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Winter hardly seems like the best time to be gallivanting around Europe, especially Central Europe, which is known for having long, snowy winters and cold temperatures. But there is much to do and see in all Central European nations during the wintertime. Thermal Baths. Skiing. Visiting historic castles and museums. There’s something here for everyone.
While summer and early fall might be the preferred time to tour Budapest, this historic central European city has its own charms during the winter. If you find the air a bit nippy, take in a ballet or opera performance. The Nutcracker is a major tourist draw. For outdoor activities, skate on the enormous rink in Városligeti Műjégpálya, the city’s most picturesque park. Wanting to warm up afterward? Soak your cares away in one of Budapest’s famous outdoor thermal baths.
For winter sports enthusiasts, Jansa, which is set in Slovakia’s gorgeous Tatras Mountains, is the must-visit destination for a winter vacation in Central Europe. What makes Jasna a better option than many European ski resorts is that you can enjoy high-quality skiing at a considerably cheaper price. There are several restaurants, bars and hotels nearby. In Jasna, you will find 49 km of perfectly snowed slopes of various difficulty levels that are great for beginners as well as pros. World-class skiing competitions have also been held on these slopes.
You might not run into Dracula when you come to this spooky region of Romania in the winter, but you can visit the town where he supposedly grew up. Brasov and Sighisoara are medieval towns that have connections to Vlad Tepes, notoriously referred to as ‘Vlad the Impaler’, a ruthless ruler who lived in the 15th Century. Regardless of the weather, Bran Castle draws tens of thousands of tourists from around the world each year. In the 12th Century, the Saxons came to Transylvania and built several walled citadels in the region, which Sibiu being the most famous. There are also many historic churches.
Prague, Czech Republic
As far as Central European winter destinations are concerned, Prague is at the top of the list. The city has a vibrant Christmas celebration where Old Saint Nick brings lots of holiday cheer. The weather may be crisp and cold, but that doesn’t stop throngs of people from coming together in Old Town Square for the outdoor festivities. You will probably want to spend most of a day enjoying Prague Christmas Market. As you might expect, these markets are outside and there are thousands of vendors selling every item imaginable. In recent years, tourists from around the world have booked December holidays in Prague. There is also an exhibition at Bethlehem Chapel showcasing holiday-themed crafts and decorations.
Being a culture–rich destination, Vienna always has fascinating sights to see, even in the heart of winter. Palaces. Museums. Historic and modern buildings. Horse-drawn carriages continue to stroll through the streets during the winter months. If you arrive in Vienna during the holidays, check out the numerous Christmas markets and festivities taking place!
Excited to plan your trip to Europe? See also:
Prague: the City of a 100 Spires
7 Must-Visit Hot Springs in Europe
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