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January in Europe is one of the coldest months in the year with the entire continent wrapped in the blanket of thick snow. The continent gets a different look during this month painted in either white and grey or white and black.
So if you are not afraid of cold, and planning for a Europe vacation, January is the most beautiful time of the year.
The days are bright with snow-covered mountains, valleys, and roads to go for snowboarding and mountain hiking, while the nights are glamorous with exotic cultural events, festivals and opera nights.
It is one of those times of the year to watch the dreamy snowfalls or taste the lip-smacking European cuisine sitting by the fireplace. The continent has got a lot to offer for the visitors during this time being less crowded and extremely cost affordable due to off tourist season.
What is the weather in Europe in January?
The entire month of January is the coldest winter month in Europe while the temperatures and snow keep on varying in different parts of the continent.
- Northern Europe is cold during January having a maximum temperature of 1 degree and a minimum of -7 degrees.
- Western Europe is equally cold, having temperatures between 1 to 5 degrees.
- Eastern Europe also experiences chilly weather having temperatures between 1 to -3 degrees. All of these parts have extremely shorter days ranging for few hours due to freezing temperatures.
- Central Europe, however, is a bit comfortable during winters where the weather is cold and pleasant having temperatures between 7 to 17 degrees. It gives you comfort from freezing and also has moderate snow. This is the warmest part of the continent during January.
So to prepare your travel bucket list, let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Europe in January.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Europe in January: Top 10 Best Destinations to Visit
- 2 How to prepare your trip to Europe in the winter?
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Europe in January: Top 10 Best Destinations to Visit
Malta is the warmest country in Europe which is known for its coastal beaches and warm weather in January in Europe. It is a Middle Europe Mediterranean destination, and hence it is the warmest place in Europe in January due to the extremely comfortable climate with temperatures ranging between 13 to 16 degrees.
The Valletta International Baroque Festival is organized during this time celebrating the annual event for 15 days starting from talented performances to the Baroque themed ball. The colorful event is an eye treat for all visitors in Malta in January. You can also spend the day trekking through the offbeat areas, enjoy the beautiful sunset in the evening at Dingli cliffs.
Also, pay a visit to the mysterious hypogeum, enjoy some warm sunshine in the lovely beaches, a taste he Maltese pastizzi with hot coffee or tea, try out the traditional Mediterranean cuisines indulge yourself in the luxurious treatment at Myoka Spa, visit St. John Cathedral and enjoy Mediterranean cruising in the picturesque local destinations. The destination can be awarded for having the best weather in Europe in January.
Monaco is a western European destination that has varying climatic conditions in January with sometimes temperature dropping to 7 degrees while most of the time it remains pleasantly cool between 12 to 15 degrees.
The weather is most comfortable to explore the beautiful attractions of Monaco unless you are interrupted with rainfall, which is quite common here in January turning the climate extremely cold.
Some of the best attractions to enjoy here are Monte Carlo Casino, Prince’s Palace, the gorgeous Musee Oceanographic, Monaco Cathedral, Les Jardins Saint-Martin overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Opera nights at Opera de Monte Carlo and many more.
If the temperature is pleasant, you can even visit the lovely beaches of Monaco like Larvotto Beach, Baie du Soliel beach, Plage Garmagilla Beach, Plage Mala Beach, Plage Paloma beach and lots more to spend some quality time under the sun aloof from the summer tourist crowds.
Barcelona in Spain is one of the best places to visit in January if you are thinking about where to go in Europe in January. It has not too warm climate neither too freezy being very much comfortable for the tourists to enjoy Europe in January. While the daylight temperatures range between 10 to 13 degrees, at night it can drop to maximum 5 to 7 degrees not below than that saving you from the freezing weather.
The tourist rush is also less during this time, having reduced flight fares and hotel prices. Barcelona can also be referred to as one of the cheapest places to travel in January in Europe. There are lots of winter attractions for the tourists to enjoy in January like visiting the Gaudi’s main pieces, enjoying the events like “Three Kings Parade,” and “Els 3 Tombs & Sant Antoni festival”.
You can take casual daylight walks through the Ramblas and Barri Gotic, explore the Barcelona Aquarium, and visit Museo Picasso and many entertaining locations.
Spain being the warmest country in Europe and among the hot European countries in January helps you have a comfortable winter vacation in Europe. Whether you are looking for the best European cities to visit in January or the best places in Europe to visit in January, Barcelona is a must inclusion in both the list.
London is among the best places to visit in January in Europe due to its attractive festivals and events hitting right after the New Year. London experiences a cool and wet climate in January but bearable enough to enjoy its beautiful locations and festivals. The temperatures in the daytime range between 8 to 9 degrees while in the night time its drops between 3 to 5 degrees.
The entire month of January gives you the back to back exposure of different festivals in London like New Year Day parade, London Boat Show, Twelfth Night Festival, London Art Fair, Chinese New Year parade and festival, London International Mime Festival, and entertaining London theater shows at discounted prices.
Other attractions include skating on the Ice rink near Natural History Museum and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland packed with exciting rides and fairs, enjoy the Royal ballet, have a wonderful Christmas and new year at Trafalgar Square, enjoy the London Classic Car Show, Wedding show and the list goes on. It ranks in the top 5 list of the best places to visit in January in Europe.
Read more about London and the UK: Places to Visit in the United Kingdom, Things to Do in London, Day Trips from London, Islands in Wales, Islands in England, Islands in Scotland, Castles in Scotland, Castles in Northern Ireland, and Castles in Wales
Pisa in Italy, which is world-famous for its leaning tower experience cold weather in the month of January with temperatures between 7 to 10 degrees and can drop up to 3 degrees at night. Pisa may not be the warmest place in Europe in January; still, the location enjoys quite a good amount of sunshine, which is a pleasure for the European winters.
Pisa is such a breathtaking location with its picture-perfect tourist destinations and historical heritage sites that it adds a different flavor in every month of the year in terms of its weather influencing the scenic beauty.
Some of the best attractions to explore in Pisa are – Leaning Tower, Banks of the Arno, Piazza Dei Miracoli, Battistero, ski in the districts of Tuscany and ski resorts, enjoy the Opera nights and Tuscany winter festivals and Carnevale, visit the Santa Maria della Spina, take a stroll at the Guelph tower, explore the beautiful Mezzo Bridge and many attractive tourist destinations.
Ghent is a beautiful city of Belgium that is famous for its edgy historical architectures from the medieval era giving the city a small-town look which is beyond beautiful. It is not a famous tourist destination compared to other cities of Belgium and more of a hidden gem. It is one of the picturesque places to visit in Europe in January.
The climate during this time is extremely cold, having temperatures between 2 to 6 degrees. Ghent receives very less sunshine in January, and the weather is either cloudy or rainy. One of the mysterious winter attractions in Ghent is the Winter Wonder Castle which is also called the count’s castle.
You can spend the daytime exploring its history and surrounding areas, explore the city of Ghent through boat rides, go for skiing in the ice skating rink, take the carriage rides in the city streets like royals, , visit the museums, the great butchers hall, take the canal boat tours and many more entertaining activities.
The nights are beautiful with winter pop up bars, Zebrawoods winter festival, having luxurious beers at The brewery, try the handcrafted meatballs, burgers, Lebanese cuisine, etc.
Santorini is just like a paradise in Greece painted all in white, which is a coastal island on the banks of the Aegean Sea. The royal blue water of the Aegean sea contrasted with the whitish isle of Santorini is something straight out of heaven. The destination has pleasant cold weather in January ranging from 10 to 14 degrees and comparatively warmer, unlike the freezing European destinations.
It is not the warmest place in Europe in January but receives a burst of good sunshine for seven long hours. January is off tourist season, and hence it is an excellent time to explore the painted locations of this coastal island.
It offers various luxurious winter activities for the tourists like staying in the cave villa overlooking the beautiful Aegean Sea, visiting the painted white village of Oia and its historic homes.
Explore the glamorous winter restaurants, shops in the town of Fira and take a cable car ride over the Aegean sea, visit the blue dome of Firostefani, view the stunning Aegean sea from Imerovigli, trek to the highest point of Mount Profiti Ilas, rake a stroll on the Red and Black beach and lots of activities to spend the winter days.
The most romantic location of Venice becomes one of the cheapest places to visit in January in Europe due to very less tourist crowd. January is extremely cold in Venice, but it is comfortable if you have the right set of woolen garments. The temperature ranges from 3 to 6 degrees and sometimes even drop to 0 degrees.
This is an excellent time for the travelers to enjoy its chilly grey atmosphere accompanied by some hot chocolates for extreme pleasure. The location is also perfect during this time for winter photography and takes a casual walk through the streets. You can experience luxurious accommodations at cheaper prices.
The mornings are beautiful in the Venice Beach watching the people taking dips in the freezing water, watch the Italian people celebrate Epiphany and Befana with La Befana good witch doll.
Join the feast of Saint Anthony’s day and exploring the local attractions like Palazzo Ducale, walkthrough Ponte Dei Sospiri, take the Gondola ride at Canal Grande, etc. while the nights are beautiful concerts at Teatro La Fenice and visiting the strategically beautiful riverside restaurants.
Ljubljana in Slovenia is freezing cold in January having a maximum temperature of 2 degrees and a minimum of -5 degrees. The beautiful location Ljubljana is packed with entertaining events and activities for tourists in January provided they have no issues with freezing weather.
January is one of the best months to visit Ljubljana due to its fun-filled environment and gorgeous winter sceneries. Starting from a fun Ice skating at i-Lucky Land to enjoying the influential opera event of Placido Domingo.
Spend fun times with family watching the ice skating and enjoying Russian circus “Moscow Circus on Ice,” visiting the musical festival Ment Ljubljana, and trying out the adventurous cable car dinners over the snow at Krvavec Ski Resort, Ljubljana is among the exciting destinations to spend your winters in January.
Ljubljana is also one of the cheapest destinations in Europe.
Lapland being extraordinarily beautiful in winter is one of the reasons why you should visit this place in January. The weather is completely freezy here having extreme lower temperatures between -9 to -12 degrees with minimal sun.
The beautiful location of Finland is like a dream to the travelers offering a series of winter activities like riding the sled by huskies and reindeer, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, and ice fishing.
The snow-covered location looks like a paradise having beautiful structures, roads, trees, and everything dipped in snow. Try the exotic Finnish sauna in the freezing climate, explore the magical northern lights, go for snowshoe hiking through the forest areas, visit the ice hotel, go ice climbing, tank riding and whatever you have dreamt of doing with the snow. It is a perfect destination for the snow addicted people.
Read more about Finland: Places to Visit in Finland, Islands in Finland to Visit, Things to do in Helsinki, Trips from Helsinki, Things to do in Tampere, Things to do in Vaasa, and Things to do in Porvoo
How to prepare your trip to Europe in the winter?
Europe around this time of the year is cold and regardless of where you’re heading to, you must dress properly for the weather to avoid getting sick from the weather. Here are our top posts to help you stay warm while exploring these beautiful destinations:
- What to Pack for Winter in Europe + Printable Ladies Packing List!
- Travel Jacket: Best Lightweight Winter Travel Jacket for Women
Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.