Well, soon Christmas and New Year will be packed away for another year, leaving us with nothing but post-holiday blues – boooo! With winter in full swing and the cold weather doing its best to bring us down, we soon forget about the festivities and start hoping the sun makes a quick return! But why not make a change for 2014 and embrace all the winter fun?

Europe is home to many fantastic winter events making it a great time to take a city break. It’s the perfect excuse the get yourself out there to see sights and events you wouldn’t normally get to experience on your summer hols.

To get you inspired and geared up for embracing the colder months, here’s some Top Winter Events in Europe you shouldn’t miss…

Up Helly Aa – Lerwick, Shetland End of January

Dubbed as Europe’s Largest Fire Festival, this is one winter event guaranteed to heat things up! Originating in the 1880s, Up Helly Aa day takes place annually in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands on the last Tuesday of January. The whole day is filled with spectacular marches, a fiery torch-lit procession, the burning of the Galley, and topped off with exciting performances and enjoyable dancing! Marking the end of the yule season, it’s the perfect way to shake off the January blues.

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Burns Night – Edinburgh End of January

A visit to Edinburgh around the end of January is the perfect opportunity to join in the famous and fun Burns Night festivities! Commemorating the birth date of Roberts Burns, Scotland’s National Bard, you can enjoy an evening of traditional Scottish Haggis, plenty of drink and wonderful entertainment.

Throughout the event you’ll hear readings of Burns’ most famous pieces of work and performances, including the poet’s iconic song, Auld Land Syne. A light-hearted and warming occasion, Burns Night in Edinburgh is a wonderful Scottish tradition and a must-try winter festival for 2014.

Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy January – February

It you’re a fan of fancy dress, then the Carnival of Venice is an excellent choice for a European festival in the winter. Hosted in the beautiful city of Venice, people from around the world come together to wear magnificent costumes and mysterious Venetian masks for a truly unique and magical experience.

As well as getting a feel for life in 18th city’s famous picturesque canals and waterways which are undoubtedly beautiful anytime of the year.

Art on Ice – Switzerland February

Forget about ITV’s ‘Dancing on Ice’, if you want to see a truly spectacular show on ice then head to Switzerland this winter for one of the most successful figure skating gala productions in the world! Combining great music with outstanding choreography, Art on Ice offers guests the whole entertainment package promising to be an unforgettable winter event experience! More than 90,000 spectators from across the globe gather for this annual event to see world-class figure skating accompanied by live concert music with a huge stage, singers, an orchestra and dancers!

Sun out for our first day on the slopes
Sun out for our first day on the slopes

Yukigassen European Championship – Finland April

Essentially one massive snowball fight, this Japanese sporting tradition has found its way to Europe in the Finnish town of Kemijärvi. The Yukigassen winter tournament sees various teams battling it out with 270 snowballs in a bid to win the annual championship! Some see the event as crazy, some a serious sporting occasion, and others a hilarious performance to watch with friends and family. Whatever your reasons, you’re guarantee a whole lot of snowy fun at this European winter event.

Written by: Hayley Brent is passionate about travelling, with a strong interest in European adventures. Her recent explorations include trips along the Spanish coast, French Riviera, Italian lakes and Eastern Europe.

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