italian delicacies, and immerse yourself in the charm of this timeless city. Rome awaits you with open arms! 

23. Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Ah, Positano, Italy! Nestled on the Amalfi Coast, this charming coastal village is a warm winter escape that should be at the top of your list when considering places in Europe to visit in January. 

Known for its stunning cliffside views and colorful buildings cascading down to the turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Positano is a slice of paradise even during the coldest winter months. In January, while most of Europe shivers in bone-chilling temperatures, Positano enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. 

With average highs reaching around 15°C (59°F) and lows hovering around 9°C (48°F), it’s best to pack some layers to stay comfortable throughout your visit. The warmer winter weather makes it an ideal time to explore this picturesque town without the summer crowds that usually flock here. 

Positano is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January because of its unique charm and tranquility. Stroll along narrow cobblestone streets with boutique shops selling local handmade crafts and stylish fashion. 

Take leisurely walks on scenic pathways offering breathtaking coastline views and vibrant bougainvillea-covered houses perched precariously on cliffs. While exploring this enchanting European city in January, visit Fornillo Beach. 

While swimming might not be on your itinerary due to cooler temperatures, you can still take peaceful seaside walks along its shoreline or bask in the serenity offered by this less crowded spot. When hunger strikes after a day of exploration, indulge in authentic Italian cuisine at one of Positano’s many charming restaurants. 

Treat yourself to fresh seafood pasta dishes or traditional Neapolitan pizza while enjoying panoramic sea views from cliffside terraces. If you’re looking for retail therapy or want to immerse yourself in local culture, explore the weekly markets held in Piazza dei Mulini. 

From fresh produce to handmade crafts and souvenirs, these markets offer a vibrant atmosphere where you can experience the true essence of Positano. If you plan your visit to Europe in January 2023, Positano in Italy should be high on your list of places. 

With its warm winter climate, stunning coastal views, charming streets, and delectable cuisine, this European gem is a delightful escape from the cold. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure to this picturesque village on the Amalfi Coast. 

24. Barcelona, Spain

spain, barcelona, arc de triomphe

Barcelona is one of the best places to  visit in europe  in January,

Barcelona in  Spain is one of the best places to visit in January  if you are thinking about where to go in  Europe in January.  It has not too warm climate nor too freezy being very much comfortable for the tourists to enjoy Europe in January. While the daylight temperatures range between 10 to 13 degrees, at night it can drop to a maximum of 5 to 7 degrees not below that saving you from the freezing weather.

The tourist rush is also less during this time, having  reduced flight fares  and  hotel prices . Barcelona can also be referred to as one of the cheapest places to travel in January in Europe. There are lots of winter attractions for the tourists to enjoy in January like  visiting Gaudi’s main pieces , enjoying events like “Three Kings Parade,” and “Els 3 Tombs & Sant Antoni festival”.

You can take casual daylight walks through the Ramblas and Barri Gotic, explore the Barcelona Aquarium, and visit Museo Picasso and many entertaining locations.

Spain  being the warmest country in Europe and among the hot European countries in January helps you have a comfortable winter vacation in Europe. Whether you are looking for the  best European cities to visit  in January or the best places in Europe to visit in January, Barcelona is a must inclusion in both lists.

Read more about Barcelona and Spain: Places to Visit in Spain , Things to do in Barcelona , Day Trips from Barcelona

25. Costa del Sol, Spain

Nerja, Costa del Sol, Andalusia

Located on the stunning southern coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol is a beloved winter destination for travelers seeking a warm and sunny escape. This region boasts mild temperatures in January, making it an ideal place to visit in Europe if you’re looking for the best winter getaway. With its beautiful beaches , vibrant cities, and charming towns, the Costa del Sol offers many attractions and activities that will make your trip memorable. 

Malaga is among the best places to visit along the Costa del Sol in January. This lively city welcomes tourists in January with its pleasant climate and cultural festivities. 

Stroll along the bustling La Malagueta beach promenade or explore the historic center’s enchanting narrow streets. Take advantage of visiting iconic landmarks such as Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress offering breathtaking views of the city, or Picasso Museum, where you can admire works by one of Spain’s greatest artists. 

Marbella is another must-see destination on the Costa del Sol during January. This glamorous city attracts visitors from all over Europe seeking warm winters and luxurious experiences. 

Wander through Puerto Banus Marina, lined with extravagant yachts and high-end boutiques, or relax on one of Marbella’s pristine beaches . For those seeking tranquility amidst natural beauty, head to Sierra Blanca Mountain Range or explore Old Town Marbella with its quaint Andalusian architecture and charming squares. 

If you’re an avid golfer, Estepona will captivate you with its numerous golf courses against breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and Sierra Bermeja Mountains. Embrace your adventurous side by visiting Selwo Adventure Park, where you can encounter exotic animals from around the world in a natural environment. 

If you’re traveling to Europe in January 2023 hoping for sun-drenched relaxation, look no further than Fuengirola. This coastal town offers long sandy beaches, perfect for a leisurely stroll or basking in the sun. 

Discover the vibrant atmosphere of Fuengirola’s lively promenade lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. Be sure to visit Bioparc Fuengirola, a unique zoo that immerses you in different ecosystems and allows you to observe animals up close. 

The Costa del Sol is undoubtedly one of the best winter destinations in Europe, especially during January. With its warm weather, picturesque landscapes, and an array of attractions to explore, this region caters to all tastes and interests. 

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or looking for cultural experiences in vibrant cities like Malaga and Marbella, the Costa del Sol will surely provide an unforgettable vacation experience. So pack your bags and get ready to enjoy some of the best that winter offers in this sunny paradise along Spain’s southern coast. 

26. Madrid, Spain

madrid, spain, building

If you’re looking for the perfect time to visit Madrid , Spain, January is one of the best times. Although it may be winter in Europe , Madrid offers a relatively mild climate during this time. 

While other parts of the continent may be covered in snow and freezing temperatures, Madrid provides a warm winter getaway that is hard to resist. Despite being the capital city of Spain, Madrid retains a friendly and laid-back atmosphere that is particularly enjoyable in January. 

As you explore the city’s charming streets, you’ll notice fewer crowds than peak tourist seasons. This means shorter lines at popular attractions such as the Royal Palace or the Prado Museum. 

You can take your time appreciating famous masterpieces without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. One of the great advantages of visiting Madrid in January is its bustling cultural scene. 

The city offers one of the best theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions during this period. With various venues hosting lively events throughout January, you can find something captivating to attend each night. 

For those seeking outdoor activities, Madrid also boasts several stunning parks perfect for leisurely strolls or invigorating jogs. The Retiro Park is particularly enchanting during winter with its tranquil lake and leafless trees that create a unique ambiance. 

You can even rent a rowboat on a sunny day and enjoy some peaceful moments on the water. And let’s remember food! 

Spanish cuisine is renowned worldwide for its delectable flavors and tapas culture. In Madrid, you’ll find countless charming restaurants serving traditional dishes such as paella or patatas bravas alongside modern culinary creations by innovative chefs. 

Remember to pair your meal with sangria or local wine for an authentic experience. If you’re searching for an unforgettable European destination in January, look no further than Madrid. 

With its mild weather conditions compared to other parts of Europe, an abundance of cultural events, beautiful parks, and mouthwatering cuisine, this vibrant city offers one of the best winter getaways you can find. So pack your bags, and get ready to immerse yourself in the warmth and charm of Madrid! 

27. Alicante, Spain

Urban landscape, view of the Mediterranean city of Alicante, Spain

When choosing a destination in January, Alicante, Spain, is undoubtedly one of Europe’s best places to travel. While some may think of sunny beaches and warm weather when they think of Alicante, visiting this coastal gem in January can offer a unique and captivating experience. Contrary to popular belief, January is an ideal time to visit Europe to avoid the crowds of tourists that flood popular destinations during peak seasons. 

In Alicante, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the city and its charming streets without feeling overwhelmed by hordes of visitors. You can take leisurely walks along the tranquil promenade or venture into the narrow alleys of Barrio de Santa Cruz without jostling through throngs of people. 

But what about the weather in Europe in January? Well, fear not! 

While much of Europe may face harsh winter conditions during this time, Alicante enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate even in winter. With average temperatures ranging from 12-18°C (54-64°F), you can enjoy pleasant strolls along the beach or sip coffee at one of the cozy outdoor cafés that dot the city. 

If you visit Alicante in January, visit one of its fascinating historical sites – Castillo de Santa Bárbara. Sitting atop Mount Benacantil, this imposing castle offers one of the best panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. 

You can take a leisurely hike up or an elevator ride for those who prefer a more relaxed approach. Alicante truly shines as a destination in January with its pleasant weather and less crowded atmosphere than other European countries. 

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on sandy beaches or exploring historical landmarks like Castillo de Santa Bárbara, this Spanish gem has it all. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable January vacation – Alicante awaits! 

28. Mallorca, Spain

Cala Figuera Mallorca Balearic Islands Port

Mallorca , Spain – a gem in Europe in January When it comes to dreamy holiday spots, Mallorca always shines brightly on the radar. And guess what? 

January is one of the best times to go! While the rest of the continent might be shivering in winter’s grip, this Balearic island offers a delightful escape with its mild and sunny climate. 

Mallorca should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for the best deals and fewer tourists in January. One of the best things about visiting Mallorca in January is exploring its pristine beaches without fighting for a spot or contending with throngs of tourists. 

Imagine strolling along golden sands that stretch as far as your eyes can see, with turquoise waters gently lapping at your feet. Playa de Palma is a fantastic beach in January; it boasts crystal-clear waters and a promenade lined with charming cafes where you can warm up over coffee. 

Apart from its stunning coastline, Mallorca offers an array of enchanting towns and villages just waiting to be explored. Make sure to visit Palma de Mallorca, the capital known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, La Seu. 

Wander through its narrow winding streets adorned with vibrant architecture and stumble upon hidden gems like quaint cafes and boutique shops. Another must-visit place on this sunny island is Sóller, nestled amidst mountains and boasting picturesque landscapes. 

Take a ride on the vintage Sóller train for spectacular views and immerse yourself in the cozy charm of this town. When traveling to Europe in January 2023 or any other year, Mallorca is one of the best places to visit. 

Whether you want to bask under warm winter sunrays on pristine beaches or explore charming towns steeped in history, this Balearic beauty has got you covered. So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to embark on a delightful January vacation in Mallorca. 

29. Lisbon, Portugal

Is Lisbon worth visiting? In this post, lets discover its historical significance, picturesque landscapes, vibrant nightlife, gastronomical delights, and more!

Ah, Lisbon – the vibrant capital of Portugal. This city offers one of the best European experiences; in January, it’s no exception. 

In fact, January is a fantastic time to visit Lisbon . Sure, it may be the coldest month in this part of Europe, but fear not! 

The weather in January can still be quite pleasant for those who are prepared. One of the best things about visiting Lisbon in January is that you won’t have to deal with heavy crowds or long lines at popular attractions like the Tower of Belém or Jerónimos Monastery. 

You can explore these iconic landmarks without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by tourist crowds. Despite being winter, Lisbon still offers one of the mildest climates in Europe during this time of year. 

While it may not be beach weather, temperatures typically range from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), making it perfect for strolling through charming neighborhoods and enjoying outdoor activities without freezing your toes off. Another reason why Lisbon is one of the best places to visit in January is its rich cultural scene. 

The city boasts numerous museums and galleries you can explore at your leisure. From modern art at the Museu Coleção Berardo to historical artifacts at the National Museum of Ancient Art, there’s something for everyone’s taste. 

If you’re a food lover like me (and honestly, who isn’t?), you’re in for a treat when visiting Lisbon in winter. The city is known for its delicious cuisine and warm hospitality all year round. 

Enjoy this quieter season by indulging yourself in traditional Portuguese dishes like bacalhau à brás (a codfish dish) or pastéis de nata (custard tarts). And don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of port wine – after all, Portugal is famous for it! 

Lisbon is one of the best European cities to visit in January. You’ll experience its rich cultural heritage, enjoy mild winter temperatures, and savor authentic Portuguese cuisine without the usual crowds. 

So, if you’re planning a winter getaway, consider adding Lisbon to your list of must-visit destinations. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed! 

30. Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal old town view with Douro river

Regarding winter destinations in Europe, Porto , Portugal, is one of the best things you can do in January. Let me tell you why. First of all, Porto is known for its stunning architecture and charming riverside views. 

Imagine strolling along the Douro River, with its picturesque colorful buildings and iconic Dom Luís I Bridge towering above you. It’s truly a sight to behold. 

January is the best time to visit Porto because you can enjoy this beautiful city without the crowds that usually flock here during the peak tourist season. You will have more space to explore at your own pace and find some of the best deals on accommodation and flights during this time. 

It’s a win-win situation! In terms of weather, Porto may not be one of the sunniest places in Europe during January, but it still has a certain charm that makes up for it. 

Pack your warmest winter coat and get ready to embrace the crisp air as you wander through Porto’s narrow streets lined with cozy cafes and inviting restaurants. And don’t forget to try some of their famous port wine while you’re here – it’s an absolute must! 

There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy in Porto during January. Explore historic landmarks like São Bento Railway Station with its stunning tiled walls or venture into Livraria Lello, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. 

If you’re looking for retail therapy, head to Bolhão Market, where you can find fresh produce and local delicacies. To sum it up, if you’re planning on traveling to Europe in January and looking for a great place to visit, Porto should definitely be on your list. 

With its charming atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and fewer crowds compared to other times of the year, January is a fantastic time to experience all this Portuguese gem offers. So grab your coat and prepare for an unforgettable city break in Porto! 

31. Azores, Portugal

Mountain landscape with hiking trail and view of beautiful lakes, Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal.

If you’re looking for the best places to travel in Europe in January , the Azores should definitely be on your list. Situated in Portugal, this group of islands is a hidden gem that offers stunning natural beauty and a unique charm. January is a fantastic time to visit the Azores as it is the coldest month, making it less crowded with tourists. 

The Azores is known for its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities. From hiking through lush green valleys to exploring volcanic craters, there is no shortage of adventures here. 

One of the best places in Europe to satisfy your wanderlust, this archipelago boasts picturesque lakes and hot springs that offer relaxation amidst nature’s wonders. One must-visit spot in the Azores during January is Lagoa das Sete Cidades. 

This twin lake surrounded by rolling green hills will leave you awe-struck with its beauty. The contrasting colors of blue and green are mesmerizing and make for a perfect photo opportunity. 

Additionally, don’t miss out on visiting Ponta Delgada, the vibrant capital city of the Azores, where you can explore historic churches charming streets, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. In terms of weather, while January may be one of the coldest months in Europe overall, the Azores enjoys milder temperatures due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. 

Although rain showers are common this season, they often create enchanting misty landscapes that add to the island’s allure. So embrace your adventurous spirit and visit Europe in January by exploring one of its sunniest places – the beautiful Azores! 

32. Santorini, Greece

top day trips from santorini greece naxos

Santorini is just like a paradise in  Greece  painted all in white, which is a coastal island on the banks of the Aegean Sea. The royal blue water of the Aegean sea contrasted with the whitish  isle of Santorini  is something straight out of heaven. The destination has pleasant cold weather in January ranging from 10 to 14 degrees and comparatively warmer, unlike the freezing European destinations.

It is not the  warmest place in Europe  in January but receives a burst of good sunshine for seven long hours. January is off tourist season, and hence it is an excellent time to explore the painted locations of this coastal island.

It offers various luxurious winter activities for tourists like staying in the cave villa overlooking the beautiful Aegean Sea, visiting the painted white village of Oia and its historic homes.

Explore the glamorous winter restaurants, shops in the town of Fira and take a cable car ride over the Aegean sea, visit the blue dome of Firostefani, view the stunning Aegean sea from Imerovigli, trek to the highest point of Mount Profiti Ilas, rake a stroll on the Red and Black beach and lots of activities to spend the  winter days .

Read more about Santorini and Greece: Places to Visit in Greece , Things to do in Santorini , Day Trips from Santorini

33. Athens, Greece

The Acropolis, Greece

Athens , Greece, is one of the best places to visit in January. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and mild winter weather, it offers one of the best European city breaks in Europe during winter. The city is surprisingly less crowded than the peak tourist season, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a more peaceful and authentic experience. 

One of the highlights of visiting Athens in January is exploring its ancient ruins without being jostled by large crowds. The iconic Acropolis, home to the Parthenon and other magnificent structures from ancient times is usually much quieter during this time of year. 

You can take your time absorbing the grandeur and significance of these historical landmarks without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Aside from its historical sites, Athens has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous museums and art galleries. 

On a rainy day or when you want to take a break from sightseeing, you can visit one of these cultural institutions. The National Archaeological Museum is particularly renowned for housing an extensive collection of artifacts showcasing Greece’s fascinating past. 

Another advantage of visiting Athens in January is that you can enjoy a more affordable trip compared to other months when prices tend to skyrocket. Flight deals and discounted hotel rates are often available during this off-peak season. 

Plus, with fewer tourists, you’ll have more flexibility when choosing accommodations and dining options. If you are considering a trip to Europe in January 2023 and want to make the most of your visit, consider Athens a top destination. 

Whether you are captivated by its ancient history or simply want to immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, this Greek city has plenty to offer all year round. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Athens! 

34. Crete, Greece

top day trips from santorini greece crete chania

Crete , Greece, is one of the best places to visit in Europe in January. Known for its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and rich cultural heritage, Crete offers a unique experience during this time of year. While some may shy away from traveling to Europe in winter, January is a great time to explore this beautiful island. 

One of the best things about visiting Crete in January is the lack of crowds. Unlike the busy summer months when tourists flock to the island, January offers a more tranquil and peaceful experience. 

You can wander through the charming streets of Chania or Heraklion without battling throngs of tourists. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and truly appreciate the beauty of Crete. 

Another advantage of visiting Crete in January is that it’s one of the warmest places in Europe during this time. While other European cities might be blanketed with snow or experiencing freezing temperatures, Crete enjoys mild weather with average temperatures ranging from 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit). 

It’s perfect for those who want to escape the winter chill and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or exploring archaeological sites. If you’re looking for a city break in January, visit Heraklion, which is not only Crete’s largest city but also home to numerous historical landmarks. 

Explore the ancient ruins at Knossos Palace and marvel at its rich Minoan heritage. Stroll along Venetian walls or visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection dating back thousands of years. 

If you plan to travel to Europe in January, take advantage of exploring Crete, Greece. With its mild weather and fewer crowds compared to peak tourist seasons, it’s one of the best places on the continent during this time. 

Whether you’re fascinated by history or simply craving a relaxing beach getaway, Crete offers a perfect mix of cultural heritage and natural beauty. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and immerse yourself in the enchanting charms of Crete. 

35. Stockholm, Sweden

Aerial panorama of Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a city that truly shines in the month of January. The city is covered in a blanket of pristine snow and the crisp winter air creates a serene and peaceful atmosphere. For those seeking a winter wonderland experience, Stockholm is the perfect destination.

One of the reasons why Stockholm is a great place to visit in January is the plethora of winter activities available. Visitors can enjoy ice-skating on the stunning natural ice rinks, skiing in the beautiful parks, and even trying their hand at ice fishing. There are also several winter festivals taking place in the city including the Stockholm Light Festival, which is a breathtaking display of light installations set across the city.

Another reason why Stockholm is a must-visit in January is its unique culture and history. The city is home to world-renowned museums like the Vasa Museum, which offers insight into the rich maritime history of the region. There are also numerous art galleries and theatres for culture enthusiasts to indulge in. The city’s old town, Gamla Stan, is a must-visit for any history buffs as it is a well-preserved medieval city center and the birthplace of Stockholm.

For foodies, Stockholm is a heaven for gastronomic delights. During winter, warm and hearty food is paramount and Stockholm has plenty to offer, from traditional Swedish meatballs to spicy gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. The city has a wide range of dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants and street food markets, all of which are guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning of palates.

Overall, Stockholm is a stunning winter destination and deserves a spot on anyone’s travel list. From its natural beauty to its unique culture, the city has so much to offer and is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in January in Europe.

How to prepare your trip to Europe in the winter?

Europe around this time of the year is cold and regardless of where you’re heading to, you must dress properly for the weather to avoid getting sick from the weather. Here are our top posts to help you stay warm while exploring these beautiful destinations:

  • What to Pack for Winter in Europe + Printable Ladies Packing List!
  • Travel Jacket: Best Lightweight Winter Travel Jacket for Women
  • Top 10 Best Women’s Winter Shoes for Travel
  • Top 10 Best Men’s Winter Shoes for Travel

Tips for Travelling to Europe in January

Weather considerations in europe in january.

January is often overlooked as an ideal time to explore Europe, but it’s one of the best times to visit. Sure, the weather may not be as warm as during the summer, but if you’re looking for the best European cities to visit without throngs of tourists, January is the perfect time. Let’s dive into some weather considerations for your European adventure in January. 

When it comes to weather in January, it’s essential to keep in mind that Europe experiences diverse climates across its regions. In Southern Europe , countries like Spain and Portugal can offer surprisingly mild temperatures compared to other parts of the continent. 

Alicante, in Spain, often referred to as one of the warmest places in Europe during winter, boasts agreeable temperatures around 15-17 degrees Celsius (59-63 degrees Fahrenheit). Imagine strolling along beautiful beaches and enjoying some of the city’s best views without heavy winter clothing! 

Moving further eastward towards Greece, Athens, and Crete are among the sunniest places in Europe during January. With average temperatures hovering around 13-15 degrees Celsius (55-59 degrees Fahrenheit), these destinations offer a pleasant escape from colder climates. 

Picture yourself wandering through ancient ruins like the Acropolis or basking under gentle rays of sunshine on a charming Greek island. However, it’s important to note that not all parts of Europe experience such mild conditions in January. 

Northern European countries like Norway or Sweden have considerably colder climates, with temperatures often dipping below freezing point. So, if you plan on exploring these regions during this time of year, be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable and safe. 

So whether you opt for a warmer place like Alicante or embrace colder landscapes up north, there are plenty of amazing places to visit in January across Europe. Check specific weather forecasts for your chosen destinations and pack accordingly to enjoy your European adventure during this unique time of the year. 

Essential clothing and gear to battle European winter

When traveling to Europe in January, one of the most important considerations is packing the right clothing and gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip. The weather during this time can vary greatly across European cities, ranging from chilly temperatures to downright frosty conditions. 

So, it’s essential to be prepared with appropriate attire. Firstly, make sure to pack plenty of warm layers. 

This includes thermal undergarments, thick sweaters or fleeces, and a good winter coat. Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your extremities from the cold. 

Waterproof boots with good traction are also crucial for navigating icy streets or snowy terrains. Layering is key as it allows you to adjust your clothing to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. 

Additionally, investing in a sturdy umbrella or raincoat is advisable as January tends to be a wet month in many European cities. Having reliable rain gear will help keep you dry and protect your other belongings as you explore popular tourist spots or stroll through charming cobblestone streets. 

Another essential item for your travel wardrobe is comfortable footwear. Opt for shoes that are not only warm but also practical for walking long distances. 

Consider bringing insulated and waterproof boots that offer style and functionality, ensuring your feet stay dry and cozy while exploring European cityscapes. Remember accessories such as sunglasses (yes, even in winter) since snow glare can be intense on sunny days. 

Also, consider packing a travel-sized umbrella or foldable poncho that can easily fit into your bag if you visit places known for their frequent rainy spells. By packing these essential clothing items and gear suitable for Europe’s winter climate in January, you’ll be well-prepared for any weather conditions that may come your way during your travels across the continent. 

Adjusting travel plans for shorter daylight hours

Adjusting your travel plans to accommodate shorter daylight hours is crucial in January. As winter envelopes Europe, the days grow shorter, giving you fewer daylight hours to explore. 

However, fret not, for there are several ways to make the most of this enchanting time of year. One way to adapt your itinerary is by planning your activities accordingly. 

Aim to visit indoor attractions and museums during the early morning and late afternoon hours when natural light is still available. You can experience Europe’s cultural wonders without wasting precious daylight. 

Museums such as the Louvre in Paris or the British Museum in London are ideal for immersing yourself in art and history. Additionally, consider prioritizing outdoor activities that can still be enjoyed even with limited daylight. 

For example, embarking on scenic walks or hikes during midday can provide breathtaking views while making daylight most available. Exploring winter destinations in Europe, like Switzerland’s picturesque alpine towns or Austria’s snow-covered mountains, can be a feast for the senses during January. 

Furthermore, it’s essential to be mindful of safe transportation options during reduced daylight. Plan your journeys accordingly and avoid traveling long distances during late evening hours when visibility may be compromised. 

Opting for public transportation rather than driving allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery without worrying about navigating unfamiliar roads in limited light. Adjusting your travel plans for shorter daylight hours in January doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences; it presents an opportunity to discover Europe’s charm from a unique perspective. 

Embrace this time by exploring its indoor marvels and indulging in outdoor adventures that showcase its winter beauty. Whether marveling at historical sites or relishing warm winter delicacies at vibrant markets, Europe in January is undeniably a great place and time to visit – so make sure it’s on your list! 

Prepare for possible early closing times of many establishments

Now that we’ve covered the essentials of traveling to Europe in January, you need to remember the possibility of early closing times for many establishments. While this may not be a concern during peak tourist season, it becomes more relevant during the quieter winter months. 

So, let me shed some light on why this happens and how you can best prepare for it. January is one of the best times to visit Europe if you prefer a less crowded experience. 

However, with fewer tourists in January, some businesses and attractions may adjust their operating hours accordingly. It’s common to find that museums, shops, and even restaurants might close earlier than usual or have limited opening days throughout the week. 

This is especially true in smaller towns or off-the-beaten-path destinations. To navigate these potential obstacles smoothly, it’s essential to plan ahead and do your research. 

Check the official websites or contact establishments directly before your visit. They often update their opening hours online or have automated phone systems that provide up-to-date information regarding closures or changes in schedule. 

When exploring Europe in January – whether wandering through ancient streets or enjoying breathtaking views of the city – consider that cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona usually have a vibrant nightlife scene, even during winter. However, certain areas may shut down earlier than usual due to reduced foot traffic. 

In addition to being aware of early closing times, another tip is to prioritize sightseeing and activities during daytime hours when most places are open. This way, you can make the most of your trip without missing out on any must-see attractions! 

Whether you’re visiting renowned museums like the Louvre in Paris or exploring historical landmarks such as Rome’s Colosseum – ensure you plan accordingly to enjoy these incredible sights while they’re open. By considering these factors and planning ahead, you’ll be well-prepared for early closing times and ensure you make the most of your visit to Europe in January. 

Remember, although your itinerary may require more flexibility, the rewards of experiencing Europe during this time are worth it. So embrace the opportunity to explore captivating destinations with fewer crowds, immerse yourself in local culture, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime! 

What are my favorite travel must-haves?

As a frequent traveler, I’ve learned a lot throughout my years of travel, and there are five items that I always carry with me regardless of where I go and how long the trip is. Here are my five travel must-haves!

  • Warm packable jacket  – I always carry a light jacket, even when heading to warm countries. There hasn’t been a time I never used it, especially in airports and planes.
  • Transparent toiletry bag  – I often bring a carry-on if I’m only traveling within Europe for a few days. Life is so much easier to go through security checks with a transparent toiletry bag.
  • Kindle Paperwhite  – I love a good read and always take my Kindle everywhere. It keeps me entertained during long flights and waiting times.
  • Powerbank  – I don’t know how I could travel without one! Having a power bank saved me a ton since I carry a lot of electronic devices with me.
  • Travel Adapter  – I never leave my luggage without a travel adapter! I carry one with me all the time. It is just one of that travel-must haves that doesn’t hurt to have in your bag at all times.

So, planning your visit to Europe in January?

January is a fantastic time to explore Europe, with its unique charm and various destinations that offer unforgettable experiences. Whether seeking a winter wonderland or escaping the cold, Europe has something to offer for every traveler in January. From the sun-soaked cities of Alicante and Mallorca in Spain to the vibrant cultural hubs of Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, there is no shortage of amazing places to visit in January. 

Athens, Greece, is one of the best cities to consider for a city break in January. With milder temperatures than other European destinations during this time, Athens offers a pleasant escape with its rich history and archaeological wonders. 

Explore iconic sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon while enjoying fewer crowds at this time of year. Another excellent choice is Crete, Greece’s largest island. 

Known for its stunning beaches and picturesque landscapes, Crete remains one of the sunniest places in Europe, even during winter. Enjoy mild temperatures, explore ancient ruins such as Knossos Palace, or simply relax on beautiful beaches without fighting for space. 

Traveling to Europe in January can provide a unique and memorable experience. Whether you embrace the winter charm or seek warmth in sunny destinations like Alicante or Crete, plenty of amazing places await discovering. 

The best part is that January is also one of the best times to visit these destinations due to fewer crowds and more affordable prices. So pack your bags and prepare for an incredible adventure as you explore some of Europe’s best places this winter season! 

Plan your trip to Europe: Monthly breakdown

  • Europe in January
  • Europe in February
  • Europe in March
  • Europe in April
  • Europe in May
  • Europe in June
  • Europe in July
  • Europe in August
  • Europe in September
  • Europe in October
  • Europe in November
  • Europe in December

Plan your trip to Europe by season

  • Winter in Europe: Top 21 Winter Destinations in Europe
  • Spring in Europe: Top 15 Spring Destinations in Europe
  • Summer in Europe: Top 14 Best Summer Destinations in Europe
  • Autumn in Europe: Top 15 Fall Destinations in Europe

Europe by Experience

  • Northern Lights Holiday: Top 10 Destinations to Spot Aurora Borealis
  • Where to See the Midnight Sun: Top 8 Places Where the Sun Never Sets
  • 25 Beautiful Castles in Europe That Would Inspire Your Wanderlust
  • 30 BEST Fairytale like Towns in Europe (That Will Tickle Your Wanderlust)
  • Top 20 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Visit for Budget Travelers
  • Top 10 BEST Destinations for New Year’s Eve in Europe
  • Christmas in Europe: Top 15 MAGICAL Ideas for Christmas
  • 26+ Best National Parks in Europe You Must Check Out!
  • Top 25 Best European Foods You Must Try!
  • Top 15 Best Road Trips in Europe
  • 30 BEST Places to Visit in Europe
  • 26 Most Romantic Destinations in Europe
  • Top 10 Party Destinations in Europe to Experience

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Dreaming of a winter getaway? Check out this list of the best places to visit in Europe in January for an unforgettable experience!

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About me

Evan Kristine a.k.a Pretty Wild World is a professional travel blogger with over 10 years of experience in content creation. Originally from the Philippines, she's been living in Finland for 15+ years working as a chef and entrepreneur in Tampere, Finland.

She's an expert in Finland travel and explores the country often sharing her insights and tips in this blog and social medias. She also splits her free time either going for weekend getaways in Europe or galavanting to different European destinations on her holidays. All her useful Europe travel guides are also in this blog!

Evan Kristine is also the food blogger behind at The Kitchen Abroad and on her free time, she enjoys decorating her 75m2 apartment and shares her experience over at Solía Avenue .

A true master of her own life and despite her busy schedule juggling life as a chef, blogger, and entrepreneur, she still finds time to read 50+ books a year and indulge in several hobbies like hiking, working out, yoga, and painting.

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The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

With all the excitement of Christmas and New Year’s , it’s easy to be so overwhelmed with everything going on that you completely forget what a great month January is for traveling . At this time of year, many of Europe’s most charismatic cities are deserted, meaning you can visit the iconic museums and see the famous landmarks without having to fight your way through crowds. 

There’s no way around it – most of Europe is pretty chilly in January. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ancient fairytale villages look even more magical when they’re covered in a light dusting of snow, and remote ski resorts provide a dynamic alternative if you want to get away from cosmopolitan life.

Whether you want to lounge on a sun-kissed beach and forget that winter even exists or embrace the enchanting season and explore medieval towns while feeling like you’re the only person in the world, January is a great time to travel throughout Europe. To help you plan the perfect winter escape, we’ve put together a fantastic selection of warm-weather destinations and winter wonderlands for you to check out!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

The 15 Best Places in Europe to Visit in January

1. tenerife, canary islands.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is one of your best options if you’re looking for warm European destinations in January. The volcanic archipelago is located closer to northwestern Africa than it is to mainland Spain, giving it a wonderful climate all year round. In January, temperatures rarely drop below 60°F (15°C), and they can often go as high as 70°F (21°C). If there’s a Calima sandstorm, temperatures can even spike up to a boiling 90°F (32°C).

Not only are the Canary Islands a fabulous place to visit in January because of the weather, but this special time of year is also when you’ll find the biggest Christmas celebrations. While Christmas Day is certainly acknowledged, the main festive event takes place on the eve of Epiphany (January 5).

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife is a fantastic place to be at this time of year when cities throughout the island come to life in preparation to welcome the three kings. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s capital city, the three kings arrive by helicopter and parade throughout the streets on camels, handing out gifts and sweets to children who have been well-behaved all year!

2. Belgrade, Serbia

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Belgrade, Serbia

If New Year’s is your favorite celebration, spend January in Belgrade, Serbia. Not only will you be able to celebrate the typical New Year’s Day on January 1, but you’ll get to celebrate the beginning of the Serbian New Year on January 15, too.

Serbia is a largely Eastern Orthodox country that uses the Julian calendar as its liturgical calendar. This means locals in Belgrade celebrate Christmas Day on January 7 and New Year’s Day on January 15. They still celebrate on January 1, like the rest of the world, but they also get a second big party two weeks later.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Belgrade, Serbia

Because Christmas falls so late in Serbia, Christmas markets still abound in the first half of January. Republic Square, the main square in Belgrade, is where you’ll find one of the city’s best Christmas markets. Wander around the cute wooden huts and pick up all kinds of festive treats and souvenirs. 

On January 4, Serbian families traditionally burn oak branches on a big fire. Head to St. Sava Temple after sunset and see the unique Christmas Eve custom for yourself. 

3. Santorini, Greece

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Santorini, Greece

The Greek Islands are magical places to visit. But in summer, their alluring charm is tainted by the swarms of visitors which descend on the archipelago. If you want to experience the islands at their best, visit them out of season, when the sleepy coastal towns are mostly full of a small number of residents.

Out of all the islands, Santorini is one of the best European destinations in January. The Aegean jewel is pleasantly mild at this time of year, with temperatures ranging from lows of 48°F (9°C) to highs of 57°F (14°C). It may not be the warmest place in Europe, but the island hardly gets any rain and is bathed in plenty of sunshine throughout the month.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Santorini, Greece

Because so few people visit Santorini in January, it’s an excellent time to take in the most iconic sites. Spend lazy days on the island’s golden beaches, explore the ancient site of Akrotiri, check out the Thera ruins, and watch the sunset from a cute seafood restaurant by the sea.

4. Auvergne Region, France

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Auvergne Region, France

If this time of year typically leaves you feeling gloomy, mix things up a bit and plan an alpine adventure. France’s Auvergne Region is one of the top locations in Europe for all kinds of adrenaline-pumping winter sports.

There’s the Mont-Dore Ski Resort for fast-paced skiing down soft snowy slopes, as well as Chastreix-Sancy for cross-country skiing if you fancy a bit of a challenge or don’t want to take things too fast just yet.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Auvergne Region, France

For something even tamer, consider snowshoeing across one of the trails that surround Puy de Dôme. This is the highest peak of the ancient Auvergne volcano range and rewards visitors with spectacular views. 

If you really want to get your heart racing, consider dog mushing or snow kiting. Both of these extreme winter sports are available in Le Lioran and Prabouré, respectively. 

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

There are loads of amazing festivals going on throughout Europe at this time of year, and you’ll find one of the most spectacular and spellbinding in the Netherlands . One of the best places to visit in Europe in January, Amsterdam hosts its remarkable Light Festival in winter.

This spectacular 53-day event begins at the start of December and continues until the end of January, giving you plenty of opportunities to check it out. No matter how many incredible Christmas lights you’ve seen before, you’ve never seen anything quite like what Amsterdam has to offer during its festival.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

National and international artists flock to the city for the chance to show off their mind-bending work. Sculptures of all shapes, sizes, and designs are scattered throughout the city center and along the dreamy canals, all illuminated with the most wonderful lights. From giant butterflies floating on the canal to bizarre space-like objects that seem to hover in the sky, this festival will leave you questioning your eyes!

Experience the Amsterdam Light Festival

6. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Iceland is at the top of many people’s bucket lists and if you’ve always wanted to go, consider booking flights for January. Although this is the darkest and coldest month of the year (Iceland only gets six hours of daylight, and temperatures typically drop as low as 30°F/-1°C), it’s also one of the quietest.

Hordes of people travel to Iceland to spend the holidays there. After New Year’s has come and gone, the place is practically empty, making it an excellent time to see the sights and explore. 

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Now is the time to trek through solid ice caves and hike over stunning rugged glaciers. It’s also the best month to relax in the steamy Blue Lagoon and snap unique selfies without a bunch of other people in the background.

Another added bonus is that January is a fantastic time to spot the Northern Lights. With wonderfully clear skies and plenty of dark hours, you’ve got a great chance of seeing this natural phenomenon.

7. Lapland, Finland

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Lapland, Finland

When it comes to where to go in Europe in January for a truly magical experience you’ll be telling people about for the rest of your life, you can’t go wrong with Lapland. While countless families flock there in December for the chance to celebrate Christmas with Santa, this place is shockingly quiet in January, making it a great spot to go for some peace and quiet.

With temperatures ranging between 16°F (-9°C) and 40°F (4°C), you’ve got to be able to brave the cold. But if you wrap up warm, you’ll have the chance to stay in a one-of-a-kind ice hotel. Lapland’s ice hotels are even more whimsical and majestic than you can imagine.

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Lapland, Finland

Almost everything, from the walls and the floor to your bed and sofa, in your room will be made entirely out of ice. Thankfully, you’ll be given some super-soft animal furs and sleeping bags, so you don’t freeze at night! 

See the Lapland Northern Lights

8. Paphos, Cyprus

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Paphos, Cyprus

Cyprus is absolutely packed with fascinating historic and mythical places to visit. If you’re interested in Greek mythology, you’ve got to take a trip to Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos. This eye-catching natural wonder rises from the waves and is said to be the birthplace of the goddess of love. If you’re up for it, you can climb to the top of the rock and snap some amazing pictures of the surrounding landscape. 

If you’ve got zero interest in Greek mythology, Paphos is still worth visiting. This is the low season for the city, making it blissfully quiet. Popular sites that are usually buzzing with visitors are almost completely empty at this time of year, giving you the chance to admire ruins that date back as far as the Roman Empire, as well as the Tombs of the Kings, which was created in the 4th century.

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Paphos, Cyprus

January is surprisingly mild in Paphos, with plenty of sunshine at highs of around 60°F (15°C). This weather is perfect for laid-back beach days without having to worry too much about getting burned. If you’re wondering where to go in Europe in January, Paphos is well worth a visit!

9. Zell am See, Austria

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Zell am See, Austria

Definitely one of the best places in Europe to visit in January, Zell am See in Austria boasts some of the very best skiing opportunities on the continent. The perfect choice for total newbies, amateur skiers, and intermediate ones, the slopes here are a little more gentle than most other resorts, but they’re still plenty of fun.

Zell am See has a pretty low base at 2,500 feet, and the highest ski lift only takes you 6,600 feet into the sky. But if you’re just getting started with skiing, it’s ideal. January is one of the coldest months in the resort, so you can be guaranteed a fresh, thick layer of snow almost every day.

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Zell am See, Austria

What makes Zell am See extra special is its idyllic location at Lake Zell. When you’re riding the ski lift to the top of the slope or zooming down it at high speed, you’ll be rewarded with astounding views you won’t be able to take your eyes off. 

10. Lerwick, Scotland

Must Visit Places in Europe in January: Lerwick, Scotland

If you want to carry on the party that Christmas and New Year’s started, make plans to visit Lerwick, the main port in Scotland ’s Shetland Islands. Each January, this usually sleepy city comes to life with one of Europe’s biggest and most impressive fire festivals.

Known by the unusual name of Up Helly Aa , this one-of-a-kind event takes place on the last Tuesday in January and celebrates the local Viking heritage. More than 1,000 locals dress up in costumes that are unbelievably accurate and hurl genuine burning torches into a traditional Viking longship.

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Lerwick, Scotland

As well as the main event, the festival also includes live performances of traditional music. It’s great fun to see locals dressed in period clothing dance just like their ancestors would have done centuries ago. 

There’s also a dramatic torch-lit procession that precedes the torch throwing. The whole thing has a really eerie, Pagan feel, but it’s something you won’t experience anywhere else in the world! 

11. Tromsø, Norway

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Tromso, Norway

Spotting the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. If you’ve got some vacation time to use at the start of the year, make plans to visit Europe in January. There are many different places you can spot the spectacular natural light show at this time of year, including Tromsø in Norway .

Most of the city is still in the polar night season in January, when the sun never rises above the horizon. This means most of your trip will be in darkness, giving you the best possible chance of spotting the Northern Lights. 

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Tromso, Norway

Even if you don’t manage to see the stunning show, January is still an excellent time to visit Tromsø. The icy-cold weather at this time of year creates the ideal conditions for all kinds of fun winter sports and activities. 

Fill your to-do list with snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowboarding, skiing, whale watching, and whatever else takes your fancy. If the low temperatures get to be too much for you, you can always hide away in one of the city’s many public saunas. 

Search for the Tromsø Northern Lights

12. Snowdonia National Park, Wales

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Get a head start on Valentine’s Day and plan a romantic getaway with your partner to the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. While the rest of the world celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14, Wales celebrates it on January 25.

On this special day, known locally as St. Dwynwen’s Day, it’s tradition to give your special someone a Welsh love spoon to show them how much they mean to you. In the days leading up to the holiday, you’ll find these cute spoons in all the shops in the local area, so you won’t have to look far.

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

There are plenty of phenomenal things to do in the Snowdonia National Park during your visit, too. There are many stunning winter walking trails, the world’s fastest zipline, white water kayaking, horseback riding routes, and mountain biking treks, all of which are running throughout January.

13. Zermatt, Switzerland

Best Cities to Visit in Europe in January: Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is one of the top spots for stretching your legs – it’s surprisingly walkable, even in the middle of winter. This makes it one of the best places to go in Europe in January, whether you’re planning on exploring the city or staying on the outskirts and discovering everything that nature has to offer.

As well as some of the finest snowboarding and skiing opportunities in Europe, Zermatt is also home to fantastic routes for snowshoeing. The scenery you’ll walk through is absolutely enchanting. Make sure you keep a lookout for the famous Matterhorn peak that stands proudly in the distance. 

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Zermatt, Switzerland

If you’d prefer to move vertically instead of horizontally, the city also boasts some epic ice climbing. Ride the Swiss cable car all the way up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Here you’ll find a phenomenal place with 14 icy glaciers, 38 rugged mountain peaks, and some of the most spectacular views you’ve ever laid eyes on.

14. Istria, Croatia

What Places Have Shoulder Season in Europe in January: Istria, Croatia

Istra is one of the few hidden gems that remain a well-kept secret in Europe. The biggest green oasis of the North Adriatic, this stunning vacation destination is the perfect place to visit if you’re craving some winter sunshine.

The weather may be a bit on the cool side in January (temperatures range between 45°F (7°C) and 55°F (13°C), but the blissfully blue skies and warm dazzling sunshine more than make up for it. When there’s absolutely no breeze, these temperatures can feel surprisingly warm and perfect for a day at the beach. 

Where to Vacation in Europe in January: Istria, Croatia

Most find the sea a little too cold for swimming at this time of year, but there are plenty of other things to do in Istria. Like a lot of places, January is the low season for this city, making it one of the best European destinations in January if you hate jostling in crowds.

Streets that are usually overflowing with people, such as the coastal avenues in Rovinj, are beautifully peaceful at this time of year, giving them a totally different vibe from the one most people experience. Amazing archaeological sites, such as Pula Arena, are also all but empty in January! 

Best Places to Visit in Europe in January: Malta

Malta is one of the best places in Europe to visit in January if you want somewhere with stunning sandy beaches, fascinating historical sites, and lively festivals you won’t be able to resist. At this time of year, the weather is warm and sunny, with lows of 48°F (9°C) at night and highs of 61°F (16°C) in the middle of the day. Rain is almost unheard of in January, but you can be sure of plenty of sunshine.

Valletta is one of the best cities to visit in Europe in January. This sleepy medieval town hosts its International Baroque Festival during this month which is something you’ve absolutely got to experience. During this annual 15-day event, all kinds of talented performers from around the world show off their talents at the ball. Expect to see people in lavish costumes performing shows that wouldn’t look out of place centuries ago.

What Places to Visit in Europe in January: Malta

As well as the fun festival, January is also an excellent time for hiking. As the weather is mild, you don’t need to set off early in the morning. Instead, you can follow the most popular routes, such as the Girgenti Country Trail and the Zurrieq Loop, whenever you choose to.

There you have it! The 15 best places to visit in Europe in January. What’s your favorite European destination to travel to in January?

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Best Places to Visit in Europe in January

Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since. From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places. The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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Best Places to Visit in Europe in January 2024

trip europe january

After the fun and excitement of Christmas, the following months in the new year can be a little slow and cold. Yet, January is the perfect time to escape to Europe for many reasons; there are fewer crowds, there are a huge plethora of festivals and events on, and practical things such as hotels and flights are often far cheaper as there is less demand.

Whatever your interests are, there will undoubtedly be somewhere, if not multiple places to visit in Europe in January that take your fancy and are just waiting to be explored. Here is a list of some incredible festivals and events that are taking place this January, as well as some of the city’s other highlights:

Table of Contents

Best Places to Go in January in Europe

Hogmanay – edinburgh, scotland.

29th December 2023 – January 1st, 202 4

Best places to visit in Europe in January

One of Scotland’s most anticipated events of the year and one that attracts a wide variety of Scottish people and foreign tourists alike is Hogmanay, which is essentially a huge festival that takes over Edinburgh to celebrate the new year. There are a variety of bands playing in the streets, bars, and pubs that open up, as well as a range of shops, rides, and attractions.

The city comes to life with celebration, light, and color and is something that everyone should see. Aside from Hogmanay, Edinburgh is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and there is so much to explore. For example, Edinburgh Castle is a great place to visit if you love history, and it also offers beautiful views of the city.

Another great thing to do in Edinburgh in January is taking a winter walk through the Princes Street Gardens, where you can wander through the gorgeous greenery and see some incredible monuments, such as the Scots Monument. The main thing to keep in mind when visiting Edinburgh at this time of year is to make sure you wrap at warm, as it gets totally freezing!

Check out my 3 day Edinburgh itinerary.

Monte Carlo – Car Rally

24th of January -28th January 202 4

Best place to visit in January in Europe - Monte Carlo

In what will be the Monte Carlo Car Rally’s 92nd event, prepare to witness one of the world’s most famous rallies in one of the most incredible locations in Europe. With its historical roots dating back to 1911, and its associations with Prince Albert I, the event is full of history and excitement; if you are someone who loves the thrill, speed, and brilliance of some of the world’s top supercars, make a holiday out of your passion, and visit Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in January in Europe because it still offers visitors mild temperatures, and there are still lots of things to do. For example, visit the world-famous Casino of Monte Carlo, which has been open since the 1860s.

Dive into the life of the super-rich, and step into the classic, glamorous world of this incredible city. Moreover, if cars aren’t your thing, make sure you visit the Prince’s Palace to marvel at its architectural splendor.

Amsterdam Light Festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

30th of November 2023 – 21st January 202 4

trip europe january

During the Christmas months, the city of Amsterdam lights up in beautiful artistic designs and colors, giving it a truly magical atmosphere. What many visitors do, is take a boat trip along the river, where the lights are really visible and hung over the bridges that the boat passes under; this is an incredible thing to do if you are visiting the city on a romantic getaway.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a major European event and attracts artists from around the world to partake in its magic; it also attracts a lot of foreign tourists who wish to try something different.

trip europe january

Aside from the festival, Amsterdam is the perfect city to visit in January in Europe, as there is an abundance of sights to see and things to do and experience. For example, outside the Rijksmuseum is a yearly ice rink with an array of different festive stores and cafes surrounding it; if you are visiting during Christmas time or January, this is the perfect seasonal thing to visit to really get you in the festive mood!

You might also want to check out my 5-day Amsterdam itinerary .

Up Helly Aa – Shetland Islands

30th of January 202 4

trip europe january

Located in the beautiful Shetland Islands, the yearly festival of Up Helly Aa is a celebration of the Island’s Viking history and heritage and involves theatrical performances and rituals, as well as lots of live music and friendly Scottish hospitality.

There is singing, dancing, and an amazing amount of light and fire to provide locals and tourists alike with an incredible, unforgettable experience. Aside from Up Helly Aa, which is popular with many foreign visitors, the Shetland Islands have so much to offer; make sure that you visit Old Scatness, which is a Broch and Iron Age Village located on the south mainland.

Here, you can discover some of Shetland Island’s earliest history; archaeologists date the site from being built between 400 BC and 200 BC. Today, you can come and visit some of the original buildings and artifacts, and it is amazing. Also, make sure that you visit Stanydale Temple, a site dating back the Neolithic period that has baffled archaeologists, historians, and tourists for years; it is definitely worth exploring.

The Arctic Light Festival – Tromso, Norway

27th January – 4th February  202 4

trip europe january

The Arctic Light Festival, sometimes known as the Northern Lights Festival, is an annual event that has been on since 1988 and centers on the musical talent of a variety of different artists and styles. This art festival is appealing to many different types of people, as it offers such an array of musical styles, from opera to jazz, all the way to pop and classical; Tromso becomes alive with music and life.

Aside from performances, there are also a lot of other things going on, such as beer gardens, exhibitions, and classes. Apart from the festival, Tromso is a great destination to visit in Europe in January, as there is so much to do, see, and experience; for example, there are an array of different tour groups that will guide you into the Norwegian natural landscape in the hope of catching a glimpse of the breath-taking northern lights.

Though it is never guaranteed that they will be seen, if you go with a tour group who will know the best places to travel to and the best times to go, you will more than likely witness the incredible beauty of the natural phenomenon.

London, England

After the holidays

trip europe january

Before Christmas, as many of us know well, the shops are filled with gift-buyers and last-minute shoppers, and the atmosphere is typically very busy and chaotic. However, after the holiday season has passed, the shops open up their winter sales, and the crowds disperse.

One of the best places to go shopping during this period of time is the wonderful capital city of London, located in the south of England. There are so many places in London that are perfect for some after-Christmas shopping; if you prefer high-street brands, head towards Oxford Street. If you are someone who prefers more unique and one-of-a-kind items, head towards areas such as Camden Market, Notting Hill, Spitalfields, and Brick Lane.

As well as shopping, London is a city that has so much to offer; if you are someone who loves architecture, visit the Shard, where you can go to the very top and experience breathtaking views of the city below if you prefer history, head to the Tower of London for an unforgettable experience.

Check out my London itinerary here.

As this list has highlighted, there are so many amazing things to do in Europe in January and so many festivals to partake in. January is the best time to head to Europe, as there are far fewer crowds, cheaper flights, transport, and hotels, and the winter chill provides it with a truly magical atmosphere.

You might also be interested in:

The best places to visit in Europe in February 2024.

The best places to visit in Europe in March 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in May 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in June 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in July 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in August 2023.

The best places to visit in Europe in September 2023.

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12 Best Europe destinations in January of 2024

Europe isn’t known for great weather in January, but most of the popular cities are warmer and nicer than you might expect. You’ll see on the list below that most of them are well above freezing most of the month and they also tend to get very little rain or snow. The 12 places on the list below all have weather that is plenty nice enough for an enjoyable visit.

Perhaps the best reason to visit Europe in January is that it’s the slowest month of the year for tourism so crowds will be almost non-existent even at popular places like the Coliseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower. Hotels also tend to be quite cheap in January so you’ll be able to treat yourself to something much nicer than you would if you visited in summer, and you’ll still be saving money.

Note: This article was last updated in September, 2023.

Important European holidays in 2024

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day (public holiday in most of the world)
  • January 6 – Epiphany (minor holiday in many Christian countries)

Below you’ll find

  • Europe’s best January beach destination
  • Europe’s 11 best January city destinations

Europe's only decent January beach destination

Tenerife, canary islands, spain.

  • January avg high: 69°F/21°C
  • January avg low: 59°F/15°C
  • January avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

trip europe january

Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands and it’s the best choice for English speakers as well. The area in the southwest of the island around Los Cristianos is where you’ll find most of the hotels and short term rentals, and fortunately it also usually has the nicest weather on the island. Things here are cheap for Europe and even for Spain. It’s worth pointing out that Tenerife is only one of the Canary Islands and the other share essentially the same weather and prices. Some online travel agencies group them all together, while others list each island separately so it might also be worth checking for Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and La Palma, which might offer even better deals.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €40 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €84 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €15 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Tenerife >>> Tenerife prices and travel tips

11 Best non-beach destinations in Europe in January

Rome, italy.

  • January avg high: 55°F/13°C
  • January avg low: 39°F/4°C
  • January avg precip: 3.1″/7.8cm

trip europe january

During most of the year Rome is so packed with tourists that it can be chaotic and frustrating, and at least you’ll get far less of that in January. The hotel prices will also be lower, which is helpful since accommodation in this city is more expensive than you might expect. You might even consider Sicily, which will be even a bit warmer.

Even December can be quite busy in Rome so a visit in January could be very peaceful, especially compared to any other month aside from February.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €53 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €71 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €22 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Rome >>> Rome prices and travel tips

Florence, Italy

  • January avg high: 50°F/10°C
  • January avg low: 35°F/2°C
  • January avg precip: 2.9″/7.3cm

trip europe january

Florence is the heart of Tuscany and one of the world’s most important cities for art, so there is no shortage of excellent food and interesting sights to see. You can also visit Pisa in an hour each way as a day trip. The Cinque Terre is also fairly close and can be a day trip from Florence, but in January those towns will be very quiet and not worth your time.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €55 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €85 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €21 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Florence >>> Florence prices and travel tips

Venice, Italy

  • January avg high: 42°F/6°C
  • January avg low: 30°F/-1°C
  • January avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

trip europe january

You can see Venice in only a day or two, especially in the less crowded winter, but you should be careful of the Acqua alta (high water). During winter the lagoon can rise so much that the town squares can flood a bit and you have to walk over them on wooden planks. That only happens during high tide, so even on the bad days you can still enjoy at least half the day. And especially in January when hotels are cheaper, I recommend staying on the main island of Venice rather than across the lagoon on the mainland. You’ll save time and see a lot more. Finding a hotel close to St Marks Square or the Rialto Bridge (or between the two) is ideal if you can afford it.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €61 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €76 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €31 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Venice >>> Venice prices and travel tips

Paris, France

  • January avg high: 45°F/7°C
  • January avg low: 38°F/3°C
  • January avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

trip europe january

Most of the top attractions here are indoors, so you can spend time in museums, galleries, and shops if it’s not sunny out, and do your outdoor sightseeing when it’s nicer. If you want to do most of the famous attractions you should check out our  review of the Paris Pass .

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €83 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €94 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €34 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Paris >>> Paris prices and travel tips

London, England

  • January avg low: 36°F/2°C
  • January avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

trip europe january

It’s worth noting that London is so far north that it gets dark by 4pm in January, but the city is still very alive and the pubs are full of locals even in the winter months. You might even want to look at our  London Pass review  if you want to see the top attractions in a short time.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from £67 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from £88 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from £24 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for London >>> London prices and travel tips

Barcelona, Spain

  • January avg high: 56°F/13°C
  • January avg low: 40°F/4°C
  • January avg precip: 1.6″/4.0cm

trip europe january

You’ll obviously need some outerwear, but Barcelona is on the coast and it never gets very cold. The dining scene and nightlife here are legendary, and nights here are lively all year round. If you are doing the main sights you should have a look at  the Barcelona Pass .

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €46 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €60 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €19 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Barcelona >>> Barcelona prices and travel tips

Madrid, Spain

  • January avg high: 49°F/9°C
  • January avg low: 37°F/3°C
  • January avg precip: 1.5″/3.8cm

trip europe january

Obviously January is the slow season for tourists in Madrid as well, and there are plenty of great things to see here including the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace. Hotels in Madrid are great bargains in winter so you’ll be able to treat yourself to something nicer than you’d get if you visited in July when prices are literally double or more.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €51 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €16 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Madrid >>> Madrid prices and travel tips

Lisbon, Portugal

  • January avg high: 58°F/14°C
  • January avg low: 47°F/8°C
  • January avg precip: 3.8″/9.5cm

trip europe january

You might get a bit of rain in Lisbon in January if you are unlucky, though it’s easy to avoid since the city is quite densely packed and a shelter is never far away. You can get here on an overnight train from Madrid, though flying is probably a better and obviously much faster option for most people.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €49 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €69 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €18 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Lisbon >>> Lisbon prices and travel tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • January avg high: 41°F/5°C
  • January avg low: 34°F/1°C

trip europe january

Amsterdam hotel prices are very high in summer, but in January you’ll get wonderful deals. You can reach Amsterdam by train from Paris in a bit over 3 hours, or from London on the Eurostar in about 5 hours. This is the only time of year that you can get into the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum without a long wait as well. That said, you now have to make reservations in advance and you might as well do that early anyway.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €73 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €91 for two people

>>> Check hotel deals for Amsterdam >>> Amsterdam prices and travel tips

Athens, Greece

  • January avg low: 41°F/5°C
  • January avg precip: 2.27″/5.5cm

trip europe january

Unlike some others on this list, Athens’ main sights are mostly outdoor ones, so you’ll want to keep track of the weather. Still, since rain is rare and snow is far more rare, you’ll almost certainly have enough time up the Acropolis and through the Agora market hill on the way down. The Greek islands are mostly shut down this time of year, so it’s probably not worth a flight or a rough ferry ride.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €27 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €41 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €11 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Istanbul >>> Athens prices and travel tips

Istanbul, Turkey

  • January avg high: 48°F/9°C
  • January avg precip: 3.4″/8.5cm

trip europe january

It will be chilly in Istanbul in January, but with so few other tourists you’ll be able to see how things operate for the locals who will still be hard at work. The main sights are mostly clustered together in the Sultanahmet Square area, so even if it is cold you can still see a lot in a short time. The famous Grand Bazaar is a huge indoor marketplace, so the weather won’t be an issue there either.

Turkey continues to be an outlier in Europe as it has a currency that continues to lose value quickly and high inflation as of late 2023, but that doesn’t actually make the place more expensive for visitors because every other currency buys so many Turkish liras. In other words, Turkey has always been quite affordable and once again it’s one of the cheaper places in Europe or the world for that matter.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €32 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €46 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €10 per person

>>> Check hotel deals for Istanbul >>> Istanbul prices and travel tips

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Hi Roger Thank you for the above suggestions and due to one of the party having been to Spain a number of times we have settled on Italy and probably around Florence. We fly in on New Years eve or New Years Day and then leave on the 5th January. Would we be better to stay in Florence itself, or in one of the surrounding towns? We are happy to hire a car for trips to Siena and surrounds but I’m just a little unsure if the smaller towns will have much open at that time. Cinque Terre will be very much weather dependant as to wether the paths will be open but we would still consider that as a possibility as we all love outdoor activities. i really appreciate your suggestions, it helped us work out a place to start. Jalna

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New Years Eve will probably be pretty busy (and fun) in Florence, but the following days should be pretty quiet so I’d stay in the city itself. There are many nice hotels within a reasonable walk of the main train station and if you stayed in that area you’d be able to get anywhere very quickly. Italy has very good high-speed train service to major cities and if you buy the tickets at least a month or so in advance they are strangely cheap. The trains to smaller cities like Pisa are always fairly cheap because they are commuter lines that leave a couple times an hour. I’d take trains rather than hiring a car, mostly because a car is a liability in most of the places you’d want to go. In other words, you could drive to, say, Siena, but then finding parking can be confusing and sometimes expensive.

I think it’s a great idea to check the weather before you lock in plans for Cinque Terre. Most things in those towns will be closed except for a handful of restaurants, and if it’s cold and rainy you won’t even be able to take nice photos, much less enjoy strolling around. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Hi Roger Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a good plan if we were to go to Turkey, the only problem being it involves quite a few travel days. We are open to suggestions for Italy and Spain and as you say they could be a better option. We are interested in food tours/classes,, walking, (not skiing) I know this sounds very vague but we are happy to have a week all together with a different country thrown in and things to do!! Thanks again Jalna

If you want to stay based in one city for that whole time and only do day trips I think Italy or Spain are better options. In Italy you could base yourself in or near Florence and you’d be within 2 hours of Venice, Rome, Siena, Pisa, and the Cinque Terre by train, just to name a few places. Another option would be Sorrento where you’d be within 90 minutes of Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and the Isle of Capri. Those last two options would be quite empty in December though, so the Florence idea is probably better.

As for Spain, Madrid is entertaining enough for the whole time, but it’s also within an hour of Toledo (great day trip) and 1 hour 40 minutes from Valencia and about 2.5 hours each way to Barcelona. Barcelona would be a long way for a day trip, so you could spend 2 or 3 days in Madrid and the rest of your time in Barcelona? As always, let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Hi Roger My husband and I are visiting our daughter and partner in London over Christmas and mid January. We wanted to go somewhere for a week from the 28th December. Current thoughts are Istanbul with day trips or overnight trips. We don’t want to go to Gallipoli but would appreciate some suggestions as to what we could do. We love food history and outdoors. I have read through some of your above suggestions but thought i would ask as well. Thanks in advance

I actually lived in Turkey for over a year not long ago, and I’m still a big fan, but unfortunately nearly all of the best places are very quiet from November through late March. Most restaurants and many hotels in the beach areas are actually closed for that period, and even Cappadocia will be very quiet. I’m pretty sure you’d still enjoy it, and Istanbul itself is vibrant even in winter, but I think there are better choices that time of year and you can save Turkey for spring or autumn.

If you are looking for a one-week trip from London in early January the more obvious choices would be Italy or Spain, both of which are reasonably mild that time of year and could be ideal. I’ll be happy to give you more details on any of those choices, including Turkey, so let me know what you are thinking. If you were thinking Turkey I’d probably recommend 3 nights in Istanbul and then 2 nights in Cappadocia (in Goreme, more specifically) and then 2 nights in Antalya. Antalya is known for beach resorts up and down the coast, but the historic center of town is quite interesting (and remarkably cheap), so it could be fun and it’ll be busy enough because it’s a large city as well. -Roger

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hey Roger. I am thinking of doing the 5 day – I have a 19 year old that would like to go. So it will be 3 of use. Do you think the 5 cities we could do in 7-9 days?

If you are asking whether you could visit 5 European cities in 7 to 9 days I’d say it’s possible but not recommended. I highly recommend spending 3 nights in almost any European city you visit if you are in a hurry. The short version is that it typically takes 3 to 5 hours to get between cities on trains (and usually a bit longer if you fly), and from the time you check out of one hotel to the time you check into a hotel in the next city, it’s usually 6 or 7 hours later. And you’ll be tired so it’s hard to do much sightseeing. If you have 7 to 9 days I’d shoot for 3 cities at the most. I’m happy to help if you’ve got other questions. -Roger

GlobeTrove

January In Europe: 16 Gorgeous Destinations That You Should Visit

Categories Destinations , Europe

January In Europe: 16 Gorgeous Destinations That You Should Visit

Europe is a year round destination. No matter which month you pick, you will find that there are a variety of things to do. The real question is which locations are the best in each month. With so many countries and locations to choose from, that does get really difficult.

January in Europe is quite possibly one of the best times to travel. It gives you a chance to explore the southern continent with milder weather and indulge in winter sports when it comes to the northern part of Europe.

Whether you are looking for warm weather destinations to spend January in Europe or cold weather destinations, don’t worry. We have you covered. We’ve reached out to locals and travel experts to curate the ultimate list of epic destinations that should be on your list if you intend to spend January in Europe.

There is guaranteed to be something for everybody! So what are you waiting for? Check out which location is best suited for your January in Europe itinerary . Don’t forget to checkout all the secret tips on where to stay and top tours too!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Read my disclaimer for further information.

January In Europe: Table Of Contents

  • Rovaniemi, Finland
  • Apulia, Italy
  • Palmero, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Vienna, Austria 
  • Albuferia, Portugal
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Athens, Greece
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Seville, Spain
  • Malaga, Spain
  • Gdansk, Poland
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Vik, Iceland
  • Paris, France

1. Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi in Finland is one of the best cold weather destinations to spend January in Europe.

Rovaniemi in Finland is one of the best cold weather destinations to spend January in Europe.

Location: Rovaniemi, Finland

Temperatures In Ravaniemi, Finland In January:  

Low:  -16 o C/ 3.2 O F

High: -8 o C/ 17.6 O F

Getting There: Getting to Rovaniemi during January is fairly easy as all of the seasonal flights are still available after the Christmas holidays. Most connect through Helsinki and fly directly into Rovaniemi Airport. Alternatively, you can take the train from Helsinki up to Lapland.

Rovaniemi is one of the best places to visit in winter but it really is a fantastic option in January after the holiday crowds leave and the Arctic city calms down a little.

Prices drop and hotels open up a bit more… and you have even better weather than in December and earlier months! This itself is one of the main reasons why its a great spot for January in Europe.

The biggest lure for travelers flocking to Rovaniemi is Santa Claus Village , a tourist site that is open year-round but is swarming with crowds during December. Fortunately, it clears out a bit in January but still offers the same experience! The complex offers everything from reindeer feeding to meeting Santa Claus and more.

If you’re spending winter in Rovaniemi , you will arrive on short, cold days. But, this is when the northern lights are the most visible, so it is a worthwhile trip! Other options for worthwhile tours in Rovaniemi are snowmobile trips , dog-sledding, and snowshoeing excursions.

The restaurants in Rovaniemi are often very difficult to get into during December so traveling there in January will allow an easier opportunity to eat at some of the famous places like Gustav, Restaurant Nili, and Arctic Restaurant.

Rovaniemi is definitely one of the best places to visit in January in Europe if you’re looking for a snowy, wintry holiday!

By Meghan From Meghan Starr

2. Apulia, Italy

Apulia or Pugalia, Italy is one of the best warm weather destinations to spend January in Europe.

Apulia or Puglia, Italy is one of the best warm weather destinations to spend January in Europe.

Location: Apulia is a region in southeastern Italy (the heel of the boot)

Temperatures In Puglia, Italy in January:  

Low:  5 o C/ 41 O F

High:  13 o C/ 55.4 O F

Getting There: Bari is the capital of the region and also the biggest city. It is served by an international airport – Bari Palese international airport (BRI) – which is very well connected to the rest of Europe. The low-cost carriers WizzAir and Ryanair ensure plenty of flights are available year-round. Other European carriers typically fly to Bari only during the summer.

Bari is also served by a train station, making it easy to connect by land to other cities in Italy. Or you can catch a bus from other European countries or Italian cities. Depending on where you come from, it might be more affordable to fly to Rome and travel to Bari by land.

Or, if you come from Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, or Albania, you have the option to take a ferry to either Bari or Brindisi.

Where To Stay: Bari is an excellent hub to explore Apulia. Make sure to book a place in the Old Town ( Bari Vecchia ). The charming, narrow streets will leave you speechless. The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is the main place to explore in the area. Other churches dot the Old Town and you may also explore Fortino of Saint Antony, an old fort that is now an art gallery.

A quick bus or train ride from Bari , Alberobello is probably the most beautiful place to visit in Apulia. The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises trulli, a traditional dry stone hut with a conical roof.

Lecce, also known as Florence of the South, is filled with baroque architecture. Make sure to visit the Cathedral, Porta Napoli, and Paisiello Theatre.

Or you can choose one of the many beach resorts dotting the Adriatic Sea. Vieste and Peschici are great options. Just imagine walking on the deserted beach, the breeze in your hair. If you prefer the mountains, put on your hiking shoes and explore Gargano National Park with its gorgeous trails in Foresta Umbra.

While Apulia is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, don’t pack your swimsuit. Although considered a warm winter destination, you still need a pretty warm jacket when you go out, especially in the evening. Oh, and Apulia can get snow. Thankfully, it only lasts a couple of days and doesn’t happen often.

And no matter where you choose to stay in Apulia, make sure to dive deep into its cuisine. Better yet, take a cooking class and learn how to make focaccia or orecchiette.

You can see why it is such a lovely spot for January in Europe.

By Cris From LooknWalk

3. Palmero, Italy

Palmero

Palmero is a wonderful warm weather destination to spend January in Europe.

Location: Palmero, Italy

Temperatures In Palmero, Italy In January: 

Low:  10 o C/ 50 O F

High:  15 o C/ 59 O F

Where To Stay: If you are looking for a top-notch place to sleep, head over to the 5-star Villa Igiea located just outside of the historical center of Palermo.

With average temperatures of 20°C and 75% of the days without a cloud in the sky, Palermo is the ideal place to escape the cold European winter and to get some much-needed vitamin D. There are are plenty of things to do in Palermo year round. 

The capital of Sicily is positively heaving with tourists in summer, while in winter you will only have to share it with locals. This is one of the main reasons why spending January in Europe here is a good idea.

Spend one full day in the historical center, marvel at the UNESCO-classified Palatine Chapel with the reportedly 6000 pieces of gold mosaic on the ceiling. Climb the church spire of the Palermo Cathedral for the best views over town and head into the Casa de Gesu church to witness the most spectacular baroque architecture in all of the city.

Make sure to keep enough time (and appetite) for a visit to some of the oldest markets in the city: Ballaro and la Vucciria are wonderful places to try some typical Palermitan street food. 

Grab an Arancina, sfincione or the world-famous cannoli before having a drink in one of the many eateries. These markets offer some of the best people-watching in all of the city.

Weather permitting, grab a bus to Mondello which is a district of Palermo located right by the beach. Walk along the waterfront or head into town to hunt down the pretties liberty villas the city has on offer.

By Caroline From Veggie Wayfarer

4. Rome, Italy

Rome is a fun destination to spend January in Europe.

Rome is a fun destination to spend January in Europe.

Location: Rome is situated in central Italy in southern Europe.

Temperatures In Rome, Italy In January:  

Low:  4 o C/ 39.2 O F

Getting There: Rome has two international airports that receive traffic from all over the world as well as other Italian destinations. The bus and train network to Rome is also excellent from across Europe and Italy.

Where To Stay: Stay centrally. Preferably near the Spanish Steps in the historic center and check in at Ripetta Palace.

One of the best places to travel in January in Europe is the Italian capital of Rome. No matter if you have visited the city before or it is your first time there, there will be plenty of things to do from the most popular sites like the Colosseum , the St. Peter’s Church and the Vatican to explore Rome off the beaten path .

The most interesting custom in Rome in January is the celebration of La Befana on the 6 th . This is the day when the children get their Christmas socks. If it is filled with sweets, they have been good, but if it is filled with coal (these days it is actually just sugar that looks like coal – and tastes super yummy lol) it means they have been naughty. 

Usually, the sock will be filled with a mix of the two. If you get to Rome before the 6 th of January, you can find all kinds of sweets and Befana things in the shops.

While January is one of the months with the most rain in Rome, you can also be lucky and take in a pleasant amount of Vitamin D. You should still bring an umbrella and dress in layers, because it might feel nice and warm in the sun, but once you move into the shade, you will notice how the temperatures drop dramatically.

By Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

Pro Tip: Book a skip the line ticket for the Colosseum online to save time that would otherwise be spent waiting in an ultra long queue. You can also book a fast track ticket for the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel online.

5. London, United Kingdom

London is epic city to spend January in Europe.

London is epic city to spend January in Europe.

Location: London, England

Temperatures In London, United Kingdom in January:  

High:  9 o C/ 48.2 O F

Getting There: London is a key hub for travel in Europe due to many cheap international flights and multiple airports. The most popular is London Heathrow, but you can also fly to Gatwick airport, Stansted or Luton and from there get a train or bus to the city center.

Where To Stay: If you are looking for a bit of luxury with the breathtaking views of London, visit the Shard. Inside the tallest skyscraper in the capital, you will find Shangri-la the Shard hotel which offers an unforgettable stay in the most iconic building that can be seen from any part of London.

If you’re seeking for one of the most magnificent places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Europe, visit London. Make sure to pick the ideal location to watch spectacular fireworks over the River Thames. Hire a private igloo at Coppa Club Tower Bridge or join many others on a street next to Big Ben and start the countdown.

When the new year begins discover award-winning light festivals in London. Lightopia – an event well-known all over the world with multiple gold awards will take your breath away.

Then, visit ChinaTown and celebrate New Year again! Each year, thousands of people watch the parade of flying dragons in London. This is the biggest Chinese New Year celebration in Europe. It makes for a great place to spend January in Europe.

If you want to learn a bit about Scottish traditions, visit London on the 25th of January. Celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns with a good whisky in Black Rock Tavern. Joining a Burns Night event is only one of many fabulous things to do in London in winter .

Traveling to London in January is the best way to avoid the crowds, but also save money while shopping on the famous Oxford Street or Old Bond Street. With ongoing January bargains, spoil yourself in Burlington Arcade – one of the most luxurious shopping arcades in London.

By Paulina From The UK Every Day

Pro Tip: There are loads of things to do in London . Getting around the city can be expensive and exhausting. Try using the hop on hop off bus .

6. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is a lovely place to spend January in Europe.

Vienna is a lovely place to spend January in Europe.

Location: Vienna, Austria 

Temperatures In Vienna, Austria In January : 

Low:  0 o C/ 32 O F

High:  4 o C/ 39.2 O F

Getting There : many direct flights from most major European airports, trains from Budapest, Salzburg, Munich, and Prague.

Where To Stay : Neubau or Karlsplatz  

What do pastel city streets, Baroque Opera Houses, and decadent chocolate cake have in common? You can find them all in Vienna, of course! Vienna, Austria is a hub for central European culture, history, and music which makes this capital city an ideal European destination, even in the middle of January. 

As a cold-weather destination, visitors will love taking advantage of Vienna’s plentiful indoor museums, churches, and cultural attractions. Some of Vienna’s most iconic sites include the historic Schoenbrunn and Hapsburg Palace museums which are the best way to learn about Vienna’s royal history while marveling at intricate architecture and design. 

Other winter-friendly Viennese highlights include the Haus Der Musik (House of Music), the Albertina, and Leopold museums as well as the famed Karlskirche and Stephan Church. For those wanting to get a feel for the modern side of Vienna, the Mariahilferstrasse district is a wonderful spot for a bit of exploring and shopping. 

Just a short walk away near Neubaugasse, it’s easy to warm up in one of the nearby coffee shops and hunt for treasures at the vintage stores. Vienna is the perfect winter destination and should definitely be the next stop on your trip in January in Europe Itinerary!

By Emma From All Over The Place

Pro Tip: If you are in Vienna and want to get to places without getting exhausted and booking a cab, then book a hop on and hop off tour. There are loads of things to do in the city . Try to book skip the line tickets online. There are some epic experiences that you should not miss. The food, coffee and market highlights and a concert at St Anne’s church are just two examples.

7. Albuferia, Portugal

Albuferia is a great warm destination to spend January in Europe.

Albuferia is a great warm destination to spend January in Europe.

Location: Albufeira is located in the southern part of Portugal down in the beautiful Algarve. More specifically it is one of the biggest cities in the Faro region. 

Temperatures In Albuferia, Portugal in January:  

Low:  8 o C/ 46.4 O F

High:  16 o C/ 60.8 O F

Getting There: There are plenty of ways to reach Albufeira. You can fly directly into the Faro airport and take a bolt, taxi, bus, or rent a car and drive into town. Albufeira is about an hour away from the Faro airport. 

Where To Stay: If you are coming to Albufeira in January you should stay somewhere near with a view of the beach. The old town is a perfect place to stay because you can walk to a few of the different beach spots and it is where all the best restaurants and bars are. 

There are plenty of places to stay in the old town , and in January it is not too busy and many local places are still open for business. You may get lucky and have the whole beach to yourself. 

Portugal is one of the best places to go to escape the cold in Europe. And Albufeira is one of the most popular destinations due to the beautiful beaches and many sunny days. It is without a doubt one of the most popular places to spend the month of January in Europe. 

You can also fly into Lisbon and rent a car and drive down, the highways are new and efficient. This would be a great way to make a few pit spots and see other places if you have the time. There is also a train you can take from Lisbon to Faro too. 

By Abbey From Trips On Abbey Road

8. Porto, Portugal 

Porto is an iconic warm destination to spend January in USA.

Porto is an iconic warm destination to spend January in USA.

Location: Porto, Portugal

Temperatures In Porto, Portugal In January:  

Low:  6 o C/ 42.8 O F

High:  14 o C/ 57.2 O F

Getting There: Take a flight or a long distance bus

Where To Stay: Vila Nova de Gaia

The temperature in Porto in January is cold but not freezing and you might have some sunny days.

Porto is one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities with plenty of things to see and do . Come here for beautiful river views, delicious food and of course authentic Port wine. 

Go on a cruise along the River Douro before you enjoy a Francesinha sandwich which is a cheesy delicacy covered in sauce. You’ll also love a Pastel de Nata which is a sweet treat that can be purchased at local bakeries. In January, Porto is relatively quiet and you won’t encounter too many other tourists. 

The weather may be foggy sometimes but you’ll still get to enjoy temperatures of around 16 degrees during the day. A glass of Port wine will warm you up as you walk along the river promenade and stroll across the impressive Luis I bridge. 

There is also the Porto cable car which provides breathtaking views from above and is a great activity on a cold day. Afterward, walk through Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto’s wine-making neighborhood which has a great variety of restaurants to try. Definitely one of the best places to spend January in Europe.

By Victoria From Guide Your Travel

Pro Tip: There are loads of things to do in Porto. It is hard to pack everything in an itinerary. Things that you don’t want to miss are the Douro valley wine tours and tours of the historic district.

9. Athens, Greece

Athens is a great warm weather destination to spend January in Europe.

Athens is a great warm weather destination to spend January in Europe.

Location: Athens, Greece

Temperatures In Athen, Greece In January:  

Low:  7 o C/ 44.6 O F

January is the coldest month in Athens but often has pleasant days which involve sunshine and no need for a coat. 

Getting There: The easiest way to get to Athens is by flying straight into Athens International Airport. However, if you are arriving from another Greek Island, there are many local ferries that will take you directly to Athens.

Where To Stay: No matter your budget, there are plenty of places to stay in Athens. If you want to make the most of your time in Athens, book a hotel that has a view of the Acropolis. The most popular and recommended Hotel for this is City Circus Athens .

Athens is a fantastic destination to visit any time of year. However, it is even better to visit in January. Most locations in Europe during January are freezing and raining. This is not the case for Athens. Also if you are in search of a bargain, you will find hotels are cheaper and there are less crowds than in the summer season. 

So many travelers flock to Athens because of its amazing food and history. No matter what part of the City you are in, you will stumble upon some of the best history in the world. I don’t think you need more inspiration to travel to Greece that this!

Exploring the Ancient past of this City is one of the best things to do. Some of the things you cannot miss when exploring Athens in January include the Acropolis , Zeus’ Temple and the Panathenaic Stadium. They are some of the famous landmarks in Greece . If you have a student card remember to bring it with you, it will save you so much money!

Even though January isn’t the hottest time of year in Athens, the weather can be deceiving. Make sure you stay hydrated when you are exploring , especially if you are sampling the local wine. 

January in Europe is one of the best times to visit. Not only is it a great time to escape the tourist crowds but the temperatures make it a lot more easier to explore. If you are searching for the ultimate Europe getaway, Athens should be at the top of your list. 

By Lowri From Many Other Roads

Pro Tip: Athens can get really crowded. Book a skip the line ticket for attractions whenever you can. It will save you a lot of time.

10. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is a great spot to spend January in Europe

Location: Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic in Central Europe.

Temperature In Prague in Winter :

High: 3° / 37°

Low:  -1° / 30°

Getting There:   Fly into the Václav Havel international airport in Prague or travel by train to the capital of Czechia. Prague is well-connected, and since recently, you can also travel by nightjet train on the new routes from Vienna, Graz, Zürich, or Berlin to Prague.

Where To Stay: You can choose to stay in the old town or in Mustek or on the other side of the river near the Prague Castle in Malá Strana or Hrad. Both areas have their charm and are part of the old town area. 

In Mala Strana, also known as the lesser town, you get outstanding views across the Vlatava river and old town. If you want a room with a view to the castle hill, then choose to stay in the Mustek Old Town area. 

The best upscale hotels to briefly call your home when in Prague include the Four Seasons , the Mandarin Oriental and Augustine.

Prague is known as the best preserved historic center in Europe. The old town baroque buildings, cobbled streets and gothic towers and spires will take you back in time to this breathtakingly beautiful city. The Prague castle, the Charles bridge and the astronomical clock are some of the landmarks you shouldn’t miss when in Prague.

Additionally, you can choose to walk down the colorful Golden lane or get lost in the Bohemian Mala Strana quarters. Walk up behind the castle hill and get a wide view of the city from the Petřín lookout tower or visit one of the most beautiful libraries in the world located in the Strahov Monastery.

Praha, as it is called by the locals, is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Visiting in January comes with its perks because you will get to have this magical place almost to yourself. Which makes it one of the top picks for January in Europe.

By Helene & Paul From Paulmarina

Pro Tip: If you are in Prague, think about indulging in a 5-Course Medieval Dining Experience in Prague .

11. Seville, Spain

Seville is a great warm weather destination for January in Europe.

Seville is a great warm weather destination for January in Europe.

Location: Seville, Andalucia

Temperatures In Seville, Spain In January:  

Getting There: Seville does have an airport, however, it doesn’t have the best range of flights. If you’re flying from another destination within Spain, then you can usually find a flight. For most international arrivals, you’ll have to go to Madrid or Barcelona and get a transfer to Seville.

Where To Stay: Anywhere within the Old City walls. The historic center, Bario Santa Cruz , is next to all the attractions, but it’s expensive. A livelier place to stay is in Alameda or Feria with more affordable options, however, it’s about a 30-minute walk to the historic center from here. 

Even though there is a chill and freshness in the air in January, Seville still sees plenty of sun during the month thanks to its crisp blue skies.

You’ll need a jacket to go out in the early mornings and evenings, but if you find a sunny spot during the daytime, you’ll soon be stripping down to just a t-shirt, because it’s so warm. If you’re planning to visit Seville in the winter, the key is to wear layers.

Seville in January is lively, especially at the start of the month. The Spanish pretty much celebrate Christmas for about three weeks, with the finale happening on the 6th of January to mark Magic Kings Day. This is one of the iconic spots for January in Europe.

The streets are filled with festivities with the traditional cavalcade or carnival that happens in the streets. Colorful floats are driven through town with people dressed as the Three Kings who brought gifts to Jesus. From the floats, things like chocolates and sweets are thrown out to the children. 

Seville is famous for its oranges. For many this alone makes Spain worth visiting !

Another great reason to visit Seville in January is this is when they are really in season. Oranges adorn every tree in the city center making the city look vibrant. They do look good enough to eat, however, they are incredibly bitter, even when they are ripe. 

By Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Pro Tip: Seville is an amazing place to visit since there are loads of tours in the city and day trips outside Seville. For example, you could head out to the white villages and Rhoda day tour . Or you could choose to book skip the line tickets for Alcazar and the Cathedral of Seville which saves you loads of time.

12. Malaga, Spain

Malaga is an epic warm weather destination to spend January in Europe.

Malaga is an epic warm weather destination to spend January in Europe.

Location: Malaga, Southern Spain

Temperatures In Malaga, Spain in January:  

High:  17 o C/ 62.6 O F

Getting There: Malaga has an international airport and is well commuted with the rest of the world. There are also trains and buses from the rest of the country.

Where To Stay: Stay centrally at Room Mate Valeria where you have an easy walking distance from the main attractions in the historical center. 

Malaga in winter is a lovely destination for winter sun and while a cloudy, windy day can feel sour, a sunny day can make you want to go to the beach, and Yes, even go for a swim if you have a little sense of adventure. 

Malaga is blessed with mild weather all year round, mesmerizing urban beaches like La Malagueta Beach, and a wealth of historical sites, museums for rainy days, and hikes for good days.

Because January is a wonderful time of the year to explore the many hiking routes without the excess heat that you get in the summer and even sometimes in autumn and spring. This is one of the reasons why Malaga is an epic spot to spend January in Europe.

Head to the Montes de Malaga to get mesmerizing coastal views from the midst of pine trees or head to the world-famous Caminito del Rey.  

You can also explore some of the most unique karst landscapes in Europe at El Torcal de Antequera just a 45-minute drive from the city center. January is also when the Spanish celebrate Christmas.

Not the Christmas we are used to, but the day of Reyes (the Three King’s Day). This is the day when the Spanish exchange gifts and have large family dinners. Don’t forget to indulge in all the tapas from Andalucia while you are here.

On both the 5 th and 6 th of January you can experience fun processions through the streets of Malaga where the Three Kings are carried on floats and throw candy to the kids. You should also pop by a bakery or a café to try Roscon de Reyes which is a round Christmas cake with cream and dried fruit.

By Linn From Amused by Andalucia

Note: Like most Spanish cities, you will find loads of tours in Malaga that take you through some of the cities iconic spots. From Caminito del Rey to Alhambra , there are loads of great day trips to embark on too! Don’t forget to try out the iconic Tapa tours in the city.

13. Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk is a great spot to spend January in Europe.

Gdansk is a great spot to spend January in Europe.

Location: Gdansk, Poland

Temperatures In Gdansk, Poland In January: 

Low:  -3 o C/ 26.6 O F

High:  2 o C/ 35.6 O F

Getting There: Gdansk is located in the north of Poland on the Baltic coast. The closest airport is Gdansk Rebiechowo Airport which is approximately 15km from the city center and easily connected by public transport. Once in the city center, Gdansk is easily navigated on foot. 

Where To Stay: The historic Old Town is the best place to stay with most attractions just a short walk away. The PURO Gdansk Stare Miasto is a lovely option in the heart of the Old Town, or for something a little more luxe try Dwór Uphagena ARCHE Gdańsk which is a short walk away.

A city rich in maritime history and known for its kaleidoscopic colorful Old Town, Gdansk is a city unlike any other in Poland. The brightly painted facades of Long Market are home to an array of shops and restaurants and cobbled lanes are flanked by perfectly proportioned buildings and medieval red-brick churches.

Showing no signs of a city once buried beneath rubble after the Second World War, the Gdansk was rebuilt to replicate the city’s original design – 18th-century merchant houses and all. One of Gdansk’s most notable attractions is the Museum of WWII. 

A brilliant hub of information, the museum features interactive displays and educational content, and provides audio guides to help visitors navigate their way through the exhibits. 

During January, travelers might be treated to the occasional snowfall, turning this brightly-adorned city into a dreamscape. One of the best views across the city is admired from the top of St Mary’s Church. Climb the 400 steps to the top of the spiral staircase where you can soak up views of the toy-like houses from above.

When in Poland, eating several hearty servings of pierogi is a must. The best place to try these Polish dumplings is Pierogarnia Mandu Centrum where you can get a first-hand look at how they’re made fresh in the glass storefronts. The top tip is to try the classic ‘Ruskie’ style pierogi made of potato, cottage cheese and onion.

Part of the Tri-city region, you can explore the nearby coastal towns of Sopot and Gdynia easily by train from Gdansk. They make a perfect day trip if you’re enjoying a longer stay in the city. 

Gdansk is definitely one of the top locations to spend January in Europe.

By Bronwyn From Bronwyn Townsend

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the old town food tour!

14. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a lovely place to spend January in Europe.

Istanbul is a lovely place to spend January in Europe.

Location: Istanbul is in Turkey or Türkiye. Fun fact, half of Istanbul city is in Europe and the

other half in Asia.

Temperatures In Istanbul, Turkey In January:  

Low:  3 o C/ 37.4 O F

Getting There: There are two international airports in Istanbul. Istanbul International (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen International (SAW). Turkish Airlines offer many direct flights all over Europe and to 12 destinations in the USA. AnadoluJet, the budget carrier of Turkish Airlines, is also great for travel deals.

Where To Stay: For the old town near the Sultanahmet historical district, then the Istanbul

Henna Hotel in Fatih is a great location to stay. From the balcony you’ll find stunning views of the Hagia Sophia.

Alternatively, for the newer city then consider Room Mate Emir Hotel in Beyoğlu. This hotel is in a lively area very near Istiklal Ave and Taksim Square.

Pack your jackets as temperatures drop to around 8C, January is the coldest month in Istanbul! Despite the temperatures, Istanbul is a great place for January in Europe.

A 4 day Istanbul itinerary is an ideal length of time to see the city. In the historical center visit the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia as well as the many underground cisterns. Shop for carpets in the Grand Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar, or spices at Mısır Çarşısı. Then take a traditional Turkish hammam , drink Turkish coffee and eat baklava!

Over the Galata Bridge on the new side of town, wander Istiklal Avenue towards Taksim Square and see a whirling dervish show or climb Galata Tower. Finally, take a ferry tour of the Bosphorus river , admiring Istanbul’s architecture and history from the water.

By Sharon From My Freerange Family

15. Vik, Iceland

Vik is amazing place to spend January in Europe.

Vik is amazing place to spend January in Europe.

Location: Vik, Iceland

Temperatures In Vik, Iceland In January : 

Low:  -1.1 o C/ 30 O F

High:  3.3 o C/ 37.9 O F

Getting There: The best way to get to Vik, located along the southern shore of the country, is to fly into Keflavik International Airport, outside of Reyjavik and make the three hour drive to the country. In the winter time, be sure to book an all-wheel drive car- it gets icy on the roads!

Where To Stay: Hotel Vík í Mýrda is the perfect example of Icelandic design, mixing modern sleekness with rustic coziness. 

The days are short and chilly, come January, in Vik, but the hours of daylight and the night can be filled with epic adventures.

Not only are the crowds of summer gone, Iceland, renowned for its vibrant green hills and black lava fields, is frequently covered with a layer of crisp, white snowfall. Plus, given the cold weather, there’s plenty of ice caves to be explored and glaciers to be hiked.

Most people coming to Iceland at this time have one thing on their mind- experience the Northern Lights. In fact, Iceland is one of the best places on the planet to see the Aurora Borealis, due to the long, dark nights and location of the corresponding magnetic fields.

To catch this magnificent display, you can either consider booking a tour to see them or, alternatively, simply drive away from cities, which are dense with light pollution. Patience will pay off- the Northern Lights are never a guarantee and mainly depend on the solar activity and cloud cover obscuring the sky on that given day.

Alternatively, there’s perhaps no better time than January to explore the incredible hot springs around Vik, such as the Seljavallalaug Pool, tucked away in the snowy green mountains or something a bit bougier, like the Sky Lagoon, with a seven-step cleansing ritual, infinity pool, and sauna.

Regardless of whether you’re planning on mainly enjoying the natural scenery or a totally fabricated experience, like the Sky Lagoon, I’d suggest adding a swimsuit to your Iceland packing list – there’s nothing quite like relaxing in a natural hot spring while the Northern Lights dance overhead. Definitely a great spot for your January in Europe itinerary.

By Jessica From Uprooted Traveler

16. Paris, France

Paris is one of the best cities to spend January in Europe.

Paris is one of the best cities to spend January in Europe.

Location: Paris, France

Temperatures In Paris, France In January:  

Low:  2 o C/ 35.6 O F

High:  7 o C/ 44.6 O F

Getting There: Paris is accessible by two major airports, Orly and Charles de Gualle. There is another airport, Beauvais, that is about an hour outside of the city, servicing mostly budget airlines. Paris is also accessible by several major train lines, including a direct train from London. 

Where To Stay: The best places to stay in Paris are Le Marais, or in the 6th or 7th arrondissement (section). Note that this is a fairly large area; Paris doesn’t have a singular city center or main attraction, so visitors have lots of options for places to stay.

If you’ve always wanted to visit Paris but have felt like it is too expensive or crowded, visit the city in January. While you won’t get the experience of seeing classically green and lush parks or lounging on the grass watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night, you’ll be able to experience a more local and relaxed version of the city.

Even the hospitality staff you encounter will be more relaxed, as the trademark mobs of tourists will have dwindled to only more experienced or adventurous visitors. 

There are wonderfully relaxing things to do in Paris , from sipping a rich cup of hot chocolate from Angelina’s to meandering through the Louvre Museum’s extensive collections. If you like to shop, Paris is the perfect place for you, with iconic department stores throughout the city.

All of the wonderful cafes and wine bars will still be open, so you can explore French food, art, and culture throughout the month of January. You can see why it is a great spot to spend January in Europe.

The weather will be chilly and it’s likely you’ll encounter some rain, or even snow, while visiting in January. Bundle up with waterproof shoes, a warm coat, long underwear, and a scarf to ensure you’re able to stay warm while wandering through the beautiful and iconic streets of Paris.

By Amber From Amber Everywhere. 

Note: There is a lot to do in the city and by default a lot of tours in Paris . Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise is one of the epic tours that are popular.

The romantic atmosphere is something that people really love with the backdrop of the Christmas lights in the distance. The hop on and hop off bus tours help you traverse the city.

Christmas in Europe

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  • The 11 Best European City...

The 11 Best European City Breaks to Take in January

trip europe january

What better way to beat the January blues that by treating yourself to a European mini-break? Not only is January generally considered the low season across much of Europe, meaning fewer crowds and cheaper prices, but there’s usually plenty going on in terms of cultural highlights. Here are some of the best European city break destinations to consider this January.

Iconic yellow tram travelling through Lisbon, Portugal

One of Europe’s hottest new city break destinations, Lisbon has great nightlife , plenty of museums and galleries plus a mouthwatering food culture . Wrap up and explore the streets of the Alfama district before cozying up in the corner of a trendy wine bar to sample some local fare. Don’t miss the Lisboa Story Centre for a crash course in local history.

Ruins, Building

Aerial shot of Prague, featuring Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

3. Barcelona

logan-armstrong-hVhfqhDYciU-unsplash

This is possibly one of the best times of the year to visit the Catalan capital if you’re more interested in the architecture and art scene than the beach life. January is the quietest time of the year and is also generally a dry month with little to no rain, so ideal for exploring the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona’s other major landmarks .

Building, Church

benjamin-davies-Oja2ty_9ZLM-unsplash

5. Amsterdam

Architectural Landmark

gaurav-jain-2K2SR19RLg8-unsplash

Come winter, it’s time to forget the boat canal tours in Amsterdam and grab a pair of ice skates instead, as the city’s waterways often become ice rinks when the temperatures freeze. If not, there are always some world-famous museums to keep you busy, from the Anne Frank House to the Van Gogh Museum or the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art.

6. Salzburg

Natural Feature

Castle of Salzburg, Austria

The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a city steeped in culture and history and surrounded by the scenic Alp mountains. The historic city centre’s impressive baroque architecture has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status and it is all the more magical in the crisp winter light. There are also some great hiking and racketing opportunities to be had nearby.

Historical Landmark

Trevi Fountain, Roma, Italy

Another city that really benefits from the low season in terms of crowds, Rome is an altogether different city in the winter. You’ll be able to enjoy the same incredible architecture , fantastic food and historic landmarks , but without feeling as if you’ve accidentally joined a package tour holiday as you wander through its main sights.

8. Budapest

House of parliament lit up and overlooking the Danube as night draws in over Budapest, Hungary

Building, Cathedral, Church, Museum

The beautiful city and the lake of Geneva with a boat, fountain, city and mountains in the distance

10. Seville

joan-oger-PWrNP4bQHB4-unsplash

If you’re hoping to forget about Christmas and are already looking forward to spring, treat yourself to a little sunshine in Seville . While the temperatures won’t really get past the 16ºC mark, it’s warm enough to feel that you can leave the gloves, scarf and woolly hat at home as you admire the architecture of this Andalusian gem with its Moorish influences and heartwarming food culture .

Stephansplatz, Vienna, Austria

One of the European capitals of culture, Vienna abounds in jaw-dropping architecture , mesmerising museums and impressive landmarks that retrace the story of this historic city. Enjoy trips to the opera to hear the works of former residents Mozart and Beethoven, or admire Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss in the Castle Belvedere . And, of course, you’ll want to warm up with a mug of Viennese hot chocolate at the end of the day.

Which are the best European cities for solo travellers?

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The best holiday destinations in January

By Laura Fowler and Laura Chubb

21 best holiday destinations in January 2024

Christmas is over, the New Year’s hangover is lingering and workdays and school hours are back on. From 1 January, reality kicks in, so why not book a new year getaway and escape the January blues? Post-Christmas and pre-Valentines, it's cheap – snap up an off-peak season deal across the globe, from one of the best Caribbean islands to the sunny neighbourhoods of Sydney and LA . Here, we round up the best places to go on holiday in January 2023.

Temperature in January 29°C high 23°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 8 hours 45 minutes Time difference GMT 4  Its...

Barbados, Caribbean

Temperature in January: 29°C high; 23°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 8 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT -4

It’s the Caribbean island’s good-time vibes that keep regulars coming. Well, that and the pirate’s bounty of bleached-white, powdery beaches. The glam west coast might be all five-star luxury, but travel slightly south and the scene quickly skews more local. Lively town Oistins’ Friday Night Fish Fry brings the community out for an open-air party, with fresh-caught fish on the barbecue and booming reggae. Or, closer still, hit St Lawrence Gap, a strip of rambunctious rum bars. On the quieter east coast, pounding Atlantic waves draw surfers: Bathsheba is the closest Barbados gets to boho, with pro boarders and tattooed artists. In January, the dawn of dry season, it’s all appealing – drenched only in a daily average nine hours of sunshine.

Sustainable travel tip: The best way to benefit the Barbados community is to leave your hotel. Give back to the community by spending tourist dollars at Oistins Fish Fry, which benefits local businesses.

Where to stay: Cobblers Cove prides itself on being quietly elegant – an intimate, stylish country-house hotel situated on a white sand beach, with 40 spacious rooms which all open on to the luscious gardens. For more, see our picks of the best hotels in Barbados .

Temperature in January 32°C high 22°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 12 hours Time difference GMT 7  Thailand is...

Thailand, Asia

Temperature in January: 32°C high; 22°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 12 hours Time difference: GMT +7

Thailand is heavenly in January. Yes, it's peak season, but the mayhem of the Christmas and New Year parties are over; Bangkok is just about as pleasant as it's ever going to get, and the islands on the south-western, Andaman Coast are just lovely: Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lanta . Over on the east side, the islands of Koh Samui, Phangan and Tao are wetter - if you're heading here, best to wait a couple of months til March ; but still, those monsoon-like rains blow in, pour themselves out, then an hour later everyone's back on the beach.

Sustainable travel tip: Thai sleeper trains are modern and comfortable, so consider an overnight rail adventure between destinations rather than internal flights. Similarly, when visiting islands, more often than not there’s a ferry option, so don’t head for the airport as a matter of course.

Where to stay: The Standard offers a peppy, high-energy experience in Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper. Families and those seeking the more serene should book into the whimsical railway-themed InterContinental Khao Yai Resort , with its charming suites all set up in vintage railway carriages, and an old-timey ticketing booth serving as a lobby. See our guide to the best hotels in Thailand for more.

Temperature in January 1°C high 10°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 1 hour 40 minutes Time difference GMT 1  With...

Val d'Isere

Temperature in January: -1°C high; -10°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 1 hour 40 minutes Time difference: GMT +1

With New Year crowds gone and no school holidays on the horizon, January is a fine time to hit up the best ski resorts in Europe . And not only does French ski resort Val present the most reliable powder on the continent, but this St-Tropez-on-snow is only getting splashier. The spot is home to some of the best ski hotels and chalets in the region. And if Olympic downhills and Michelin-starred restaurants aren’t doing it, there are plenty more inventive ways to get your kicks. Who’s up for a circuit of BMW’s ice track?

Sustainable travel tip: Looking to offset all that Val d’Isère excess? Eurostar runs direct trains from London St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice during ski season; local buses then make the 45-minute trip from the station to Val.

Where to stay: Le Refuge de Solaise , once a cable-car station, is now a fun-loving ski hotel with ski-in/ski-out access, marking one of France’s highest places to bed down. We also love Le Yule , located right on the edge of the front de neige and the nursery slope. The rooms are decorated in minimalist Scandinavian style with natural colours, and have balconies overlooking the piste. For a private stay, seven-room Chalet Husky has a climbing wall, infinity waterfall and space for rifle shooting and archery – perhaps not so wise after a night at Dick’s Tea Bar.

Temperature in January 14°C high 6°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 2 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 0  No...

Porto, Portugal

Temperature in January: 14°C high; 6°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 2 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT +0

No doubt about it, Portugal is booming. While the country’s mild winters might not be scorching, they are quieter – and prices lower than usual, in a destination already beloved for being very affordable. Porto , Lisbon’s little sister, has undergone its own creative renewal. Once-decaying medieval streets buzz with kerbside cafés and retooled townhouses, transformed into stylish hotels by local designers. The food scene is fizzing, there’s more to Porto than sandwich shops and port wine tastings, from Michelin-starred menus to relaxed, wine-focused dining. And then there’s the terraced port vineyards of the Douro Valley, 100km inland.

Sustainable travel tip: Taking the train to Portugal is a much better idea than it might sound – and it only takes 24 hours. First, catch the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the high-speed TGV to Irun in Spain’s Basque Country, followed by the overnight Sud Express to Lisbon, which has sleeper cabins with private showers, and a cafe/bar. After a sophisticated night on the rails, there’s no shortage of direct trains to Porto. Felicidades!

Where to stay: Bijou design hotel Gran Cruz House pairs sorbet-toned rooms with a couldn’t-be-better location and a standout restaurant helmed by one of Portugal’s top chefs. On Rua das Flores, the 16th century Casa da Companhia building blends modern luxury with traditional touches, and hosts regular Port bottle ‘fire openings’ where you can learn about the city’s Port culture. See our guide to the best hotels in Porto for more.

Temperature in January 23°C high 8°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 11 hours 10 minutes Time difference GMT 6  The...

Temperature in January: 23°C high; 8°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 11 hours 10 minutes Time difference: GMT -6

The coast of Mexico is everything the British winter is not: light, colour, exoticism; warm and spicy and exuberant. Parties on the beach, yoga under the trees, a dip in dappled-light cenotes. We fell for the cosmic vibes of Tulum , and the little barefoot island of Isla Holbox , off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. For the haciendas and smart resorts on the Riviera Maya; for colonial Mérida . And over on the west coast, sunny, surfy Sayulita . The weather on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts is wonderful in January: hot but not-too-hot, with barely any rain at all. Required holiday reading: The Lacuna , by Poisonwood Bible author Barbara Kingsolver.

Sustainable travel tip: Where Tulum’s not-so-green practices have made headlines, and the Riviera Maya’s resorts are all about opulence, Isla Holbox’s modus operandi is small-scale and local. The lack of paved roads all but mandates getting around by bicycle; the most convenient way to arrive is by 30-minute ferry from the mainland; restaurants, bars and stores are owned by islanders; and single-use plastics have been banned since 2018.

Where to stay: Near the powdery white sands of Xpu-Ha, the secluded jungle hideaway of Hotel Esencia is a reprieve from bustling resorts and hedonistic eco-hotels. Five minutes from Huanacaxtle Beach, Susurros del Corazón offers an all-inclusive experience with a boutique hotel feel. The newly-revamped Rancho Pescadero is a great choice for the eco-conscious, with an on-site solar farm and a clean-air waste incinerator for both the resort and the local area. See our guide to the best hotels in Mexico for more.

Rwanda

Rwanda, Africa

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 9°C low Season: First dry period Travel time from UK: 10 hours 40 minutes (indirect with Rwandair or Egyptair) Time difference: GMT +2

There are many reasons to go to Rwanda . Its vibrant Kigali exudes an air of positivity from its extraordinarily resilient people. In Akagera National Park, still off-radar on the safari scene, lion and black rhino have been reintroduced, and you’ll spot elephants, giraffes and zebras roaming the savannah – but no other safari tourists. Trek through ancient rainforests, babble with monkeys – colobus, baboon, chimpanzee. But it’s Rwanda’s mountain gorillas that are the blockbuster draw. Not even 100 people a day are permitted to trek, accompanied by trackers, into the Virunga cloud forest of Volcanoes National Park, for a close encounter with the critically endangered creatures – a moving, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s possible any time of year – whenever you can get a coveted permit – but as the first dry period, January is one of the best months for trekking.

Sustainable travel tip : The income from carefully monitored responsible tourism funds the conservation of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.

Where to stay: Two of Africa’s most sensational lodges are found not far from Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and the gorillas: Bisate , Wilderness Safaris’ thatched, curvaceous and exquisitely designed eco-lodge and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest .

The Japanese Alps

The Japanese Alps

Temperature in January: 3°C high; –5°C low Season: Winter Travel time from UK: 11 hours 50 minutes Time difference: GMT +9

Most tourists miss Honshu’s mountainous Nagano Prefecture, which rewards the more intrepid traveller with unique experiences in this eternally surprising land. It is home to the drama and forested beauty of the Japanese Alps; the Nakasendo Way winding through the Kiso Valley and Kiso Mountain peaks which, in January, are white with snow. In Joshinetsu National Park, the ski resort of Shiga Kogen is massive – 51 lifts and dozens of hotels – but still little-known to overseas visitors, its slopes uncluttered. Apres-ski here is all about sushi feasts and restorative bathing in the natural onsen baths… perhaps even, in Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, surrounded by scarlet-faced macaques who wallow in the steaming pools to keep warm.

Sustainable travel tip : Stays at Zenagi support Nagano’s rural communities and the restaurant uses ingredients grown by local suppliers.

Where to stay: In Nagano’s Kiso forest – where forest bathing is said to have originated – Zenagi is a 300-year-old Kominka house, its traditional architecture offset by the exquisite modern restoration and furniture locally made by craftsfolk.

ANDAMAN ISLANDS

Andaman Islands

Temperature in January: 29°C high; 21°C low Season: Dry and cool Travel time from UK: 9 hours 50 minutes to Chennai; 2 hours to Havelock Time difference: GMT +5.5

A castaway fantasy of white-sand cays and lagoons of tropical blue, the Andamans are the Indian Ocean archipelago on which few have set barefoot. Surfers and backpackers seeking next-level undiscovered make the 60-hour voyage by basic boat from Kolkata or Chennai, to stay in shacks along its pristine shores. In the past decade or so, more luxurious digs have been set up: primarily the Taj Exotica , in five-star splendour on Havelock island; and the more boutique Jalakara , set up by an Englishman and his wife.

Sustainable travel tip : Experiences here are all-natural: swimming, snorkelling, surfing, nature trails and bird walks.

Where to stay: As well as Taj Exotica and Jalakara, Barefoot at Havelock is a rustic delight.

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Jamaica

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 19°C low Season: Winter Travel time from UK: 9 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

Winter in Jamaica – when temperatures dip to a cool 30ºC by day – is a bright and balmy affair. This vibrant island dances to its own rhythms throughout January with music festivals from reggae (St Ann’s Rebel Salute) to rock’n’roll (Peter’s Players Winterfest). Jamaica’s music scene has always been world-leading, and never more so than right now. January is also one of the loveliest times to go for peak beach weather, the sea deliciously warm for swimming; and also for hiking – to waterfalls along the One Love Trail, or up through coffee plantations to the peak of the Blue Mountains.

Sustainable travel tip : Eco-forward Stush in the Bush serves delicious, homegrown plant-based Rastafari-Ital dishes – as well as gathering rainwater for the local community and generating solar power.

Where to stay: Ian Fleming’s former home GoldenEye is now one of several Jamaica boltholes owned by Island Records boss Chris Blackwell – and remains a legend. Its history is richly storied; Island Records brought Bob Marley to the world, and GoldenEye, in turn, has brought a string of musicians to the island, who have written songs in its waterside huts.

Temperature in January 20°C high 13°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 4 hours 15 minutes Time difference GMT 0 ...

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Temperature in January: 20°C high; 13°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 4 hours 15 minutes Time difference: GMT +0

It’s no secret the Canary Islands offer reliable winter sun – but it may surprise that there’s another side to Lanzarote. Skip the east coast’s gaudy mega-hotels and you’ll discover a very cool Canary. Much of the built landscape owes a debt to local architect César Manrique, who designed many of the islands must-see architectural feats: Jardín de Cactus, his magical cactus amphitheatre; or the home he designed for himself, where cave-like rooms are carved into lava bubbles (now home to the Fundacíon César Manrique). Speaking of which, the island’s volcanic landscape is its own art project. Timanfaya National Park presents a ravishing patchwork of rainbow-hued earth. If climbing a volcano doesn’t do it for you, get wet: dive underwater through the art park Museo Atlántico, or surf local favourite Famara beach, a dramatic stretch to the north.

Sustainable travel tip: There’s no slow boat to Lanzarote, but lots of budget airlines fly here – and a few are genuinely attempting to reduce emissions. EasyJet , in fact, is rather progressive as carbon-gushing corporations go.

Where to stay: Finca Malvasia is a four-apartment hotel in Lanzarote's central La Geria wine region that's packed with funky touches such as volcanic-stone walls and cactus gardens. for a private stay, bed down in one of our favourite villas in Lanzarote .

Temperature in January 20°C high 10°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 11 hours 15 minutes Time difference GMT 8 ...

Silver Lake, Los Angeles

Temperature in January: 20°C high; 10°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 11 hours 15 minutes Time difference: GMT -8

Now Venice has officially made the transition from edgy to upscale, where do you go in LA for more boho, less bling? Head east to Silver Lake. There might not be a beach, but the chilled neighbourhood vibe more than compensates. Houses spill down jungly hills to palm-lined boulevards jammed with vintage T-shirts and vinyl. Behold the surf shops and farmers' markets, street murals and food trucks, plus indie clubs that launched Foo Fighters and Foster The People. Think of it as an unending summer of hip, young cool – even in January. And, as with any self-respecting creative hub, it’s where food trends are born: see Trois Familia’s French-Mexican brunch, with beet-tartare tostada and churro French toast

Sustainable travel tip: LA traffic is notorious, and its subpar public transportation even more so, but you can do your bit by renting a hybrid car.

Where to stay: The Palihouse Santa Monica boutique beach lodge is in a Spanish Colonial Revival-style building, a range of suites with a home-from-home philosophy.

Temperature in January 24°C high 19°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 8 hours Time difference GMT 1  A smattering of...

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 19°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 8 hours Time difference: GMT -1

A smattering of volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, Cape Verde seems a lonely prospect at first look, out in the mid-Atlantic. But there’s a reason it’s fast become a fly-and-flop favourite: miles of uninterrupted ivory beaches, impossibly pure surf and an intriguing lunar landscape. Not to mention its consistently sunny disposition: January’s average temperature is 25˚C. And finally, there’s a lovely little eco lodge to rival the big hotels and budget guesthouses. Run entirely on renewable energy, Spinguera is a restored fishing village with its own private beach on the north coast of Boa Vista island (translation: good view). Think charming, stone-hewn villas with bright yellow shutters, fresh, white bedrooms and lantern-lit sunset suppers. You could while away every day right here. Or go island-hopping to explore more of Cape Verde’s craggy beauty: from Sal’s red deserts and salt pans to São Vicente, the heart of its colourful Afro-Portuguese culture.

Sustainable travel tip: Try exploring the islands by ferry. Some routes are more regular and reliable than others, such as São Vicente to lush and mountainous Santo Antão, and Santiago to rugged Fogo (where there’s a vineyard in a volcanic crater).

Where to stay: At Odjo d'Agua Hotel , a small, locally owned hotel with a garden, a pool, anachronistically decorated rooms (antiques and curios, fishing equipment and so on) and an open-air restaurant-bar jutting out into the sea, where you can dine as the Atlantic rollers crash past.

Temperature in January 4°C high 12°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 7 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 5  If...

Montreal, Canada

Temperature in January: -4°C high; -12°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 7 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

If a rave in sub-zero temperatures sounds appealing, Montréal is for you. The city’s annual January Igloofest tempts parka-clad party people outside with a line-up of world-class EDM acts. Elsewhere, the French château architecture looks fabulous with frosting, and you can go snowshoeing up Mount Royal for excellent city views (it’s more of a hill, really, right in the middle of town). Mile End’s hipsters have been replaced by good-looking young families, but its food institutions remain: warm up with classic smoked-meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s Deli, or St-Viateur’s hot-out-the-oven, hand-rolled bagels (thinner and sweeter than New York ’s). For a comforting treat in the cold, poutine is considered a delicacy – try it at Au Pied de Cochon or Garnde Manger. If you need to come in from the cold, there’s the Underground City – a network of shops, museums and restaurants below downtown’s core.

Sustainable travel tip: In hip warehouse district Griffintown the Hôtel Alt Montréal , from Canadian-owned Groupe Germain, has been designed with sustainability in mind: think geothermal heating and energy-saving lighting.

Where to stay: Auberge du Vieux-Port , located on the riverfront in Vieux Montreal, has a restaurant and a rooftop terrace with views of the St-Lawrence River and the Old Port.

Temperature in January 32°C high 24°C low Season dry Travel time from UK from 12 hours 50 minutes Time difference GMT 5 ...

Temperature in January: 32°C high; 24°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: from 12 hours 50 minutes Time difference: GMT -5

Finding a photograph-worthy beach in Panama – a compact country with two long coasts – is easy. Finding a suitably chic stay to match is more of a challenge. Maybe that’s why this gem gets overshadowed by its rowdy neighbours, Colombia and Costa Rica. But that’s all starting to change, now, thanks to the Islas Secas . On a remote, private archipelago of the same name, just 20 miles off Panama’s Pacific shore, this retreat leaves you marooned in luxury: it's home to four individually designed Casita sites and three Tented Casitas, all located on one of the islands and sleeping up to 24 guests. Expect expert-led excursions to uninhabited islands and jungles, and complete silence come nightfall. Changing gears, the Panama Jazz Festival makes January the best time to visit for a musical party. Hole up in Central America’s first W hotel , or head for the Casco Viejo . Once controlled by gangs, the capital’s old quarter is now flooded with cool new outfits revitalising crumbling colonial buildings, including romantic boutique bolthole La Concordia.

Sustainable travel tip: Billionaire conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon bought the Islas Secas archipelago on the condition that 13 of its 14 islands would remain undeveloped. The whole retreat runs on solar energy, plus all water used gets recycled. Alternatively, choose a completely untouched beach getaway: the Caribbean coast’s San Blas Islands are protected by an indigenous Panamanian tribe, the Guna. No hotels, no big-name restaurants: just simple huts and hammocks on deserted sands. Pass on flying here – you can catch a speedboat just outside Panama City.

Where to stay: Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo , the former Union Club of Panama, with its waterfront infinity pool, immersive spa program and spacious personal terraces that overlook the glittering downtown skyline. For a pretty retreat on a coffee farm in the mountain area of Boquete, Los Establos has spacious suites, great views and plenty of activities on offer.

Temperature in January 27°C high 20°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 22 hours 30 minutes Time difference GMT 10 ...

Paddington, Sydney, Australia

Temperature in January: 27°C high; 20°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 22 hours 30 minutes Time difference: GMT +10

If Sydney is urban done right – laid-back, cosmopolitan and perpetually beachy – then Paddington is suburban perfection. Fashionable and well-heeled, it’s got all the buzz of a central district, but with the charm of a village. Colourful Victorian terrace rows flaunting wrought-iron balconies could be Notting Hill. Main promenade Oxford Street bustles with cafés, pubs and boutiques, while back alleys are home to cool galleries, design studios and cute bars. Nicky Zimmermann started out selling her designs at Paddington’s famous Saturday markets; find her spacious store on Glenmore Road. Or join the 'Paddo' foodies at Fred’s, where chef Danielle Alvarez’s kitchen cooks farm-to-table comfort food. January is quintessential Sydney summer, with balmy temperatures, and the Sydney Festival packing the city with music and art.

Sustainable travel tip: Though Qantas conducted a successful nonstop London to Sydney research flight in late 2019 – clocking in at 19 hours and 19 minutes – it isn’t yet commercially available. Which means getting to Oz still entails a carbon-heavy indirect route. But you can choose to eat and shop sustainably while you’re there. Sydney, in fact, offers a lot of innovative ways to leave a lighter footprint, from Paddington’s zero-waste fashion boutique EkoLuv, to 'rescued food' market Oz Harvest, and sustainable seafood restaurant Love Fish, in the waterfront Barangaroo development, designed to be Australia’s first carbon-neutral precinct.

Where to stay: The Dive Hotel , a groovy family-run guesthouse in Coogee, is about 8km southeast of central Sydney. A cursory glance at the crisp cotton sheets, polished floorboards and blue-tiled bathrooms reveals that this hotel doesn't live up (or down) to its name. Over in Surry Hills, Ace Hotel pays homage to the area’s creative roots with a diverse selection of music, talks, workshops and Pride parties, including a First Nations’ artist-in-residence program showcasing works from Aboriginal and other boundary-pushing artists .

Temperature in January 30°C high 23°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 13 hours Time difference GMT 6  Warning a...

Nicaragua, Central America

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 23°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 13 hours Time difference: GMT -6

Warning: a youthful wanderlust may return when you read this feature about Nicaragua . Quite possibly the Central American country that has it all: tropical rainforests and untouched beaches, fringed with palms, distant cloud-capped volcanoes, and recently some extraordinarily special eco-lodges (see our sustainable travel tip). January has the double blessing of being the month with the best temperatures everywhere, and also the least rainfall (barely any at all) on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast.

Sustainable travel tip: Half the appeal of going to Nicaragua is losing yourself in the wild, and there are plenty of smart yet eco ways to do it. On the coast, Totoco Eco-Lodge is made up of private casitas, a pool and bougainvillaea-filled gardens but also has compost loos and works with solar power and recycled water; even your morning coffee is sourced from a neighbouring finca. Jungle-clad Jicaro Island Lodge is built from reclaimed mahogany and cedar wood, while idyllic seaside farmhouse Morgan’s Rock grows all its own food.

Where to stay: Los Patios Hotel , a five-bedroom gem with an indoor-outdoor approach to living, with scrubbed, Scandi-style interiors and open-air spaces designed for chilling out.

Temperature in January 30°C high 24°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 12 hours 40 minutes Time difference GMT 3 ...

The coast of Brazil, South America

Temperature in January: 30°C high; 24°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 12 hours 40 minutes Time difference: GMT -3

Worth splurging all your annual leave in January for. Spend your New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and then stay on for a couple more weeks and head up the coast to any number of preposterously gorgeous, barefoot-n-bikini-chic beach havens. So many thousands of miles of empty, golden sand, and beautiful people drinking caipirinhas at the coolest beach parties. The kind of places that really get our travel clichés rolling. Trancoso , in Bahia, is the original and still one of the best. Surfy Itacaré, the no-car islands of Boipeba and Tinharé. Or Sao Luís and Jericoacoara, on the wild and stunning north-east coast.

Sustainable travel tip: Carbon emissions in the Amazon forest have rocketed in recent years due to a lack of enforcement of environmental protection policies. As well as a devastating increase in deforestation in the world's largest rainforest, uncontrolled wildfires have ravaged one of the most climate-important carbon sinks in a region of rich biological and cultural diversity. Give financial support by booking nature-based activities through Indigenous-owned businesses which support the forest folk on the frontlines. To reduce your own carbon footprint, choose a direct flight route, since it’s the taking off and landing parts that burn the most fossil fuels. Choosing an energy-efficient low-cost carrier also means less kerosene combusted per passenger – consider Norwegian Air, for example, from London Gatwick to Rio.

Where to stay: Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa . A ramshackle façade disguises this utterly fabulous hotel. Ten beautiful houses are set among high-growing gardens. Bathrooms have living walls of ferns, orchids and jasmine, and there's a spa and a pool lined with green aventurine stones.

Temperature in January 28°C high 20°C low Season dry Travel time from UK 16 hours 20 minutes Time difference GMT 6  It...

Belize, Central America

Temperature in January: 28°C high; 20°C low Season: dry Travel time from UK: 16 hours 20 minutes Time difference: GMT -6

It is hot and humid and it rains a lot in Belize, beset as it is by tropical storms and hurricanes. But don't let that put you off. It is the perfect Caribbean escape for those who like it rough and palm-fringed around the edges, with tropical jungly highlands, Mayan ruins and the most astoundingly beautiful beaches, just a handful of hippies and beach bums to share them with. January and February are the best months, only pleasantly hot and not too wet.

Sustainable travel tip: Those who sign up to a five-day diving trip with Much Better Adventures can be part of the conservation effort to protect the Belize Barrier Reef, spearing invasive lionfish, training in conservation work and helping with research.

Where to stay: Itz’ana , a hotel with a beautiful rattan- and plant-decorated restaurant and a bar with a great pool.

Temperature in January 26°C high 16°C low Season summer Travel time from UK 10 hours 45 minutes Time difference GMT 2 ...

South Africa

Temperature in January: 26°C high; 16°C low Season: summer Travel time from UK: 10 hours 45 minutes Time difference: GMT +2

So, so many reasons to go, but briefly: amazing food and wine , beaches, hotels. Sensational scenery, from the Garden Route and Western Cape to the Little Karoo . Completely thrilling wildlife encounters on safari, staying at the most incredible lodges; or along the coastline, in knock-out villas . January is one of the best months for all those things. Wine can be drunk all year round. And because it's in the same time zone, you don't even get jet lag once you're home again. Shame we can't say the same about hangovers.

Sustainable travel tip: When choosing a safari, make sure your money is poured back into supporting the park. The likes of Kruger and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, where rhino poaching is rife, need these funds for anti-poaching schemes.

Where to stay: At Silo Hotel , the best hotel in Cape Town for eclectic design and wraparound views. Its compact footprint packs a punch and includes the best rooftop bar and pool in the city.

Temperature in January 6°C high 2°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 1 hours 10 minutes Time difference GMT 1  For...

Bruges, Belgium

Temperature in January: 6°C high; 2°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 1 hours 10 minutes Time difference: GMT +1

For snow, beer and chips. The beautiful little Belgian city is one of those rare places that is just as enticing in the bleak midwinter as in summer: pretty in the snow, 'beautiful f**king fairytale stuff', to quote the film In Bruges (which is all the research you need). And the snow is an excellent excuse for holing up somewhere, because this city also has some of the most inviting reasons to stay indoors: interesting interiors, welcoming taverns full of good cheer and much Belgian beer, antiques and junk shops to poke around, gorgeous old guesthouses on the canals, candlelit bars and restaurants, moules-frites and cream-and-kirsch-laden puddings. A long weekend is enough time to see everything and put on a stone in weight.

Sustainable travel tip: Our friends in the north have an advantage when it comes to getting to Bruges sustainably – the overnight ferry from Hull. The good news for southerners: the Eurostar travels direct from London to Brussels in just two hours, and from Brussels there are trains to Bruges every 30 minutes that take just over an hour.

Where to stay: Number 11 , three 17th-century gable houses containing four wooden-floored bedrooms which combine antique and contemporary furniture, tactile fabrics, interesting prints and fresh flowers. Go for the deluxe suite, a ground-floor apartment with its own entrance, Champagne-stocked fridge and a bathtub for two.

Temperature in January 24°C high 8°C low Season winter Travel time from UK 14 hours 25 minutes Time difference GMT 5.30 ...

Rajasthan, India

Temperature in January: 24°C high; 8°C low Season: winter Travel time from UK: 14 hours 25 minutes Time difference: GMT +5.30

India's state of princes is spectacular in January. It's pleasantly warm, the holiday crowds have vanished and you can dance through its palaces as if on your own private Bollywood set. Don't miss the jewels in its crown - pastel-hued Jaipur , turquoise-speckled Jodhpur and romantically golden Udaipur - but leave room in your itinerary for a few forgotten treasures : serene Jal Mahal or the lost city of Bhangarh. January also provides the perfect weather for an Arabian Nights-style safari in Jaisalmer, where you can traverse the desert on the back of a camel and sleep under the stars.

Sustainable travel tip: Rajasthan’s train network is excellent and largely runs on time. But reserve well in advance to secure the more comfortable cabin classes – 1AC and 2AC provide bunks with privacy curtains, towels and bedding – because they get snapped up fast. You can book through the Indian Railways site, which requires a frustrating registration process but is doable if you’re the patient type, or else use the quick and easy online agency 12go.asia .

Where to stay: Lakshaman Sagar was originally constructed in the 19th-century as a hunting lodge, and has since been converted into a luxury getaway set over 32 acres of land in Raipur. The resort features 12 villas, private dining and lounging spaces, a spa, and swimming pool.

Headout Blog

10 Best places to visit in Europe in January this year

Travel Travel Inspiration 10 Best places to visit in Europe in January this year

The spirit of the wanderer has always overpowered humans. Ever since the stone age, humans have left their secure abode to search for a home away from home. Over time, our existence has become more and more complicated, leaving us less time to explore. So now, we explore only occasionally and for leisure. Everyone has their favorite places on the planet which appeals to them. For a large portion of the world’s population, various haunts in Europe are too good to resist, even in the winter month of January. Europe is a fairly large continent with considerable variation in weather in different parts at the same time. While London and Edinburgh can be freezing, Prague and Budapest are a bit more hospitable. Venice and Barcelona, on the other hand, would require the least amount of adjustment. However, irrespective of the weather, Europe has enough to offer to the tourists of any age and tastes. Follow our January guide to Europe to know how the city of your preference is in the first month of the year.

10 Best Places to Go in Europe in January

A mixbag of 10 places that cover the warm and cold parts of Europe, our list of the 10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in January is just what you need to satisfy your January wanderlust. Keep your passports handy as you'll need them real soon!

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Rome, Italy

Average high: 12°c | average low: 3°c.

Rome in January is a great time to visit the Eternal City. The temperatures are cool and the days are sunny, making it a perfect time of year for sightseeing. January is also the start of Rome’s cultural season, with ancient ruins and monuments coming alive as art galleries open their doors and musical performances take place in the city’s piazzas and plazas. With many outdoor attractions to explore, January makes for a perfect time to visit Rome and experience the beauty of this historic city.

Read More About Rome In January

Rome Itineraries | Rome On A Budget | Rome Travel Guide | Rome Food Tours | Best Guided Tours In Rome | Piazza Navona | Where to Stay in Rome

Top Recommended Experiences in Rome

trip europe january

Paris, France

Average high: 8°c | average low: 3°c.

Despite the chilly temperatures, Paris in January is still buzzing with energy and activity. Visitors can explore world-famous attractions such as the Louvre museum or the Eiffel Tower while admiring Parisian architecture along their way. The French capital also offers plenty of charming cafés and eateries to warm up in on a cold winter’s day. January is an ideal time to take romantic strolls along the Seine and absorb the beauty of Paris as it comes alive with winter decorations. It's truly a beautiful time of year to visit this magnificent city.

Read More About Paris In January

Paris Itineraries | Paris Travel Guide | Paris on a Budget | Seine Dinner Cruises | Paris Deals & Offers | Paris City Passes | Best Paris Cabarets

Top Recommended Experiences in Paris

trip europe january

Budapest, Hungary

Average high: 3°c | average low: -2°c.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It is located in central Europe. January is one of the coldest months in Budapest. While there is a lot to love in Budapest in January, the weather is not one of them. As such, there aren’t many tourists that frequent the city this month. This should prove to be a blessing in disguise for you. You will be able to secure attractive discounts on hotel and flight rates in addition to having the city free of the tourist crowd. Budapest has an upper hand over other European cities in January as it has a number of natural thermal baths that could take the sting out of the weather. Ice skating at the City Park Ice Rink is another activity to look forward to in January. Do not forget to indulge in the rich Hungarian local cuisine that would suit the weather well.

Read More About Budapest In January

Budapest Itineraries | Best Day Trips from Budapest | Battle of the Budapest Baths | Budapest River Cruises | Best Time To Visit Budapest

Top Recommended Experiences in Budapest

Zurich, switzerland, average high: 4°c | average low: -1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Zurich in January is a beautiful time of year for those looking for a peaceful winter holiday. With its snow-covered streets and frozen lakes, the Swiss city exudes an air of serenity that can be enjoyed from the cozy confines of outdoor cafes or from the observation decks at local mountains. Visitors may also take advantage of Zurich’s many cultural attractions, such as the world-renowned opera house or old churches filled with art and history. January is an ideal time to explore all Zurich has to offer while snuggling up in warm winter clothing and enjoying the crisp air of this beautiful city.

Top Recommended Experiences in Zurich

Vienna, austria.

Vienna in January is great for those looking to explore the city’s rich culture and history. The city's many museums and galleries, including the world-famous Kunsthistorisches Museum, come alive with winter exhibits and special performances. Visitors may also take advantage of Vienna’s beautiful parks, which are blanketed in fresh white snow and provide a perfect opportunity to take in the city’s stunning architecture. It is also a great time of year to sample some traditional Viennese cuisine, such as Goulash or Schnitzel. January is an ideal time for those who wish to explore Vienna in all its winter glory. It'll be cold, so make sure to pack your winter wear!

Top Recommended Experiences in Vienna

London, united kingdom, average high: 9°c | average low: 4°c.

London is one of the premier tourist destinations in Europe. It has cultural diversity, heritage, and the chic sophistication that is desirable in every top metropolis. Such is its popularity among tourists that London never sees a month devoid of the tourist crowd. Even in January, there seems to be a steady flow of visitors. However, since it is low season in January, you should be able to find the accommodation of your choice at a cheaper rate. January sees a little less crowd at popular spots like the London Eye. After the conclusion of the holiday season, Londoners take a step back and enjoy a quiet month. This could be your chance to explore the city and its wonderful architecture. You will also be able to enjoy events like the London Short Film Festival and Hogwarts in Snow.

Read More About London In January

London Itineraries | London Airport Transfers | River Thames Cruises | London Travel Guide | Hampton Court Palace | London Palace Pass | The Shard

Top Recommended Experiences in London

trip europe january

Prague, Czech Republic

Average high: 3°c | average low: -1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Prague in January is a great time to visit the city’s many historical monuments and attractions. The temperatures are usually quite mild, making it easy to explore the cobblestone streets and quaint cafes without feeling too hot or cold. Prague's main sites are particularly beautiful at this time of year, with snow adding an extra layer of charm to the city’s picturesque architecture. January is also a great time to enjoy traditional Czech food and beer, as well as experience some of the city's vibrant cultural celebrations that take place in winter. It truly is an ideal time for those looking to explore Prague’s many wonders.

Read More About Prague In January

Prague Travel Guide | Prague Trip Planner | Prague Castle | One Day Prague Itinerary | Prague Astronomical Clock

Madrid, Spain

Average high: 10°c | average low: 1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Madrid is the Spanish administrative capital, which makes it one of the most important cities in the world. The city also has enough attractions to lure millions of tourists every year. Madrid has a harsh winter, but the city is located at an altitude, which helps it receive bright sunlight and clear skies throughout January. So once you are in Madrid, you will see the locals out and about. January is a great time to explore the parks of Madrid, especially Retiro Park. You should also try some winter specialty food items while you are in the city, including Cocido Madrileño and churros. If you have some spare time, head outside the city to enjoy some winter sports like snowboarding and skiing.

Read More About Madrid in January

One Day in Madrid | Madrid to Segovia | Madrid to Toledo | Santiago Bernabeu Tour | Reina Sofia Museum | Prado Museum | Madrid Trip Planner

Top Recommended Experiences in Madrid

trip europe january

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Average high: 6°c | average low: 1°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Amsterdam in January is a great opportunity to explore the city’s many museums and attractions, as well as enjoy its unique winter charms. The canals are especially beautiful in winter, with cobbled streets and snow-dusted houses providing a picturesque landscape for visitors. Ice skating on Amsterdam’s frozen canals is a popular winter activity, as well as a great way to take in the city’s unique atmosphere. It is also a great time of year to sample some traditional Dutch cuisine and marvel at Amsterdam's centuries-old architecture that truly come alive in the cooler months. January is an ideal time for vibrant winter exploration of Amsterdam.

Read More About Amsterdam in January

Amsterdam Itineraries | Amsterdam Travel Guide | 24 Hours in Amsterdam | Free Things to do in Amsterdam | Amsterdam Travel Tips

Top Recommended Experiences in Amsterdam

Santorini, greece, average high: 14°c | average low: 9°c.

The Best Places to Go in Europe in January

Santorini in January is a great time to visit the island’s many picturesque villages and attractions. The mild temperatures make it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the historical sites, wineries, and beaches that the island has to offer. Many locals also celebrate the warm winter months by gathering around bonfires on the beach and enjoying traditional Greek music. January is also a great time to sample some of the island’s delicious cuisine, such as moussaka, grilled fish, and fresh seafood. Santorini in January is an ideal time for those who wish to enjoy the beauty of winter while taking advantage of all that the island has to offer.

Top Recommended Experiences in Santorini

Europe through the year.

Best Places To Visit In Europe In January

Best Places To Visit In Europe In February

Best Places To Visit In Europe In March

Best Places To Visit In Europe In April

Best Places To Visit In Europe In May

Best Places To Visit In Europe In June

Best Places To Visit In Europe In July

Best Places To Visit In Europe In August

Best Places To Visit In Europe In September

Best Places To Visit In Europe In October

Best Places To Visit In Europe In November

Best Places To Visit In Europe In December

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Lakshmi Menon

Born to parents bit by the wander bug, Lakshmi calls her love for travel "hereditary and habitual". Perpetually ensconced with a book in her hand and a mug of coffee in the other, she has been to over 15 countries in her 23 years of existence and is currently saving miles and money for her solo trip to Iceland. Always hustling towards the least trodden path, she has encountered some wonderful people during her escapades and if you ever meet her, she won't stop gushing about them.

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trip europe january

10 of the Best Europe Places to Visit in January for Amazing Events and Festivals

  • January 29, 2021

trip europe january

Table of Contents

Europe in january | 10 best europe places to visit in january.

Europe is a beautiful place to visit throughout the year, and although you might be familiar with the exciting events that take place during summer or autumn, there are many fantastic things to do in Europe’s many countries no matter when you visit. Of course you can enjoy the snowy landscapes, and go skiing or snowshoeing, but there are some organized festivals and other events that you may find interesting.

Read on to discover 10 of the best European places and events that you can experience in January

Hogmanay, Scotland

trip europe january

Although Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year’s celebration, the large festival that takes place every year on December 31st consists of celebrations that often continue into January. There are many Hogmanay traditions that you may be able to see when you visit that have been a part of the country’s culture since the 1600s, such as first footing. This tradition states that for good luck, the first person that comes into your home should be a dark-haired male. Although these customs are well-loved, there are some ways the celebrations have become more modernized. For example, every year there is a massive party in Edinburgh to celebrate the occasion. In fact, the 1996 celebration is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in history, with just over 400,000 participants.

Monte Carlo Car Rally, Monaco

trip europe january

The Monte Carlo Car Rally was first created in 1911 by Prince Albert I as a way to promote tourism to Monaco. The excitement of the rally makes this a great event even for those who aren’t fans of car racing. With the course winding through the historic streets of Monaco, you’ll have an exciting view no matter where you are viewing from. Often considered one of the most challenging car races in the world, this rally is sure to be a memorable experience.

The Arctic Lights Festival, Norway

trip europe january

The Arctic Lights Festival has been taking place for the past 25 years. It’s an eclectic blend of music and outdoor activities, such as cruises, from which you can experience the stunning natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re interested in opera, ballet, or traditional jazz music you’ll be able to find something you like here. Artists and performers come from all over the world to participate in this festival, and the total number of performances surpasses 500. Additionally, the festival also makes a point to feature local talent.

Snow Bike Festival, Switzerland

trip europe january

The Snow Bike Festival in Switzerland is a great place to go, whether you’re a fan of watching or participating in bike racing. There are multiple events and challenges that vary in difficulty and no matter your skill or confidence level, so you’ll be able to find something that’s a good fit for you. They even host events for children so the whole family can participate in this festival. You can even rent a variety of bikes, from a run of the mill mountain bike to a Fat Tire machine.

Up Helly Aa, Scotland

trip europe january

This unique Scottish festival traces its roots back to the 1870s, with the tradition of barreling, which involved dragging burning barrels of tar through the street. Naturally this caused some safety concerns, and subsequently alternative celebrations were proposed. The first official Up Helly Aa celebration took place in 1881, with a more orderly procession that concluded with a ceremonial. This procession is meant to celebrate the end of the Yule season, and the coming of the new year.

New Year’s Day dive, the Netherlands

trip europe january

There are few traditions that entire countries’ populations will participate in together and the New Year’s Day dive into the North Sea in Netherlands is one of the most unique. This tradition has been held since the 1960s and the concept behind it is starting off the new year fresh. Scheveningen Beach usually attracts crowds of over 10,000 participants.

La Grande Parade, France

trip europe january

La Grande Parade is a New Year’s Day tradition that takes place annually in the city of lights. The parade works its way through the city, and has all the staples of a carnival parade with brass bands and floats abound. The event also includes a series of performances held at the American Cathedral.

La Tamborrada, San Sebastian, Spain

trip europe january

La Tamborrada is a festival that happens every year, starting at the stroke of midnight on January 20.  The origins of this festival date back to Napoleon’s occupation of the area. His troops would bang drums to intimidate the people of the region while they patrolled, and eventually the women who lived there would defiantly bang on drums back at them in order to mock them. Today this festival symbolizes the resiliency of the people and the remembrance of the strength it took to overcome this difficult time.

Today the festival consists of 24-hours of celebrations, including drum parades. The festival has evolved consistently since its inception, and now includes features such as excellent food.

Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, Belgium

trip europe january

Although this festival initially begins in November, you can still come in January and experience the fantastic snow and ice sculptures without the holiday crowds. The sculptures presented here will also follow a theme – for example, in 2013 the theme chosen for the sculptures to follow was the Disney movie Frozen.

Kiruna Snow Festival, Sweden

trip europe january

The Kiruna snow festival is the self-proclaimed world’s coziest snow festival. Heald since the 1980s, this festival is a peaceful and inspiring way for the people of Kiruna to celebrate the winter season and the good times ahead. The festival contains a huge variety of interesting events, such as the snowblower world championships. You can also experience painting, ice sculptures, and dogsledding. This event is also family friendly and if you’re traveling with children there are also events that are designed to suit them as well. The focal point of the festival is the international snow sculpture competition which draws competitors from all over the world.

Need help planning a trip to Europe in January?

trip europe january

Want to plan a trip to Europe in January but don’t know where to begin? If you find this type of multi-city trip planning to be too complicated to plan on your own, we’re here to help!

At  MultiCityTrips , multi-destination travel and complicated itineraries such as a trip that include visiting multiple cities, countries throughout Europe during a specific time of year are our specialties.  Contact us  today to learn more about how one of our experienced travel experts/destination specialists can personalize your multi-city European trip and craft your European vacation package (so you can experience the best of Europe in January) at the best price.

Don’t want to start from scratch and need some trip inspiration? Check out our  marketplace  for customizable pre-designed packages available right now for many amazing destinations in Europe.

To learn more about how our process of trip planning works in detail, please see our “ How It Works ” page or check out our video on  “How to Plan a Multi-City Trip to Europe in  5 Easy Steps”   here.

Have questions for us?  Schedule a FREE Call  with us here or contact one of the travel experts/destination specialists at  [email protected] , call/text us at  (888)223-2316  today

Private Travel Coaching & Consulting Call

trip europe january

Want to plan and book your upcoming trip yourself? If this is your first time traveling to any of the European destinations or you are new to multi-city, multi-country travel but prefer to manage every part of your trip on your own, this option is for you! 

For just  $150 per hour , our destination expert can answer any questions you might have as you plan and book your dream trip. From assisting with route planning, and destination selection, recommending the best areas or places to stay, the best transportation options, things to do and see, saving tips and so much more! 

Ready to plan your trip with our help? Book your private coaching session with our destination expert now and we’ll confirm your appointment within 24 hours!

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Travel resources for planning your own trip.

To make planning your European trip on your own easier, in addition to what already mentioned in our travel guide, we included some of our recommended travel resources below. You can search and find the best flights, transportation options, hotels to stay in, tours/activities, and things you can do in any destination using these travel resources:

European River Cruises:

Uniworld River Cruises : The world’s best and most awarded luxury river cruise line—offers itineraries in spectacular destinations throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, Asia, and Peru. The company’s European fleet features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 120 guests, the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry, enticing shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, impeccable hospitality, and numerous other all-inclusive benefits.

Pre- and Post-cruise/Tour Extensions:  Uniworld curated pre-and post-cruise/tour extensions make it easy to add a few days to the front or back end of your trip while leaving the planning to them

The packages include a variety of hotel options, transfers, and a dedicated destination expert to escort you along the way.

Agoda : Search thousands of destinations around the world & quickly compare prices to find amazing deals on the best flights.

CheapOAir : You can find airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and vacation packages all on one site!

Kiwi.com : What we like about Kiwi is the fact that they are able to create combinations of flight, train, and bus tickets and offer them in a single itinerary. Also, Kiwi has what they called “ Nomad ” which helps you find the best way of visiting multiple destinations, saving you time and money.

JetRadar : You can search and compare airfares from 726 airlines and dozens of travel agencies and systems.

Agoda : Agoda is one of the world’s largest online travel accommodation platforms with a network of over 2,000,000 vacation rentals and hotels worldwide.

Hotellook : They have more than 250,000 hotels in 205 countries, working with data from more than 10 online booking systems, such as Booking.com, Agoda.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, and others.

Airport Transfers & Transportations:  

Airport Transfers: GetTransfer offers both airport transfers & car rentals with a personal driver. Other airport transfer options are KiwiTaxi and Viator.

Train :  EuroRail ,  Trainline ,  or  RailEurope are all great sites for train tickets as well as Rail Passes if you would like to add more flexibility to your trip. They are good for most trains throughout Europe. For trains in Italy, we like and recommend ItaliaRail . As for Portugal, you will need to go to the official website for Comboios de Portugal (the Portuguese train company) to book your train tickets when traveling in Portugal.

Bus :  Flixbus : Very affordable (as low as $6) and convenient way to transfer between cities in Europe.

CarRentals :  AutoEurope ,  EconomyBookings ,  or   GetTransfer  (transfers & car rentals with a personal driver)

Bike Rental :  BikesBooking is a great site for bikes & scooter rentals

Transportation Comparison :  Omio  (search, compare, and book tickets for buses, trains, and flights all in one site)

Tours & Activities :

TakeWalks  (WalkofItaly): This is our favorite site for walking tours & day trips.

Tiqets : Great site for entrance tickets. It offers directly bookable, instantly available, and completely mobile tickets for museums, shows, and attractions all over the world.

Musement : They have good activities and tours in Italy and Spain, also many great day trips you can choose from.

GetYourGuide : A large number of tours, excursions, and other travel activities

Viator : The largest one. It has everything from tours, attractions, shore excursions, and private guides in over 2,700 destinations worldwide. It also has many transportations and transfers options and some unique experiences we didn’t find anywhere else.

Travel Insurance:

Travel Guard :  Their comprehensive travel insurance programs, starting at $30, include per-trip & annual plans, coverage for trip cancellation , trip interruption, trip delay, medical expenses, baggage loss & more! Travel Guard provides 24/7-customer service with a personal touch through its World Service Center.

DISCLAIMER : Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links, MultiCityTrips may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Trip by Travel Experts

Need help planning a trip and find the best vacation package for your multi-city trip to Europe? If you find this type of trip planning to be too complicated to plan on your own, we’re here to help!

At  MultiCityTrips , multi-city, multi-country European vacations, and complicated itineraries are our specialties. Contact us today to learn more about how one of our experienced travel experts/destination specialists can personalize an amazing multi-city trip to your dream destinations in Europe.

Ready for a trip? Check out our planning options and get in touch with us today!

trip europe january

Featured Pre-Designed Packages

These air-inclusive, pre-designed multi-city European vacation packages can be personalized to suit your needs!

trip europe january

6 Nights/ 7 Days Signature Escape to Lisbon and Barcelona

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9 Nights/ 10 Days Signature Escape to Rome, Florence and Venice

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6 Nights/7 Days Signature Escape to Amsterdam and Copenhagen

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Schedule a FREE Consultation

Not sure or can’t decide which planning option is right for you? Schedule a free 30-minute call with one of our travel experts to discuss your travel needs today!

trip europe january

21 European Cities That Are Even More Charming in Winter

By Caitlin Morton

Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi Finland

There’s nothing quite like visiting Europe in winter. While most travelers start researching tropical beaches and faraway islands the second the temperatures start to drop at home, we find ourselves dreaming about snow-dusted cobblestones and charming Christmas markets more often than not.

Aside from the holiday rush, most major European cities are refreshingly crowd-free and inexpensive during the winter months—and they offer both outdoor adventures and cozy experiences well worth traveling for. (Seriously, how good does a warm mug of real hot chocolate in a riverside Belgian café sound?)

Whether you want to plan a vacation for the end of this year or are already looking ahead to 2024, these photos of Europe in winter will have you booking your next trip in no time. Read on for 21 European cities—and a few villages, if we’re getting technical—that will help you make the most of the coldest season.

This gallery has been updated since its original publish date. All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Bruges Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Europe’s best-preserved medieval city is also one of its most bewitching, especially during the holiday season . Let’s start with its light displays, when every tree and storefront seems ablaze with twinkle lights (just look up as you wander the cobbled streets). When your fingers start going numb, warm up with mugs of Belgian hot chocolate in the historic Craenenburg Cafe .

Vienna Austria

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe , and that’s a fact no matter the season. But we’re particularly fond of the Austrian capital in the winter, when you can double down on hot chocolate and sachertorte, watch free outdoor simulcasts of the opera (loads of people attend, even when it’s freezing), listen to classical holiday concerts, and snap photos of Schönbrunn Palace and St. Charles Church covered in snow.

Venice Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice has become notoriously overrun during peak season—just see its frequent attempts to limit tourist numbers for proof. But come wintertime, the city actually lives up to its La Serenissima (“The Serene”) nickname. The canals are quiet and shrouded in mist, hotels give discounted rates, and you can actually visit St. Mark’s Basilica without a stranger’s selfie stick poking you in the eye.

Tallinn in winter

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn practically overflows with charm, thanks to its turreted castles and a lovely location on the Baltic Sea. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centers in Europe, with many of its medieval churches and merchant houses falling under UNESCO protection . The views of the city center from Toompea Castle are beautiful no matter the season, but they pop even more under a layer of snow—in fact, they make those cold, Baltic winters downright bearable.

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Zagreb, Croatia

With its cobbled streets, old city quarter, and baroque architecture, Zagreb has everything you would expect from a Central European capital—plus a few extra-special perks come wintertime. The city erupts with yuletide cheer during its annual Advent in Zagreb festival, complete with 25 Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, and glittering lights galore. Fill up on homemade sausages and brandy, then schedule a day trip to nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park to see the 16 terraced lakes and waterfalls completely frozen over—an imagination-defying landscape that simply must be seen in person.

Interlaken

Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken is the unofficial adventure capital of Switzerland, and its  winter activities are much more varied and unique than in other major cities. Sure, you can go skiing and snowshoeing here. But you can also go paragliding (or skydiving) down snowy mountains, book an hour at a curling rink, or take a winter kayaking tour on Lake Brienz.

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg, Germany

Germany is known around the world for its Christmas markets —but few compare to Nuremberg’s centuries-old Christkindlesmarkt, complete with gingerbread, handmade gifts, and horse-drawn carriage rides. But don’t think that Nuremberg’s wintry appeal starts and ends with the holidays. Travelers can enjoy grand-dame hotels and dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants well into the new year.

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

When a dusting of snow coats St. Charles Bridge and Old Town’s church spires, the whole of Prague transforms. But the city also has some of Europe’s best Christmas markets —outside of Germany , at least—where even the most jaded traveler will succumb to the trdelník (fried dough) and mulled wine sold in festive stalls. 

Arctic Treehouse Hotel Rovaniemi Finland

Rovaniemi, Finland

Finnish Lapland is a winter wonderland like no other, perhaps best exemplified in the region’s capital city of Rovaniemi. Aside from being perhaps the best place to spend Christmas (the town claims to be the official hometown of Santa Claus, after all), Rovaniemi is packed with reindeer farms, husky sledding, ice skating rinks, and Northern Lights safaris that make it a must-visit for adventurous families. If you’d prefer something a little less festive and a little more pensive, book a few nights at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel . Here you can sip glogg by the fire, eat cloudberry ice cream and smoked salmon, and take in views of the snow-blanketed forests from your warm bed.

Amsterdam Light Festival

Every late November/early December through January, the Amsterdam Light Festival brings some illumination to the Dutch capital, courtesy of light installations from all over the world. The 12th edition of the festival will launch on November 30, with the theme “LOADING…Revealing Art, AI and Tech” promising more creative pieces of art than ever. While the city does draw considerable crowds during the holiday season, the tourist numbers tend to drop with the temperatures, so the later winter months are prime for enjoying snow-shrouded canal views and cozy restaurants in peace. And we swear: Dutch food , hearty with lots of bread and potatoes, is even more satisfying on cold days.

Edinburgh in winter

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh ’s Hogmanay Festival—a three-day bacchanal celebrating the New Year, with outdoor concerts, fireworks, and dancing Scots —is reason enough to book a trip to the city. Not much of a partier? Shop for some cashmere, then curl up with your new scarf and some whisky at the speakeasy-style Panda and Sons . You can also work up a sweat skiing in Pentland Hills Regional Park or walking among the winter-flowering plants at the Royal Botanic Garden.

Ilulissat Greenland

Ilulissat, Greenland

Greenland ’s western town of Ilulissat draws tourists for several reasons: the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, dog sledding, relative accessibility (you can fly there from Iceland or Denmark), and its proximity to iceberg-filled Disko Bay. The biggest crowds descend during summer—chasing that midnight sun, no doubt—but Visit Greenland strongly recommends coming in winter: “The stunning silence of a thick snowy terrain, speckled by a few howls of the Greenlandic dog, is an experience everyone should try at least once in their lives.” You’ll also avoid high hotel prices and swarms of mosquitoes, which are surprisingly populous in Greenland during the summer months.

Europe in Winter Budapest Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Winter is, hands down, the best time to visit Budapest . Seeing the Hungarian Parliament surrounded by ice drifts on the Danube could make even the strictest of beach bums embrace the cold. And you’re sure to find all of those grand cafés, museums, and thermal baths infinitely more welcoming after spending a few chilly hours exploring the city.

Paris in winter

​​Paris is always a good idea. During the winter, it's an even better idea—especially when you see how Parisians enjoy a snow day . The City of Light becomes especially dazzling with its twinkle lights on the Champs-Elysées and over-the-top Christmas displays at Galeries Lafayette . Most magical of all? The notorious lines to get into the Eiffel Tower and Louvre shrink to a fraction of their usual lengths. Just wear your chicest winter coat —it gets cold.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

When you visit the birthplace of hygge (basically the Danish concept of “coziness”), you better believe your winter vacation is going to be inviting. That lovely feeling can be found throughout Copenhagen , from pastry shops to inviting hotels . Don’t feel like you have to stay indoors to enjoy the season, though. Those Michelin-starred restaurants, Tivoli Gardens , and canal views are certainly worth bundling up for. And is it just us, or do the buildings of Nyhavn look even more colorful against a snowy background?

Ljubljana Slovenia

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia ’s capital city is a real-life fairytale setting, come sunshine or snow flurries. Visit during December to see the Baroque architecture surrounded by Christmas lights ; or dodge the crowds and book a trip after the holidays, when you’ll have tons of room to stroll the pedestrian-only Old Town and sip coffee by the riverside cafés. You can also add Lake Bled and the Julian Alps to your itinerary, as Ljubljana makes the perfect base for Slovenian day trips.

Christmas at Somerset House London

Christmas in London has timeless appeal—chalk it up to the decorated Georgian townhouses, lively pubs, and a dash of Dickensian charm. But the winter months that bookend the holidays have their own charms, as well. Visitors can go ice skating at Somerset House, then warm up with some museum visits and afternoon teas. Be sure to slot out a couple of day trips to nearby cities like Cambridge and Bath, where you can admire the impossibly charming streets dusted in snow and hole up in even more cozy pubs.

Reykjavik in winter

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the northernmost country capital in the world—it doesn’t get much more wintry than that. A key souvenir, and the final reward of a must-do shopping experience, is a traditional wool Icelandic sweater (head to the Kolaportid Flea Market to snag one of your own). Other cold weather activities on offer include whale watching, bathing in geothermal pools (or traveling to the Instagrammable Blue Lagoon, a 40-minute drive away), and strolling by colorful houses and Viking sculptures, such as the notorious resemblance of Leif Erikson.

Tromso Norway

Tromsø, Norway

Located some 250 miles above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is an idyllic home base for chasing the Northern Lights. (If you’re going to be freezing up in Scandinavia, you might as well get to cross an astronomical wonder off of your bucket list.) Even if you don’t get to peep the aurora, you can still enjoy the world’s northernmost botanical garden and the strikingly modern, glass-facade Arctic Cathedral.

Best Places to Travel in December Salzburg at Christmas

Salzburg, Austria

Classic Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines the left bank, and the (slightly) newer side is on the right. For a hotel stay involving gingerbread cookies, fluffy beds, and views of falling snow, look no further than Hotel Goldener Hirsch .

Stockholm Sweden in winter

Stockholm, Sweden

​​ Northern Lights , check. Christmas markets in the heart of the Old Town, check. Cozy cafés and fika ? Double check. Stockholm may get more travelers in the summer, but we'd argue it’s made to be experienced in the winter. Christmastime is the best time for a visit, when local restaurants offer traditional Christmas buffets called julbord —smorgasbords of cured fish, liver paté, sausage, cabbage, and more. If you’re looking to photograph the city frosted in snow, though, plan your trip for January or February.

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Europe Tours in January 2025

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250+ Europe trips in January 2025

The Great Adventure Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

The Great Adventure

The tours was fine. The tour leaders were good and professionals. Just one complaint The hotel in Switzerland was not acceptable. No air conditioning. The rest of hotels were in good standard. My wife had a wheelchair and the tour personnel were highly helpful and ready to help on anyway possible. Thank you.

The Best of Eastern Europe Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

The Best of Eastern Europe

Very good tour , something’s we didn’t find out right until the moment. But, overall good tour.

European Delight Tour

  • Coach / Bus

European Delight

The tours were all ok. We had 4 differrent guides. But the best was Albert.

Tour from Athens to Dubrovnik or Split: 7 Balkan countries in 14 days Tour

Tour from Athens to Dubrovnik or Split: 7 Balkan countries in 14 days

Best service, best deals

Tour from Athens to Belgrade: 7 Balkan countries in 14 days Tour

  • Sightseeing

Tour from Athens to Belgrade: 7 Balkan countries in 14 days

I would reccomend this tour 100% for someone who is considering it.

Berlin to Venice Tour

  • Train & Rail

Berlin to Venice

European Inspiration (Start London, Classic, 19 Days) Tour

European Inspiration (Start London, Classic, 19 Days)

Ri was absolutely amazing she had the best day plans and they are honestly what kept me on track! She was always there to answer our questions and make sure that we were all having an amazing time while still being our new best friends. She knew her stuff backwards and was so incredible, I would go on a trip with her again right this second ❤️
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

European Inspiration (Start Amsterdam, Classic, 19 Days) Tour

European Inspiration (Start Amsterdam, Classic, 19 Days)

I am satisfied with all the tour. The tour was so amazing. The tour guide (Bento) was so informative, helpful and efficient with everything. The couch driver (Greg) was so helpful with everything and feel safe as he has excellent driving skill with welcoming smile. I would say the tour was fabulous.

Iberian Explorer (13 Days) Tour

Iberian Explorer (13 Days)

Good value for money. Tour director and bus driver were excellent Optional tapas dinner was not good nor was sea bass cooked in salt dinner but most other options were worthwhile

Best of Turkey- 10 Days Tour

Best of Turkey- 10 Days

Great tour , seen some awsome places and we had a great guide she was able to explain every thing and answer all your questions , it was a small group and the food and hotels were great .

Highlights of Portugal Tour

Highlights of Portugal

The Highlights of Portugal tour was wonderful-the itinerary provided just the right mix of free time and group activities to ensure you understood and enjoyed each city. I only wish I had stayed in Porto longer. Irene is a wonderful CEO. Her passion, education and storytelling were top

Best of Portugal (11 Days) Tour

Best of Portugal (11 Days)

Above and beyond my expectations attributed to the tour guide Ana Rita and the bus driver Mario..

Prague, Vienna & Budapest Tour

Prague, Vienna & Budapest

I was so hoping that this tour operation would work well for us, as it had the elements we are looking for ie Land transportation details all looked after, taxis, trains and shuttle to and from airport. Perfect. Breakfast every day was included, leaving us to consume other meals when and where we wanted to.Perfect. One half day tour in each city we visited, to get our bearings, and then leaving us alone for the remainder of the time to wander and discover. Perfect. Accommodation, BASIC (the room in Vienna looked/felt more like a dorm room) and clean, was far away from anywhere we wanted to be, ie far from the historical areas and interesting sites. For this reason, alone, we will not use this tour service again. A traveller needs to be central to the sights and sounds of the city (ie NOT the sounds of the tram going by every 15 mins as was the case in Vienna- windows had to be open, as there were no controls for the heating in the room, and it was HOT in March.)

Turkish Breeze-10 Days Tour

Turkish Breeze-10 Days

Took the full 10 day tour with my wife including istanbul, izmir, Pamukkale, Antalya and cappadocia. Cannot thank them enough. Incredibly well organized and professional. We even booked the night before the tour started and they set up everything for you so you don't have to think. The guides are as knowledgeable as anyone can hope for. Tour guide in Izmir was especially excellent, telling me about fake coins, coming up with solutions for bugs, getting my money back on a bad drink, etc. Overall, they go out of their way to accommodate your situation best they can and it's not easy to organize these complex trips with multiple planes, etc. The reviews here were right: if you want a thought-free trip, these guys are the way to go. Only feedback is timing at each place. Everything is incredibly tight so be prepared to not spend as much time in certain places as you wish. Definitely be ready to be always moving. It feels like there's never a chance to breathe from all the activities and travel. I would recommend spacing certain things out ESPECIALLY Pammakule waterfalls which is arguably everyone's favorite thing. Felt like I got 30 min to be there, which is not right to the guests But overally, it's hard to plan a cross country tour for everyone, and they do an amazing job taking you safely step by step through a lovely vacation. You will totally unwind your brain with them.

Anatolian Civilizations | 10 Days Tour

Anatolian Civilizations | 10 Days

Be ready. This is the full on history-packed introduction to Turkey and all previous occupying civilizations. The days are jam packed with interesting stuff but tiring and lots of walking. Don’t expect to have even one afternoon of downtime at the pool. That’s not what this tour is about. You will have a variety of experiences, some totally unexpected (a visit to a leathery including fashion show!). Our ongoing guide was Nadir who is superb in every way. This tour is for learning but you will have fun. The hotels are uniformly good as well as the meals. Be prepared to purchase lunch on all days and a dinner/breakfast on a couple of days. Cappadocia balloon tour is more expensive through agency than what you can arrange yourself. Cave hotel, in my view, is not worth the extra payment.

What people love about Europe Tours in January

Eva and Rene were amazing tour guides. Disappointed that we didn't see the Eiffel Tower at night. Several times we were dropped in town at night with not enough time to get a meal before being taken to the hotel. Some hotels were out of town with nothing within walking distance. Thank you to Rene for arranging for a group of us to go to the Moulin Rouge.
So honestly when we were assigned to this company through Tour Radar and looked at the reviews we were a little worried. I tried to hope for the best and assume that people who DO NOT have great experiences write more reviews. I was absolutely correct. We had AMAZING tour guides. Knowledgeable, kind, helpful. I think this company does an amazing job of moving people from one destination to another especially when it seems that itineraries overlap offering everyone the trip they desire. The hotels far outweighed our expectations. Of course there were small hiccups with time losses and changes in plans for the day but for the price and to get a brief view of Europe I would call it an outstanding tour.
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The famously whimsical Park Guell in front of Barcelona's eclectic skyline

  • Top 10 Europe Tours Departing January 2025
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Travel in the off-season to see Europe in a new light

Picture this: you've just entered the Uffizi in  Florence  without a wait, you take a surprisingly crowd-free photo at Park Güell in  Barcelona , and the bakery in  Lisbon  has more pastéis de nata available than you can eat in a sitting. No, it's not a fantasy; it's  Europe  in January. While you may not have warm days and blue skies like in the summertime , visiting Europe in the quiet off-season has some major perks of its own...think all of the charm and culture and none of the pushing and shoving.

Top 10 Europe Tours January 2025

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Church in Kiev, Ukraine

Vatican City

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Ski Austria: 1 Week

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The one that whisks you from London for a week in the powdery Austrian Alps

9 days, 2 countries

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7 nights in Special Stay, 1 night in Overnight Coach

8 Breakfasts

Expert Trip Manager + Driver Team + Local Guides

Eat, sleep, plough through powder, repeat. That's the name of the game on this week of play in the Austrian Alps of Tyrol. Inclusive of a max-comfort coach ride from London, Contiki ramps up this incredible region with a stopover in an exclusive Austrian ski and après paradise, day trips and English speaking instructors.

On the road to Net Zero

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9-day trip including transport from London to Hopfgarten & back.

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8-day trip where you make your own way to Hopfgarten & back.

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Ski Austria: 2 Weeks

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Will I have a trip manager on this trip?

There’s no trip manager on this trip. But don’t worry. If you have any questions during your stay, the on-site Winter Team at Hopfgarten will sort you out.  They’ll give you all the info you need about the local village, things to do and recommendations for great local eateries too. (And you’ll also be introduced to your Contiki fam through them!). They might not be guides in the traditional sense, but you’ll see that they have everything you need for an epic ski experience.   

Where can I find more information on Ski lift passes and equipment hire? 

Your lift pass and equipment hire can be arranged on arrival. Wanna know how much to budget? Check out our page about ski extras . 

How does the transfer work from the train station?

When you get to Worgl Train Station, walk out the front and look for one of our Contiki Team – they will be on a classic Contiki Coach or a white van. The shuttles depart at 8:30am, 10:30am, 2:30pm & 4:30pm – and luckily, you don’t need to pre book. 

I want to book the coach from London, how long will it take?

Taking the coach from London is a super cost-effective way to get to the snowy slopes of Hopfgarten. Your journey will depart the Royal National Hotel in London in the early evening, and after an overnight ride, you’ll arrive in Hopfgarten at around 3pm the next day. At the end of your trip, you’ll depart from Hopfgarten in the early hours of the morning - anywhere between 2:30am – 4:30am (this depends on the ferry bookings). Oh and don’t worry, we’ve got your hunger pangs sorted with a wholesome packed breakfast for your journey! You’ll arrive in London at approximately 10:30pm. So you can plan some accommodation with the reservations team, or plan your travel ahead accordingly.  

How do I get from the accommodation to the slopes?

Good news! We offer free daily shuttles to and from Haus Schöneck from 8am-10am (every ½ hour) and returning from 3pm-6pm (every ½ hour).

Can I have dinner at the accommodation?

Yes, of course! You can sign up for the Half Board option - which includes 2 courses of hearty home-cooked food, available for 5 nights. On the other nights of your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to explore local restaurants since the kitchen is closed. You can make the payment for that in the resort. 

Can I pay by card/apple pay?

At Haus Schöneck, you’re welcome to pay by cash or card. But we highly recommend that you get some cash for the local restaurants. The Gasthofs on the mountain only accept cash sometimes. Forgot to bring cash? Don’t worry. There are 3 ATMs in the Hopfgarten. 

What is the ski area like?

The Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental is one of Europe’s largest interconnected ski resorts. We’re talking over 270 kms of ski runs, 70 lifts & cable cars and 80 mountain huts. So, what’s the ski area like, you ask? Pretty darn awesome, we’d say.  

I have never skied or snowboarded before, can I book lessons?

Yep! We highly recommend taking lessons, so you learn the right techniques and information (and can enjoy skiing the way you’re supposed to!). Group lessons start on a Sunday and can be booked for up to 3 days. Familiar with skiing but want a refresher? You can join intermediate and advanced lessons. You can take private lessons upon request too. We’ve been working with our local ski school for over 15 years. So you can only imagine how many of our travellers have taken lessons with them! If you’re on a Weekender trip, you might not be able to book a group lesson. But you’re always welcome to book a private one if you like.

General FAQs

What is contiki.

Contiki are the world leaders in organized youth travel. We’ve been providing amazing travel experiences for young travellers, from 18-35 years old, since 1962. Imagine how good you would be at something if you had been doing it for more than 60 years?

Everything about Contiki is deeply rooted in our two values ‘Make Every Moment Count’ and ‘We’re About People’. We don’t just talk, we walk the walk and live by our brand philosophy of ‘ Travel.Together. ’ which means to travel with one another, with the destinations we visit, the people and cultures we enjoy and the environment.

You’ve never experienced travel like this.

Why only 18-35?

Focusing on 18-35 year olds allows us to tailor a dramatically more powerful travel experience and an itinerary so fun it feels like all of your best Friday nights combined.

Tailoring to select ages brings together like minded, likeable people, and allows us to use Social Travel planning to build great groups of people so fast you’ll wonder if you’ve been friends forever.

What destinations can I go to with Contiki?

A sunrise, shoreline or bright light for every whim. We are proud to offer more than 350 Global trips, intelligently designed for a seamless and simple social travel experience. Visit our search page to discover your perfect travel destination.

How does it work?

We’re reinventing hassle free travel. Whether you are a solo traveller or group you can be rest assured that there has been tonnes of planning behind every trip.

Booking with Contiki means you are saying yes to a smile inducing trip where the typically stressful elements just seem to magically happen.

No one does trips like Contiki, essential accommodation, transport, reservations and so much more is all taken care of. You can multiply the magic with trip add ons and numerous customisations for your free time.

Every single Contiki social travel trip is managed by one of our expert Trip Managers, who are there to provide hands-on support and ensure your trip runs smoothly whilst you stay in the moment.

From 2022 your good time will be good for the planet as all Contiki trips are carbon natural. Find out more here.

How many other travellers are on each trip?

Group sizes are completely dependent on where and how you choose to travel with Contiki. 

In Europe and in most of North America and New Zealand, group sizes can range between 24 – 53 awesome travellers. 

In regions like Asia, Australia, Africa and Latin America, and on some North America and New Zealand trips, our group sizes are considerably smaller – as low as 12 or up to 30 travellers max.

Detour trips offer a different type of experience and max out at 16 people led by a local host.

Wondering what is so great about travelling together? Check out the Contiki Social travel page.

Each group is administered according to our strict Covid policies which can be viewed here.

What’s included?

All essential trip elements have been catered to ensure a great time, with great people in great places. But you mean more specifically right?

Your accommodation, essential trip transport, and a good handful of meals are included in the cost of your Contiki trip (on most trips we offer breakfast every day, plus a hand-picked selection of authentic and tasty meals). 

To fill your days and Insta feeds we have Included Experiences, which are basically the sights and activities we think you just can’t afford to miss. Of course you also get our expert and highly trained team of Contiki staff to support throughout.

A day by day breakdown of inclusions and Free Time Add-Ons are available on the trip specific pages. 

We always try to accommodate special requests such as birthdays, proposals etc. Please chat to our team and we can explore how we may support the request.

What’s not included?

Contiki social travel trips have a large degree of flexibility built into them to enable you to truly own your experience. This means that some trip elements are not included in the initial cost and may require additional budgeting. 

Flights to and from your starting and ending points are not included in the cost of your trip. These can be added on during the booking process either online or via our contact center or booked independently by you.

Each trip contains the right amount of free time for you to explore or indulge your travel desires. We offer Free Time Add-Ons, which are additional experiences that are not included in the overall price. These add ons are highlighted on the specific trip page. Your Trip Manager will highlight these to you and organise their booking on trip. Exceptions may apply where pre booking is required but this will be made known to you in your pre departure information.

A number of meal times are left open for you to explore a region and its foodie offerings in greater detail, so budgeting for your taste in non-catered meals is important. 

Travel insurance and visas are also not included in the cost of your trip, and should be booked separately.

What are Contiki's sustainability credentials?

Travel comes with responsibilities. That’s why we’re determined to travel sustainably and consciously, and that’s why we’re willing to take a stand on issues closest to our hearts. Find out more details here . With the help of our four-point Climate Action Plan, we're now on a journey to Net Zero - committing to carbon reductions and evolving to support the transition to a low-carbon future. Find out more details here .

Do I need to purchase travel insurance for this trip?

Yes! It’s a requirement of traveling with Contiki that you take out comprehensive insurance cover for cancellation, personal injury, death, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, evacuation expenses, personal liability & loss of personal property and Covid related expenses before you travel with us. It’s also super important to check that your insurance covers all of the activities you’ll be trying out, particularly any adventure activities (for all you adrenaline junkies). For more information check out our full travel insurance FAQs.

Can I stay in my destination a few days before/after the trip starts/ends? And can Contiki help me arrange this?

Yes and yes! You can add pre- and post-trip accommodation to your booking in one of three ways:

When booking your trip online

In the 'My Travel Portal' after you've made your booking

By calling us any time on 0808 281 1120

In certain cities, you may even be able to secure a preferential rate for you pre- or post-trip accommodation.

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See Europe as the Europeans do this summer with these pro tips | Cruising Altitude

trip europe january

Americans are heading to Europe for vacation as much as ever these days, and that means the typical tourist spots like Venice, Paris and London are sure to be crowded this year. But, because this is Cruising Altitude, we’ll look at the aviation angle first.

First and foremost: If you’re really determined to go to Europe this summer and haven’t booked yet, stop reading now and get on it. 

“I’ve never seen a year like this … We’re at the point where there’s no more availability,” Brigitte Armand, president of Eurobound , a tour organizer that specializes in European packages, told me. “Book as quickly as possible.” 

How to get around

According to Armand, trains are generally a great way to get from place to place within Europe, but for farther-flung stops, the continent’s network of low-cost airlines offers travelers a reliable alternative.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

“Don’t think of one airline as being your network and entry point within Europe,” Laura Lindsay, public relations director at online booking platform Skyscanner told me.

She said if you’re flying to Europe from the U.S., you may well rely on a large network carrier like British Airways, KLM, or Lufthansa to get across the Atlantic and then book your intra-European flights separately.

“You’re suddenly opening up Europe in a different way if you search for different airports and multiple airlines,” Lindsay said. “It’s pretty straightforward to get around, so don’t feel put off by jumping through a few different countries or trying a few different destinations.” 

Tips for European airlines

According to Lindsay, European low-cost carriers like Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air often have stricter baggage policies like American ULCCs Spirit and Frontier.

“(The) top tip would be always make sure you understand the luggage allowance that is part of your ticket,” she said. “More often than not, don’t book the basic fare without checking.”

It’s also a good idea to be flexible with your airports and dates of travel if you want to get the best deals on those shorter flights.

“You’ll get a number of places that have more than one airport,” Lindsay said, noting that Skyscanner has a tool that allows travelers to search for flights to or from nearby airports when choosing a destination. “Just getting a map out and actually looking at where exactly you want to travel and where the nearby airports are.” 

Armand added that if you take the train instead, you may need to secure a reservation in advance, particularly for some of the more tourist-heavy routes like panoramic trains in Switzerland. 

Last week's Cruising Altitude: There was no Golden Age of flying. We're in it now.

Where to go

If you really want to summer like a European, you should consider places a little more off the radar for most Americans.

“Albania is somewhere that broke through a couple of years ago as somewhere that people recognized as offering a huge value for money,” Lindsay said. “Sarajevo is reporting its busiest April on record for travelers.”

Armand said it can also be a good idea to try different parts of countries that are already popular if you want a more authentic, less crowded experience.

“We recently arranged a whole trip for some clients in the Abruzzo region of Italy,” she said. “The Abruzzo region, it’s on the Adriatic, people don’t know this region, and I think this is the first time ever we put together a package to get to that region.” 

Data from Skyscanner shows that some destinations in Europe are picking up in popularity with travelers on the continent. Here are some trends bubbling up year over year from 2023 to 2024:

◾ Ljubljana, Slovenia, saw a 188% increase in searches from Spanish travelers

◾ Tromso, Norway, saw a 130% increase in interest from Italian holidaymakers

◾ Dusseldorf, Germany, had a 122% spike in interest from Brits

According to Armand, the best last-minute availability seems to be in Eastern Europe, like Bulgaria and Poland.

“There are some good deals there perhaps, even the Czech Republic I’m finding some decent space,” she said.

So go on, get packing.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected].

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Europe's travel strikes: Flight and train disruption you can expect in May

Passengers look at check-in times for flights during a nationwide strike of airports ground staff, and check-in services at Rome's Fiumicino Airport.

Our guide is updated as soon as a new European strike is announced.

Strikes are a regular occurrence in Europe, as employees withhold their labour to fight for better pay and conditions.

Walkouts are sometimes planned months ahead but others are announced last minute, showing that it always pays to check before you travel.

Luckily, we have gathered all of the strike information together below.

Read on to find out where and when are walkouts taking place.

If your flight or train is cancelled or delayed, you will be entitled to a new ticket or compensation. Read our guide for the full details.

  • Cancelled flight? EU and UK consumer rights and what you’re entitled to
  • Germany strikes: Cancelled flights and trains cause travel chaos across the country

UK: Heathrow Border Force worker strikes in April and May

After Border Force workers at London's Heathrow Airport staged a walkout at the start of the month, asmaller scale 'work to rule' strike between 3-18 May could cause further disruption as staff only do the bare minimum required of their contracts.

The UK's biggest airport is bracing for another strike in May when almost 800 staff in various departments could walk out over outsourcing plans. The strike was initially set to start on 7 May but has been suspended for two days to allow for negotiations. If an agreement is not reached, it will now run from 9****-13 May and it could cause serious disruption.

Gatwick Airport: Catering strikes called off

Passengers on easyJet and TUI flights departing from London's Gatwick Airport will no longer be left hungry as Dnata catering workers have reached an agreement with the airlines, securing the reinstatement of their shift allowances and full back pay.

Around 100 workers, including HGV drivers and warehouse workers, had threatened to walk out for 12 days in April and May. 

Train strikes in May

Train drivers on some of the UK's busiest commuter routes will go on strike on 7-9 May in a long-standing dispute over pay and working conditions.

Different operators will walk out on different days, including c2c, Greater Anglia, Great Northern, Southeastern, South Western Railway and Thameslink and Southern on Tuesday; Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, Chiltern, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, GWR and West Midlands Trains on Wednesday; and LNER, Northern and TransPennine Express on Thursday.

Members of train drivers' union ASLEF are also taking part in an overtime ban from 6-11 May, which is likely to mean cancellations on some lines.

  • UK passport holders warned to check expiry date after hundreds stopped from flying
  • Refunds and compensation: Everything you are entitled to if your flight is delayed or cancelled

Iceland: Strike threatened at Keflavík Airport

Workers at Keflavík Airport have threatened to strike from 9-12 May if a labour dispute is not resolved.

Flight disruption is expected as security workers plan a series of four-hour stoppages from 4-8am each day. An indefinite overtime ban for union members starting at 4pm on Thursday could cause further disruption.

Italy: Train strikes cause disruption across the country

Trenitalia and Trenord will be hit by a national strike on 19 May when engine staff will walk out.

Further regional train strikes are planned in Naples on 10 May, Friuli Venezia Giulia on 17 May and Liguria on 27-28 May, among others.

where engine personnel will walk off the job for 23 hours from 03.00 on 19 May to 02.00 on 20 May.

France: Vueling staff to strike over bank holiday

French cabin crew with the SNPNC-FO and CGT unions are threatening to strike from 8-12 May . 90 per cent of cabin crew and 95 per cent of cabin managers are expected to take part.

The walkout will affect flights with Spanish budget airline Vueling. The dispute over working conditions could continue into next month if workers' demands are not met.

Could strikes hit the Paris Olympics?

CGT-RATP union members announced a seven-month strike notice from 5 February to 9 September that could hit the Ile-de-France bus and metro network - including during this summer's Olympic Games.

However, the French Senate adopted a bill on 9 April to allow the state to ban transport strikes for set periods each year to avoid disruption during major events like Paris 2024. It also calls for more advance warning of strikes and increased minimum service obligations.

The bill faces opposition and must be adopted by the French National Assembly before it becomes law.

Workers at the state-owned public transport company say they are walking out over pay.

  • ‘The kids now prefer trains to planes’: How I took my family on a 7-day rail adventure around Europe

Germany: Threat of train strikes ends

On 25 March, Deutsche Bahn reached an agreement with Germany’s GDL train drivers' union, bringing an end to five months of negotiations and strikes. 

The deal means that GDL will abstain from strikes until at least February 2026.

If you know of a big strike happening in your country that we have missed, we'd love to hear from you via Twitter .

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Britons can visit stunning European destinations including 'hidden gem' with new package holidays launched now

Montenegro / Krakow

Britons have been given a new travel opportunity

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 15/05/2024

Krakow, Poland and Montenegro may be the destinations of the summer

Don't miss, 'jeremy hunt can say he wants to cut taxes but the public isn't listening', three months of hot sunshine: britain told to brace for summer heatwave as met office issues updated forecast, revealed: muslim vote activists claim labour leaders are ‘paid by zionists’, sue radford fumes 'it's our money' as channel 5 star faces backlash to holidays, beatrice and eugenie 'avoided harry' amid fears of 'splitting royal family', jeremy clarkson reveals when he'll end clarkson's farm: 'we'll walk away', richard hammond sparks frenzy with new work project update after grand tour exit, meghan and harry's 'rivalry' with royals could 'muddy the waters' around tours, asda pulls household device from shelves as it could catch on fire, trending on gb news, giovanni pernice 'quits strictly come dancing' following multiple clashes with female dancing partners.

Britons yet to book their 2024 summer holiday may be keen to book a European escape.

And with the launch of new package holidays courtesy of Ryanair and Holiday Best, holidaymakers can explore Krakow and Montenegro via major airports across the UK.

Holiday Package Operator Holiday Best said: "Holidays for Krakow have launched from Bristol, Glasgow, London, and Manchester, while flights for Montenegro have launched from London, with holiday packages available to book in time for the May bank holidays and summer months."

Those looking to visit Poland’s former capital, Krakow, should expect a "kaleidoscope of medieval meeting the modern day, antiquated pageantry cascading through student-filled streets" and "a couple of (alleged) dragon bones sprinkled in for good measure".

Enjoy a 'kaleidoscope of medieval meeting the modern day'

GETTY IMAGES

The travel experts at Holiday Best said: "Some of the must-see attractions include the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Wawel Royal Castle, St Mary’s Basilica, and of course the Collegium Maius for the academics out there, an 15th century Gothic architecture university building and the oldest surviving of its kind in Poland.

"In the summer, Krakow comes to life with festivals - including the famous Midsummer celebrations that last for 10 days - and Holiday Best are offering customers a stunning range of four and five-star hotels to rest after a day spent soaking up the culture."

A visitor to St Mary's Basilica took to Tripadvisor to praise the landmark, calling it an "absolutely stunning basilica with a sumptuous interior".

One visitor to Wawel Royal Castle called it a "beautiful place rich in history, landmarks, art, legends and beautiful spots".

Another gave a rave review but provided a warning on price. They divulged: "This was one of the major sites to see during our visit to Krakow, and it was well worth the trip.

"The castle is absolutely beautiful and huge. We took several of the tours and enjoyed every single one of them.

"That leads me to my only complaint: that they do 'nickel and dime' you quite a lot. Each section of the castle has its own ticket and its own cost. In a way that can be good because you can build your own experience, but it can also cost you a small fortune."

Holiday Best said: "Tucked away between the more popular destinations of Croatia, Greece, and Italy, Montenegro is a bit of a hidden gem – but one that is well worth the three-hour flight.

"The landscape looks like it was plucked straight from a Disney movie, from the dramatic fjords of the Bay of Kotor dotted with medieval towns, to the rugged Durmitor National Park boasting turquoise lakes and snow-capped peaks.

"Then of course there’s the idyllic towns of Budva and Herceg Novi, where ancient history and modernity collide.

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Holiday Best is partnering with Ryanair

"For those looking to escape this summer, Holiday Best are offering customers a stunning range of four and five-star hotels.

"These include the Podgorica hotel overlooking the Moraca River, and the Hotel Rivijera set in amongst the mountains in the heart of Petrovac, just steps from the Roman mosaics and Elijah’s Church.

"June is one of the best months to visit Montenegro, to avoid the tourists and enjoy the nice weather."

The Bay of Kotor is a gorgeous site in Montenegro, with one Tripadvisor review reading: "A must-visit area of Montenegro or even on a day trip from Dubrovnik. The stunning views and numerous swimming areas make this one of the best tourist places on the Balkans and I am from another Balkan country.

"It is very beautiful to just go around the bay by car and absorb the atmosphere. Some of the small villages after Kotor are also a must with their picturesque boats and bays."

Chief Marketing Officer at Holiday Best John Milburn said: "We’re so excited to be adding these brand-new destinations to our portfolio, just in time for the summer. It’s been a long time in the works, but we love bringing new adventures to our customers, and we’re I’m looking forward to seeing our customers discover the magic for themselves."

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