By Josh Ranger
Europe is a continent most like to visit during the hot and balmy summer months. But what about the brisk winter months? The winter allows you to avoid the packed gates of Buckingham Palace, the heaving canals of Amsterdam and the crowded rooms of the Louvre.
Europe in the colder months can be a magical destination for a fraction of the prices the peak season can bring. Flight and hotel prices tend to be lower during the down season. Plus, with flights to Europe on United all winter, getting there is a breeze.
From November to March, you can navigate the streets and museums of Europe’s iconic cities without the hustle and bustle. While you might not be able to dine alfresco at your favourite jaunt in Soho, London, you’ll instead be able to grab your ice skates and take to the ice in front of the iconic Somerset House, all while under a magical light show.
Let’s take a deeper dive into three European cities that come alive during the winter months.
London ranks as one of the most accessible cities in the world with numerous flight options from all of United’s U.S. hubs. With endless choices of activities, entertainment and dining options year-round, there’s no longer a peak season for tourism and business in this enchanting city.
London is generally considered the perfect destination for international events for several reasons:
With the disappearance of crowds in the winter, you can take your team, friend or significant other to the world-famous Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, open mid-November to early January, with plenty of entertainment options. This festive market boasts more than 100 rides and attractions, live shows including a circus and ice show, plus live music as well as numerous bars and restaurants.
Or, if being out in the cold isn’t for you, why not take a look at the historical crown jewels in the Tower of London (often booked out during the summer months), followed by a sit down by the fire with a glass of mulled wine in a charming British pub.
It's an option to create lasting memories, boost morale and inspire the next big idea.
While the hustle and bustle take over the city during the summer months, the crisp winter air brings a uniqueness you won’t want to miss. As the nights draw in, there’s plenty of cozy venues, unique events and a festive atmosphere to keep you warm.
A walk around the Dutch capital in the evening is an unforgettable experience. The city becomes a spectacle of light, with hundreds of thousands of fairy lights, transforming Amsterdam into a vast outdoor art gallery. The Amsterdam Light Festival happens every year – this event alone makes Amsterdam the perfect city to visit this winter.
Comparable to some of the best markets in Europe, Amsterdam’s bring a trendy, vibrant feeling that offers something for everyone. Unlike other markets throughout the continent, Amsterdam’s markets feel independent and subdued, which makes them worth the visit.
Fewer crowds mean shorter queues for Amsterdam’s major museums and make the winter months the perfect time for these types of excursions. Amsterdam is home to numerous iconic museums – Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House and Van Gogh Museum – which all offer a break from the cold and an iconic glimpse into some 17th-century masterpieces.
Gezellig. Pronounced “he-zell-ick" and with no direct English translation, is a word that sums up the city and all its offerings. The Dutch use it to describe everything from cute and inviting to pleasant and jovial. So why not host a meeting in Amsterdam this winter season? Just gezellig.
The legendary city has inspired artists, photographers and musicians throughout the ages, and now it’s ready to inspire you. Situated in the heart of Europe, Paris is well connected and hosts a rich and varied range of accommodations, making it the perfect destination to mix leisure and business, or both – bleisure.
While there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Paris, winter offers its own unique appeal. Have you ever tried seeing the Mona Lisa up close and personal during the summer months? During the colder months, you can probably schedule a 30 minute one-to-one meeting with the icon; one reason alone to visit Paris during winter.
Other than visiting and being so close you could have a conversation with the Mona Lisa, the city’s trees and Haussmannian boulevards shimmer with fairy lights, its cafés flicker with red heat lamps and the department stores go all out with fabulous holiday displays.
The Eiffel Tower boasts an ice-skating rink on its first floor, from where the views can’t get any better, but be sure to pick your colleague or friend up off the ice when they go down.
Similarly, to both London and Amsterdam, flight and hotel costs can be found for significantly reduced prices during the winter months in Paris.
So, whether you’ve stumbled across this post looking for inspiration on a European winter getaway or you’re considering hosting a meeting or event in Europe outside of the summer months, we hope we’ve given you enough reasons to consider London, Amsterdam or Paris this winter. Trust us, it’ll be worth it.