8 secret winter city breaks you have to see

By Emily Waddell
© Igor Dymov/shutterstock.com

Get to these alternative and underrated winter cities before everyone else does

We’ve found the 8 best winter city breaks and, lucky for intrepid travellers, they’re criminally underrated by the typical tourist. Discover snowy cosy pubs nestled away in the Germany wilderness, explore Eastern European Christmas markets and traditional winter festivals, and best of all these city breaks tend to be cheap, cheap, cheap.

1. An alternative city break adventure in Tromsø, Norway

Tromso Christmas break
An ideal winter escape in Tromso © ZinaidaSopina/shutterstock.com

Every fancied hanging out in a lodge decorated with reindeer hides before zipping up a cable car to catch a glimpse of the ever elusive northern lights? No? Well, you can start right now as Tromsø is about as far north as you can get in mainland Europe, perfect for seeing the northern lights and one of the best secret city breaks that tourists haven’t found out about yet.

2. Vilnius, Lithuania for a cheap European city break

Vilnius, Lithuania panorama winter
Lithuania’s capital is a wonderland © Igor Dymov/shutterstock.com

Celebrating its 100th year of Independence in 2018, Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania isn’t a secret to those who’ve wandered around its delightful city. However, soon the medieval city will be full with selfie sticks and overpriced beer, so visit while the city still retains its authentic beauty. A great cheap city break, you can nab a four-star hotel like the Shakespeare Boutique Hotel in the city centre starting from £72 a night.

3. Get lost in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb croatia winter fountain
A Croatian secret winter break © Phant/shutterstock.com

Foodies delight! Zagreb in Croatia has some of the most inventive and challenging treats on offer at the Hrelić flea market, including eggs in chilli and prosciutto-wrapped frogs. The market is a great place to wander around in the winter even you don’t fancy putting your palate to the test.  If it gets too chilly, retreat into one of the many bars on Tkalčićeva Street for a warming pint of local beer. Zagreb is definitely a must-see European city that’s on the rise.

4. A hidden gem in Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg Fish Church river
The ‘Fish Church’ in Gothenburg is a sight to see © mammela/pixabay.com

Don’t discount Gothenburg as a city break this winter. Stockholm can get busy in the winter months but Gothenburg remains reliably cosy for the intrepid traveller to explore. Visit Liseberg, one of Scandinavia’s biggest theme parks, which has a special Christmas market in the later months. Afterwards make sure you stop by the Feskekôrka, or ‘Fish Church’ for a taste of local flavour to end the day.

5. Poznan, Poland

Poznan colourful buildings city
Get lost in Poznan © by-angie/pixabay.com

The perfect winter city break, Poznan is built for a short weekend trip packed with culture, food and, most importantly, cheap Polish beer. Check out some of the delis and patisseries that line Old Town and the Market Square, and of course, make sure you visit the Croissant Museum that celebrates the unique St Martin’s Croissant – a tradition in the region.

6. A Romantic City Break in Bath, UK

Bath roman bridge town winter
A picturesque winter escape in Bath © bento42894/shutterstock.com

With its honey-coloured Georgian architecture, Bath is the perfect destination for a cheap winter break perfect for a short couples trip. The Roman Baths are obviously the focal part of this quaint south-west city. You’ll find them slap-bang in the middle of the high street expect queues but it’s worth the wait.

7. Splash about in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden cityscape
Baden-Baden literally translates to ‘Bathing-Bathing’ © Pannonia/istockphoto.com

This spa town literally means ‘to bathe’ in German and is a great city break idea for those in desperate need of some relaxation. A ‘basic’ package at the Friedrichsbad Irish-Roman bath will set you back €25 for three hours of spa time, including a massage.

8. No need to Trek to Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn winter city church snow
An underrated gem, visit Tallinn soon © Arsty/istockphoto.com

Pack your jumpers and ready your camera for that perfect fairytale picture shot. Tallinn looks like it’s been plucked from the history books with its snowy churches and cobbled streets. However, don’t miss Telliskivi Loomelinnak, the up-and-coming cultural area, packed with bars, coffee shops, and flea markets that make for a a great weekend winter city break.

Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on October 30th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy, are per night and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.