Christmas in Europe 23 Best Cities

Christmas in Europe has an entirely different allure. When it comes to Christmas celebrations, some of the best Christmas Markets in Europe are ideal destinations for travelers.

It is that time of the year; it’s Christmas time and flags the Winter Holidays.

An essence of grandeur if you like! Now is the time to plan (yes, in August) to get the best possible prices for airfare and accommodation.

A sizzling blazing spirit goes through Europe each year bringing up the best of Christmas markets that are out there.

Fantastic decorative lights and ornaments elevate warm feelings everywhere around.

Our expert’s team put together this handy post for where to spend Christmas in Europe. We took into consideration the preferences of our fans, of millions of visitors of Europe, and a little bit of Christmas spirit and magic.

Here is our extended and informative post!

Best 23 Destinations for Christmas in Europe

Why in Europe? It could be the architecture when all the twinkling lights fill the night with amazing colors and buildings of Old Europe. It can also be the cobblestone streets that get a different life of their own.

Maybe it is the spectacular range of different foods that each European country has to offer in the Christmas period! Could be the mulled wine, spiced with cinnamon and herbs of Northern countries.

Could be all of these put together, next to a dazzling Christmas tree, aside to a blazing fireplace.

Some of these Christmas winter destinations offer wooden chalets and glamor while others offer joy through their open-air Christmas markets.

It could be love and who can tell?

Christmas have their magic dust, and specific European destinations take that magic and mix it with each local magic ingredients.

Let’s find out.

Vienna, Austria

Best Destinations for Christmas in Europe
Vienna, Austria

The city of Vienna is one of the best Christmas destinations to enjoy your Christmas holiday.

These are some of the events that you can plan for:

  • The Christmas in Vienna concert
  • Ice skating
  • Advent concert at Stephansdom
  • Belvedere palace Christmas market
  • Schonbrunn palace orchestra Christmas and new year concert
  • Freyung Christmas market
  • Karlsplatz Christmas market
  • Winter in MQ (winter in the Museumsquartier) and
  • Mozart Christmas concert

If you plan to go to Vienna besides Christmas period, read our post for things to do in the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Best Destinations for Christmas in Europe
City of Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen presents several; Christmas events worth visiting.

These are:

  • Tivoli amusement park
  • Ice skating in Frederiksberg Have
  • Copenhagen street foods
  • The Royal Copenhagen’s Christmas tables
  • Visit Fairytale castle
  • Paper island street food
  • Strolling down Kronprinsensgade; you may also visit the old candy factory.

Copenhagen is a great city (top for a living). We spent a week there. Read our posts from here.

Nuremberg, Germany

Christmas Markets Europe
City of Nuremberg, Germany

Beautiful sites during Christmas in Nuremberg include:

  • Be part of a stagecoach tour
  • The market of the sister cities for international gifts
  • Visit the Christmas market
  • See the Nuremberg Christkind
  • The funny prune men
  • The children’s Christmas market
  • Find a selection of Christmas tree decors at the Christmas market

If you choose to go to Germany, then read this post for things to do in the country in a few (or many) days.

London, England

Christmas Markets
City of London, England

In London, expect the following:

  • London Christmas concert
  • Christmas lightings in London
  • Meet Father Christmas at ZSL London zoo
  • Visit London museums
  • Christmas carols at Trafalgar square
  • Battersea Cats and dogs home carol concert
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • St Martins-in-the-fields Church among others
  • Go ice skating

London is great at Christmas but also great with kids or not. Read our related posts.

Strasbourg, France

Christmas in France
Strasbourg, France

In Strasbourg expect to see; Cathedral Notre-Dame, The Strasbourg Christmas markets, the huge Christmas tree in Strasbourg city that’s about 30 feet.

Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas in Czech Republic
City of Prague, Czech Republic

The city of Prague presents these beautiful sights and events:

  • Watching the Nutcracker ballet and other international class performance
  • Ice skating in the old town
  • Relaxing moments at Prague river cruise
  • A visit to Prague Zoo
  • Czech traditional food stands
  • Shopping in Prague street markets
  • The Christmas atmosphere in Prague town

One of the most popular destinations in Europe for all year round trips. Read what to do in Prague.

Colmar, France

Festivities in Colmar
Colmar, France

In Colmar city you and to enjoy the following:

  • A visit to the Toy museum
  • Colmar Christmas park for children
  • A stroll through Colmar’s Christmas market
  • A visit to the hills, Christmas carols by boat
  • Shopping and sampling foods at Colmar City markets
  • Christmas tasting at Colmar
  • A visit to the historic town

If you travel to France, then you need to see more things. Depending on where you will choose to stay, there are many options. Read all our posts from here.

Dresden, Germany

Best Destinations for Christmas in Europe
Dresden, Germany

Yes, Dresden city has the record of having the tallest Christmas tree, which is around 14 meters high.

The city of Dresden has one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world. Experience the:

  • The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
  • The Moritzburg water castle is one of the world best water castle
  • The Green Vault museum a rococo-style palace.

Brussels, Belgium

BChristmas Brussels
Brussels, Belgium

The city of Brussels has some of the ancient cathedrals in Europe; St Catherine, St Gudula, and St Michael cathedrals.

Expect to see amazing Christmas lightings in Brussels streets:

  • The city hall is well light with Christmas decorations
  • A visit to the Brussels Christmas market should be in your list
  • skating at Place de la Monnaie

And finally the Christmas tree, sound and light show at the Grand- Place.

Did you know that Brussels is considered one of the best affordable destinations in Europe? Read why.

Cologne, Germany

Christmas Markets
Cologne, Germany

A visit to Cologne city you should experience the following:

  • The Fragrance Museum
  • The cathedral or Dom
  • Cologne city Christmas markets for a variety of Christmas gift for family and friends
  • A Visit to Museum Ludwig

A visit to the old town and a stroll by the waterfront, the chocolate museum is also worth visiting.

Paris, France

Best Destinations for Christmas
City of Paris, France

Paris France presents the following during Christmas:

  • Grand Magasins like the Bon Marche and the Galeries Lafayettes
  • A visit to Trocadero square for a spectacular view of the Eiffel tower
  • Ice skating
  • A visit to the Paris Christmas markets
  • Christmas in the church at Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Sacre-Coeur Basilica of Montmartre or The Church of Saint Eustache

You may also opt to sample wine in Pairs bars and watch the Christmas lighting in Paris streets.

Three days or maybe seven days in Paris? Well, it is Paris, and there is a ton of things to do.

Read our advice and things to do for five days in Paris and another one for seven days.

Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest presents the following during Christmas:

  • The city of Budapest Christmas boats- cruising on river Dunabe
  • Christmas concerts In Budapest
  • A visit to the Budapest Christmas markets
  • Budapest Nutcracker ballet
  • The ice rink in the city
  • Hot springs of Gellert spa
  • Christmas streetcar ride.

Another city that is not only for Christmas and also included in the best affordable destinations in Europe list.

Trier, Germany

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The city of Trier is one of Germany’s oldest cities. During Christmas you can:

  • Visit Trier Dom (Which is the high cathedral of saint peter)
  • Porta Nigra (An ancient Roman city gate)
  • Konstantin Basilica
  • Rheinische Landesmuseum
  • A visit to Trier Christmas markets
  • A stroll in Trier streets
  • Attend Trier Christmas concerts
  • Visit The Hauptmarkt the primary city market

Bruges, Belgium

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In Bruges, you can do:

  • Visit Grote Market, the largest market in Bruges for Christmas shopping
  • Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Visit the Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges Christmas lounge
  • Walk in the streets of the city

Enjoy the nightlife at Bruges city, the city lighting, local delicacies, and sample wine.

Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland

In Geneva, you can expect:

  • A winter walk on the icy slopes
  • A visit to the Geneva Christmas markets like the Montreux Noel
  • Vie the splendid tall Christmas trees like the one at St Gallen’s, it is usually about 20 meters
  • Ice skating
  • Stay in an igloo village
  • Be part of a Christmas day procession

Upcoming cities to consider for Christmas Markets in Europe

Ghent, Belgium

That is what you will see in Ghent:

  • Skating in the city
  • A visit to Ghent Christmas markets for a selection of Christmas gifts
  • The winter wonderland castle
  • A stroll through Ghent streets for spectacular lighting
  • Visit Ghent Christmas concerts and carols

Glasgow, Scotland

If you plan to visit Glasgow during Christmas expect; A visit to the Barras market, Glasgow Museums, Visit Glasgow’s west end area, Meet Santa at St Enoch center, See Santa Claus at snow factor, attend Glasgow international comedy festival and the Glasgow film festival.

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb offers a unique Christmas atmosphere it boasts of some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Other attractions during the Christmas season include:

  • The Zagreb street Christmas lightings
  • A visit to the frozen Plitvice national park
  • A tour for the Christmas story in Cazma
  • A visit to an outdoor thermal spa
  • The museum of broken relationships
  • Play an ice-hockey game
  • Skiing at Sjleme ski resort

Rovaniemi, Lapland

At Rovaniemi city, you stand to enjoy

  • A visit to the Ranua wildlife park
  • Ice fishing
  • A reindeer ride at Santa Claus village and see the real Santa
  • A Northern lights hunting tour
  • You can also visit the arctic science Centre and museums like the Korundi house of culture, Arktikum, and the science Centre Pilke

Manchester, England

The city of Manchester offers the following:

  • Skating at the ice rink
  • Shopping at the Manchester Christmas markets for gifts from different parts of the world
  • Elf the Musical at the Lowry
  • Enjoy a magical time at Dunham Massey, and the Curious Teepee

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg presents a beautiful Christmas experience that includes:

  • A stroll through the city streets tracking the history of the Silent Night carol, that was initially done here at Oberndorf
  • Exposure to local cultures like the “Salzburger Adventsingen
  • Visit a Perchtenlauf
  • A visit to the Salzburg Christmas markets
  • Go for skiing

Florence, Italy

These are some main attractions in Florence city during Christmas; best nativity scenes, lighting and Christmas trees, sample Florentine Christmas foods, Ice skating, Visit Florence Museums, Florentine Christmas markets like the Piazza Santa Croce, attend Christmas mass at Cathedral of Florence( Duomo), Ice skating at Florence winter park, Watch The Nutcracker at Teatro Della pergola.

Florence is a city where we’ve been twice and both times as part of a road trip. Read our post from our experience and include these ideas in your Christmas in Europe in Florence itinerary.

Tallinn, Estonia

In Tallinn you can expect the following during Christmas:

  • Skiing in the snow
  • Ice skating on a frozen lake
  • Enjoying your time in a sauna or spa
  • A visit to Tallinn Old town
  • The frozen Jagala waterfall
  • Traditional Estonian Christmas food

Visit the Christmas market in Tallinn town.

Christmas in Europe? Use These Resources

First of all make a note of our Travel Resources page here, with lots of links for services for your holidays/vacations in all world destinations.

If you are already in Europe and don’t mind driving from one country to another, then you can drive to your destinations?

In case you want to spend Christmas day in one city and New Year’s Eve in another then that is even better.

Driving in Europe

You may need an exclusive license on top of your driving one. You can either navigate using your car GPS or a smartphone app. In case your roaming service doesn’t charge you extra then you can use ViaMichelin website to plan your route and costs.

We have done that twice for two different road trips in Europe.

Cheap flights for Christmas in Europe

Do not let time pass without booking ahead! Book at least 4 to 5 months ahead.

That means that book in or before August. Otherwise, prices will start rising, and many European cities are not that cheap to travel into.

To be sure that you can find the best prices and travel options use Skyscanner and do subscribe for their price alerts.

You can also use this service for Fare Watch Alerts. And cross-check prices and timetables with Google Flights (double-check with Skyscanner for final booking).

Take the train in Europe

You can travel by train all over the world.

Europe is really “crawlable” via train, due to its extended railway network. This website is all you need to start planning your trip to Europe by train.

Book (way) ahead for Christmas markets in Europe

As usually if you book early then, you can get (better and cheaper) accommodation closer to the places of interest and where Christmas happenings are taking place.

Click here to check prices and accommodation in Booking.com.

Booking is a member of Priceline, Kayak, Agoda, RentalCars, and OpenTable so you can be sure you can utilize the whole network.

You can also use HotelsCombined.com

The website brings results from Booking, Expedia, Agoda, Hilton, Hoteltopia, Accor, and GetARoom. So, pretty much you get results from at least 80% of the accommodation market.

European Christmas Tours

With hundreds of Christmas in Europe related tours or any cultural and culinary tours, this is the website to have in mind for your Christmas trip.

Choose your city and adventure.

Moscow, Russia for Christmas markets in “Europe”?

Needs a special Visa but do consider being on Red Square of Moscow for New Year’s Eve. It is a crazy loud experience!

Read our post here (we were there in 2013).

Moscow New Years Eve 2013
Moscow New Years Eve 2013

Which is the best market for Christmas in Europe?

Well, no clear conclusion can be made. Our research showed the inevitable (and logical) outcome that the decision depends on what everyone wants.

Some people would love to do some Christmas markets “hopping” if they could, by visiting as many Christmas markets destinations as possible in Europe.

What an idea indeed, if you have the budget to spare!

What about you? Have you decided on the Christmas in Europe destination for your trip yet?

Let us know about Christmas experiences in Europe!

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