With a host of winter cityscapes, Christmas markets and fairy-light fuelled places to explore each year – whether you have just a few short days, or a whole week away over the holidays, we’ve rounded up our top 4 favourites places to visit when the festive chill starts to linger.
There’s nowhere on Earth quite like Reykjavik, which is why over 1.5 million people visit this beautiful destination each and every year. Located on the coast of Iceland, Reykjavik is both the largest city and the country’s capital and is a prime location to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Don’t let the price of food and drink put you off as there is so much to see and do around every corner. Be sure to take a thermal jacket and thick waterproof coat when visiting later in the year and prepare to be blown away as it’s not the boring, frozen and barren landscape that most people imagine.
If the gorgeous cobbled streets, museums, restaurants or the striking concrete Hallgrimskirkja church doesn’t take your fancy, why not take a dip in the luxurious geothermal Blue Lagoon – one of 25 wonders of the world and a perfect example of the island’s volcanic activity.
Iceland is well known for its many beautiful waterfalls which are all worth a visit. When most people visit they tend to visit the following three waterfalls: Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Seljalandsfoss especially is a 213ft high water feature and might just be one of the most visited waterfalls in Iceland.
If you wish to explore your senses further, take a coach trip out to see the Northern Lights which, if seen on a clear night – will dance right in front of your very eyes. The best time to see them are when there is guaranteed darkness between September – Mid April. There’s never a dull day in Reykjavík during the wintertime, even if the days are long and dark.
Renowned as the world’s leading festival city and home to the iconic Edinburgh Castle, it’s the winding streets, breathtaking palaces and castles and the bustle of Princes Street that will transform any cold night into a winter wonderland. Christmas in Edinburgh is one of the highlights of the winter season and is an architecturally varied place, rich in culture, and further known as the gateway city to the Scottish Highlands.
With dozens of coffee shops and restaurants to step out of the cold and refuel in, it’s the annual ice skating rink set up every year that is enough to make any festive grinch beam with festive cheer.
Arthur’s Seat, perched on the edge of the city, is also an ideal place to take a snowy stroll while soaking up unparalleled views across the landscape. Be sure to pack an extra coat as it can become extremely windy at what feels like the edge of the UK. We highly recommend checking out the highlands as well, which are undeniably exquisite during the colder months.
Prague, Czech Republic
The capital city of the Czech Republic oozes in history, culture, and gorgeous restaurants and is best known for its Old Town Square which boasts colorful baroque buildings, gothic churches and the iconic medieval Astronomical Clock. Prague very much equals Paris in terms of its beauty and in truth, there is no bad time to visit this vibrant city. The winter season in Prague usually lasts from December to February, with January typically being the coldest month. The ideal time to visit however is at the end of the year as it is generally quieter.
With thousands of tourists flocking to Prague each and every year, over-tourism is becoming a problem during the summer months when Charles Bridge is usually full to the brim with tourists, artists and souvenir sellers. During winter, Prague is still a popular destination, but there are noticeably fewer tour groups, stag and hen parties and screaming children. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic saints and is a ‘must see’ location in Europe.
New York City
Any visitor of NYC will tell you, the best things to do in winter are worth braving the cold for. There’s so much to see and do whilst there that it can be tough creating an itinerary that covers everything the city has to offer.
Ranging from outdoor winter festivals to indoor exhibits, a longtime holiday tradition each winter resides at the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. It hosts the most famous Christmas tree in New York City (and what you might recognise from the film Home Alone!). When you’re not filling up on pizza, gourmet food or indulging in Broadway shows, it is also the home to the ice skating rink that might be the most quintessential winter New York City activity.
During the colder months is also the best time to try indoor attractions like the venerable institutions on Museum Mile or witness first-hand the outstanding live music and comedy shows in Time Square. Not forgetting, when snow covers Central Park, it becomes a sledding ‘utopia’. More so, nothing will put you in the holiday spirit quite like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, where the members of the famous New York City Rockettes perform holiday-inspired dances and songs.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Charlotte London’s New York inspired pieces coming in early December.
What do you think of our cold month destinations. Are you trying any of these soon?