Chilly and in some places snowy, the first month of the year isn't Western Europe's most festive. But museum queues are nonexistent, cosy cafes have crackling fireplaces and it's a great time to ski.

Hogmanay

An enormous, raucous Edinburgh street party, Hogmanay, sees in the new year in Scotland. It's replicated Europe-wide as main squares resonate with champagne corks and fireworks.

Vienna Ball Season

If you've dreamed of waltzing at Vienna's grand balls, you won't want to miss the Austrian capital's ball season, when 300 or so balls are held in January and February. The most famous is the lavish Opernball (Opera Ball).