Whether you are feeling festive yet or not, this blog post will no doubt get you in the Christmas mood! We have collected the top 10 European destinations for the Christmas season. Wrap up in a warm blanket, sip on some hot chocolate and enjoy us taking you through one dream destination after another!
And if you are not ready to book a short getaway to one of these places then you must be the Grinch!
London during the Christmas months is a real treat for anyone, even London’s citizens. With London’s Christmas lights the city in itself looks festive but it has so much more to offer than only lights!
Festive Ice skating
If you love ice skating then London offers ice skating rinks all across the city. The Natural History Museum is one of the most iconic ice rinks in London. Experience the museum’s grounds being transformed into a festive paradise, with chances to warm up on hot chocolate or mulled wine in the museum’s cafe. Another great place to enjoy ice skating is the rink at Somerset House, which offers a sight onto the pretty architecture of Somerset House and also one of the largest Christmas trees you will ever see.
Hyde Park: Winter Wonderland
Every year, Hyde Park opens its doors, hosting one of the largest Christmas fairs you will ever come across! From funfair, Christmas market to seasonal food and drink. Winter Wonderland is a unique experience for every Christmas lover and evidently one of the best according to the many annual visitors. The Christmas fair is open from 21 November – 5 January 2020.
Check out what Winter wonderland has to offer this year by clicking here!
Christmas theatre shows and pantomimes
The Nutcracker and Paddington on Ice are amongst the many comedies, pantomimes, dance, family-friendly shows. For example, you can enjoy a festive evening of entertainment at the West End Theatre in London watching the Nutcracker.
Take a trip up North to visit the country that is close to the Arctic and will for sure give you a while Christmas! From reindeer to rich green woods, you can find everything nature offers in a trip to Lapland.
The City of Rovaniemi
As the largest city in Lapland, Rovaniemi is the most popular amongst tourists giving tourists plenty of options to stay, eat and drink and enjoy the scenery. If you’re looking to taste and try out a new cuisine, then this city offers you many restaurants that offer typical Finnish food. The city also holds an annual SantaPark, perfect for families and children to meet Santa and his elves. Furthermore, the city offers a ‘Santa Claus Holiday Village’ in which kids are able to meet Santa himself!
Find out more about Santa Claus Village here!
The city of Levi
Levi is closer to the Arctic Circle than Rovaniemi, meaning it never gets fully light there during the winter months. Although the city is able to glow in dawn colours, the sun never fully shows itself. However, this dark glow provides the perfect ground for Christmas lights which glow at every hour of every day.
Ever met Santa’s reindeer? No? We didn’t think so! However, Lapland offers some extraordinary reindeer Safaris which take you through some of the most astonishing Arctic nature!
The smaller villages of Inari and Saariselka are popular regions for watching the northern lights. This is especially the case in the month of December.
Vienna is a treat all year round but especially during the festive time the capital of Austria shines in a bright light!
Christmas markets in Vienna are open from mid-November all the way up to Christmas itself. Specifically, Vienna Christmas World on the famous Rathausplatz is possibly the biggest and most popular Christmas market in Austria. The market holds 150 stands that sell everything from crafts to drinks and desserts. An ice rink obviously cannot be missed.
The Stephansdom is a Cathedral right in the centre of Vienna. The music is hosted by the Wiener Kammer Orchestra, which plays classical works of Mozart, Bach or Schubert.
Karlsplatz Christmas market
This Christmas market might give Christmas a slightly different touch as it is organised by a professional arts and crafts association. Significantly, everything that is provided on the market in the form of arts and crafts has to be approved by a member of the board and required to be made by the seller himself. This ensures the quality of the goods, according to the market.
Ice skating is popular amongst all the Austrian’s so there are plenty of opportunities to get your skating gear on and squeal when you fall over! The largest ice rink is no doubt situated right by the Vienna Konzerthaus, where you can skate along on an incredible 6000 square metres.
Prague needs no introduction! It's famous for its architecture and its cheap prices. This could be a perfect opportunity to flee the Christmas stress and relax right in the heart of the Czech Republic.
The Old Town Square Christmas Markets
There are various different Christmas stalls and markets spread out around the city. However, the most scenic Christmas market can be found on Old Town Square right in the centre of Prague, in which you can look across the market from a birds-eye view on Old Town Tower!
The Vltava River
Fancy a stroll? This could be one of the most beautiful walks you might have ever done. If you’re a fan of Christmas lights and really want to get into the spirit then this might possibly be the best place for you to do just that. During the December months, the city is light by numerous lights that reflect on the water of the river and duplicate.
The sweet delight: Trdeník
This is a special treat perfect for sugar lovers and everyone that has a sweet tooth. It is a cone made of pastry that is sprinkled in cinnamon sugar and famously has ice cream inside the cone and on top. You cannot miss this! Tip: you can find this at all Christmas markets across the city!
The capital of Scotland - of course Christmas here will be an unforgettable experience. Head down to Princess Street and enjoy the pretty lights and merry people!
The largest and most popular Christmas market in Edinburgh is held every year in the very same place: Princes Street Gardens. This market offers traditional Christmas treats and goods but also art, crafts and more. The market also provides booths and rides as well as other features, whereas the market on George Street offers Scottish products and many people say it is the “Scottish Christmas Market” of Edinburgh.
Both markets offer a great choice in hot drinks from the typical ‘Glühwein’ or ‘Glayva’ which is a special type of Scottish whisky.
The Royal Botanic Garden in the city offers an incredible display of light which changes every day of December, whilst also hosting music and other illuminations that add to the festive feel. And of course, hot drinks are also available!
However, if you really do enjoy your lights then Light Night, which is hosted well before Christmas (usually during November), is the event you cannot miss! This is usually when all the lights around the city are switched on and the best thing is that it is free so you’ll be able to warm up for the Christmas spirit without having to worry about costs.
Fancy a trip to the capital of Christmas? Yes, you heard right, the French consider Strasbourg to be the capital of Christmas.
Apparently, Strasbourg is called the ‘capital of Christmas’ and with their decorations and effort they put into all things ‘Christmas’, the might as well be! Christmas markets in Strasbourg typically offer all things Christmas, so that means crafts, delights and sweets, hot drinks as well as small gifts and funfairs for the younger ones of us! However, the most popular Christmas market can be found at Place Broglie, called the Christkindelsmärik. Fun fact: this is the oldest Christmas market in Europe, having originated around the year 1570.
Click here to find out more about the market!
The cathedral is known to be one of the most extraordinary architectural buildings in the world representing Gothic art. Inside, typically for cathedrals, you can see beautiful ornaments on stunning ceilings. What is really fun is that you are able to go all the way up to the tower which gives you an incredible look of the city, across all the pretty lights and decorations truly making it a winter dream!
Strasbourg is a real treat when it comes to wining and dining during Christmas time! Popular local food is the tarte flambée also known as Flammkuchen. Typically this is a thin pizza covered in creme fraiche, with onions, ham and many other vegetables and toppings. A nice restaurant to have this speciality in is L’Ancienne Douane.
Denmark's capital offers various different treats for a festive getaway! Enjoy a Christmas-tea or take a trip to the Christmas fair, from A to Z, Copenhagen offers something for everyone.
This is a great one for kids, so if you are travelling with your family at Christmas time, then this might be the destination for you! The Tivoli amusement park might be the oldest in the world and certainly an incredible experience for the younger generation due to its decorations, sweets and rides. You simply pay an entrance fee and are able to enjoy everything the park entails for as long and as much as you want! The park also offers a choice of Christmas delights from Danish doughnuts to mulled wine, the perfect snack for your trip to Tivoli!
High tea at one of Copenhagen’s oldest tea rooms
Perch’s tea room offers more than 150 different sorts of tea and the range and variety of cakes you can enjoy with your tea is more than incredible! For Flight-delayed.co.uk this seems like the perfect opportunity to enjoy tea in style, treating yourself to many delicious delights which Christmas time is perfect for!
Ice skating at Frederiksberg Have
Another ice skating opportunity, but this time in Copenhagen! The ice rink outside of Frederiksberg Have opens annually from the months of November to February. From beginners to professional skaters, you are able to bring your own gear or to rent some. The Christmas lights surrounding the ice rink can be enjoyed especially during the later darker hours of the evening and night. For everyone not interested in ice-skating, there are opportunities to just relax and enjoy the scenery whilst sipping on a hot drink. Mulled wine anyone?
The German city is an incredible place to spend your pre-Christmas time! With its many Christmas markets the city booms with merry people and delicious smells of spices.
This city is known for its many many Christmas markets. The most famous market is probably the Christkindlesmarket in the Old Town. Now we all know that Christmas markets are nice but that Germany just takes it to a whole new level with their Christmas markets. Here you can enjoy the truly German food from sausages to gingerbread. If you are cold then the German Glühwein is the perfect cure to coldness as it surely warms you up! The younger generation will enjoy the Children’s Christmas market, designed especially for children. From merry-go-round to Santa’s grotto, kids will experience all their Christmas wishes come true.
The city is famous for its delicious gingerbread, that especially during the festivities tastes like Christmas even more so! The company Lebkuchen-Schmidt makes gingerbread using a recipe that has not been changed for the past 600 years. The recipe mentions specific spices and typical German Christmas-baking ingredients such as almonds. When the Lebkuchen are done they are packed immediately after baking to ensure a fresh, soft and intense taste.
Berlin, probably the coolest place in the whole of Germany. No doubt Christmas here can be traditional but also very different. Regardless of what you prefer: Christmas markets, lights or funfairs, the city has it all. Berlin never sleeps, especially not during Christmas time.
Berlin is no doubt one of the coolest places in Europe and surely Christmas won’t be any different in that respect. The Alexanderplatz right in the centre of Berlin hosts its annually funfair which especially for kids is a delight, right in the centre of the city. Festively themed the square dazzles in its buzz of people and the many colourful lights.
Spandau Old Town
The Christmas market in Spandau truly is a real European inspired market! With over 200 stalls from all around the world, the market offers treats, decorations, gifts, drinks and other delights for everyone to enjoy. The market specifically plays on the fact that you can acquire goods from all over the world, whether you are looking for Christmas decorations which might be from Poland or a perfume that might have been manufactured in the Middle East.
The lights at ‘Unter den Linden’
The lights under the many trees across the street Unter den Linden feature many sparkly colourful lights for an extra festive feeling! If you enjoy taking a stroll and the sight of lights amazes you then this is the place to go! This romantic walk can be enjoyed all the way from the famous Brandenburg Gate to the Humboldt University.
Amsterdam is one of the most booming towns in Europe and the Dutch are big on their 'Kerst' (Christmas), hence why Amsterdam turns into a colourful town with its many lights, mostly coming from the light festival!
Amsterdam Light Festival
A festival for lights? Yes, you heard us correctly. Can you imagine that? Well, you don’t have to, as Amsterdam hosts it every year and is famous for it. Every winter Dutch and international artists feature their artworks across the city, through various light displays. The festival offers a different touch to the normally quiet traditional Dutch scenery. The festival runs annually from November to mid-January.
You check out Amsterdam Light Festival tickets and other experiences around the festival here!
If you decide to travel to Amsterdam during the festive period, the Dutch Christmas delights are an absolute delight. Oliebollen and appel beignets are typical for this time of year and famous amongst the Dutch. The sweet delights can be found at pretty much every Christmas market across the city and many roads have mobile stalls that offer the sweet indulgences.
Amsterdam is too flat for skiing, however, if you enjoy your winter sports then ice-skating is the perfect activity for you. On Leidseplein and Museumplein, ice-rinks are set up featuring beautiful surroundings and giving that extra festive feel!
In the number of churches across Amsterdam, carols can be sung and enjoyed. Amsterdam actually encourages people to come and sing or to just sit and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The atmosphere and the singing give the great architecture in Amsterdam a special Christmas feeling. Churches that offer such an experience are:
- Sint-Nicolaaskerk, Prins Hendrikkade 73, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Vondelkerk, Vondelstraat 120, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The 10 best Christmas destinations in Europe 2019
If after reading this article you are still not convinced that one of these places might be the perfect winter getaway, we are not sure what will!
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