Lights strung around the piazza, Christmas trees in the square, hot coffee, great wine, there’s simply no place that captures the holiday spirit than Europe. From London’s charm and the dazzling decorations at Harrods to ski getaways in the Alps to Finland’s North pole, there are endless possibilities for places to go and see this winter.
We at SuperShe have curated the top European cities to visit this Winter.
by Hannah Bater
Coffee lovers unite, here are the top three coffee shops you must visit in Copenhagen.
When visiting Copenhagen, there are lot of options to choose from when stopping in for a cup of coffee. But one that needs to be on the top of your list is The Coffee Collective. Located on the busy street of Jaegersborggade, once you step inside you are met with a simple yet relaxing environment to enjoy a good cup of coffee and company. They opened their first shop in February of 2008 and have since opened four more cafes, but none that capture the essence of the company quite like the Jaegersborrggade spot. Not only has it been said that they have the “best coffee in town”, they are 100% translucent with their farms and farmers. All their coffee is fair trade from farms all over the world including Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya and Bolivia.
Paludan Bog & Cafe
The name of this shop translates in English to “Paludan Book and Cafe” and that is exactly what it is. Located by the University in a neighborhood that is frequented by students, it began as a bookstore and publisher that provided books for students at a low price. In 2000, they opened the cafe to give students a tranquil environment to study or enjoy a good book and coffee. Inside the cafe it is cozy and calm, you can browse and read books while enjoying a cup of coffee or get a bite to eat off their full food menu.
Innsbruck is a gorgeous city nestled in the Austrian alps with endless opportunity to ski, snowboard, or cozy in at your Christmas cabin.
Snowboarding: Axamer Lizum has half-pipes, natural jumps and one at the Stubai Glacier that has a half-pipe, jumps, and a snowboard racecourse.
Nordkette: Available for all experience levels with 6 different runs varying in difficulty. This resort is only 20 minutes from downton Innsbruck. It is home to one of the steepest slopes in Europe called Hafelar run, a 70% incline. Although, no fear, there is plenty of beginner and intermediate trails available all winter.
Ski Resort Axamer Lizum: Axamer is close proximity to Innsbruck with 10 lifts available for all levels – beginners to the most advanced skier and snowboarders. Axamer is famous for hosting Alpine Skiing in the 1964 and 1976 Olympics.
Rangger Köpfl: Rangger is a perfect place to bring family and friends for night skiing, tobogganing, and perfect for beginners.
The Festival of Light
This stunning festival attracts people from all over the world, commencing on January 19th to February 18th at the Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens.
Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about visiting Amsterdam, one of this city’s best kept secret is their Holiday spirit.
With over seven Christmas Markets all over Amsterdam, there is sure to be something for everyone. For a fun twist on pieces made by local artists and fashion designers, visit the Funky Xmas Market. Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt is great for gift buying because they have a lot to choose from and they gift wrap! Plus after a few hours of shopping you can relax with a glass of beer and enjoy live music. To really dive into the culture, take a 30 minute drive outside of Amsterdam to a town called Vreeland. Here, you will get a taste of rich culture and you can support local artisans by shopping the several stalls of handmade clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and kitchenware.
Another must-see when visiting Amsterdam over the holidays is the Amsterdam Lights Festival. In this show, all pieces are made exclusively for the show and artists submit their pieces to a jury who then pick the best to be shown. One part of the experience is the Water Exhibition which this year runs November 30th through January 21st. For this part of the exhibition, artists put their art on display to light up the canals. There are several companies who offer boat tours which is the best way to really see it all. There is also a Land Exhibition which runs December 14 through January 7th. For the first time, this year it will be held at Marineterrein Amsterdam which is walking distance from Amsterdam Central Station. There is no required route but guided tours are available. At the Land Exhibition they will also host talks with the artists for those who want to learn more about the art or the Festival itself.
Finland may be one of the best kept secrets. Lakes, trees, and Helsinki’s magical archipelago you’re surrounded by nature from every angle.
Art: Rovaniemi pays tribute to original Finnish Christmas: It is said to be where Finnish Santa, “Joulupukki” origins lay and where he launched his reindeer sled from- now hosts one of the largest Christmas Markets including crafts, Finnish designs, art and cuisine.
The Women’s Christmas Fair started in 1922 by Gösta Stenman with roots in the Finnish Feminist Movement. Over 350 female artists come from all over Finland to Wanha Satama Conference Center to sell high quality goods such as embroidered Christmas decorations, pottery, jewelry, candles and leather goods and more.
Moscow is rich with history of both the country, religion and world history. Aside from the many historical sites, Moscow in the winter is very fairytale-esq. All of these have rich historical significance but also fun winter activities.
Red Square: “Red” means beautiful. A market square and a place for coronations and decapitations. In more recent years has hosted a range of events from military parades to rock concerts and a ski rink every winter.
Novodevichy Convent: Remained intact since 1524. Once was where site of prison to women from royal Russian families who had become tedious or disobedient. Was named UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Also good for sledding in the winter.
Sanduny Banya: A 200 year old hot steam institution that have previously served Russian culture as a place to cure colds, detox, gossip or talk business amongst business partners. People have also been known to visit in hopes of nude celebrity sightings as it is frequented by Russian singers, actors and politicians. Makes for a great retreat from the cold. 😉
Listed by High Snobiety as one of the most current influential cities to fashion due to its movement of the minimalist trend.
The Minimalist trend has swept over the world and became hugely popular in the past few years. Originating in Sweden, these roots have given the city of Stockholm the title of one of the most influential cities to fashion by High Snobiety. A city that is rich in style, there are several spots to visit here for whatever trend you are interested in. If you are looking to dive into the vintage world, make sure you go to SoFo (South of Folkungagatan). This is home to one of the best second-hand stores, Lisa Larsson Second Hand. If you are looking to spend a little more money and splurge on designer pieces, check out Nathalie Schuterman to see big names like Phillip Lim, Bottega Veneta, Miu Miu, Marchesa and Christian Louboutin. The flagship stores of two of the most recognizable brands to bring popularity to Swedish style, Acne Studios and Nitty Gritty, are both located in Stockholm. And for fun, check out Caliroots and C-Store, a Swedish brand with inspiration drawn from California culture and style.
If you wanted to be more festive, be sure to visit the Christmas markets in Old Town, Gamla Stan or take an evening walking tour led by lantern light. If you are staying in Sweden for any amount of time, you have to participate in Fika, a swedish word that means “to have coffee”. Although this is the direct translates, fika holds a deeper meaning as it is is a practice of time set aside everyday to enjoy the company of others over coffee and pastries. Stockholm hosts lots of great cafes so it should not be hard to find a place to pause your busy day and fika, but SoFo and Östermalm are two particular good areas to find good coffee and pastries.
Southbank Centre Winter Market includes Nordic-inspired chalets setup along the Thames River where artisans come from all over the UK to sell their goods. Features festive gifts, foods (offers an array of foods from Asian, to bratwurst, to vegan options). Finish off your exhausting your shopping day by visiting the Finnish Rooftop Sauna.
See a show at one of London’s well known Broadway Theatre. Popular shows running include Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Wicked,
If you are there for NYE: Southbank Centre NYE party at the Royal Festival Hall. Including pop up vintage nightclubs for decades from the 1920’s-1990’s. Dress according to your favorite decade. Includes stylish dining, photo studios, and terrace to enjoy the world famous fireworks.Not to mention, London is one of the biggest hubs for streetwear fashion and is pushing the norm stance on race, gender and culture, all which seep into the fashion scene. Checkout stores like GoodHood, Supreme, Palace Skateboards, Stone Island. Also, take note of nearly everyone’s sneaker game. It is on point.
We couldn’t really leave London, England off this list. There are several things to do here from shopping, entertainment to parties to attend. To get even more into the Holiday Spirit, shop at the Southbank Centre Winter Market. Here you will find Nordic inspired chalets setup along the Thames River where artisans from all over the UK come to sell their goods. You will find festive gifts and foods to enjoy. Especially with their vast food menu including Asian inspired foods, bratwurst and vegan options, everyone will be happy! Plus, you can finish your day by warming up at the Finnish Rooftop Sauna.
London is known for hosting spectacular broadway performances. You can catch a break from all the running around in the cold by seeing one of the many popular shows like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King or Wicked. And if you happen to be there for New Year’s Eve, try and get tickets to the Southbank Centre New Year’s Eve party at the Royal Festival Hall. Featuring pop up vintage nightclubs for decades from the 1920’s-1990’s, as well as stylish dining, photo studios and a terrace to enjoy the world famous fireworks. While you are there, check out the streetwear fashion, as London is one of the biggest hubs for lading streetwear style with brands like GoodHood, Supreme, Palace Skateboards and Stone Island.
-Travel Curator, Hannah Bater