In some countries temperatures are at their lowest in more than 50 years, causing misery for residents and headaches for authorities.
Countries in Eastern Europe, including the Balkans, have been hardest hit, with more than 70 deaths caused by the freezing weather.
WEATHER WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) January 2, 2017
For example, in Albania, at least eight people have died, with snow falling for the first time in resort towns in the south of the country.
Rare heavy snowfall has been seen in many places, including Dubrovnik in Croatia
What looked to be a typical mild winter suddenly changed overnight, catching authorities and the public by surprise.
Further west in Europe, alerts have been in place for snow storms and flooding, including in Scotland.
Disruption to travel is widespread, with many schools also closed.
The UN refugee agency has also voiced concern about how refugees and migrants are coping in the freezing conditions, saying governments must do more to help them.
NGOs including Amnesty International have also voiced alarm.
“My Europe wouldn't leave #refugees out in the cold.” Please sign and share our petition if you agree: https://t.co/yq4zLvog3I
JunckerEU</a> <a href="https://t.co/6naVgdk9xk">pic.twitter.com/6naVgdk9xk</a></p>— AmnestyInternational (amnesty) January 12, 2017
Death toll rises to 70 as the polar freeze continues across Europe https://t.co/D7lIo83dQu— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 10, 2017