Europe is incredible at any time of year, but there is a unique charm when visiting in the winter. The crowds are sparse and the villages look even more romantic under a coating of snow. Here are the best reasons to visit Europe in the winter.

1. Beat the crowds

When traveling to Europe from June through September, you will be dealing with tedious lines to enter the main sites, crowded vistas ruined by selfie sticks, and a moshpit of tourists surrounding the Mona Lisa. Try visiting in the winter, when those same landscapes are devoid of people but dusted in snow. The simple moments of walking right into a great restaurant, or walking straight into the Lourve on a whim, hold so much value.

2. Save money

Money talks. The price for accommodation, flights, attractions and even some restaurant menus can be drastically cheaper in the winter. The pure savings is one of the strongest reasons to visit in the slow season.

3. Enjoy winter activities

One of the most obvious reasons to visit in winter is to enjoy winter sports. The European Alps are legendary for being the birthplace of skiing. Europe has the largest ski resorts in the world and is famous for snowboarding, downhill and cross country skiing. There are other less extreme sports to enjoy like snowshoeing, dog sledding, and ice skating.

4. View the Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis puts on their world-famous light displays from September through April. As with anything in nature, it’s not guaranteed, but your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is in winter when the sky is at its darkest.

5. Christmas Markets

You will be hard-pressed to find a more festive region to spend Christmas than Europe, it is the birthplace of Santa after all. The Christmas Markets of Germany, Austria, and Belgium are particularly legendary, but you really can’t go wrong in Europe. If you want to get deep into the spirit there are other activities, such as visiting Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland.

6. Help combat overtourism

Overtourism is a very real issue, especially in Europe. Venice is an example of a city that has been negatively impacted by visitors. Locals have been pushed out by high rental prices and tourists in the summer are unable to appreciate the beauty of the city thanks to the crowds. Be the change and visit in the off-season!

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