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10 best cities to visit in winter

10 best cities to visit in winter

10 best cities to visit in winter 634 357 TikBed

Cold rains, icy sidewalks and gray skies can make winter travel a trial. But hot drinks, snowy slopes, frozen lakes and crisp, blue skies full of fresh air? That’s the kind of winter we can all wrap our mittens around.

And winter actually seems to bring out the best in some cities. In no particular order, here are 10 around the world that make for a great cold-weather destination:


  1. Prague, Czech Republic

With its snow-capped spires and cobbled, winding streets, Prague is a fairytale city that remains relatively tourist-free in winter.

The stunning architecture looks even prettier under a sheet of snow, with one of the most beautiful areas being the old town, with its turrets and Romanesque vaults. Gas street lamps have been reinstalled throughout the city center, adding a romantic hue to evenings. Cafes here are ideal for escaping the bitter cold.

Prague


  1. Salzburg, Austria

With its backdrop of Christmas carols and traditional markets, this is a perfect city for a winter break. “Silent Night” was performed for the first time in the Oberndorf on the outskirts of Salzburg on Christmas Eve in 1818.

The city’s main market is held in the shadow of Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg fortress, but the one held in Mirabell Square is especially popular with foodies who come to sample local delicacies such as halusky — pieces of dumpling mixed with fried bacon.

Salzburg


  1. Tromsø, Norway

as the capital of the Arctic, is great in winter. It’s widely regarded as Norway’s most beautiful city and is a base for spotting the northern lights.

There are also several fascinating museums, including the Polar Museum, which offers an insight into the history of Arctic expeditions, and the Tromsø Museum, which is famous for its Sami exhibitions.


  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

In winter, Amsterdam’s museums are much less crowded, making it the time to visit attractions such as Rijksmuseum or the Anne Frank House. Built originally to house a circus, the Royal Carré Theatre is more than 130 years old. Children will love the spectacular performances.

Amsterdam


  1. Nagano, Japan

As a former Winter Olympics host city, Nagano is a great base for exploring nearby ski resorts. The natural hot springs on the outskirts are perfect after a day on the slopes. Beautiful, snow-covered Buddhist temples are worth checking out, as is the Togakushi Minzoku-kan folklore museum, which has a fascinating display about the ninjas who once trained there.

Nagano


  1. Reykjavík, Iceland

Although Iceland’s capital city is one of Europe’s coldest spots, it has plenty of natural hot springs to warm up in (some of the best can be found in the Nauthólsvík area of the city). The annual Winter Lights Festival, which takes place in February, is a spectacular celebration.

Visitors can try their hand at a range of winter sports or skate on the city’s Tjörnin pond. Many cozy coffee houses sell rúgbrauð — locally made, dark, sweet bread.

“An unmissable experience during winter is a dip in one of the city’s many outdoor geothermal swimming pools,” says Eliza Reid, who co-founded icelandwritersretreat.com with Erica Green. “There is no experience quite like soaking in these naturally warm waters with snowflakes tickling your nose. Each swimming pool has its own character, and everyone has their favorite.”

Iceland


  1. Berlin, Germany

From its pop-up ice skating rinks and sledding hills, to the outdoor concerts and markets, Berlin is buzzing with activity in the winter season.

Botanischer Garten is known for its magical Christmas garden, which lights up from late November until January.

The two-story Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store on Kurfürstendamm is worth a look — it’s open all year and sells everything from tree decorations to candles.

Berlin city


  1. Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa’s Winterlude festival is one of the world’s largest winter festivals and is famous for its ice sculptures, outdoor concerts and toboggan courses.

The Christmas Lights Across Canada scheme sees some of the city’s largest monuments and buildings bedecked with festive lights.

In winter, the city has one of the world’s coolest commutes — the 7.8-kilometer (4.8-mile) Rideau Canal Skateway, which is used by workers and students to get through the heart of downtown on ice skates.

Ottawa

9. Washington D.C., United States

If you’re arriving in Washington by rail over the festive season, you shouldn’t miss the annual Norwegian Christmas tree and giant wreaths at Union Station. In November and December, the ZooLights show at the National Zoo stays open late and stages spectacular light displays.

The White House and Lincoln Memorial look especially beautiful in the snow. During winter, the Washington Ballet stages performances of “The Nutcracker.”

Washington D.C


  1. Edinburgh, Scotland

Cobbled streets, a beautiful castle and lovely public gardens make Edinburgh a beautiful city any time of year, but in winter it’s breathtaking.

Princes Street Gardens is transformed into a wonderland, complete with ice skating rink, enormous Christmas tree and a Ferris wheel, all in the shadow of the castle. On the edge of the city, Arthur’s Seat is the perfect location for a winter walk and the views from the top are second to none.

Edinburgh

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