Winter is a great time for visiting Europe. It is less crowded, less expensive and the hearty, warm food is well worth the chillier temperatures! Hotels and flights tend to be cheaper and there are many more festivals and cultural events in the cooler winter season, making winter travel in Europe even more attractive.
Winter sports are a big visitor attraction in the Alps, whether you are thinking of established ski resorts such as Klosters and St. Moritz in Switzerland, the exclusive Zurs resort in Austria favored by the rich and royal, or some of the newer and cheaper pistes in unpronounceable places in the Czech Republic. Estonia is rapidly becoming known for its cross country skiing while Latvia has some decent snowboarding tracks and parks, so it pays to do your homework and find out the best places to suit your particular winter travel preferences.
Non-Ski Winter Destinations
Europe has some amazing winter destinations that do not necessarily focus on skiing and snowboarding. Iceland combines outstanding natural beauty and steaming geothermal spa pools with spouting geysers, smoldering volcanoes and thrilling glacier walks. Reykjavik makes a fun winter destination with great nightlife, unique cultural attractions, heartwarming food and city shopping. It makes good use of all its geothermal activity to heat homes cheaply and even provides heated streets, sidewalks and parking lots, which is great news for winter drivers.
Another northern country that borders the Arctic Circle is Sweden. This forested country offers exciting winter sports such as husky sledding and racing, snowmobiling, ice skating and horse-drawn sleigh rides. The country has several spectator sports such as ice hockey and a similar sport known as Bandy, which has cult status in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.
Winter in these northern countries means very short days, sometimes down to just 4 hours of daylight per day. However, the pay-off is the high chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. This is a magical phenomenon when colorful lights dance across the night sky randomly appearing and disappearing. The best time to see these Northern Lights is during the early evening or on a clear night. The lights are caused by electrons colliding with air particles within the earth’s magnetic field.
If you’re looking for somewhere truly original to stay during your winter travel in Europe, consider driving to the original Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden. Each winter the hotel is constructed from blocks of river ice which are also used carved into bed platforms, a bar and even chandeliers!
Winter Driving Safety Tips in Europe
Winter driving in any of these countries is certainly not the same as summer touring. However, by booking with a reputable company such as Auto Europe, you can rest assured that no penny-pinching shortcuts are used that may jeopardize your safety. In fact no-one takes winterization and winter driving safety more seriously than we do.
We are proud to work with suppliers who cover the extra costs associated with winterization, such as ensuring rental cars have winter oil to avoid freezing. Countries where winterization fees are included: Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia. For the safety of our clients, all suppliers make sure that every car’s engine is protected with coolant to protect the engine and make sure the radiator does not freeze overnight.
A good battery is essential for winter driving safety, as cold weather lowers battery capacity. You certainly don’t want to chance being stranded in the cold without power, lights etc., which is why our suppliers make sure each battery is checked and topped up to maximize efficiency.
We also pride ourselves on helping our clients get behind the wheel of safe rental cars. If you’re traveling to Europe during the winter, you’ll need a car that can handle local weather conditions like snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice-covered roadways. We can help you arrange all the additional equipment you’ll need for your vehicle; from snow tires and snow chains, to cars that are outfitted with racks for skis. Your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities, don’t be tempted by less diligent car rental companies when it comes to ensuring your winter driving safety!
Making the Most of Your Travel Time
If you’re thinking of booking some winter travel in Europe for 2105, don’t forget to take plenty of warm layered clothing, be prepared to try strange new foods and do your research to see if there are any special festivals during your stay. Above all, don’t be tempted to cut corners when it comes to car rental fees and your winter driving safety! Let Auto Europe help you plan the trip of a lifetime! We’re here 24/7 to help you create a driving itinerary that is tailored to your needs. Book your next rental car with us online in three, easy steps, or call us toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 at a time that is convenient for you.