Four Unique Winter Experiences in Europe
There’s something about traveling in Europe during the winter months that is quite unlike anything else I’ve experienced. There are those that utterly despise winter because of the uncomfortable temperatures and short days (which is understandable) but contrary to popular belief, a trip to Europe during the winter can in fact be rather pleasant. It might be that perfect light for photography, the enjoyment of eating and drinking indoors or just simply not taking part in the peak season crush.
With airline tickets and sometimes hotel accommodation being a little cheaper this time of year, the only “splurges” for a trip to Europe in winter would be my travel insurance and extremely adequate winter clothing – especially as I am coming from a warmer Aussie climate!
Despite the freezing temperatures (and I mean it), watching the changing of the guard is truly a great experience. With your face and hands most definitely already numb, you can get up close and personal with the procession due to limited numbers. While, the event isn’t as grand as during the summer months, it gains extra character as the snow begins to fall and is crushed under foot during performances by the military band and soldiers. Oh and did I mention this gem is free?
Epiphany commemorates the arrival of the three kings in Bethlehem and in celebration a “Cavalcade of the Three Kings” takes place in downtown Florence. Intricately dressed drummers enchant the public with their skill, whilst colourful Renaissance flags distract the audience momentarily as they are thrown between bearers as the procession moves from Palazzo Pitti towards Piazza del Duomo. With what seems like the entire city taking part, it is difficult to move through the small cobbled corridors without getting caught up in the action. Make sure you have your camera ready to capture this yearly event.
Berlin’s largest and most popular inner city park that is great for outdoor activities during the summer months is transformed into an enchanted, alabaster paradise during the winter. As people retreat indoors to escape the subzero temperatures, the limited crowds make it an idyllic place to relax and explore the paths that traverse the park and frozen lakes. Just be careful not to slip!
Join the crowd huddled in front of the gothic Old Town Hall tower and watch the procession of the Twelve Apostles on the hour. As the bells chime, the clock opens to reveal rotating statues – the Twelve Apostles. The 600th anniversary of the clock was celebrated in October 9, 2010. For an extra treat, catch the last chime at 9pm, for an eerie experience you are not likely to forget any time soon.
There are plenty of other great winter experiences to be had in Europe, and off course travelling during winter will mean you can enjoy many of them crowd free!
About the Author: Justin Hendry is a keen travel writer with a passion for travelling to Europe and discovering unique experiences in every corner! Currently completing a Bachelor of Media at Macquarie University, he enjoys escapism through the spheres of travel writing, reading and music, in an attempt to fend off the natural progression of maturity and responsibility.