So far Mike and I have spent two months in Europe in winter and I can honestly say that we love it. So I decided I would put together a short list of reasons of why we love to travel in the winter and why you should consider it too!
Off peak prices
I have managed to score some incredibly good prices - particularly for hotels - because we were travelling in the off peak season. On top of this we have received room upgrades - both where they told us they were doing it and others where we got a really nice room without them explicitly telling us it was an upgrade. In both cases we weren’t charged anything extra. We have also gotten more affordable tickets to museums, planes and trains just because we were travelling in the off peak.
I love Christmas in Australia but there is something so magical about Christmas in Europe. It's a lot more relaxed, potentially because Europeans have had thousands of years of celebrating Christmas (and before that - the solstice) behind them. Plus it's nice to see the traditions of Christmas in their natural habitat instead of entirely out of place like it is in Australia. Christmas markets, mulled wine and even fresh Christmas trees make a lot more sense when it’s ten degrees then the thirty degrees in Australia.
I would love to say no crowds at all but...well Florence and Rome were still pretty busy in winter so don't get too excited. However the day we visited the Athenian agora we were the only ones there and it was just so peaceful.
Even when you can't get no crowds you do get less crowds and in places like Venice that can make all the difference. You get to experience what the locals experience which makes for a far more pleasant trip.
A different vibe
I can't really say this with certainty (having never traveled in summer) but I feel like people are more relaxed in winter. It's the holidays for them too and I feel like they have more time to share what makes their home amazing. We met so many lovely, friendly, passionate people on our travels - and having worked in the service industry since forever I know that when it is busy you do not have time to stop and chat and give that personal love.
I adore the winter in Europe - it's so crisp and glorious - even when it's minus 3 and you are wearing all your clothes at once. I have no doubt if I lived in Europe and had to deal with winter all the time I would feel different but I live in Australia so snow will always be a novelty to me.