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This post is all about the Best Christmas Destinations Europe.

Best Christmas Destinations Europe

Winter is the season of pure joy with beautiful Christmas decorations, Christmas markets and incredible food.

Nowhere does Christmas markets better than Europe, making it the ultimate destination to visit for a weekend break, or longer, this holiday season.

Choose somewhere with incredible Christmas markets, or somewhere blanketed in snow to get that full winter wonderland experience, or if you are sick of the cold weather, you could book some flights abroad to a warmer destination to get some winter sunshine.

All of these choices are included in this Best Christmas Destinations In Europe list, so you can be sure that you will find the perfect place for you!

This post is the ultimate guide to Best Christmas Destinations Europe.

This blog post will cover:

How To Book Your Christmas Destination In Europe

Whether you are going for a weekend Christmas break or longer, you can find some incredible travel deals for Christmas, especially if you are looking to travel to a destination that isn't that popular in winter.

A company that I've personally used is Expedia. Expedia offers great flight and accommodation packages and by booking through them, you can save more than 15% on your hotel.

I managed to book a weekend break using Expedia to Amsterdam in December, and to Barcelona in November, and both times, it's worked out way cheaper than booking the flights and accommodation separately.

Another company I'd really recommend is loveholidays. Just like Expedia, they offer package deals, which include flights and accommodation. Loveholidays is more for sun and beach holidays, but they offer unbeatable prices and are ATOL protected, so you can rest assured that package holidays are financially protected.

See if you can get your own fantastic Christmas deal using one of the companies mentioned above!

Best Christmas Destinations Europe
Best Christmas Destinations Europe

11 Best Christmas Destinations In Europe

For One Of The Oldest Christmas Markets Visit Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is the capital city of the Grand Est region of France, and is located on the eastern border of France with Germany.

This city is an extremely popular one with over 10 million tourists flocking to visit it every year, 2 million of which visit purely for Christmas.

Strasbourg is one of Europe's most beautiful cities and when it comes to Christmas, it could be argued that it does it best. It features on practically every list of best Christmas destinations in Europe to visit (including this one!). Therefore, you can rest assured that this is an excellent choice to visit this Christmas.

It has gained the title of being the "Capital Of Christmas", due to its festive atmosphere, 30-metre tall Christmas tree and wonderful Christmas markets. The Christmas markets are amongst the oldest in Europe, dating back to 1570 and the one of the largest in Europe, with over 300 chalet stalls.

Strasbourg is also incredibly popular due to its UNESCO world heritage status. In fact, it was the first French city to gain this UNESCO title for a historical urban centre, rather than for a monument.

Strasbourg Christmas
Strasbourg Christmas

For The Ultimate Romantic Vibes Visit Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a beautiful city situated in Northern Belgium, and is only 1 hour and 20 minutes away from the capital city, Brussels.

Bruges is quaint, and totally charming! With its romantic vibes, it is the ultimate fairytale Christmas destination for couples.

December is arguably one of the best times to visit this city. As the temperature plummets, Bruges is transformed into a winter wonderland.

The city streets are decked out in Christmas decorations and fairy lights, and the markt in the centre of Bruges welcomes the best Christmas markets in Belgium, serving up buttery Belgian waffles and delicious hot chocolates.

You can also go ice-skating on the lake of love, cosy up on a horse-drawn carriage, wrap up warm for a canal cruise, or find a bar with an open fire to enjoy a Belgian beer.

A trip to Bruges for Christmas will be nothing short of magical! However, if you are going for more than the festive atmosphere, there is plenty to see and do as the historical centre of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site, steeped in history.

Bruges Christmas
Bruges Christmas

For A Winter Wonderland Visit Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg in Austria, looks like it is straight out of a Disney film, with a 900-year old fortress sitting proudly above the historical and architecturally beautiful city centre, and views over to the Eastern Alps.

Salzburg has a couple of claims to fame; the old town has a UNESCO World Heritage Status, the city was also the birthplace of the world-famous composer, Mozart, and was the filming location for the "The Sound Of Music".

December is a fantastic time to visit Salzburg as you can still do all the usual sightseeing, but the surrounding alps (and sometimes the city) is covered in snow, making it look like a proper winter wonderland.

The city's best known and oldest market takes place at the foot of the fortress, in the cathedral square, and has been mentioned as far back as the 15th century. There are also other smaller markets scattered around the city too.

The beautiful Christmas markets in the cathedral square are filled with wooden chalets draped in fairylights, selling delicious mulled wine amongst other things to help heat you up on a cold winters evening.

Salzburg Christmas
Salzburg Christmas

For A Magical Christmas Getaway Visit Frankfurt, Germany

Let's go back to the roots for this one, to where Christmas markets first originated... in Germany.

Frankfurt is a central German city, located on the river Main, and is a major financial European hub.

Frankfurt is a relatively modern city with skyscrapers, due to quite extensive bombing during WW2 and the city having to be rebuilt after the war. This makes it a bit different to the stereotypical European look.

During winter, Frankfurt really comes alive and is a great choice for a Christmas city weekend break. The city is home to one of the largest and oldest Christmas markets in all of Germany, with roots dating back all the way to the 14th century.

The Frankfurt Christmas markets are truly wonderful! They take place in the historical Römerberg, and in the surrounding streets and squares.

The markets have an incredible 30-metre high tree and over 240 stalls, selling all sorts of goods. There's also a beautiful backdrop of classic German buildings and the picturesque, St Paul's Church.

Frankfurt Christmas
Frankfurt Christmas

For A More Unique Christmas Visit Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the beautiful capital city of Estonia, and is one of the best preserved medieval walled cities in all of Europe, dating back to the 13th century.

Tallinn is steeped in history and culture, and with lovely cafes and shops, it is definitely worth a visit! One of the best ways to get to know this little city is by going on a free walking tour when you visit.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Tallinn as the historical buildings and cobblestones are covered in beautiful fairy lights and Christmas decorations, and there's also a 50/50 chance of snow.

The city is also home to a world-famous Christmas market, set right in the heart of the old town square.

The Christmas markets in Tallinn are by no means large, quite the contrary, they are more intimate and cosy. However, what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. As in 2019, it was voted the number 1 European Christmas Destination to visit.

The markets have over 60 wooden stalls selling unique products and delicious delicacies, and there's also a pop-up ice rink in the old town, where you go ice-skating.

Tallinn is a hidden gem and one of the more unique Christmas destinations in Europe to visit this festive season!

Tallinn Christmas
Tallinn Christmas

For A Budget-Friendly Christmas Destination Visit Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is Hungary's capital city, and it is one of the coolest destinations to visit in all of Europe.

The city is one-of-a-kind, being home to hot thermal baths, bustling ruin bars, incredible nightlife, and interesting murals. All very good reasons in their own right to visit this incredible city.

However, the list doesn't stop there. There is so much more to do in Budapest including visiting the wonderful Buda Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion, stepping inside the magnificent St Stephen's Bascilica, taking a tour round the breathing parliament building, and taking a cruise down the Danube River.

On the run up to Christmas, there's even more reason to visit Budapest. Their Christmas markets, which take place in front of the Bascilica, are amongst the best and most beautiful in Europe. They have even won the award for the "Best Christmas Markets In Europe" for 2020 and 2022.

This is a wonderful city to visit, year-round, and a fantastic choice if you are looking for a travel destination for you and your friends.

Budapest Christmas
Budapest Christmas

For A Fabulously Festive Christmas Visit Manchester, United Kingdom

Manchester is a cosmopolitan hub in Northwest England with incredible nightlife, an amazing shopping scene and a wealth of culture. It's a city which has so much to offer!

It has a central location in mainland UK, meaning it is easily accessible from other parts of England, Scotland and Wales. It also has its own airport so you can fly directly to the city from other parts of Europe.

This makes Manchester the perfect weekend city break option, not just for Christmas, but anytime of the year.

Manchester was the first city in the UK to have Christmas markets. They first arrived in the city in 1999 and were restricted to just one site in the city. A stark contrast to now. The markets are now sprawled over 9 sites in the city and are one of the biggest Christmas markets in the UK, attracting 9 million visitors each year.

With over 220 stalls offering everything from wonderful gifts to tasty food, it's guaranteed to leave you feeling in the Christmas spirit.

You can also go ice-skating, shop at the Trafford centre, see a Christmas show, or cruise down the canals. There's a lot of things that will keep you busy for Christmas in Manchester!

Manchester Christmas
Manchester Christmas

For An Unexpected Christmas Break Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia

When you think about a Christmas break, your first thought might not be Dubrovnik, but let me change your mind on why you should visit Dubrovnik for Christmas.

Dubrovnik is a beautiful city, no matter what time of year you visit! It is located on the coastline of southern Croatia, and is surrounded by the Adriatic sea. The city is very picturesque, and has even gained the title of being the "pearl of the Adriatic".

With its cobbled streets, red-tiled rooftops, incredible sunsets and intimate old town, Dubrovnik makes for the perfect romantic getaway.

However, Dubrovnik has also been voted as one of Europe's most overcrowded tourist destinations meaning that it might just be a little bit too busy to enjoy during the summer season.

Christmas is therefore the perfect time to visit Dubrovnik. Firstly, the city is less crowded than it is at other times of the year, and the temperature is still mild with highs of 14°C, which is probably a lot warmer than the majority of destinations of this list.

At this time of year, the city is decorated in beautiful Christmas lights making it even more romantic, and they even have their own Christmas markets, so you'll still get in the festive spirit.

Dubrovnik Christmas markets are some of the best in Croatia, taking place on the main street in the Old Town (Stradun), and feature handcrafted items from local craftsmen and women.

Additionally, Dubrovnik is great for sightseeing as there is lots to do and see, plus with their cosy restaurants and bars serving up delicious delicacies, you won't be stuck for things to do!

Dubrovnik Christmas
Dubrovnik Christmas

For Europe's Most Famous Christmas Markets Visit Prague, Czechia

Prague is the capital city of Czechia and year-round, it is a stunning city to visit. However, December is arguably the best and most memorable time to visit as the city really does come alive.

Prague's Christmas markets are among some of the most famous and most beautiful in Europe and regularly feature at the top of the "best European Christmas markets to visit" list.

The biggest Christmas market in Prague takes place in the Old Town Square and is packed with Christmas stalls. The Old Town Square is also home to a 19-metre high Christmas tree at this time of year.

To really appreciate the extent of the festivities, you should climb the Old Town Hall Tower for an incredible view over the Old Town Square.

There are also Christmas markets at the castle in Prague, Wenceslas Square Market, Námêsti Republiky Square Market and Havel Market. With so many Christmas markets, you can be sure to find the perfect, unique gift for that special someone!

Also, whilst you're in Prague, make sure you try a Trdelník. It's a Czech circle-shaped pastry, and you can get lots of tasty fillings inside, including Nutella and caramel. It's delicious!

Prague Christmas
Prague Christmas

For The Most Magical Family Holiday Visit Lapland, Finland

Rovaniemi, located on the Arctic Circle, is the capital of Lapland in Northern Finland.

Rovaniemi is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime dream bucket list destination for families. It is the definition of a Winter Wonderland as the city is caked in snow for half the year.

It is the official hometown of the Santa Claus Village, where you can meet and get a photo with Santa Claus. You can even send a Christmas card all the way from Santa Claus' main post office.  

Other incredible bucket list things you can do in Rovaniemi include going on a snowmobile safari, a husky sled ride, or go reindeer sledding. If you are lucky, you might even get to the Northern Lights!

It is very pricey, especially at Christmas, if you want to do all of the activities and stay in really nice accommodation. However, it is guaranteed to be a trip that will leave you and your family with memories for years to come!

Rovaniemi Christmas
Rovaniemi Christmas

For Warmer Weather Visit The Canary Islands, Spain

Winter weather is not everyones cup of tea, so if you're looking to escape for some much-needed sunshine, then going to the Canary Islands in December might be exactly what you are looking for!

The Canary Islands are a group of 7 Spanish islands located off the the coast of Northwestern Africa. The most well-known and easiest to get to islands are Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura.

In December, Tenerife and Lanzarote enjoy highs of 21°C, Fuerteventura has highs of 19°C and Gran Canaria has highs of 17°C. Low temperatures for these islands in December will rarely go below 10°C.

Spend your days sunbathing on the beach or enjoy drinks by the pool bar, either way it will surely be a different winter than you've ever experienced before.

It's also quite common to see nativity scenes on the Canary Islands on the run up to Christmas, so you won't totally forget about the festive season!

Canary Islands Christmas
Canary Islands Christmas

This post is your ultimate guide to the Best Christmas Destinations In Europe.

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Kirsty x

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