The Best Destinations for Cold Winter Family Getaways in Europe 

a snow covered village in switzerland

A winter family getaway in Europe is a fantastic way to spend quality time with the people you love. Europe in winter turns into a magical land of vibrant Christmas markets, twinkling lights, and, in some places, dreamy snowy landscapes.

So, if you are taking the family to Europe for a winter getaway, you are definitely in for a treat! Whatever your preferences and interests, you will find a destination to suit you. Below, check out our recommendations for the best destinations for cold winter family getaways in Europe.

This post is part of our series Discover Europe

Switzerland

A country with renowned natural beauty and dramatic sceneries, Switzerland is one of the best destinations for cold winter family getaways in Europe. While it is picturesque any time of the year, Switzerland transforms into a magical wonderland in winter when a thick carpet of snow covers its verdant mountains. 

Families into skiing and other winter sports will find incredible off-piste thrills and sky-high peaks to satisfy their craving for thrilling adventures. Nendaz, a picturesque mountain village in the heart of the Valais Region, boasts a laidback vibe, world-class winter sports, and luxurious accommodations perfect for all families. When you’re not on the slopes, you can ride a cable car to Mont Fort or try one of the tallest ziplines in Europe.

a valley covered in snow in switzerland with the swiss flag

The Jungfrau Region is another fantastic destination for a cold winter getaway in Europe. It is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps, home to Europe’s tallest railway station. You will feel like you’re on top of the world when travelling the region, especially when you book a ride with the luxury Eiger Express gondola. Decked in red leather seats and equipped with a champagne bar, the gondola rotates to offer guests a 360-degree view of the stunning and icy landscapes of the Swiss Alps. 

Austria 

Your winter family getaway to Austria is not only limited to skiing. Despite it being the country’s most popular sport, you will find many other activities to enjoy for an adrenaline-filled adventure. But if you’re more interested in skiing, you will be in for a treat, for there are some great family ski resorts in Austria, perfect for cold winter breaks. Check out Sno for some fantastic family accommodation.

tirol in austria on a sunny winters day

While there are numerous places to visit in Austria for a cold winter family getaway, Tirol tops the list for fun winter sports. Synonymous with skiing, Tirol’s snowfall can begin as early as November and last until March. The peak time for winter sports in Austria is in December when you can combine your winter sports getaway with festive activities in vibrant cities like Salzburg and Vienna. 

Another fun activity families can try on a winter getaway to Austria is tobogganing, where you travel downhill onboard a sled called a toboggan. Aside from enjoying the various winter sports, take the time to enjoy sightseeing around Austria. Explore St. Johann, a charming city in Tyrol, home to fascinating buildings featuring traditional Austrian architecture.

France

While many would consider France a top summer destination, it’s also perfect for cold winter family getaways in Europe. From adrenaline-fuelled ski adventures in the French Alps to lively Christmas Markets in Paris, France will make your winter getaway with the family extra-special.

When it comes to a winter holiday in France, most would head straight to the French Alps. But it may be worth spending a day or two in the City of Lights. Paris exudes an even more romantic vibe in winter, with twinkling Christmas lights and bustling markets setting up across the city. Consider taking scenic walks by the Seine River. Stop by one of the stalls selling treats or treat the kids to some ice cream. 

a river boat floating along the siene river in paris at twilight

When you’re ready to venture into the French Alps, visit Chamonix, Val d’Isere or La Plagne for fun winter sports and adrenaline activities. Home to world-renowned winter sports resorts, the French Alps is perfect for families looking for adventures and fun get-togethers along the slopes.

After a day on the slopes, enjoy the après-ski and rich French cuisines at one of the region’s best restaurants. For the best snow conditions, visit after Christmas, around early January.

England 

Only a few places can beat the charm and beauty of England for a cold winter family getaway. A winter holiday in England is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and enjoyable experiences with the people you love. Whether you want to go hiking on the snowy slopes or explore the bustling cities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the best things about a family getaway in England is the chance to stay in unique accommodations. For instance, you can rent a luxury castle in England, perfect for a cosy winter break with the family. 

a castle in england with a star lit sky

If your kids seek a thrilling skiing adventure, you can look forward to over 20 kilometres of slopes and fantastic ski resorts served by 84 ski lifts. One of the top ski resorts in England is the Lake District Ski Club in Cumbria. Nestled in the alpine area of the country, it has over 3 kilometres of slopes for skiing and snowboarding.

Iceland

A family winter getaway in Iceland offers a chance to see the country’s remarkably stunning landscapes illuminated by the enchanting Northern Lights. It also provides plenty of opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities, such as snowmobiling and ice caving. 

Among the highlights of your winter getaway in Iceland is seeing the Northern Lights. Also called the Aurora Borealis, the mesmerizing phenomenon refers to the beautiful dancing waves of light that appear as curtains and rays in the sky, producing attractive colours.

northern lights in iceland

Your winter holiday won’t be complete without playing in the snow. So, if you’re a family of outdoorsy types, you can embark on activities like snowmobiling in Langjökull, Iceland’s largest glacier. On a clear day, you’ll witness the breathtaking views with the spectacular snowy mountains in the backdrop.

One of the best ways to make the most of your family’s winter getaway in Iceland is to rent a car and drive through the Golden Circle Route. Starting in Reykjavík, you’ll head to some of Iceland’s most famous sites, such as the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and Þingvellir National Park, before returning to Reykjavík.

More European Winter Inspiration

If you’re still looking for exciting destinations to visit with your family this winter, why not also check out:

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The northern lights in Iceland with text overlay European Winter Getaways
switzerland snow covered village with title text Winter Getaways

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