While the weather outside may be frightful, these winter getaways are sure to be delightful. The holiday season is the perfect time for some romance. With the twinkling lights, crisp white snow, and classic carols being sung in every corner, it’s hard not to get a little romantic. Not to mention, all of the emphasis on love and care. This is the perfect time for a cozy couples getaway. This holiday season, plan a trip for you and your significant other to get away from your normal life and immerse yourself in a unique holiday experience. To help you, we’ve put together a list of five cozy holiday getaways for you and that special someone.
1. Vienna, Austria
Waltz your way into the heart of Austria for this vacation getaway. Vienna is as classic a European destination as you can find, with winding cobblestone streets surrounded by Baroque buildings, churches, museums, and palaces fit for the most regal of royalty. Of course, the music can’t go ignored. The city of Vienna has been home to some of the most famous composers from Beethoven and Haydn to Mozart and Schubert. The legacy of classical music continues today, with the Vienna Philharmonic. The concerts are so popular that tickets for the New Year’s Concert are actually only one via random drawing.
The city welcomes you with Christmas lights strung from majestic building to majestic building, covering the medieval streets and alleys around you. The Christmas market at Wiener Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz. From November 17th through December 26th, this market is your magical destination for all things holiday spirit. With over 150 stalls of artisan crafts, holiday joy, and Austrian delights, you will find everything you need or want. Stop by a cafe to warm up with some famous apple strudel and a warm mug of weihnachtspunsch, a hot Christmas themed Austrian classic.
2. Asheville, NC
Grab your partner and head down south to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is known as a romantic getaway for couples across the country. Nestled into the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, the small, bustling city combines small-town atmosphere, southern culture, and a nature lover’s paradise into one. Trek outside the city and bring out your inner socialite for an evening reminiscent of the Gilded Age. The Biltmore Estate, originally built at the end of the 19th century for the Vanderbilt family, sits just on Asheville’s southern edge. During the holidays, the estate provides daytime and candlelight tours around the property and the 55 decorated Christmas trees on the grounds.
Head out to the NC Arboretum to check out the holiday lights, strung up around the green gardens. The show contains an impressive 500,000 lights in every color and pattern. Love candy but never quite got the knack of constructing a home made of sweets? Check out the incredible displays at the 25th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition, held at the Omni Grove Park Inn. The display features the winning gingerbread houses from the competition. For some more secluded options, hike the Appalachian trail, or explore the Pisgah National Forest, all around Asheville.
3. Stowe, VT
What could sound cozier than spending your holiday season in a cabin in the mountains? This small town may have cold weather, but the people are warm as the hot chocolate. Stowe, Vermont, in the valley beneath Mount Mansfield, is known as a ski-lovers dream. With hundreds of trails right in the town, it’s easy to understand why. But the town is also a charming place to spend a romantic getaway.
Spend time in one of the many mountainside bed and breakfasts and watch the snow fall around you and your loved one. The Stoweflake resort even offers hot-air balloon rides. Head into the village to experience the charm of the local community first hand. Between the quirky art stores, classic general stores, boutiques and candy counters, and a vintage 1950s diner, Stowe is your escape from the rest of the world.
Take some time to get out and explore the rest of Vermont, while you’re there. The Ben & Jerry’s main factory is just 15 minutes away in neighboring Waterbury, and just 45 more minutes from there lies state capital, Burlington. Wander down the shops on Church Street or sit out by frozen Lake Champlain, just remember to bundle up!
4. Zurich, Switzerland
If a cozy mountain escape is calling you and your partner then consider the Alps. The lakeside city of Zurich combines a hip and up-and-coming cultural scene with old, classic architecture similar to the rest of Europe. The charming waterfront old town will draw you in with its winding streets, cute cafes, museums, and history dating back to the 13th century.
Get outside the city and explore the trails of the Alps. The mountains surrounding Zurich are home to hundreds of trails, all easily accessible in an hour’s drive. Try out the skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or if you’re just starting out, take a day of ski lessons before hitting the slopes on your own. Flumserberg is the closest ski resort to the city, and you can even get there on the city’s public transportation. Don’t miss out on the sledge run or the unique night skiing experience, when the trails light up for you.
Read more about Zurich on our list of 8 European Cities for Every Kind of Traveler
5. Edinburgh, Scotland
Hop across the pond to Edinburgh, Scotland and explore the history the city has to offer. This cold spot is home to castles, monuments, and surprises around every turn. Explore the Edinburgh Castle, or climb to the top of Arthur’s Seat for a spectacular view of the city from above. Find the perfect holiday gifts on Victoria Street, a colorful, cobblestone street that winds through the city.
After the shops on Victoria Street, head to one of the many Christmas markets happening on George Street, Mound Precinct, and Princes Street Gardens. Find traditional Scottish food and drink, as well as classic souvenirs. Of course, you can’t miss Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. This Edinburgh classic is a staple of the Christmas season. With a torchlight procession, fireworks show, street party, and Scottish folk dance performances, this will be an experience you won’t be able to find at any other holiday destination.
Read more about the holiday season on ATR