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Top 3 European cities to visit this winter

Salzburg, Copenhagen and Budapest are a safe bet

  • October 24, 2019 15:20
  • Author Plamen Petrov
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Winter is knocking on the door, and it’s about time that you stop exchanging photos of your summer exploits with your Facebook friends and think of something cool. Despite the whims of weather, winter Europe beckons with sprightly Christmas markets and great cultural landmarks that are transformed into a fairytale by the magic of snow. It may be colder, but the crowds are smaller, giving you a chance to rub shoulders with the locals, and the prices of accommodation and air-travel are down. Here is a selection of three cities deserving a weekend city break or a longer stay:

1. Salzburg, Austria

The hometown of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the summer Salzburg Festival (celebrating its 100th anniversary next year) has just been declared the best must-visit city in the world for 2020 by Lonely Planet. But the picturesque Austrian town has a surprise up its sleeve that is put on display only in winter: the Schloss Hellbrunn Christmas market! Dubbed by some the most magical Christmas gathering in Austria, it shines with a forest of 400 twinkling trees above stalls selling handicraft, gingerbread, and warm red wine, to name but a few. Kids will enjoy a pony ride and stare in awe at the 24 windows of the baroque palace, magically transfigured into a calendar that chronicles the Advent of Christ. Carol singers, Alpine horn blowers, brass bands and nativity scenes reenactors invite onlookers to a joyous Christmas parade.  

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Speaking of fairytales and winter, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen is hard to pass by. The naked Little Mermaid is not bothered by the cold and neither should be you, given the plentiful of cosy cafes and bars. Around Christmastime the Tivoli amusement park, built in the 19th century, comes to life with mugs of glögg and fireworks displays that warm the body and soul.   

3. Budapest, Hungary

If skating is your favourite sport, then the Hungarian capital is just for you. The outdoor skating rink in Budapest’s central park, is really huge, epitomizing the winter spirit of the city - winner of the European Best Destination competition for 2019. And if you still feel chilly after the exercise, you can take a dip in one of the famous hot mineral baths or take a sip (or two) in the “ruin pubs” – retro-style haunts in the Jewish quarter, invoking memories of the “sweet” Communist past.

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