The number one pushback that I get about traveling to Europe in the winter is that it is too cold. I think we collectively imagine that during the winter Europe is covered with snow and everyone needs to ski to work. I totally understand that perception, but I’m here to break it. No matter where you live in America, there is a place in Europe that is as warm or warmer in the winter than your hometown. (Sorry international readers, I can’t say the same for you).

Comparison of Winter Temperatures in Europe vs. USA
(I know, I know. Just ignore the tip of Florida, they are the exception that proves the rule) Source: Atlas Biosphere

Let’s get started, pick your region.

North East

The east coast is used to cold winters and as we’ve seen in recent years, some pretty heavy snowfall. But here is a treat for you: almost anywhere in western and southern Europe is going to be as warm or warmer than whatever temperature you live through at home. And, you are considerably less likely to get clobbered by a Nor’easter!

You can sample Germany’s Christmas markets or London’s theater district comfortable in the knowledge that it’s colder back home.

U.S. CityAverage December Temp.
High-Low in F°
European CityAverage Temp.
High-Low in F°
New York43-32London47-38
Boston41-28Berlin40-31
Philadelphia45-30Amsterdam44-35
Pittsburgh39-25Munich39-28

 

South 
Rome’s mild days and occasional wet night are reminiscent of many southern capitals, except you will indulge in mounds of the best pasta you’ve ever tasted and history that seems to extend back to the beginning of human memory.

Greece, Sicily and Malta are going to feel a little warmer than you are used to in December!

U.S. CityAverage December Temp.
High-Low in F°
European CityAverage Temp.
High-Low in F°
Atlanta54-37Rome56-38
Dallas58-39Athens59-48
Washington D.C.47-33Istanbul53-43
New Orleans64-47Naples57-42

 

Midwest
Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat this, the Midwest is about as cold as the Continental U.S. is going to get. But if you want the silver lining, going just about anywhere in Europe going to be warmer than the ice-bowl we live in.

Pick a city, you’ll be fine.

U.S. CityAverage December Temp.
High-Low in F°
European CityAverage Temp.
High-Low in F°
Chicago35-21Milan44-32
Indianapolis39-24Paris46-38
Detroit36-24Copenhagen39-32
Minneapolis27-12Budapest39-31

 

Mountain West
The gulf stream keeps Europe’s west coast surprisingly warm and the south of Spain is going feel very familiar. The humidity is low and the days will be a little warmer than you’d expect in your home state.

Barcelona’s tapas are calling you and the Flamenco dancing will help you make room for more.

U.S. CityAverage December Temp.
High-Low in F°
European CityAverage Temp.
High-Low in F°
Las Vegas57-39Barcelona58-42
Denver43-17Lyon45-35
Phoenix67-45Valletta62-52
Salt Lake City38-23Vienna38-31

 

West
If you live right on the coast, the temperature in the south of France or Portugal are going to be perfect for you. If you live east of the Rockies, those places are going to be downright balmy!

Lisbon’s seafood tastes just as fresh in the winter and the sophistication of Monaco does wane as the temperature drops.

U.S. CityAverage December Temp.
High-Low in F°
European CityAverage Temp.
High-Low in F°
Los Angeles68-48Lisbon59-49
Portland45-35Tirana55-37
San Francisco57-46Monoco57-43
Seattle47-27Nice57-42

 

It’s Not Too Cold, Just Get Going

So you see, I can find a city in Europe that will feel as warm, if not warmer, than your hometown. I’s not too cold—in fact, it can be downright balmy in many southern European countries. So don’t worry about it! Instead of focusing on the temperature think about the tourist-free museums, sweet-as-ever gelato and potential for great off-season prices. Lets get Travelling!

 

 

 

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