Need a winter break that doesn’t involve being coerced onto the slopes? These European cities are at their best when robed in white.

Qaanaaq, Greenland

Qaanaaq is tiny, but as one of the most northerly towns in the world is well worth a visit if you’re looking for something a bit different. Colourful houses are set against the white snow and glassy waters, while this is also home to some of the last Arctic hunters in the world.

Bled, Slovenia

A fairy-tale town dwarfed by the forested slopes of the Julian Alps, Bled becomes refreshingly empty in winter. But the iconic castle is in its element, and the only place to be is admiring it lakeside over some mulled wine.

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt is an ethereal dream when temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall. Car-free and full of footpaths, exploring will bring back childhood memories of playing in the streets when school was closed for snow days.

Bergen, Norway

Winter in Bergen is exactly how Christmas is depicted in story books. Surrounded by nature, it feels more like a national park than a city. In a nearby town called Os, roads aren’t cleared and locals can be seen skiing to the shops.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The UN’s happiest place on earth and the hub of hygge, Copenhagen is renowned for its white winters. Bitter temperatures may deter you from throwing snowballs from dawn until dusk but numerous bars will ensure you don’t lose fingers to frostbite.

Åelsund, Norway

This small port town on the west coast of Norway was almost entirely rebuilt after a fire in 1904, and has since become renowned for its art-nouveau architecture. Climb your way to the Mount Aksla lookout for panoramic views of Åelsund and the surrounding fjords.

Innsbruck, Austria

Architecture from Zaha Hadid, food markets and riverside cafés make Innsbruck picturesque year round, so it is no wonder than when covered in fresh snow fall locals and visitors alike delight.

Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia’s capital is fast gaining popularity as a Euro weekend escape. Despite its green credentials, it’s when the snow falls and the city turns white that its really in its element.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Saint Petersburg may be Russia’s second-largest city, but it’s second to none when it comes to architecture – only improved by an icing-sugar dusting of snow.

 

Gdansk, Poland

You may have visited Warsaw and Krakow, but this lesser-known city is just as beautiful. Situated on the Baltic Sea, its sandy beaches may draw crowds in the summer but winters are hauntingly majestic.

 

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