In Europe, the beauty of winter is that it comes in so many shapes and forms…. you can huddle by a fire with warming gluwein in Berlin, head for the Polar north and discover a magical winter wonderland…or warm up nicely in Malaga where the sun still lingers (while your relatives are turning up the heating back home).
If you’re thinking of taking a winter trip soon, here’s our shortlist of diverse destinations to inspire your next timeshare break:
Did you know top timeshare company Holiday Club Resorts’ has a great selection of cosy snow chalet resorts in Finland? If you’re tempted to visit Father Christmas’s homeland this year, definitely add the Arctic Circle grotto to your list of excursions – it’s free to visit but make sure you pack plenty of warm clothes because Finland has more figures below 0 degrees than above!
For a bit of culture and history head along to the Arktikum museum for a lens into life in Finland at (very) icy temperatures.
2. Christmas markets in Germany and Austria
If you love everything Christmassy from the food to the magical atmosphere, Germany and Austria are legendary for their world-famous Christmas markets. Browse the rustic wooden stalls selling traditional handmade goods, stock up on gingerbread treats, sip your way through a mug or two of mulled wine and enjoy the live music – you’ll be surrounded by festive spirit!
3. Athens, Greece
Greece is beautiful at all times of the year, but tourists so often stick to the summer months to enjoy the country, so our tip is to take a trip there during the winter months and explore the parts other holidays don’t reach. You’ll find all the summer crowds have disappeared from this historical city: tourist pricing is dropped, temperatures are mild and queues quieten. Of course island hopping is so easy by ferry but take into account that lots of accommodation closes during the winters months and ferries to the smaller islands may have stopped. Kolonaki is one of Athens’ chic shopping areas and Athens is legendary for its hospitable bars and cafés – watching the world go by from your pavement table is a big part of the Greek lifestyle!
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Like Stockholm, Copenhagen is one of the top cities to visit if you’ve never been north of Scotland, it’s perfect for a long weekend getaway and for couples – but again, keep your gloves on and wrap up warmly as temperatures can really dip, even during the day. Take your time to explore the city’s cosy bars and cafes while watching the snow settling outside. The centre of the city holds residence to the 19th century Tivoli amusement park, which is so romantic at Christmas time. Make sure you try a nice warming mug of glogg.
5. The Canary Islands
Conveniently located a short flight from the UK, there’s not that much difference between winter and summer temps on these islands. What’s even more tempting is that each one has its own, unique character, from the surreal lunar landscape of Lanzarote with its bright, white village homes, to British favourite Tenerife – where chances are you’ll be celebrating Christmas Day on the beach!
The Spanish have their own “Christmas” in early January, with Three Kings Day, as well as celebrating Christmas “Navidad” as well, so if you want a double dose of festive food and atmosphere, you can’t beat the Andalucian capital for a Christmas getaway. Temperatures aren’t as warm as summer, obviously, but the winter months could not be more perfect for active holidays – such as golf, hiking and long drives (in a swish convertible, we’re thinking?) along Malaga’s 160km coastline. If you’re spending New Year’s in Spain, get ready for the 12 Grapes! The Spanish swallow a grape on each chime of the midnight clock, so you might want to have a quick practice beforehand…!
7. Budapest, Hungary
Like Copenhagen, Budapest is perfect for a couples’ getaway with its stunning architecture and historic feel. Visit the city’s picturesque central park, grab some boots and get staking on its huge rink. When you’ve had enough and are feeling a little chilly spend the evening relaxing in the famous thermal baths. With so many to choose from you can either relax and swim or book into the spas for a massage. At night, explore the city and seek out a ‘ruin pub’, these are impressive and artfully decked bars found in once-abandoned buildings!