Europe in the snow: winter activities you won’t want to miss

All this snow has made us think at Interrailing Packages  – what’s good to do in Europe when it snows? Yeah, sure, there’s all those Christmas markets and city ice rinks and skiing and snowboarding and yadda, yadda, yadda. But what about a real snow adventure ya know, like when Christmas is over and it’s just cold!

Well, you didn’t ask, but we answered anyway…

Here’s our five top winter activity recommends.

1. Top of the crop is Interrail.eu’s suggestion of heading up north for a view of the spectacular Northern Lights. According to the Interrail website, “Abisko, Sweden, is one of the best spots in the world to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, this wilderness area lies close to the Aurora Oval and it rarely sees cloudy skies thanks to the 60 peaks that surround it.” Sounds pretty sweet right?

2. Number two is Switzerland’s Glacier Express, which offers one of Europe’s most scenic rail journeys. This slow and steady train runs from the ski resort of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn to chic St Moritz in the Engadin valley. As it winds its way through the countryside, travellers can sip a crisp, white wine and enjoy panoramic views of snow dusted mountains, fir trees, picturesque Swiss villages and stunning river valleys. The train has five stops, including the medieval towns of Brig and Chur, and it even crosses the famous Landwasser Viaduct, before pulling into the Olympic host city of St Moritz.

3. Chill out in an igloo. There’s actually quite a few igloo villages open during the winter season, from Bayerwald in Germany to Eskimo Village, Slovenia to the breathtaking Schneedorf Igloo Village in Austria. One of our picks (and it’s soooo hard to choose) would be a visit to the igloo village on the shores of the frozen Hinterstockenseein lake beneath Stockhorn mountain in Switzerland. At this ice and snow resort you can go ice fishing, snow tubing, winter hiking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, paragliding, snowshoeing, igloo building or just indulge in some cheese fondue and a beer.

4. Our number four recommendation is a visit to the Ice Hotel at Lake Balea in Transylvania, Romania (yes, it’s a real place, yes it’s where Dracula is “from” and yes, it’s actually a pretty fab destination). The ice hotel, situated in the Făgăraş Mountains.  is rebuilt every year with ice blocks from the lake and is only accessible by cable car (Carta Train Station is the nearest rail stop). The beds may be made from ice but don’t let that put you off as layers of furs, blankets and polar sleeping bags keep ya toasty. And when you’ve had enough of sleepy luxury, you can go snowmobiling, ice skating, tunnel trekking, boat sliding, tubing or enjoy an ice sculpting lesson.

5. Don’t ya just love slipping into that swimming cossie and heading out into the erm, chilly chill chill of January… Well, yeah, when you’re sliding into a toasty outdoor pool fed by natural hot springs, such as those on offer at your choice of the Széchenyi Baths, the Gellért Baths and Lukács Baths (to name but a few) in beautiful Budapest, Hungary. The city is built on a geographical fault line, with 120 hot springs feeding numerous pools and baths across the city. Oh I feel warmer already!

That’s just some ideas to get ya thinking this winter. With Interrailing Packages, Europe really is your oyster so take our advice and get adventurous!

Travel easy guys

The Interrailing Packages team

*Image of the Northern Lights by Flickr user Greg Clarke and used under the Creative Commons licence.

 

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