12 Best Europe destinations in January of 2022

If you are planning a Europe trip in January then you are obviously expecting cooler temperatures. Fortunately, most of the best and most famous tourist cities such as Paris, Rome, and London don't get much rain (or snow) in winter, so as long as you are dressed properly you can still see just about everything.

Below is our list of the 12 best European destinations to consider for a visit in January, including one actual beach. The days in Europe are pretty short this time of year, but at least hotel prices will be at or near their annual lows. This is also the only time of year when you can visit cities like Venice or Barcelona without being surrounded by thousands of other tourists at all times.

If this is your first trip to Europe you may also be interested in our recommendations for best first-time Europe itineraries of your own.

Note: This article was last updated in September, 2021.

Important European holidays in 2022

  • January 1 – New Year's Day (public holiday in most of the world)
  • January 6 – Epiphany (minor holiday in many Christian countries)

COVID-19 situation

As of the September-2021 edit of this article, the COVID-19 situation and the Delta variant is pretty bad in Europe. Some travel destinations on the list below are closed to those from outside of the regions, but quite a few are now getting ready to accept visitors. Needless to say, you'll want to check the most current information for any destination before you book. There is actually good news and you can see it in our best destinations for Americans and Canadians during the COVID crisis article.

Below you'll find

  1. Europe's best January beach destination
  2. Europe's 11 best January city destinations

Europe's only decent January beach destination

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • January avg high: 69°F/21°C
  • January avg low: 59°F/15°C
  • January avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

The above temperatures are clearly lower than any of us would like for sunbathing, but that doesn't stop an army of northern Europeans from doing just that in January whenever the sun is out, which is most of the time. You could fly to the Caribbean for warmer temperatures, although that's not a good option for most of us.

Tenerife is the largest of Spain's Canary Islands and it's the best choice for English speakers as well. The area in the southwest of the island around Los Cristianos is where you'll find most of the hotels and short term rentals, and fortunately it also usually has the nicest weather on the island. Things here are cheap for Europe and even for Spain.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €54 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €77 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €18 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Tenerife
>>>Tenerife prices and travel tips

11 Best non-beach destinations in Europe in January

Rome, Italy

  • January avg high: 55°F/13°C
  • January avg low: 39°F/4°C
  • January avg precip: 3.1″/7.8cm

No one planning a Europe trip in January will be expecting warm weather, so it's just a matter of finding the places that aren't too cold and are very lively in winter as well. Rome is a perfect example of that, so it's one of the best winter choices.

During most of the year Rome is so packed with tourists that it can be chaotic and frustrating, and at least you'll get far less of that in January. The hotel prices will also be lower, which is helpful since accommodation in this city is more expensive than you might expect. You might even consider Sicily, which will be even a bit warmer.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €45 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €51 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €28 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Rome
>>>Rome prices and travel tips

Florence, Italy

  • January avg high: 50°F/10°C
  • January avg low: 35°F/2°C
  • January avg precip: 2.9″/7.3cm

Any first trip to Italy will include Rome, but usually also Florence and Venice, which is why they are called Italy's Big 3. Florence is only 1 hour 20 minutes from Rome on the high-speed train, so you could even do it as a day trip if you wanted. But it's much better to stay here because hotels are cheaper and there is so much to see.

Florence is the heart of Tuscany and one of the world's most important cities for art, so there is no shortage of excellent food and interesting sights to see. You can also visit Pisa in an hour each way as a day trip.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €44 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €67 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €28 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Florence
>>>Florence prices and travel tips

Venice, Italy

  • January avg high: 42°F/6°C
  • January avg low: 30°F/-1°C
  • January avg precip: 2.3″/5.8cm

Venice is only 1 hour 53 minutes from Florence by train, and it's definitely worth the time even in winter. January is one of the few months when Venice isn't completely overloaded with day trippers on bus tours, so you can actually wander around the city and enjoy it more than you would in summer.

You can see Venice in only a day or two, especially in the less crowded winter, but you should be careful of the Acqua alta (high water). During winter the lagoon can rise so much that the town squares can flood a bit and you have to walk over them on wooden planks. That only happens during high tide, so even on the bad days you can still enjoy at least half the day.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €44 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €63 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €21 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Venice
>>>Venice prices and travel tips

Paris, France

  • January avg high: 45°F/7°C
  • January avg low: 38°F/3°C
  • January avg precip: 2.2″/5.5cm

Speaking of large cities that are still lively during winter, Paris is charming in any weather and it's well suited to winter because the Metro allows you to get almost anywhere underground. Hotel prices in January are usually quite low as well, at least for the places more geared towards tourists than business travelers.

Most of the top attractions here are indoors, so you can spend time in museums, galleries, and shops if it's not sunny out, and do your outdoor sightseeing when it's nicer. If you want to do most of the famous attractions you should check out our review of the Paris Pass.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €68 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €94 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €27 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Paris
>>>Paris prices and travel tips

London, England

  • January avg high: 45°F/7°C
  • January avg low: 36°F/2°C
  • January avg precip: 2.1″/5.3cm

Even though London is quite far north, it really doesn't get as cold as you might fear, and it very rarely snows. In other words, London is fairly easy to visit even in the colder months, and hotel prices will be much lower as well. As with other large European cities, the tourist numbers are tiny in January so you can visit places like the British Museum and Westminster Abbey with few distractions.

It's worth noting that London is so far north that it gets dark by 4pm in January, but the city is still very alive and the pubs are full of locals even in the winter months. You might even want to look at our London Pass review if you want to see the top attractions in a short time.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €72 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €118 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €20 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for London
>>>London prices and travel tips

Barcelona, Spain

  • January avg high: 56°F/13°C
  • January avg low: 40°F/4°C
  • January avg precip: 1.6″/4.0cm

Barcelona is now on the list of European cities that are so packed with tourists in summer that there is a big backlash among locals. If you visit in January you will be one of a very small number of tourists, so you can enjoy the Sagrada Familia and other sights without having to stand in endless queues.

You'll obviously need some outerwear, but Barcelona is on the coast and it never gets very cold. The dining scene and nightlife here are legendary, and nights here are lively all year round. If you are doing the main sights you should have a look at the Barcelona Pass.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €43 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €52 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €20 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Barcelona
>>>Barcelona prices and travel tips

Madrid, Spain

  • January avg high: 49°F/9°C
  • January avg low: 37°F/3°C
  • January avg precip: 1.5″/3.8cm

Being in the center of Spain, Madrid gets colder in winter than Barcelona, but it rarely snows and it's definitely worth a visit. You can get between these cities on a high-speed train in as little as 2 hours 45 minutes, and you'll notice how different they are shortly after you emerge from the train station.

Obviously January is the slow season for tourists in Madrid as well, and there are plenty of great things to see here including the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace. Hotels in Madrid are great bargains in winter as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €40 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €87 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €17 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Madrid
>>>Madrid prices and travel tips

Lisbon, Portugal

  • January avg high: 58°F/14°C
  • January avg low: 47°F/8°C
  • January avg precip: 3.8″/9.5cm

If you can't make it down to the Canary Islands and you are looking for the nicest winter weather in Europe, you've found it in Lisbon. This under-rated city is now starting to catch on with tourists, but it's still wonderfully cheap and not yet overrun.

You might get a bit of rain in Lisbon in January if you are unlucky, though it's easy to avoid since the city is quite densely packed and a shelter is never far away. You can get here on an overnight train from Madrid, though flying is probably a better and obviously much faster option for most people.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €37 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €54 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €18 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Lisbon
>>>Lisbon prices and travel tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • January avg high: 41°F/5°C
  • January avg low: 34°F/1°C
  • January avg precip: 3.1″/7.8cm

The weather in Amsterdam is really only good for a few weeks each year, so the difference between January and most of the rest of the year is small. In other words, this is one of Europe's better cities to visit in the colder weather, and it is even more beautiful if you get a light dusting of snow.

Amsterdam hotel prices are very high in summer, but in January you'll get wonderful deals. You can reach Amsterdam by train from Paris in a bit over 3 hours, or from London on the Eurostar in about 5 hours. This is the only time of year that you can get into the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum without a long wait as well.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €51 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €81 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €30 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Amsterdam
>>>Amsterdam prices and travel tips

Athens, Greece

  • January avg high: 55°F/13°C
  • January avg low: 41°F/5°C
  • January avg precip: 2.27″/5.5cm

With its relatively southern location, Athens has reasonably warm days in January, and not much rainfall. This of course is one of the world's most historic cities and it's worth 3 days or so if you can get a cheap flight from somewhere else in Europe.

Unlike some others on this list, Athens' main sights are mostly outdoor ones, so you'll want to keep track of the weather. Still, since rain is rare and snow is far more rare, you'll almost certainly have enough time up the Acropolis and through the Agora market hill on the way down. The Greek islands are mostly shut down this time of year, so it's probably not worth a flight or a rough ferry ride.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €43 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €55 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €10 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Istanbul
>>>Athens prices and travel tips

Istanbul, Turkey

  • January avg high: 48°F/9°C
  • January avg low: 37°F/3°C
  • January avg precip: 3.4″/8.5cm

If you are flying into Athens you might want to also book a cheap flight one more step east to Istanbul. Not only is Istanbul another of the world's great cities with amazing history, but it's quite a bit cheaper than most of the rest of the cities on this list as well.

It will be chilly in Istanbul in January, but with so few other tourists you'll be able to see how things operate for the locals who will still be hard at work. The main sights are mostly clustered together in the Sultanahmet Square area, so even if it is cold you can still see a lot in a short time. The famous Grand Bazaar is a huge indoor marketplace, so the weather won't be an issue there either.

  • Good 3-star hotels in January from €16 for two people
  • Good 4-star hotels in January from €21 for two people
  • Hostel dorm beds in January from €9 per person

>>>Check hotel deals for Istanbul
>>>Istanbul prices and travel tips

48 Responses to “12 Best Europe destinations in January of 2022”

Chirag says:

Hi Roger, LOVE this site, it’s been very helpful researching trip planning. Can you help us out with a January 2018 destination? We have about 9-10 days and we don’t need beach weather, but instead are looking to explore cities and see new culture, and do some hiking. We’d like to AirBNB if we can. We have a decent budget, but would like an excellent value without breaking the bank. We are leaving from NYC. Where do you recommend is best to go?





    Thank you. Even if you don’t need beach weather I assume you’d like something warmer than NYC is likely to be in January. The first thing that comes to mind for you is Argentina, which obviously has summer in January. Buenos Aires is a wonderful city and it’s quite cheap these days as well. It’s very European and very interesting, and especially for those who like meat, the food is excellent. You could spend maybe 4 or 5 days in Buenos Aires and then head to the Mendoza wine country or Bariloche mountain area or even the amazing Iguazu Falls.

    If that doesn’t sound great you might think about Lisbon and Portugal in general, or even Morocco. Both have mild winters and are great value. Let me know if none of these sound interesting and I can try again. -Roger

ADITYA says:




    Three stops in 10 days is very feasible. In fact, you could even stop in Florence for a day or two on your way from Rome to Venice. The best itinerary for those cities is this:

    Rome 3 nights then train to Florence
    Florence 1 or 2 nights then train to Venice
    Venice 1 or 2 nights then flight to Paris
    Paris 3 nights

    Obviously it’ll be chilly in January, and Venice might even be partly flooded for a few hours each day, but those are all good cities for a winter visit to Europe. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

ADITYA says:




    If you can go in March, April, or May you will probably get better weather and you’ll get more daylight as well. February is the slow season in Europe and the weather will be on the cold side. On the other hand, European cities including the ones you are planning for are not known for major storms or long periods of rain (or snow). As a result, the weather rarely causes problems, and in February you get the lowest hotel rates of the year and some of the smallest crowds. Those things make it a bit nicer. Still, I’d go in April if you can. -Roger

ADITYA says:

Hey Roger
thanks for such a wonderful and great reply.you have explained everything very well so one more query which other place can u suggest me



    If you have 10 days and want to visit Rome, Florence, Venice, and possibly Paris, that is perfect for a quick trip and I definitely wouldn’t try to add another city. If you want to drop one of the cities on your list and add another, let me know which one you might drop and I can try to make a suggestion. -Roger

ADITYA says:

what about Spain tour during 15-28 feb 2018



    Spain will be warming up by the end of February, but it will still be too cold for the beach. Spain is a good place to visit in the winter months though because it never gets too cold so most things stay open all year round. -Roger

ADITYA says:

roger one last question hope u will not mind to reply…so finally give me one best suggestion between spain tour or seychelles…please one last…actually feb 15-28 is my best available time to go for a trip with my wife so i want it to be good. waiting for reply



    I have yet to make it to Seychelles, but I’ve heard good things about it and it’s in the Tropics so it’s warm every day of the year. February seems to be one of the rainy months there, so that might be problematic if you want to spend time in the sun. Usually in the Tropics the rain comes hard for short periods of time though. And it looks like the end of February isn’t as bad as the beginning, so it could still be good and you’d probably get affordable hotel rates. For sure it’ll be much warmer than anywhere in Spain in February. -Roger

Yuri says:

Hi Roger,
I am thinking about going to Barcelona for 5 days from Jan 17 to Jan 22. Do you think 5 days would be enough? Do you think it will be too cold or the daytime will be too short for the tour? Thank you!



    Five days is probably more than enough to enjoy the highlights of Barcelona, but it’s a big city and I’m also sure you won’t get bored in five days. And I don’t think it will be too cold or the days too short to enjoy either. You should have over 10 hours from sunrise to sunset, which is plenty of time to see the outdoor sights, especially in 5 days. Barcelona is also famous for its nightlife and for having excellent restaurants as well, so there will be plenty to do once the sun goes down. The locals tend to eat dinner at 10pm or even later, so if you go into a restaurant at 8pm or 9pm it will be just you and perhaps a few other tourists. I’d say that Copenhagen and Stockholm are two cities where a visit in January might not be worth it, but Barcelona should be very lively and fun. -Roger

Gabriela says:

Hi!! Flying in/our of Paris but want to visit different countries. Went last winter and did England, Amsterdam and Bruges. Was thinking maybe Portugal or Madrid? Where else would also fit in that itinerary



    If you go to Portugal you should spend 3 nights in Lisbon and you could also go to Porto, or down to the southern coastal region known as the Algarve around Faro. That area has some of Europe’s nicest January weather, but it’ll still be pretty cold and quiet. As for Spain, you could spend weeks in that country and not get bored. The shortest visit I would recommend would be 3 nights in Barcelona and 3 nights in Madrid. As I so often say, the cities are both very large and very different from each other. You could visit Toledo or do it as a day trip from Madrid. Seville, Granada, and Valencia are probably the three other best tourist destinations, but there is also Malaga and the Costa del Sol area (which will also be quiet in January).

    Most of those destinations are connected by high-speed trains and they are fairly cheap if you buy at least a few weeks in advance. The exception is Madrid to Lisbon is still only connected by a slow overnight train. Flying might be better for that and it’s often cheaper as well. There is also good bus service all over Spain and Portugal. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Versace says:

Hi Roger, I am thinking of going to Milan-Venice-Florence-Rome for 7 days from Jan 27 to Feb 2. Will it be too rush? Do I need to cut 1 city? Do you think the weather will be too cold in Italy? May I have a perfect recommendation from you? I am leaving from Moscow.



    Italy will be a bit chilly in late January, but it rarely snows and doesn’t even rain much, so I think it’s a good place to go in the winter. I would also imagine that it’s much nicer than Moscow that time of year.

    My recommendation for the fastest worthwhile trip to Italy is Rome for 3 days, Florence for 3 days, and Venice for about 24 hours. In other words, I would skip Milan on your first trip. Compared to the other three cities, Milan doesn’t have much to offer and it’s a large and crowded city.

    If you can fly into Rome and fly out of Venice it would be ideal, but even if you have to fly in and out of Rome it’s easy to get from Venice to Rome in 3 hours 21 minutes by train. If you can get a much better deal flying in and out of Milan you could still do that, and then just go from the Milan Airport to Venice or Rome straight away. I

    Venice is a small city that is also expensive and always crowded, so one key to visiting is to spend about 24 hours there and do some of your sightseeing or walking around in the early morning and evening. The city is filled with bus groups from about 10:00 to about 17:00 every day, so if you can enjoy your time there in the morning and evening you will have a great time. I also recommend staying on the main island rather than on the mainland. It costs a bit more to stay on the main island, but it’s worth it on a short stay because the place is much less crowded outside of those busy hours. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

palak says:

Hi Roger,

iI am planning to visit europe from 18,jan 2018 to 28th jan 2018.I have planned to travel London paris brussels prague.Please suggest if it will be good to visit these cities or should i go for other countries.I have booked hotels for london and paris so rest of the itenary is uet to be decided.please suggest



    With 10 total days you should go to 3 total cities. London and Paris are both large and packed with great sights so hopefully you have allowed for at least 3 nights in each of them. Four nights would be even nicer in one of them, leaving you 3 more nights for the trip. Prague is a pretty long train trip from Paris so you’d be better off flying. But it’s also pretty cold in January so I think there are better choices.

    In my opinion, Brussels is interesting for a day or so to see the sights around the historic square, but the rest of the city is very expensive and built more for business people and government employees. I would recommend going to Amsterdam instead, as you can reach it in only 3 hours 15 minutes from Paris by train. Amsterdam is also a far more interesting tourist city with more things to see. So you could fly into London and then take the Eurostar train to Paris and then the high-speed train to Amsterdam. The sooner you buy those train tickets the cheaper they will be. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

RAMZI says:

Hi Roger
I am planning to have a 10 days trip starting from 25/01/2018. Please help me to select the cities I can add and love to have at least 3 countries. I would request you to give me a rough itinerary



    I actually wrote the post above to help people plan that much of their trip on their own. It will be chilly wherever you go and the cities on the list are the ones where the weather is mildest and it’s still enjoyable when it’s a bit cold. My advice is to think more in terms of cities than countries, and to plan on spending 3 nights in just about any city you visit. If you haven’t been to Europe yet I would definitely include Paris, as it really does live up to the hype. After all of that I hope you can find some cities that interest you and once you do that it will be pretty easy to string together a basic itinerary. If you have any questions after that I’m happy to help more. -Roger

Pam says:

I will be leaving my volunteer position Jan 25 and have added a week to travel before returning home. I am in Greece and am thinking of going to Istanbul for a few days but don’t know where to spend the last 4-5 days. Suggestions?
Thank you!



    Istanbul is a wonderful, huge, and busy city. I think 3 or maybe 4 days there is ideal, as you suggest. Assuming you want to explore more of Turkey, which I think is a great idea, you have many great choices. The first one I’d recommend is Cappadocia, which is home to those “fairy chimneys” that hopefully you’ll instantly recognize when you Google it. You can get there by bus from Istanbul and I’d recommend staying in the town of Goreme, which is the heart of the tourist scene there. It’s even more amazing in person than in photos, and it’s a fun place to explore and stay for 2 or 3 days. It’s quite cheap as well, although most of Turkey is quite cheap these days since tourism is well off from 2016.

    My other favorite place in Turkey (I lived in Turkey for over a year not long ago) is the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya, which you can reach by bus or plane from Istanbul or Cappadocia. Antalya has many tourist hotels along beaches north and south of the city center, but this time of year you’d just want to stay in the city center. It’s also cheap and fascinating. Similar to parts of Greece, there are historic ruins just out in the open all over the place. Antalya is a very pleasant and mostly traffic-free town center, and the nearby airport is busy with great fares so you can fly from there cheaply and easily.

    The other main tourism centers are Bodrum, Izmir, and Selçuk, which is the small town next to the Ephesus city ruins (possibly Turkey’s number one sight). Have a look at those and let me know if you have any other questions I can help with. -Roger

Pam says:

Hi Roger,
Thank you for your suggestions. I am looking to go somewhere outside of Turkey after leaving Istanbul. I’ve actually seen several of the areas you mentioned on a previous trip, just not Istanbul. My thoughts were to go to Prague or Vienna or Budapest or ? Your thoughts?
Thanks : )



    All three of those options could be good, as they are each great and important cities with a lot to do and see. Regardless of where you go after Istanbul, you’ll have to fly because the recently-restored train service is still far too slow to reach any worthwhile destinations in under a full day. With 4 or 5 days I would choose 2 of those 3, and even then it will be rushing a bit. Since Vienna is between the other two, it makes sense to include it. Budapest is 2 hours 20 minutes by train from Vienna, while Prague is about 4 hours away. Still, I think Prague is the more interesting of the two, although Budapest is a bit cheaper.

    If I were giving advice to a personal friend I would recommend flying int Vienna and spending 2 nights there, and then taking the train to Prague for 3 nights. Vienna is very much of a “cultural capital” in the sense that it has grand palaces and opera and classical music and a lot of history, with very tame nightlife. Prague, on the other hand, has gorgeous architecture and also classical music shows, but it’s also much more creative and it has some of Europe’s best nightlife. If you prefer the opera to unusual bars and funky clothing stores, spend more time in Vienna than Prague. Budapest is kind of a mix of the two, but still I’d recommend Vienna and Prague. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

ADITYA says:

hey roger. how are you. i want to go for europe trip in april.what will the best suggestable 2-3 place with good budget not on very higher side. iwill go from delhi,india.
want your suggestion.



    I’m doing well and I hope you are too. If this is your first visit to Europe I actually recommend starting with these 5 great Europe cities before you look for cheaper ones. It’s true that Paris, London, Amsterdam, Venice, and Rome are more in the higher price category, but you can visit them cheaply and still have an amazing time. You can stay in hostels or 1-star or 2-star hotels that don’t have great locations, and still see all the best sights. And you can usually get a free breakfast at a hotel or hostel, and you can buy a cheap sandwich for lunch, so keeping food costs down isn’t too difficult.

    But back to your actual question, you should have a scan of my article on the best value cities in Europe. If you’d rather go to 2 or 3 cities where even nicer hotels and restaurant meals are quite cheap, my top choices would be Prague, Krakow, Budapest, and even Berlin. I’m happy to help with more information if you need it. -Roger

Julie says:

Hi 🙂
Hoping you can help me. We have nearly 3 weeks in Europe from November 27 until December 18 when we leave.
I would like to touch a lot of different countries but still make sure we are there long enough to appreciate and see all they have to offer. We fly in and out of London. Thinking London to Armstradam – 2 nights, then Berlin 2 nights, Prague 2 nights, Venice 2 nights, Assisi 1 night, Rome 4 nights, Florence / Pisa 1 night, lucrence 1 night, Paris 3-4 nights, London 3-4 nights. Still playing around with itinerary but just thoughts. What do you think??? We are a family of 5 – 4 Adults and 1 Child but have travelled 2 x before for up to 7 weeks.
Any and all help :))



    It’s good to hear that you are a group that is used to long trips. Still, I recommend trying to stay for 3 nights in most cities that you visit, with only a few exceptions such as Venice or Assisi, which are quite compact. The main issue is that from the time you check out of a hotel in one city until you check into a hotel in the next city will usually be 4 to 8 hours by the time you add everything up. In other words, for cities that are two hours apart by train it will still take you 4 or more hours from hotel to hotel. That time of the year there will only be sunlight from 8am or 9am until 4pm or so, especially in the northern cities. So even if you leave early you’ll only have a couple hours of daylight, plus you’ll be tired from all of the traveling. If you stay three nights that means that you have two full sightseeing days in each city, plus a bit of time on the day you arrive. Staying only two nights means you have one full day plus a bit of time, and in that extra day you can see most of the main highlights.

    Amsterdam is packed with great sights, and Berlin is a very large city. I would save some of your other stops for a future trip and stay a bit longer in the main cities. You could do Rome in 3 nights, but I’d take at least 2 nights for Florence and hopefully 3 nights, especially if you want to do a half-day side trip to Pisa. I’ve never heard of lucrence, so maybe save that for a future trip as well. You can get between Florence and Rome in 76 minutes on the high-speed train, but if you do Assisi in between it will take over two hours from Florence to Assisi and more than two hours more from Assisi to Rome because it’s on a slower part of the track. I’m happy to help more if you have other questions. -Roger

Anand says:

Hi Roger,

I am planning a Honeymoon trip to Europe in January 2019 – February 2019. It will be a 20 day trip. Can you please suggest a route covering most of the countries.




    If you have 20 days in Europe I would suggest choosing 6 or maybe 7 cities (not countries). In the winter you’ll probably want to stick mostly in the south, so I’d do Spain, France, and Italy for the most part. Make a list of the cities that interest you most and that should be the best way of getting your itinerary started. I’m happy to help more along the way. -Roger

Dan says:

Hi Roger,
I am planning to go travel Europe this January most probably from 4th- 25th, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and perhaps Italy are on my list. Which activities can you recommend please? Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks



    Those all look like good choices for cities to visit, although I might choose Amsterdam instead of Brussels because it’s far more interesting. My strong recommendation is to spend 3 nights in each city you visit, so it looks like you have time for 7 cities. The shortest worthwhile visit to Italy is 3 nights in Rome, 2 or 3 nights in Florence, and 1 night in Venice.

    I’m happy to help people choose cities to visit and figure out the best way to get between them, but I don’t normally recommend activities in each city. This website has a page for every city you are considering and it lists the top attractions in each one. That should at least help you get started. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Hasin says:

Hi Roger,

Planning to visit any one schengen country this January. 3 days including new year night. what is your recommendation (economical)? or should i skip the new year to save some money?
I am from Dubai.



    Flying around New Year’s could be expensive because many people are flying home after Christmas, but flights in and out of Dubai are often cheap anyway so it’s worth a look. If you want a great city to visit in the Schengen Zone that isn’t too expensive I’d recommend Prague or Budapest. Both are really wonderful and should be lively on New Year’s Eve. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Patrizia says:

I am going to Vienna, Strasbourg, Luzerne, Colmar FR and London in December with my husband. I have done Northern Italy a few times now. I dont know whether to go an extra month before December or after January 8th. The extra month I will be doing myself. Im 65 and have done months long trips on my own before. Im aching for snow..not to ski but to be amongst. Germany maybe? Not interested in a sunny place as we live on the coast in Australia. Im confused..Can you help please. I love walks…nature…photography..I found Pertisau the most beautiful place so far..Many thanks



    Of those two choices I’d recommend doing a month before December. The thing is, January and February are chilly and sometimes rainy months when most people stay inside and hunker down until spring. The days are also quite short (especially the farther north you go). November and December are much more active with shopping and Christmas markets and many celebrations. Even so, there are very few foreign tourists so hotels are cheap and attractions are not crowded.

    As for snow, most of that part of Europe doesn’t get consistent snow at the lower elevations. In winter there might be a snowfall that lasts a few days on the ground, but most of the time it’s clear in those cities. In the mountains above Lucerne there will be snow (ski season starts mid December most years) and on the highest peaks near Interlaken there is snow year round. I’d suggest spending time in and near Salzburg, which is at the base of the Alps so snow should be nearby if not in the city.

    Salzburg is also close to Munich and Bavaria and you’ll find a lot to see and do in that area. Have a scan of my article on where to go in Germany for some ideas, as several are in the south. Having lived in many hot climates myself, I totally understand about NOT needing a sunny place. Still, with short, cloudy days like that it can get a bit old, so I’d think about going south as well. France has fairly mild winters and some places in Spain are even nicer and somewhat sunny. One nice thing about traveling that time of the year is that you can get good deals on hotels even when you book a few days in advance because there are so few other tourists. In other words, you could wing it to some degree and see what you feel like doing when you are over there. I’ve done many trips like this and I’d be happy to help you with advice on it. -Roger

Harrshit says:

We are planning go for honey trip in January for 10 -12 days in Europe. Is it possible to cover beaches , mountain, and city to. Many thanks ….



    If you’ve got 10 to 12 days I’d recommend choosing 3 or 4 cities to visit in total. All of Europe’s beaches are quite cold in January, unless you fly to the Canary Islands. I’d probably focus on 2 or 3 cities and then maybe Switzerland if you want to visit the mountains. I’m happy to help if you have other questions. -Roger

jennifer says:

hey Roger. I am thinking of doing the 5 day – I have a 19 year old that would like to go. So it will be 3 of use. Do you think the 5 cities we could do in 7-9 days?



    If you are asking whether you could visit 5 European cities in 7 to 9 days I’d say it’s possible but not recommended. I highly recommend spending 3 nights in almost any European city you visit if you are in a hurry. The short version is that it typically takes 3 to 5 hours to get between cities on trains (and usually a bit longer if you fly), and from the time you check out of one hotel to the time you check into a hotel in the next city, it’s usually 6 or 7 hours later. And you’ll be tired so it’s hard to do much sightseeing. If you have 7 to 9 days I’d shoot for 3 cities at the most. I’m happy to help if you’ve got other questions. -Roger

Jalna says:

Hi Roger
My husband and I are visiting our daughter and partner in London over Christmas and mid January. We wanted to go somewhere for a week from the 28th December. Current thoughts are Istanbul with day trips or overnight trips. We don’t want to go to Gallipoli but would appreciate some suggestions as to what we could do. We love food history and outdoors. I have read through some of your above suggestions but thought i would ask as well. Thanks in advance



    I actually lived in Turkey for over a year not long ago, and I’m still a big fan, but unfortunately nearly all of the best places are very quiet from November through late March. Most restaurants and many hotels in the beach areas are actually closed for that period, and even Cappadocia will be very quiet. I’m pretty sure you’d still enjoy it, and Istanbul itself is vibrant even in winter, but I think there are better choices that time of year and you can save Turkey for spring or autumn.

    If you are looking for a one-week trip from London in early January the more obvious choices would be Italy or Spain, both of which are reasonably mild that time of year and could be ideal. I’ll be happy to give you more details on any of those choices, including Turkey, so let me know what you are thinking. If you were thinking Turkey I’d probably recommend 3 nights in Istanbul and then 2 nights in Cappadocia (in Goreme, more specifically) and then 2 nights in Antalya. Antalya is known for beach resorts up and down the coast, but the historic center of town is quite interesting (and remarkably cheap), so it could be fun and it’ll be busy enough because it’s a large city as well. -Roger

Jalna says:

Hi Roger
Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a good plan if we were to go to Turkey, the only problem being it involves quite a few travel days. We are open to suggestions for Italy and Spain and as you say they could be a better option. We are interested in food tours/classes,, walking, (not skiing)
I know this sounds very vague but we are happy to have a week all together with a different country thrown in and things to do!!
Thanks again



    If you want to stay based in one city for that whole time and only do day trips I think Italy or Spain are better options. In Italy you could base yourself in or near Florence and you’d be within 2 hours of Venice, Rome, Siena, Pisa, and the Cinque Terre by train, just to name a few places. Another option would be Sorrento where you’d be within 90 minutes of Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and the Isle of Capri. Those last two options would be quite empty in December though, so the Florence idea is probably better.

    As for Spain, Madrid is entertaining enough for the whole time, but it’s also within an hour of Toledo (great day trip) and 1 hour 40 minutes from Valencia and about 2.5 hours each way to Barcelona. Barcelona would be a long way for a day trip, so you could spend 2 or 3 days in Madrid and the rest of your time in Barcelona? As always, let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger

Jalna says:

Hi Roger
Thank you for the above suggestions and due to one of the party having been to Spain a number of times we have settled on Italy and probably around Florence.
We fly in on New Years eve or New Years Day and then leave on the 5th January.
Would we be better to stay in Florence itself, or in one of the surrounding towns? We are happy to hire a car for trips to Siena and surrounds but I’m just a little unsure if the smaller towns will have much open at that time.
Cinque Terre will be very much weather dependant as to wether the paths will be open but we would still consider that as a possibility as we all love outdoor activities.
i really appreciate your suggestions, it helped us work out a place to start.



    New Years Eve will probably be pretty busy (and fun) in Florence, but the following days should be pretty quiet so I’d stay in the city itself. There are many nice hotels within a reasonable walk of the main train station and if you stayed in that area you’d be able to get anywhere very quickly. Italy has very good high-speed train service to major cities and if you buy the tickets at least a month or so in advance they are strangely cheap. The trains to smaller cities like Pisa are always fairly cheap because they are commuter lines that leave a couple times an hour. I’d take trains rather than hiring a car, mostly because a car is a liability in most of the places you’d want to go. In other words, you could drive to, say, Siena, but then finding parking can be confusing and sometimes expensive.

    I think it’s a great idea to check the weather before you lock in plans for Cinque Terre. Most things in those towns will be closed except for a handful of restaurants, and if it’s cold and rainy you won’t even be able to take nice photos, much less enjoy strolling around. Let me know if you have any other questions. -Roger


Leave a Comment

    Name (required)
    Mail (will not be published) (required)