How to enjoy winter in Europe without skiing

  • 09th October 2014

If you’re not interested in skiing yet still want to enjoy a winter break in Europe, the good news is there are plenty of other things to do and see.

Winter can be a great time to explore Europe’s cities – they are year-round destinations and you can ‘shop ’til you drop’ and visit museums and galleries without struggling through the summer crowds.

If you’re planning a winter break in Europe take a look at our list of suggestions below. All activities are located either in one of our destination cities or within a couple of hours away.

Oslo, Norway

Slide down Oslo’s most popular toboggan run

What: The Korktrekkeren.
When: All winter as long as there’s snow!
Fly with us from: Aberdeen Airport.

One of the most popular things for people of all ages to do in Norway’s capital, Oslo, in the winter (provided there’s enough snow) is the Korktrekkeren – a 2km long toboggan run with an elevation drop of 255 metres that takes about 10 minutes to complete.

It’s very accessible and free! You just take the metro from Midstuen up to Frognerseteren where you can hire a wooden toboggan (for around NOK 80-100 per day). Once you’ve completed the run, you can catch the metro back up to Frognerseteren to do it all over again! The metro ride between the stations takes about 13 minutes.

More information can be found at the Visit Norway website.

Binche, Belgium

Attend a spectacular Mardi Gras parade

What: The Carnival of Binche, south of Brussels.
When: 15-17 February 2015.
Fly with us from: Newcastle Airport & East Midlands Airport.

The Carnival of Binche_original

With a history dating back to the 14th century, the Carnival of Binche has a long tradition and has even earned UNESCO recognition.

The carnival takes place over three days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The main event is a huge parade on Shrove Tuesday with clown-like male performers known as Gilles who wear wax masks and colourful costumes. In the morning up to 1,000 Gilles gather to dance to the sound of drums to ward off evil spirits with sticks! Later they don hats with enormous ostrich feathers and march through the town with baskets of oranges. It’s traditional for the Gilles to throw the oranges at spectators – it’s considered good luck to get one.

Binche is around an hour away from Brussels by car or train.

Munich, Germany

Take a dip in a heated open-air pool!

What: The Dante Winter Warmfreibad.
When: Open daily between 9:00am and 6:00pm.
Fly with us from: Bristol Airport.


There’s something special about swimming in the open air – especially in the middle of winter! Munich’s Dante Winter Warmfreibad stays open throughout the chillier months and a visit here for some serious exercise or a splash about is a wonderful thing to do for the whole family.

There’s a 50-metre stadium pool (heated to around 27°C), and an adventure pool (heated to around 30°C) which features massage jets, underwater seats, and a flowing water torrent.

Hamburg, Germany

See where the Beatles made history in Hamburg

What: The Beatles Magical History Tour.
When: Departs 8:00pm and returns 9.30pm.
Fly with us from: Bristol Airport.

Beatles bus_original

A must for fans of The Beatles, this 90-minute tour takes in the important clubs and buildings associated with The Beatles’ time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. This guided tour is usually given in German but can be booked with an English-speaking guide.

The Magical History Tour costs around €25. You start and finish at the Beatlemania museum on the Reeperbahn, stopping at the places that made music history. Along the way there is live music, video clips, and the opportunity to sing along to your favourite Beatles’ songs.

Frankfurt, Germany

Sip apple wine while touring the city

What: The Ebbelwei Express.
When: Every 35 minutes 1:30pm – 5:50pm on weekends & most public holidays.
Fly with us from: Bristol Airport and Karlstad Airport.

The Ebbelwei-Express is a special tram which runs through central Frankfurt offering tourists a unique 1-hour sightseeing tour plus a glass of Ebbelwei (apple wine), cider, or soft drink with music and pretzels.

The starting point is Frankfurt Zoo and the tour takes in the Old City then back along Hauptbahnhof, crosses the River Main and then on through Sachsenhausen (famous for its apple wine taverns), and across the river again back to the zoo.
Tickets cost €8 for adults and €3.50 for children under 14.

Ebbelwei express_original

Gothenberg, Sweden

Chill out in Sweden’s second largest city

What: A relaxing short break.
When: All winter.
Fly with us from: Birmingham Airport.


If you need a complete change of pace and scenery post-Christmas, why not head for Sweden’s western-most and second largest city – Gothenberg?

This picturesque city has lots to offer for a short break in winter– from it’s vibrant cafe culture and well-know foodie hotspots to quaint architecture, retail outlets and museums. And the city looks even prettier in the snow!

First up – purchase a Gothenburg City Card (£29.50 per adult for 24 hours). The card is your ticket to public transport and free admission to various attractions including museums and galleries.

Take a tram to the Majorna district for cosy restaurants, cute coffee shops and a vibrant arts and music scene. Here you can get a taste for Swediens favouirte snack or ‘fika’ (coffee and a cinnamon roll). Then head for theHaga district for quaint wooden architecture, more cute cafes, and unique shops.

Browsing through these pedestrian-friendly streets just might restore your flagging post-Christmas shopping blues! Hardier shoppers will want to head for Scandinavia’s largest shopping centre, Nordstan. located in central Gothenburg.

Vintage fashionistas should head for Magasinsgatan. Then if you love rummaging for second-hand treasures, there’s Kommersen Loppmarknad at the west end of in Första Långgatan – Gothenberg’s largest flea market housed in a warehouse decorated with street-art.

Families will love the Universeum – Scandinavia’s largest science museum. It has a huge aquarium and reptile zoo as well as interactive exhibits, including a replica of a space capsule.

So…We hope we’ve whetted your appetite for a winter break in some of our European city destinations. bmi regional operates up to 300 flights a week to 20 destinations across the UK and Europe. To book,