Best European Cities for Christmas
Europe is home to a multitude of beautiful cities that become even more magnificent during the run up to Christmas, when glittering lights, decorations, and quaint markets transform their streets into magical, festive, realms.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
This picturesque Bavarian city is home to an array of beautiful architecture and numerous notable museums and historic sites, and is one of the best European cities for a festive break. It's medieval central square, is the location of the largest of Germany’s famed christmas markets, home to nearly 200 wooden stalls selling an array of delicious local food and drink, such as Drei im Weggla (a type of sandwich made with speciality local bratwurst and mustard), and Glühwein (German mulled wine), as well as all manner of hand-made crafts and clothing.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic
The Czech capital is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, and its cobbled streets and Gothic buildings are even more picturesque during the festive season when they are illuminated by myriad christmas lights, and often, coated in a layer of snow.
From late November till the beginning of January, the city is home to several excellent Christmas markets, the largest of which is located in the beautiful old town square,next to the striking Church of our lady before týn, and ecompasses 60 wooden huts selling all manner of local food, drink and crafts.
St Stephen’s Basilica’s Christmas Market
Budapest is a magnificent city, home to an array of striking architecture, from grand baroque churches, to ornate, art-nouveau hotels, a world-class music and arts scene, and some of the best food and drink in Central Europe.
The festive season is a great time to visit: snow is common and there are a number of great christmas markets including, St Stephen’s Basilica’s Christmas Market located at the foot of the stunning eponymous church, upon which 3d illuminations are projected every evening. It is also the best time to enjoy the city’s, numerous outdoor thermal baths, or take in a show at the city’s world-famous opera house.
Rovaniemi, Lapland (Finland)
Santa Claus Village
What better place for a festive break than the ‘official’ home of Santa Claus, a wintery paradise dotted with illuminated evergreen trees, decorations and ice sculptures and a place that truly embodies the festive spirit.
Home to the Santa Claus Village, a christmas themed amusement park, the town also offers a host of wintery activities including dog-sledding, and snowmobile safaris, and in addition, is one of the best places in Europe to see the Northern Lights.
Regent Street Christmas lights.
London is vibrant year round, but particularly during the festive period when its bustling streets are adorned with extravagant decorations and kaleidoscopic lights, and its myriad restaurants and pubs are hives of activity.
The iconic Hyde Park is transformed into a giant Winter Wonderland, with rides, hundreds of food and drink stalls and immersive christmas-themed activities, whilst numerous ice rinks appear across the city including in the cobbled courtyard of the beautiful Somerset House, and the grounds of The Tower of London.
There are a multitude of Christmas events to enjoy, such as carols in Trafalgar Square; pantomimes in the West End; and concerts at Royal Albert Hall, whilst for those who love shopping, there are numerous festive markets along with a multitude of stores.
One of Europe’s most charming cities, Bruges boasts some of the best-preserved medieval architecture on the continent, along with an ensemble of winding cobbled streets, and pretty canals.
It’s particularly enchanting during the festive period, when it is illuminated with pretty lights, and its picturesque central square is transformed into a quaint Christmas village, home to an ice rink, and dozens of wooden market stalls selling all manner of food, drink and local crafts.
Amsterdam is a hugely popular destination during the festive season, and it's easy to see why.
Every year the city plays host to one of Europe’s best winter events, The Amsterdam Light Festival, where a host of Dutch and international artists illuminate the city’s myriad canals and streets with an array of magical light sculptures.
There are numerous ice rinks and markets to choose from, including the charming Christmas Village in the iconic Museum Square, which includes an ice rink, and numerous food and drink stalls, and the Funky Xmas Market, encompassing sixty stalls selling the works of local artists, designers and makers.
Austria’s elegant capital is particularly beautiful during winter when it is invariably coated in a blanket of snow, and its grandose buildings are illuminated by countless, glittering lights.
Visit the quirky snow globe museum; feast on local treats at one of the many festive markets; take in an advent concert at one of the grand concert halls or beautiful churches, or skate at one of the many open-air ice rinks.