Top Winter Destinations in Europe

Top Winter Destinations in Europe hero image

With skiing, historical towns and impressive cities to visit, winter is a wonderful time to explore these top three destinations.

Sights

Skiing, historical towns and impressive cities

No matter what the weather, Europe has some of the most fascinating countries in the world, and in winter there are a distinct few that really begin to shine. We've listed three top cities and towns that truly come to life during winter, with their festive markets, stunning landscapes and stand-out architecture. Travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle for a  quick 35 minute crossing to then continue on down to these fantastic destinations which are all easy and stress-free drives from the Calais terminal.

Cologne, Germany

A 3-hour 54-minute drive from Calais is Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city and a place renowned for its remarkable cityscape, the awe-inspiring cathedral, Kölner Dom and even a chocolate museum. This year, between November 24th and December 23rd, Cologne will be hosting the city's seven annual Christmas markets. So, on top of exploring Cologne's magnificent sights, you'll get the chance to get into the festive mood, and you won't be alone as the markets attract around 2 million visitors every year. Four of the main Christmas markets are located across the city, at: the Kölner Dom, Alter Markt, the Neumarkt and Rudolphplatz, each with their own individual styles. The Neumarkt is Cologne's oldest Christmas market, where you can enjoy mulled wine, spiced breads and wonderfully handcrafted festive decorations.

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After spending the day full of Christmas cheer, wind down at the Rheinaufen, the harbour, where you can sit in a local restaurant and admire the great historical buildings of the city's landscape.

Take a look at Cologne's city website, for more information on what to do during your visit.

Zürich, Switzerland

A winter holiday to Europe would not be the same without a skiing trip, and Zürich offers some of the best slopes on the continent. The many resorts offer all sorts of activities, such as; cross-country skiing, competitive races, and even helpful beginner classes if you're new to it or want your kids to learn too. There are also ice rinks available during the winter months, which are situated in the Postfach and Oberseestrasse areas of Zürich. If skiing isn't your thing then indulge in a meal of traditional Swiss fondue.

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As with Cologne, you'll be spoilt for choice with the colourful and festive Christmas Markets that illuminate the streets of Zürich at night between November and December. A local favourite is the Christkindl Markt, Europe's largest indoor market that is full to the brim with beautifully made trinkets, delicious treats and warming drinks.

Visit Zürich's tourism site for more great ideas on what to do during your stay.

Bruges, Belgium

Just a 1-hour 18-minute drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais terminal is the historic town of Bruges. The cobbled streets, stunning architecture and sparkling, frost-bitten trees are just a handful of reasons why Bruges is a wonderful place to visit in winter. A great way to explore the town is via a horse drawn carriage, just wrap up warm under a blanket and learn all about the town's past from the expert commentary of your coachman.

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Visit the Sint Salvatorskathedral, Saint Saviour's Cathedral, Bruges' oldest church and home to many Medieval tombs, tapestries and Flemish paintings by famous artists such as Dieric Bouts. After exploring this magnificent cathedral go to Bruges' most photographed point, Rozenhoedkaai, and pose for your own brilliant photos in front of the charming, but impressive, scenery.

Take a look at Bruges' interactive tourism page on top tips on what to do when visiting.

Ready for a winter adventure?

Each of these great resorts are easy drives from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais terminal, and with the crossing only taking 35 minutes  you can spend more time enjoying the winter fun down at these fantastic destinations.

Cologne:
Drive on to A16 from Rue du Four à Chaux, and follow A16, E40, and A4 to Östliche Zubringerstrasse in Cologne.

Zürich:
Drive on to A16 from Rue du Four à Chaux, and take A26, A4, A35 and A3 to either Route 1 or Route 3 in Kreis 9 towards Zürich. Continue onto Route 1/3 and take either Duttweilerbrüche or Duttweilerstrasse, Hohlstrasse and Stauffacherstrasse to Tiefenhöfe in Kreis 1.

Bruges:
Drive on to A16 from Rue du Four à Chaux, from there follow A16 & E40 to Zedelgem, België and then take the exit 7-Loppem. Take Koning Albert I-Iaan &R30 to Philistockstraat in Bruges.

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from £23
Prices start from £23 per car, each way* *£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now