We’re all dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones that we used to have before climate change. However, since snow stays around for about as much as some viral sensation on the internet, we have to go rooting for it. For those who want to experience the real winter wonderland, here are five European destinations that will ensure a real snowy experience.
5. Rovaniemi, Finland
There’s a bunch of lakes in Finland, but it’s also a very chilly country. Being a part of Scandinavia, it can hardly be any other way. And Rovaniemi is the official hang-out of Santa Claus, in as much such a thing can be “official.”
Santa hangs out in his grotto, which you can visit for free. You’ll get your fill of holiday spirit there, especially when you see the reindeer. There’s also the Arktikum museum, in case you wanted to know about the non-gift bearing life in those parts. And since it’s the administrative center of Lapland, there are other means of entertainment. How about trying your hand at arctic rally?
4. Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria – no association to Innsmouth, Massachusetts – is what you imagine when you think about a snowy mountain resort. In fact, it’s the capital of ski and snowboard and probably blood-chilling secret agent chases down the slopes. It hosted the Winter Olympics twice already!
But there’s more to Innsbruck than just a history of broken limbs; actually, history happened in this place! This was the royal home of Hapsburgs, and it features architecture that is much more beautiful than the inbred royals that inhabited it. For more freak sights, visit the Swarovski Crystals HQ.
3. Transylvania, Romania
Yes, we know that Transylvania is a region rather than a city. However, we have already advised you to visit it, so why not do it during Christmas? It is well known that vampires hate snow and eggnog. Visit the region now and enjoy all the ancient towns, castles and cathedrals while making Winterfell jokes as locals roll their eyes. Saxon fortified churches are plenty enough to be an entire category of objects to visit, and you can’t miss Corvin and Bran castles.
In addition to many historical sites, Transilvania also hosts national parks and ski resorts, and I don’t have to tell you that those look smashing when snow is out and about. If you don’t pass out while marking turd jokes at the Turda national park, make sure to go to the Turda salt mine for seconds (and also one of the most impressive mines in the world).
2. Abisko, Sweden
Back to Scandinavia with ye! This time, we’re taking holidays of a more natural bent, as Abisko isn’t really famous for its architecture, street life, life or streets. However, it’s within 250km of the Arctic Circle and easy to reach by train from Stockholm.
You probably won’t go for the 425 kilometer-long Kungsleden hiking trail. However, Abisko Turiststation will provide you with ideas for activities, or at least with food and lodging. If you’re not interested in cross-country skiing (or other cross-countries), you can always try and visit Abisko itself, with its population of 85.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
However, there’s really no reason to stay in continental Europe. So why not visit Scandinavia-away-from-Scandinavia, Iceland? Reykjavik, the capital, features the annual Winter Lights Festival (however, it’s in February, rather than Christmas-time), as well as many cultural and historic spots to visit.
If you get bored of all the culture and hot geothermal pools, you can always venture out into the larger Iceland. You just need to rent a 4×4 (roads get a little wild in Iceland) and see what vast, majestic landscapes can separate two isolated gas stations!
But before you get to your wintery destination of snowy wonder, you might experience a flight disruption. Yes, cancellations, delays or even overbooking can happen to anyone, anytime. If such trouble befalls you, you can always file a claim with Skycop – maybe you’re eligible for flight compensation! With the chance of gaining up to €600 in moral damages, you will have enough money to enjoy a single pack of chips in any of the Scandinavian countries!