There are many ways to enjoy the winter months in Europe without strapping on your skis. Here's our guide.
Europe's mountain landscape is not just for people who ski and snowboard. There are many ways to enjoy the scenery as a non-skier - disclaimer - they don't just involve ice skating, or relaxing in a spa.
Check out these suggestions for some incredible frozen adventures - without clipping into a pair of planks.
Riding through a silent, snow-capped forest on a mountain bike fitted with wide-rimmed wheels and extra-large tyres is becoming ever more popular. It's also perfect for keeping your legs in shape over the colder months.
Many ski resorts are now offering fat biking or e-fat biking (for a little boost to get you up the steep climbs).
Zermatt is also offering fat bike night tours with special lamps to illuminate the way.
The ancient Scottish winter pastime of curling - or the alternate Bavarian curling (also known as “ice stock sport” or “pétanque on ice”) - is a fun and sociable game, and is gaining more and more devotees.
Winter via Ferrata
Most people consider via Ferrata - Italian for "iron path" - a summer activity. Many of these climbing routes, which consist of cables, rungs and ladders, were built during the First World War, to enable soldiers to get to the top of the Dolomite mountains where they had their frontlines.
Now, they are popping up anywhere there are mountains, and people have begun climbing them in winter when the activity is more challenging. As snow and ice cover the iron cables, special equipment like ice axes and crampons are needed.
In December the Saas Valley in Switzerland is launching a medium to difficult graded winter via Ferrata at the edge of the village of Saas-Grund. You may need a head for heights as the climb finishes with a spectacular abseil descent of about 40 metres.
Winter hiking trails
Hiking can be a paradise in winter. If you have the winter sun as your companion you can wander the forests along immaculately prepared winter trails, with the thought of a schnapps or hot chocolate in a snug mountain hut to look forward to.
In Switzerland, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Visperterminen and the Lötschental valley have around 10 new marked winter walking trails this winter.
SalzburgerLand’s 'Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn' in Austria has 140km of winter hiking trails and is offering twice daily free guided walks with qualified guides.
Alta Lumina is a series of immersive evening walks in Les Gets in the French Alps. Follow a one-kilometre trail, which features a series of pictures telling a story linked to the history of the area. Lights, fluorescent imagery and interactive sets guide the way. The brand-new concept is a first in Europe and debuts this winter.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and you can hike 'off-piste' as your weight is distributed over a larger area so your foot doesn't sink completely into the snow.
In Montchavin, La Plagne, France you can snowshoe trek with a guide to your very own igloo for the night. An aperitif and fondue await you, and some stargazing before a peaceful night’s sleep.
Local guides in the historic French Alpine village of Megève will also take you via snowshoe for an evening of great food and drink hosted in a secret igloo. The walk starts from the village centre at 17.45 every evening during the winter months.
Italy's wide Ampezzo Valley, with its variety of landscapes, also has countless snowshoeing itineraries that can be discovered with local mountain guides.
The 4km toboggan ride in St. Anton in the Austrian Tirol takes about 15-20 minutes to complete, and has a vertical elevation of 500 metres. Hire a toboggan at the bottom of the Nasserein lift in St. Anton, before heading up the mountain to the Gampen for the start of the ride. At the bottom, treat yourself to a warming Glühwein at one of the cosy restaurants.
Other winter attractions
Enjoy spectacular views across Innsbruck Valley and listen to the wolves howl in unison when the church bells ring. The Alpenzoo, Innsbruck is open until March and is the highest-themed zoo in Europe, featuring more than 2000 animals which are, or have been, typical for the Alps.
You could enjoy a panoramic view at high speeds by gliding down the mountain on an eagle-shaped glider in Switzerland's Jungfrau. To begin with, the First Glider is pulled backwards at 72 km/h. then 'takes off' and glides the 800-metre-long flight route at up to 83 km/h.
Slide down Europe’s fastest and longest zip-wire, the Flying Fox XXL in Leogang, Salzburg.
With a length of 1,600 metres, a height of up to 143 metres and potential top speeds of up to 130 km/h, you can see the mountain from a whole new perspective.