Destination guide

The best international winter destinations to add to your travel bucket list

Spring and summer are always busy travel seasons—school is out, the weather is warm, and the natural sunlight is great for selfies. But have you considered traveling during the colder months? It may surprise you, but traveling during the winter offers as much, if not more, for wanderlusters. So bundle up! Here are the best international winter destinations to explore during the travel offseason.

best international winter destinations

Emma Gawen/ via flickr

Rome, Italy

Ciao inverno! Tourists flock to Rome during the spring and summer months, but by November, the crowds have died down. Fewer crowds mean shorter lines for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Average temperatures are in the mid-50s too, which makes walking around and exploring not only doable, but also enjoyable. Plus, there are events that are only held during the offseason in Rome, including the Piazza Navona Christmas Market (held from November to January), Rome Carnival (held between February and April), and the Rome Marathon (held in March or April).

best international winter destinations in asia

Hideya Hamano/ via flickr

Tokyo, Japan

Picture this: streets illuminated in colorful lights, skiers racing down snowcapped mountains, steam from hot springs rising into the cold air. It’s beautiful any time of year, but there’s something extra special about Tokyo in the winter.

Not only does Tokyo offer the most picturesque scenic views, but it also hosts several winter festivals such as Tori no Ichi (held in November to shepherd wealth and good fortune into the New Year) and Setsubun (held in February to drive away evil spirits).

best international winter destinations in europe

Patrick Vierthaler/ via flickr

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the physical embodiment of a winter wonderland. Dozens of Christmas markets line the cobblestone streets where you can buy ornaments, candles, and other handmade goods. Ice skating rinks pop up everywhere including right in front of the Rathaus, also known as Vienna City Hall. Around almost every corner, there are coffeehouses where you can enjoy a warm beverage and sachertorte, a rich chocolate cake. It’s the perfect place to embrace the magic that winter has to offer.

Roman Kraft/ via unsplash

Prague, Czech Republic

Bohemian Carnevale, Prague’s biggest festival, is enough of a reason to visit during the winter. This week-long celebration, which occurs in February, involves masked balls, elaborate parades, and acrobatic performances.

However, if you need another excuse to visit Prague, the food is the best one. Czech cuisine is typically hearty, making it perfect for cold outings. When you go, we recommend you try all the local favorites such as goulash and dumplings, trdelník (a warm pastry covered in sugar, nuts, and cinnamon), and kulajda (a creamy potato soup).

Of course, these are only some of the best international winter destinations to visit during the travel offseason. For more, explore today.

Editor’s note (2021): This piece has been updated for clarity, accuracy, and relevance.

Lauren Vinciguerra

Lauren is a Web Content Editor at EF. She dreams of going to Japan one day and eating her weight in sushi.

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