Cosy up in France and Belgium this winter

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Warmth and comfort is best found away from home. Grab your woolly hat and explore the best ways to enjoy Europe by car in the winter months.

We may be in the depths of winter, but there’s no need to hide away from wanderlust. It may be pretty chilly, but Europe still has lots of cosy wintry pursuits to warm up the start of your year. Don’t let a change of temperature stop you from planning your next road trip – there’s still plenty of heart-warming experiences to be found!

Spa Town: Plombières-les-Bains, Alsace

 A stroll through the town of Plombières-les-Bains is almost as relaxing as their hot spring spas
A stroll through the town of Plombières-les-Bains is almost as relaxing as their hot spring spas. Credit: alainalele.

After the party-filled month of December, it’s a gentle start to the new year that you’ll want. Just a little recovery time to rejuvenate and start to feel more like the real you. And the perfect way to do this? A long dip in a thermal spa, of course!

France is home to lots of thermal spas, but we’ve narrowed your search down to Plombières-les-Bains, in the Alsace region of France, just under a six-hour drive from Calais. For thousands of years, the town has been famous for its hot thermal springs, and visitors come from all over the world to plunge into the healing waters. If you make the journey here, you’ll be in good company – Napoléon III and the Dukes of Lorraine have all sought out the thermal spas.

Let the hot water soothe away aches and pains, especially if you’ve been a little too enthusiastic on the dancefloor at the work Christmas party! The health benefits of thermal spas also increases circulation and reduces blood pressure, helping you to completely de-stress and enjoy the rest of your holiday.

Plombières-les-Bains is a typically pretty French town, nestled in the middle of stunning hillside scenery. If you can drag yourself away from the thermal spas, then a day walking around the quaint town, stretching your newly healed muscles will do you the world of good.

Stay warm when you ski: Avoriaz

 
Glistening white snow, cosy log cabins and a mug of something hot and tasty- there’s nothing better.
Glistening white snow, cosy log cabins and a mug of something hot and tasty- there’s nothing better.

If you’re the kind of person who is more interested in bringing in the new year in a slightly more active way, then skiing is the choice for you. Wrap up warm against the cold (we recommend full 80s-style ski suits) and whizz down those mountains to your heart’s content. In the evening (and let’s be honest, afternoon too), it’s the resort bar where you will spend much of your time. But after a long day of skiing and socialising, it’s a dreamy, cosy chalet that you’ll be looking forward to.

Imagine a cold, dark night where the sky is illuminated by stars, and you are all cuddled up in your chalet, warming by the roaring fire. In Avoriaz, eight hours from Calais, you can treat yourself to luxury wood panelled lodges with views of the snow-covered mountains.

A horse drawn carriage: Bruges

 One of the dreamiest cities in Europe, Bruges is an ideal destination for a winter’s break.
One of the dreamiest cities in Europe, Bruges is an ideal destination for a winter’s break.

At all times of the year, Bruges is celebrated for its beauty. But there’s just something about it in the winter, with the medieval buildings bathed in an amber-orange glow from the street lights, and rooftops dusted with frost or snow that make it feel so magical.

Of course, you could just wrap up against the elements and take a night time stroll through the town, but where is the fun in that? Instead, cuddle up with your loved ones on a horse-drawn carriage and see Bruges the way it was meant to be seen.

The drivers have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Bruges, and act as great tour guides pointing out the historic and notable buildings that you’ll ride past. And seeing as it’s Bruges, you won’t be short of iconic spots to see.

Are you feeling the urge to head to one of these destinations and get all wrapped up and cosy? Then you can be there quicker than you think when you travel with us. It’s only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais. Make sure you book your tickets on our site to ensure the best price.