New York is a magical place any time of the year, but there is something really special about it during winter time. View the concrete jungle and its blanket of snow from the Empire State building and stare in awe at the glistening white down below.
You can marvel at lights in Times Square, and venture down 5th Avenue for the Holiday Walk in which the the windows of department stores from 39-59th street put on the most wonderful Christmas displays.
Central Park is also sure to be an unforgettable experience, with many spectacular festive activities on offer, including that famous ice rink as seen in many movies. And don’t miss the Rockefeller, with its unique Christmas tree, a 70ft conifer, complete with five miles of Christmas lights and a Swarovski crystal star.
Christmas markets are one of the best things about winter, and Berlin is the place to find the best, oozing with charm and local culture there are other 80 of them scattered around the city. The cafes, bars, museums, galleries and theatres will consume with, each with their own story to tell.
For a truly unique experience, the Gemäldegalerie, is home to a world-renowned collection of European painting from the 13th to 18th century, including such Renaissance Masterpiece Portrait and a fascinating Renaissance exhibition just so happens to be held from September-January, with original works from Botticelli, Degas and Magritte on show.
Elsewhere, the Botanical Gardens, complete with an array of tropical greenhouses also host winter-themed events which are likely to wow you.
Rome is a perfect city getaway for couples all year round, but perhaps it’s during winter time that the city of love is at its most Roman. Escape the typical department store Christmas shopping experience, with the city’s small shops and craft studios which afford visitors with an old-school Christmas shopping experience.
Although thought of as tacky by some locals, the seasonal market in Piazza Navona is a must visit, along with the nativity scenes in the city’s churches, especially in St Peter’s Square. For a history lesson, visit the Vatican Museums which house Italian statues, Egyptian mummies and the great Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
The Teatro dell’Opera season also happens to fall during winter, with world-class concerts held throughout the city, whichever orchestra you see will undoubtedly give you a night to remember.
During winter, Paris transforms from the City of Light into the City of Fairy lights. The Champs-Elysées is decorated with Christmas illuminations in the trees, and even has its very own ice rink, which is open until early January.
The nearby Christmas markets in wooden chalets are a must, serving with hot chestnuts, oysters, foie gras and bûches de Noël (yule logs). The River Seine makes for the perfect river cruise and you can even take a walk on Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge on the Seine, laid in 1578. The bridge is at its most enchanting at sunset, when the dying light of the sun engulfs the riverside buildings in shades of gold.
And of course there’s the Eiffel Tower which makes the perfect viewing point to see Paris and its sprinkling of snow in all of its glory. Why not top off your city break by staying in an apartment with a clear view of the famous Parisian landmark? Firms such as Owners Direct have hundreds of apartments in the capital to choose from.
Amsterdam is one city that certainly feels the chill during winter, however, there is plenty for you to do to escape the cold. With endearing wood-panelled cafés, you can sip mulled wine in front of an open fire, or head for a culture rich experience at one of the city’s many museums – the Van Gogh Museum puts on a spectacular exhibition across winter showing many of the famous artist’s works.
Much like Paris, Amsterdam lights up during the festive season, with stunning light sculptures, installations, and fanciful projections, you can explore the city and take walking tour of the lights, or take them in via a boat trip on the canal, cruising past the gabled houses.
Prague is another city that embraces the holiday spirit more than you could imagine. The holiday exhibition in the Bethlehem chapel centres around a certain theme each year, thus it is perfectly unique.
Similarly, nativity scenes—both live ones and those crafted out of wood – are a pivotal part of the Prague winter landscape and a must see for that traditional festive feel. Ice skating rinks are dotted around the city each winter, so you can your partner can take a twirl if you dare.
The Christmas markets are not only a sight to behold but the flavours, sounds, and scents of the Old Town Square will stay with you long beyond the winter months. Gaze over the famous red rooftops of Prague from the terrace, or take a stroll beneath the Renaissance gallery with its watercolour paintings of Pompeii.