One of the best things about being a student is getting long holidays stretching weeks on end. While lots of people simply go home for their break to catch up with family and friends, this is also a great opportunity to go on holiday.
Winter is a lovely time of the year going sightseeing and exploring another city, so if you’re interested in getting away before Christmas, here is our pick of the best city breaks.
One location that is particularly appealing to students at universities in the UK is Edinburgh (unless, of course, you study at The University of Edinburgh!). There are many reasons for the Scottish city’s timeless popularity, from its historic sites to its old-fashioned charm.
It is also easier to get to than European cities, with Edinburgh being very well connected with its train, bus and flight networks, so you could reach it within an hour or so. As it is closer than a jaunt to Europe, you’ll save money on your travel expenses, which is great news for students who want a holiday on a budget.
Edinburgh is particularly great to visit during the winter, as the city comes alive with Christmas-related activities. It is home to its German Christmas Market, while other fantastic purchases can be picked up at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe and the Nutcracker Christmas Shop. You can also go ice skating on the outdoor rink, listen to carol services and see the entire city lit up in decorations from the top of a 100 ft Ferris wheel.
Paris is also a popular destination to escape to for students, as it is only a short trip away with most UK airports offering flights to the French capital in an hour and a half or less, while London has the Eurostar service straight into the heart of the city.
Once you arrive in Paris, you’ll have an abundance of sights to see, from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre. The best part about visiting during the winter is that the frosty weather adds a romantic atmosphere to the already amorous city. But even if you visit with friends and not your boyfriend or girlfriend, you’ll still love exploring Paris in the winter, with the sight of snow falling delicately on its most famous historic attractions – from the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomphe – being one you won’t forget in a hurry!
Also a favourite among students is Amsterdam, with the European city boasting quaint canals and cobbled streets, as well as museums, galleries and cafes galore – all favourites among university attendees!
The Dutch city looks beautiful in the cold, with the narrow passageways often covered in a scattering of snow. You might find it too chilly to spend all day cycling around Amsterdam – as many of the locals do – but you can always warm up in one of its many cake shops with a delicious chocoladecake and a hot drink.
If you’re looking for something different from your European city break, you can head to Barcelona. This is an ideal location if you’re hoping to go somewhere with slightly milder weather conditions compared with the UK!
One of the great things about the Spanish city is that it boasts a very different ambience during the winter months, with its interesting architecture and Mediterranean menus being very distinct from either the UK or Central or Eastern Europe. You can swap hearty stews for tapas and paella and, instead of enjoying a warm glass of mulled wine, you can sip on a refreshing sangria. If you do need something to keep the chill out, indulge in a comforting portion of churros (oblong-shaped donuts) with a dip of hot melted chocolate!
The winter season often makes cities look as though they’ve appeared from fairytales, with beautiful coverings of snow, frosty weather and a magical Christmas ambience. Nowhere is this truer than Prague, where its castles, bridges and narrow streets truly shine during the colder months.
Prague is a great city just to walk around, take in the beautiful historic sights and soak up the atmosphere, which means students can save money having to go to expensive attractions. Most visitors simply enjoy walking upon Charles Bridge, taking a look at Prague Castle and meandering around Old Town Square. Wrap up warm when you go to Prague during the winter, as temperatures can really plummet, averaging between -2C and 2C in December while snowfall is often 1 inch at this time.
Nigel Walters is a keen travel and student blogger. He writes for various blogs including Vita Students Accommodation as well as student forums and other publications.