To take advantage of your winter holidays and take a break, have you thought about going to Europe?
Many European capitals are in the spotlight in 2021 and (re)discover their cultural and gastronomic specialties. Discover the 5 European cities to visit or rediscover especially at the end of 2021.
Köln in German is the cultural center par excellence of the German West. Founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC, Cologne is the oldest major German city. Its many Roman remains are brought together in the Roman-Germanic Museum, where you can admire a vast collection of mosaics, sculptures, jewelry, and many other legacies. Located in the old town (“Altstadt”) a few meters from the Cologne Cathedral, you can take the opportunity to contemplate the “Kölner Dom” whose first stones were laid over 700 years ago. You can't miss it! If you want to enjoy the city in celebration, there is nothing like the Cologne Carnival! Every year around the end of February, the Cologne Carnival celebrates celebration, sharing and good humor! Brass bands, costumes, balls, or even brasseries come together for five days of jubilation.
Rates and tips : Usually, the Carnival begins at the end of February and ends at the beginning of March. To get to Cologne, we advise you to take the Thalys. Direct trains take you in 3h20 from Paris to Cologne. By booking three months in advance, you can find tickets for 70€ round trip for one person. To make the most of Cologne in a few days, we advise you to take a hotel in the district of the old town, the Altstadt. You will be close to all the cultural monuments of the city and, above all, at the heart of the party!
If you want to experience the magic of Christmas, you might as well go to Rovaniemi, known as the "official" city of Santa Claus' residence ! We're not going to hide it: going on vacation to the Arctic Circle is expensive in December but it's ideal if you want to experience Christmas intensely. It is better to save money and organize your stay well in advance. Located in the north of Finland, Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland. Impressive with its winter landscapes, you can admire forests as far as the eye can see, go on dog sledding and contemplate the northern lights. And during the Christmas holidays, Rovaniemi lights up with decorations and activities in the colors of Santa Claus. The village of Santa Claus becomes the attraction of the city! With its various activities, the residence of the post office elves and the famous Santa Claus house with its Santa Park will amaze young and old!
Rates and tips: if you go during the Christmas holidays, your stay will necessarily be more expensive since it is the destination par excellence for the Christmas holidays. To book your flight, Air France offers Paris/Rovaniemi journeys with a destination in Helsinki from €300 per person (one way). Of course, take yourself well in advance, a year before, you will have the best prices. But there are good plans: for accommodation, we advise you to rent an apartment with the locals and, to eat, take advantage of the inexpensive all-you-can-eat buffets. These lunches, called lunas , are hearty and cost just €10.
2018 is the year of gastronomy in Italy! At the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, “ l'anno del cibo ” celebrates food and wine from all Italian regions. And if there is one city to visit during the low tourist season, it is Pisa! You can taste the tasty Tuscan cuisine offering simple meals prepared from local, fresh and seasonal products, accompanied by its Tuscan wines with their dark red color such as Chianti, Carmignano or Brunello-di-montalcino. Pisa and its vast historical heritage will charm you. If there's another place you shouldn't miss, that's fine the Piazza del Duomo , a vast esplanade listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which brings together both the Duomo (Cathedral of Pisa), the famous Leaning Tower, the Baptistery in Romanesque and Gothic style, then the Camposanto, the huge cemetery built from the 13th century.
Price and good plan: prices are more reasonable from November to March, when the tourist season is low. To go by plane, choose low-cost airlines. With easyJet you can for example have a return flight for one person in December for 130 €. To stay in Tuscany you will find many alternatives. One of the most atypical is the youth hostel ( ostello della gioventù ). They are quite numerous and sometimes located in beautiful restored historic buildings.
Elected European Capital of Culture in 2018, Valletta is one of the destinations to visit this year. Founded in 1566, it bears the name of its French founder, Jean de Valette, Grand Master of the Order of Malta. To celebrate its status as European Capital of Culture , Valletta has concocted a very fine program throughout the year. Cultural and scientific activities are offered to the public on Strait Street, one of the main streets in the heart of the city. The opening of MUŻA, the new Malta Museum of Art is a key event scheduled for the end of the year. It is housed in the Auberge d'Italie, a historic monument from the 16th century which was the seat of the Knights of the Order of Saint John. Festivities will be given in Valletta on New Year's Day and will bring together hundreds of people around the Maltese orchestras. For more information on cultural events, see the 2018 program.
Rates and tips: low-cost Paris-Malta flights are operated by Air Malta and Transavia (Orly). It takes about 500 € per person for the round trip during school holidays. For accommodation, we advise you to rent an apartment instead of taking a room in a hotel, it will be cheaper for you.
In 2018, Modernism is celebrated in Vienna through exhibitions and cultural events devoted to four artists who died the same year, a hundred years ago: the painters Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser, as well as the architect Otto Wagner. Discover their works which have contributed to the cultural and architectural influence of the golden age of Viennese art under the Empire . Take the opportunity to visit the unmissable monuments of the Austrian capital: the Belvedere and its French garden, the Café Central in neo-Renaissance style or even Schönbrunn Palace nicknamed the "Austrian Versailles" which was the main residence of the Empress Marie-Thérèse of Austria, mother of Marie-Antoinette.
Rates and tips: there are many cheap restaurants in Vienna where you can eat traditional small gratins, called Semmel , topped with various ingredients. For accommodation, you will find many offers of homestay accommodation (the Privatzimmer ) near the city center for €30 a night.