Picture this: you wander a street illuminated by a million lights, marvelling at the opulent, festive displays within those department store windows. You hum along to a Christmas carol that you hear faintly in the distance as you follow the tantalising aroma of mulled wine to the nearest Christmas market.
What if this is all a figment of your imagination? What if you’re missing out on all of this. Say, because you have a cold?
Don’t let this be you. If you’re seeing one of Europe’s enchanting cities (or New York!) on a walking tour with us this Winter, you need to take a look at these top tips!
1. Pick your destination (or pick your tour)
If you (a) haven’t locked in a destination, (b) have an unshakeable aversion to the cold, do bear in mind that some of our destinations remain pleasantly mild throughout winter! Tel Aviv wins the prize for warmest winter destination with highs of 20°C expected on Christmas Day! And Jerusalem, Seville and Barcelona are also expected to maintain double digit highs throughout the season!
If you’re committed to a Free Tour in a cooler destination then you’ll definitely need the next few tips. But do bear in mind that plenty of our select tours in our chilliest cities visit some very warm and cosy indoor venues – how does an award-winning beer or soul-warming food tour sound?
2. Wrap up
Did you know that 8 of the 20 destinations in our network average freezing temperatures (0°C/32°F) or below during the winter months? Well, now you do. So you’ll want to dress for the occasion, since even a warm welcome from us can’t make some of our cities less frosty! Courtesy of yours truly, here’s a quick checklist for what to pack – you have finite space in that suitcase, after all:
- Light, windproof jacket/down jacket – if you can beat the wind, you can take a lot of the sting out of the cold, whilst still leaving space for souvenirs in your bag!
- Mittens – they may look silly, but you’ll be the one laughing when your hands feel like you’re sat by a warming fireplace. Alternatively…
- Touchscreen gloves – we visit some pretty insta-worthy locales, so if you want to get a cool few likes, don’t let frozen fingers stop you from using your phone on the go!
- Wooly hat – pair a wooly hat with a white pom-pom on top with mittens, and you have the foundations of the ultimate winter-chic getup. Your ears will thank you, too.
- Winter boots – not snow boots or hiking boots, but thick, soft shoes that go above the ankle to keep the feet nice and dry. Warmth first, fashion second, folks. Frozen toes are never ‘in’.
3. Drink up
Let’s not beat around the (holly) bush. You didn’t just book your trip to see the sights. You came to try the grub! Whether it’s a gingery German lebkuchen, a hearty Spanish buñuelo, there’s nothing quite so festive as trying a wintery treat from the market. But if priority number 1 is to warm up, you’ll need to be tactical about what you choose, too. So here’s our top 3 picks:
- Glühwein (Germany)/Glögg (Copenhagen)/Mulled Wine: spiced, hot wine that warms from the inside. Plus, you can usually stumble upon a Christmas market just by following its divine aroma.
- Chocolat Chaud (Paris)/Chocolate con churros (Spain): this isn’t your everyday hot chocolate: this is a luscious, impossibly viscous delight. Submerge a churro into your mug, and consume all together for a meal that might just send you to sleep.
- Warm Eggnog (New York): A thoroughly American drink, it’s hit and miss for its (can you guess?) egg base, but with a dash of spiced brandy, it’s an essential stateside Christmas treat… well, try it, at least.
4. Bring a good camera
If you’re all wrapped up and fed, then you can turn your focus from the chilly air to spicing up your Instagram account with some amazing festive shots! Regent Street in London hosts the city’s most stunning display of Christmas lights, whilst Lisbon will have new opportunities for unexpectedly seasonal shots at its new ‘Mundo do Natal’ winter wonderland! If you’re willing to venture out of the city, a shot of Salzburg or Neuschwanstein castle in the snow will be a valuable like-gathering commodity. But remember that there’s a time and a place for photos – so when you come across a sight to behold, let your eyes do the recording before whipping out the camera!
(Oh, and by the way, if you want to tag us @sandemansneweurope or #sandemanstours, we’d love to feature your best shots on our account!)
5. Don’t get frozen out on New Year’s eve
If you just so happen to be in one of our favourite cities for New Year’s Eve and looking for an activity that’ll warm you from head to toe, then we’d love to invite you along to one of our New Year’s Eve Parties & Pub Crawls! We’re visiting some of the best bars and clubs in 12 cities across our network, and with special drinks deals, free drinks and so much more on offer, you’ll be dancing into the new year with party-happy people from all over the world (we’ll leave how you choose to get warm up to you). Plus, with VIP entry and queue jump to these amazing venues, there’s no chance of collecting frost in a miserable queue!
We wish you a wonderfully warm Winter!