top of page

Seven festive getaways in Europe with a sense of adventure

Christmas time is coming, trees are getting decorated, lights sparkle, and most of us have free days to enjoy time with family and friends. And, have you thought about a Christmas getaway?

In Northern Europe, snow might fall, so you can go skiing, or make a winter hike. In Southern Europe, you will find a warm sun and pleasant temperatures to enjoy the outdoors biking or even in the water. To get you already in the right mood, we have put some ideas for Christmas escapes in this blog. Of course, with a touch of adventure!

Iceland’s South Coast

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland, shimmering ice bergs floating in a glacial laggon

There are numerous regions in Iceland that are beautiful in winter, but the country's South Coast is a prime location for winter activities. From kayaking in glacier lagoons and glacier hiking to snowmobiling, you will find plenty of outdoor adventures. But one of the most amazing attractions is exploring Iceland's ice caves. Ice caves are extraordinary wonders of nature that are formed under very specific conditions. You can only tour an ice cave in Iceland during the winter months.

For this amazing adventure, you can head to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon - at the bottom of Europe's biggest glacier in Vatnajökull National Park - a vast lake filled with floating icebergs. After an adventurous Super Jeep ride and a short walk in incredible landscapes, you will reach the ice cave. Inside, you will witness plenty of shades of blue and absolute stillness; the perfect setting for fantastic videos and pictures.

Portugal - Serra da Estrela - A small winter wonderland

One of our favorite places to visit in Portugal at Christmas is the Serra da Estrela. It is the highest peak of Continental Portugal and around Christmas you have a pretty good chance to find snow, making this (small) area great for winter sports enthusiasts who can try out some skiing and snowboarding.

Outlay of Portuguese cheeses, Serraa da Estrela, Portugal

However, there is more experience. The Serra da Estrela mountains are as well famous for their delicious sheep and goat cheese. On a cheese-tasting tour, you can learn about ancient techniques and rituals used in the making of this intensely flavored cheese. Accompanied by local rye bread and good wine it is the perfect apres-ski to make!

Ireland - Killarney, at the food Ireland's first national park

Torc Waterfall, Killarney National Park, Ireland

Killarney National Park is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Ireland. It is a perfect destination to explore in every season, but in the winter months, its enchanted landscapes are even more captivating. The best way to explore the scenery is by making a hiking tour! Maybe you want to try out a stretch of the Kerry Way - or make your way to Torc Waterfall. From a height of 20 meters, water is rushing down more dramatically than in any other season!

Be sure to make as well a short stop at the town of Killarney. Christmas in Killarney provides fantastic excitement for the whole family, including its temporary ice skating ring in the town center. Have fun!

Madeira - Enjoy the sun, sea, and pleasant temperatures

Portugal’s island of Madeira is known for its warm, subtropical climate. Therefore, Madeira is mostly visited by active travelers who seek outdoor adventures like hiking in the mountains or enjoying some water sports like sailing, surfing, or SUP.

Canyoning on a ravine in Madeira

Real outdoor adventurists, should try out a Guided Coasteering Tour in the warm waters of Ponta de São Lourenço Nature Reserve. On a typical tour of about 3 hours, you will try out rappelling, climbing, and jumping (in the sea) in one single activity. As a bonus, you can enjoy the beautiful coastline and explore the sea caves in the transparent water of this alluring island.

Norway - Explore the Fjords

snow mobile tour Norway, western fjords

Winter in the middle of the breathtaking fjords of Norway will enchant you! Here you will find plenty of opportunities for outdoor experiences in a magic winter wonderland. One of these activities is making a snowmobile tour! During the tour, you will explore the impressive snow-covered fjord landscape, going over frozen lakes and swamps, and through mystical forests… An experience that you will keep in your memories.

Sicily - Skiing on the Etna Volcano

Did you know you can go skiing on a volcano? Yes, you can! The Sicilian Mount Etna - the tallest active volcano in Europe - offers ski facilities both on the southern and northern sides. The largest crater of the volcano you reach via cable car and from here you can slide down to the valley with a panoramic view of the Gulf of Catania. What are you waiting for?

snow on Mount Etna, view over Catania Bay, Sicily, Italy

Visiting Sicily during Christmas doesn’t only offer the unique opportunity of skiing on a volcano, but it will also be an idyllic experience of tradition and culture with all it's culinary heritage and delights.

Scotland - The stunning landscapes of Moray Speyside

Speyside Whisky barrels, Speyside, Scotland

From Cairngorms National Park to the stunning Moray Coast, Scotland's Moray Speyside region is the perfect destination for a winter escape. Here you can fill your days with walks along unspoiled beaches or in lush forests, exploring friendly villages, and spotting dolphins near the shore. And of course, you cannot miss the real flavor of the Speyside by visiting one of the region's famous whisky distilleries.

For the best holiday memories, however, we recommend you go on a guided tour to catch sight of the Northern Lights! If the nights are clear, the beach of Lossiemouth and the town of Portknockie give you chances to see the Northern Lights in their splendor.

Azores - Go kayaking in the Volcanic Lakes

The volcanic origins of this Portuguese archipelago created a significant number of hot springs, natural pools, and crater lakes. The biggest island of the Azores, Sao Miguel Island, is home to many picturesque lakes, one of which is Lagoa das Furnas (Furnas Lake), famous for its particular green-yellow color.

Surrounded by a dormant volcano, bubbling mud pools, steaming vent holes, and a subtropical forest, you can explore this beauty best with a kayak tour! Paddling to the geothermal fields is a unique adventure and makes this outdoor activity worth a try.

Tip! Finish your activity with a visit to Caldeiras das Furnas, a complex of volcanic thermal pools, a perfect way to enjoy some relaxation!

If you are planning to make a holiday escape at Christmas, let yourself be inspired by these outdoor destinations and adventurous tours. Contact us for a tailored quote just for you.


bottom of page