PHOTO: Sicily's mild temperatures make it attractive in the winter months. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)
It may not seem like it, but Europe really is a magical destination in the wintertime. The weather may be cold, but with the right itinerary, you can make the most of the continent.
“While the crowds head for ski resorts and tropical islands, travelers to Europe will have incredible museums, archaeological sites, and cobblestone streets all to themselves,” writes Sarah Amandolare for Oyster.com.
Amandolare recommends several European cities that come alive during the winter months, starting with Amsterdam.
“For travelers who don't fear the cold, Amsterdam can be a great winter getaway. It's a good idea to start out with a brisk walk around the city center or a boat tour of the canals, where light installations and sculptures will be on display during the Amsterdam Light Festival in December and January,” writes Amandolare.
Sicily is another destination that is fantastic for winter travel — and while it’s not warm enough for the beach, it’s temperatures remain mild.
“This is the season to try hiking from Taormina to the little town of Castelmola via the ancient Saracens path, which offers views of Mount Etna, Saracen castle, and the sea en route. Or, spend a day strolling around the narrow cobblestone streets of Syracuse's old town, which tend to be clogged with tourists during the summer, but pleasantly quiet in January and February,” Amandolare recommends.
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The island of Cypus also has mild temps and fewer crowds during the winter.
“The number of tourists is five to six times higher from May to September than other times of year, which means some coastal hotels close up in January and February and there are deals to be had at those that do stay open,” Amandolare notes.
She also points out that due to fewer crowds, it’s easier to get to know the locals and to peruse the incredible archeological sites of the island.
Find more European destinations perfect for winter here.