Active winter holidays in Europe don’t always have to take place on the slopes. If you want to get outdoors and enjoy the snowy weather, there are plenty of alternative ways. From dog sledding in Norway to hiking Spain’s famed camino, here are four action-packed winter breaks for non-skiers.
Hike the Camino de Santiago without the crowds
While winter may be the least popular time to walk the Camino de Santiago, there are unexpected benefits to hitting the trail in this season. The historic pilgrimage route is one of the most crowded walks in Europe, but off-season means experiencing it without the masses – and not queuing for a hot shower at the end of the day.
The mountainous scenery looks particularly surreal when dusted in snow, and you can enjoy magical sunrises without having to wake up too early.
Explore an amusement park in Copenhagen that inspired Disneyland
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen opened in 1843 and is now the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. Walt Disney was said to have been impressed by the theme park’s special family atmosphere and design. Before opening Disneyland in 1955, Disney paid several visits to Tivoli, which featured manicured gardens, family-friendly rides and a wooden rollercoaster that is still in operation today.
Every Christmas, Tivoli Gardens transforms into a magical winter wonderland with twinkling illuminations, festive treats, and live music. More than one million lights decorate the space, 40km of Christmas tree chains line the gardens and 11,800 liters of mulled wine are consumed.
For family and eco-friendly accommodation, stay at the Moxy Copenhagen Sydhavnen, one of Europe’s leading sustainable hotels. It is the second Danish hotel to receive the highest possible LEED Platinum certificate for green building and operates on 100% renewable energy.
Go sledding and Northern Lights spotting in Tromsø
Located above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø in northern Norway is the epicenter of outdoor adventures, particularly in the winter months. November through February is peak season for spotting the fluorescent Northern Lights because the nights are the longest.
During the day, you can partake in the thrilling sport of dog sledding through the thick snow. Nature lovers can also look out for reindeer and embark on a humpback whale safari by boat.
Hike in the Alps and see a new side of Verbier
The Alps are not just for hitting the slopes. Hiking around the snowy peaks of the European mountain range is an ideal winter vacation for adventure-seeking travelers.
The Swiss region of Verbier offers a varied choice of walks and hikes for all levels of experience. Try trekking to the ruins of Le Chateau de Verbier through dense woods with sweeping views of Valais and the Rhone Valley. Alternatively, follow the Sentier des Chamois through the nature reserve of the Haut Val de Bagnes. Starting at Les Ruinettes, you can wander through Verbier’s 3-D Sculpture Park, filled with extraordinary artworks perched on mountainsides.