Find out why there’s no winter like a European winter!

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Find out why there’s no winter like a European winter!

The concept of a European winter getaway is changing. Seaside towns and off-season resort areas are seeing an uptick of visitors who come for digital detoxes and crowd-free retreats that can cost a quarter as much as a ski weekend.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Jutting west into the North Atlantic Ocean, the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Iceland at its most stunning: moss-blanketed lava fields, misty fjords surrounded by craggy cliffs, and a towering volcano crowned with a glacier that dates back to the Ice Age. Do it as a road trip!

Åre, Sweden

With its snow-covered peaks, café-lined town square, and red-hot après-ski scene, this mountain resort in northern Sweden is the Aspen of Scandinavia. There are more than 100 powdery ski runs, or you can navigate the slopes by snowmobile or dogsled:

La Massana, Andorra

Two hours from Barcelona in Andorra’s northwest corner.Tthis Catalonian ski resort has no shortage of pistes and cozy bordas, traditional stone restaurants where tender lamb and beef are cooked on an open grill. Winter activities here in the Pyrenees, as in many European resort destinations, center on skiing and snowboarding.

Vals, Switzerland

You don’t come to this tiny village in the Swiss Alps to ski. Instead of perfectly groomed pistes, you’ll find a wonderland for design buffs. Built from sparkling gray blocks of Vals quartzite, Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor’s austerely beautiful Therme Vals houses a warren of steamy hammams and flower-strewn pools.

The Cotswolds, Cheltenham

Once a popular spa getaway for well-heeled Londoners, Cheltenham fell out of favor with the rise of its trendier neighbors Daylesford and Chipping Norton. The historic town in the northern Cotswolds is back in the spotlight.

Bouillon, Belgium

Deep in the Ardennes on a woodsy bend of the Semois River. This medieval town has become increasingly popular with naturalists who come for fishing and foodies who come for the bone-warming Belgian food. Set out for an invigorating walk up a hill to 13th-century Bouillon Castle, armed with treats from the abundant local bakeries and chocolate shops

Sagres, Portugal

Surfers and golfers descend on this sun-kissed town teetering off the southwestern tip of the Algarve.

Rovinj, Croatia

This former Venetian vassal state on the azure Adriatic has traditionally slipped into hibernation mode come winter. Yet in recent years, it’s attracted some attention as an off-season long weekend getaway. So you’ll find architects and designers from places like Vienna and Zagreb wandering the cobblestoned streets and ancient churches relishing the sunshine, lack of crowds, and deep discounts.

Tyrol, Austria

Not to be confused with South Tyrol in Italy, Austria’s Tyrol abuts its German-speaking Italian sibling. It offers a distinct flavor of skiing, eating, and thermal bathing that includes 40 lifts and 200 miles of trails. Längenfeld’s geothermal spring, established in the 16th century, features three levitating outdoor pools and moonlight bathing at the Aqua

Aschau im Chiemgau, Germany

The remote and gorgeous town of Aschau im Chiemgau. An hour from Munich in Bavaria’s extreme southern corner on the border of Austria. Place is fast becoming a retreat for Central European urbanites in search of a digital detox.

Pamporovo, Bulgaria

The karst formations, reservoirs, caves, and gorges of Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains are spectacular. They attract only a handful of summertime adventurers. The area livens up come winter. The Pamporovo ski resort buzzes with skiers here for 35 miles of pistes, 18 lifts, and 23 miles of cross-country skiing trails set around scenic pine forests.

High design and haute cuisine meet crackling fires and snow-covered vistas in these European winter destinations. Europeans have dreamt up many definitions of cozy.

Find out why there’s no winter like a European winter!

Alta Badia – A Taste for Skiing

Find out why there’s no winter like a European winter!

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