With the snowfall covering the rooftops, Christmas conifers up for sale, the taste of cinnamon and gingerbreads in the air, and the hustle and bustle of the best Christmas markets in Europe, it’s undoubtedly going to be a grand show. And for those who cannot help but be a part of these mega celebrations, get going to these best places to spend Christmas in Europe that will add magic to your winter holiday! There is a long list of fantastic European destinations to choose from, but these are the best.
Located in France’s Alsace region, Strasbourg boasts the oldest Christmas market in the country and is well-known as a top Christmas town across the globe. It’s got everything you need for a charming holiday destination, from a beautiful Gothic cathedral to a UNESCO-listed Old Town and elaborate displays that adorn the city’s half-timbered houses. Head to the Main Square to see it packed full of wooden huts selling Nativity figurines and tree ornaments, then simply stroll through the picturesque cobbled streets to see traditional boutiques and restaurants serving hearty traditional meals.
Switzerland and Christmas are synonyms. Such is the culture of this astounding festival in Basel. Being one of the best Christmas getaways in Europe, a winter vacation is inevitable once you visit this city. The magic of snowy alps and festive markets overpowers the city. The finest Christmas market out of all of them is Münsterplatz Christmas Market. Approximately, 180 vendors are selling handmade Christmas gifts, candles, wooden toys, and so much more.
Vienna is an alluring destination throughout the year with its legendary cafe culture and old-world charm, but during the holidays, it shines bright with its array of elegant Christmas markets. Head to Viennese Christkindlmarkts to smell the scent of sausages and hot chestnuts that mark the season. Alt Wiener Weihnachtsmarkt is a favorite for its handcrafted ceramics and toys, the Snow Globe Museum is a hit for all ages, and the Rathausplatz is perfect for ice skating, while those looking for a dose of culture can snag tickets to a classical opera.
The debate about the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe is an ever-lasting one. While that goes on, we look at Heidelberg – an adorable university town. There are several amazing Christmas markets located near the charming Heidelberg Castle. Ride the funicular or cable-driven cars to go up the hill and explore the castle. The views from up top of the entire town are not to be missed.
Tallinn’s Christmas Market is said to be one of Europe’s most charming and authentic, as you’ll find a collection of stalls selling woolly hats and hand-carved wooden ornaments. One of Europe’s most underrated destinations, you can explore the UNESCO-protected medieval Old Town to soak up the fairytale atmosphere that is especially charming in the winter, then visit the Town Hall Square. Snap photos of the pastel-colored facades and old-world street lamps, then sit back and admire the towering Christmas tree sitting against a backdrop of fresh snow.
Florence, the beautiful Italian city, turns more stunning during Christmas. Decorated with lights and Christmas trees, public places like cafes and piazzas welcome guests with the warmth of this festival. You would fall in love with the skyline of the city, dominated by ancient cathedrals that are decorated with lights. Christmas markets are also a part of the celebrations. Indeed, Florence is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe.
Vilnius is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe, featuring a UNESCO-listed Old Town and cobblestone streets that lead to beautiful churches, monasteries, and palaces. It’s also one of the best places to visit in Europe for Christmas, where you can marvel at festive window displays and pick up locally made gifts at its fairytale-like Christmas market.
Its photogenic Christmas tree set in Cathedral Square is usually a complex design rather than a traditional ornament, while an ice rink will be set up in Lukiškės Prison 2.0, which was the yard of a prison turned cultural hub. Active travelers can dress up and join the annual Christmas Run, while all travelers can delight in the city’s thriving food scene that offers everything from Michelin-star dining to traditional cuisines.
You would not need to think again about where to spend Christmas day in Europe if you are considering Edinburgh as your first option. Christmas time oozes magic into the air of this Scottish capital. Festival lights illuminate the streets of the city, and Christmas markets warmly invite locals and travelers alike. But the rides at the Princes Street Gardens are one of the major highlights.
Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
There is no Christmas without Santa Claus, and if you don’t want to wait for him to come to you, why not go to his house instead? His official hometown is Rovaniemi, located just north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. It’s a fantastic destination for people of all ages, and you’ll be able to enjoy meeting the man himself in this spectacular winter wonderland of deep snow and pine forests. There are husky-dog rides and reindeer safaris, and you can even stay the night in an ice hotel. Made entirely of snow and ice, hot tubs and saunas help to offset the frigid temperatures.
Those who are planning to spend their Christmas holidays in Europe with one of the best music and entertaining scenes must head towards Madeira in Portugal. The moment the streets of Funchal are lit up with decorative lights, everybody in the city turns on their festive mood and becomes a vital part of the cultural, artistic, and religious programs that is probably the most unusual Christmas celebration in Europe.
The new year is here, and festivities are just around the corner. And when it comes to grand celebrations, all we could think of was which of these would be the best places to spend Christmas in Europe? This holiday season, pack your bags and festive spirit and enjoy a cheery holiday at one of these top destinations in Europe for Christmas.