5 Insanely Gorgeous, Under-the-Radar European Getaways to Escape to This Winter
As much as I adore the thoughts of a dreamy winter wonderland, let’s be real: it never takes long before the serene scenes of snow take a dreadful turn. Bone-chilling blizzards. Teeth-chattering temperatures. I don’t know about you, but when these unwelcome guests come knocking, that’s always my cue to start plotting a great escape. You know, an any-where-but-here type getaway. Because no matter if it’s near or far, there are very few remedies I’ve found to be more helpful when seeking to cure a SAD case of wintertime blues than the idea of getting the heck out of town.
So if you’re itching to tap into your sense of adventure and ditch the daily routine of scraping thick layers of ice off your windshield, brace yourself, because the insanely gorgeous, under-the-radar European destinations below are sure to spark some wintertime wanderlust.
And the best part? Since this time of year is considered the “off-season” for most travelers, you’re guaranteed to find amazing deals on tours, flights, and accommodations, allowing you to stretch your getaway-budget a whole lot farther.
If you’re craving majestic mountains, then head to…Lucerne, Switzerland.
Although Europe is steeped to the brim with beauty and enchantment, there is nowhere else quite as delightful than the lovely little city of Lucerne. Situated on a glistening lake and surrounded by a ring of majestic mountains, this Swiss setting is so spectacular, there’s no doubt it will send awe-inspiring tingles up your spine the moment you arrive. Sprinkled with covered bridges, candy-colored houses, and a lively waterfront promenade, a trip to Lucerne will truly be one adventure that’s never forgotten.
If you’re in the mood for a romantic rendezvous, then head to…Reims, France.
What better place to raise your glasses and toast to romance than the Champagne Region itself? Whether you’re strolling hand-in-hand down the narrow cobblestone streets or sampling fizzy bubbles in historic underground cellars, Reims is the ultimate destination for a romantic getaway. Plus, it’s just a short, 45-minute train ride from Paris, making this mesmerizing city conveniently located and extremely easy to explore.
If you’re yearning for fascinating fairy-tale vibes, then head to…Bruges, Belgium.
From the moment you arrive in Bruges, you’ll notice there is something different about this tiny, medieval town; something special. Of course, there are tons of other destinations woven through Europe that offer picturesque courtyards and dreamy canals, but this northern pocket of Belgium delivers a type of fairy-tale charm rarely found anywhere else in the world. Just a few seconds will be all it takes before you magically feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. My advice? Embrace this feeling. Extend your stay. And of course, eat lots and lots of the notoriously-delicious waffles.
If you’re seeking a little fun-in-the-sun, then head to…Lake Como, Italy.
Plunging mountainsides, hidden hilltop villages, a sparkling waterfront, and glorious sunshine — is there anything about Lake Como not to love? Not only will this alluring corner of Italy make your heart flutter with oh-so-much happiness, it will also work wonders for your soul, too. Whether you spend your time sailing around the shimmering lake, soaking up the fiery sunsets, or perusing through all the lovely, local Italian shops, you’ll leave with a newfound sense of rejuvenation. And did I mention George Clooney even owns a villa here!?
If you’re looking for the ultimate idyllic retreat, then head to…England’s Lake District.
Acclaimed for its tranquil vibes and radiant natural beauty, the Lake District is so magnificently beautiful, it very well might make you cry. I say this because that’s exactly what happened to me the first time I visited this mountainous region in Northwest England. Yes, salty tears raced down my cheeks the moment my eyes caught sight of the stunning, sweeping vistas. Home to lush valleys, glittering lakes, and countless fuzzy sheep, this area will offer peace, serenity, and a lifetime worth of inspiration.
So, ready to pack your bags!?
Image sources: top image; the rest by Kathryn.
Kathryn McLamb is a writer and photographer on a mission to inspire others to celebrate the everyday. She runs her blog Pineapple Street, and when she’s not plotting her next travel adventure, you can find her wandering the colorful city streets in San Francisco.