Winter travels

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Travelling in winter may seem counter-intuitive. No sun bathing, no smell of sun cream lingering in the air, and the thought of drinking a cocktail decorated with a little umbrella seems wrong or wierd.

A unique experience

Travelling during the winter months or to a winter destination is a unique experience. If it is done correctly it can be very gratifying.

Nessa Twix © Solkes

I know, families have chosen to take the year’s big holiday during the summer months.

I guess the warm weather and soaking up the sun and going to sleep with the sound of the waves is a magnet.

But, there’s a lot to be said for travelling in winter. These are some reasons why winter travels are so great:

The low rates: Obviously this always come into play. As a matter of fact, both flight and accommodation prices plunge during winter.

In many destinations, the difference between summer and winter rates is a matter of hundreds.

We can safely say that in some cases, traveling in winter makes your money go further, stretch a bit more.

In all honesty, tourism agencies need the business, so it’s the best time of year to grab a great travel bargain.

Nessa Twix © Solkes

We would suggest to start searching for deals around September and October, when companies are releasing their biggest savings in a hope to haul in customers in the coming months.

Some perks

Fewer people: The difference between tourist numbers in summer and winter is like night and day.

María M. Motta © Solkes

Winter is often a really good time to visit some attractions as crowds are often smaller.

In low season, it’s not uncommon to find you’re one of only a handful of people on a beach, or mulling around a museum virtually by yourself.

The joy that comes with this feeling of relaxation and escape is a great one.

That being said, some businesses find that traveller numbers are so low in winter that they shut down.

So, before embarking to you destinations you should research do some research and check what is actually open.

A different side of things: The typical photo of spas and beach destinations are the norm. They are always the same. However, travelling in winter offers a different perspective.

María M. Motta © Solkes

Truthfully, we believe that there is something encahnting about white-capped peaks and frosty mornings. Landscapes look like something out of a fairy tale when dusted in snow.

Nessa Twix © Solkes

After experiencing the joy of waking up to a thick layer of powdery snow, your perspectiave starts to change. I honestly can’t imagine a trip any other way.

Christmas Markets: There is no way around it.. Christmas markets are a dream land!!! Imagine strolling around surrounded by fairy lights. They are warm, cosy, and very inviting.

You can drink warm wine and chocolate, eat sausages (Bratwurst and Thüringer Rostbratwurst), roasted chestnuts, reibekuchen/kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), pancakes, crepes and waffles.

It is also possible to buy seasonal goods for your Christmas table or unique gifts for loved ones back home.

The talk of the town

We decided to talk to some people in order to gather their thoughts regarding this subject.

Solkes: What is the best part of traveling to a winter destination?

Maria M. Motta: one of the best has to do with sports. That feeling you get when your body is warm and pumped up with energy and the tenmperature is -20 degrees, it is amazing. Then you go to a spa and feel your muscles relax and rest.. that is the best.

María M. Motta © Solkes

Samantha W.: For me… I guess the best part is the view. I mean, its like being inside a picture all the time. Yes, its cold, very cold but I really like it.

Dante: I would have to say Winter Sports are the bomb. They are amazing and the scenary is unbeteable.

Miguel Antón: I really enjoy the Christmas Markets.

Solkes: Do you recommend it?

Maria M. Motta: Yes I do. I really enjoy it.

Samantha W.: I do but I think it’s not for everyone.

Dante: Yes.

Miguel Antón: Yes and no. It depends on your destination, what you expect and are willing to do.

Solkes: What are musts?

Maria M. Motta: Good clothing. If you are not well prepared, you will be miserable and very very cold.

Samantha W.: A good jacket and a good pair of boots.

Miguel Antón: Umm.. jacket, boots, scarf, hat and gloves… Oh, and gluhwein!

Dante: Under your clothing you should always wear thermal clothing… it makes all the difference.

María M. Motta © Solkes

In most European cities the major tourist attractions remain open over the winter season but they often with shortened opening hours.

Other things to have in mind are, in our point of view, to limit the lugagge.

Wheeling suitcases in the snow whilst carrying assorted other bags isn’t fun!

All travels can be made by plane. But, traveling by car is such a delight. The first thing to know is that you have the correct winter tires.

Major roads and autobahns, as well as city streets, are regularly cleared of snow by snow ploughs but extra care should always be taken when travelling in wet, snowy and icy conditions.

The correct destination

Another important issue is to decide the correct destination. So, choosing which countries to visit on your winter holiday to Europe.

It depends on what you want If your main plan is to experience the European Christmas markets, then countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland should be in your itinerary. Skiers and snowboarders will find the mountain resorts in Italy, France, Switzerland and Austria (amongst others), the place to be.

María M. Motta © Solkes

Winter travels imply warm clothing. It goes without saying that you are likely to experience some pretty cold weather during your Europe trip in winter.

Many of the northern and central European countries frequently have daytime temperatures below 5° Celcius so knowing what clothes to take to Europe in winter is vital. A milder winter climate will be found in southern Europe.

After living for more than a decade in Europe and making my share of winter holidays I must say that layers are key. It is true, all establishments are well heated and as soon as you enter you’ll be stripping off clothes. But, the problem is not suriving inside places but surviving even for a short period of time in the outside.

Wear clothes on top that are easy to remove, or if your coat is super-warm, only wear a couple of light layers underneath. A lot of people swear by thermal underwear. Hats really make a difference when you are outdoors. A scarf of some sort and gloves are a big game changer.

A charming conclusion

After all of our words regarding winter travels, we hope you have gotten a better sense of it. A few surviving tips.

María M. Motta © Solkes

Having that said we must state that for some reason when people think of traveling they picture it in a constant state of sunshine, strappy tops and flip flops. Yes, its true, those ideas are great but traveling in winter has its own unique charms.

Snow has a unique way of changing the world into a winter wonderland. Yes, a wonderland a place filled with bewilderment and miracle.

Cold temperatures often hint that winter is here but so do the hot beverages, holiday music and gloves.

There’s something magical about traveling during the winter season with which summer vacations just can’t compete. There’s a time for everything. Waking up to a fresh blanket of snow on the street is the last thing the majority of people wish to experience when it isn’t the holiday season. You have to try it.

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