Cheaper hotel rates, cheaper airline tickets, cheaper tour deals…. cheaper everything!
Winter is typically low-season for many European travel destinations making it easier for travelers to benefit from outrageously affordable prices and plan very budget-friendly winter trips.
Christmas markets, gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, Christmas candy, Santa Claus, snowmen… all things Christmas!
Nothing beats the coziness and charm of a snow-dusted city with twinkling lights. Indulging in hearty winter dishes and heavy red wines. Enjoying some Christmas shopping. Listening to classic Christmas carols and greeting friends, family and strangers with a “Happy Holidays”. Nothing beats the atmosphere of winter.
3. Winter Vineyards
“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening. In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland…”
There may be no grapes on the vines but vineyards are still spectacularly beautiful covered in snow. It is a magical moment when you get to sip a delicious red wine in front of a fireplace or in a cozy wine cellar surrounded by friends and winery employees.
4. Less Crowds
Travel off-season and take advantage of lower prices and less people!
Most travelers choose the warm months to travel in Europe but there are many advantages to planning your vacation during winter. Keep in mind that many places in southern and eastern Europe have mild winters so it can still be a sunny winter trip and it doesn’t have to be too cold.
5. Big Bold Red Wines
‘Tis the season to drink full-bodied, warming red wine and lots of it!
Perhaps not the greatest news for lovers of white wine but winter is the time of the year to drink heavy red wines! This leads us to believe that southern and eastern Europe are the main regions to look to for a winter wine tour as big bold red wines are plentiful! Bring on the Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Grenache, Cabernet France, Syrah and full-bodied blends. I can almost hear the corks of grand reserve bottles popping as I write these words…
6. Bulgarian Winter Traditions
Winter in Bulgaria is jam-packed with name days, pagan festivities, celebrations of various saints and many more special occasions that call for alcohol, food and good times! In January, we celebrate Jordanovden which involves jumping into icy rivers after a priest throws a wooden cross into water. This is promptly followed by dancing, singing and drinking rakia – obviously while still immersed in ice water. In February, we celebrate Petlyovden (a.k.a Rooster Day because petel means “rooster” in Bulgarian) by slaughtering roosters and honoring male energy. We also refuse to give St. Valentine’s any serious recognition and choose to celebrate wine, winemakers and winegrowers instead by visiting wineries, blessing the earth and coming harvest, pruning the wines and drinking an obscene amount of wine on 14th February! On the 1st of March, we exchange white and red bracelets with friends and family while wishing each other “Happy Grandmother March”. Last but not least, we host festivities with kukeri rituals through January and February across Bulgaria. Kukeri is an old pagan tradition where men and boys dress up in furs and animal skins and put masks on their faces and bells around their wrists, waists and ankles. The dressed up monster-like men and boys then proceed to jump around town making as much noise as possible to “scare away the evil spirits”. It is honestly something everyone must see!
Read more about Bulgarian winter traditions here.
Tempted to travel to Bulgaria this winter?