Looking to enjoy a magical Christmas in Europe this year? Explore the 15 best places to spend Christmas in Europe for a picture-perfect getaway sure to give you those child-like butterflies!
Christmas is not just a date, it is also the atmosphere of a tale that you were told as a child; the anticipation of a miracle, the beard of Santa and the snowflakes whirling around. It is to revive the child in you and re-discover the magic of Christmas that one must head to Europe in December, the best continent to celebrate Christmas, and its many stunning places to spend Christmas in Europe.
Discover the 15 best places to spend Christmas in Europe with the lights twinkling, colder weather, wonderful Christmas markets and more.
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15 Best Places to Spend Christmas in Europe
Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
If you are on the hunt for the most picturesque winter wonderland of Christmas destinations in Europe then Lapland is for you! Located in Finland’s northernmost part Lapland is a stunning region and a very popular winter travel destination for travellers from all around the world. Even better the city of Rovaniemi in Lapland is actually known as Santa’s official hometown! Here you can enjoy sleigh rides, fresh cookies, and you can even meet Santa and Mrs. Calus themselves.
Feel the festivities among the vibrant town or venture into the wilderness. Soak in the snow-draped trees and maybe catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Innsbruck is a charming and welcoming city in Austria to enjoy Christmas in Europe. The scenic snow-capped mountains, twinkling lights and warm Christmas market are something to be admired. The market in the old town features plenty of Christmas specialties from gingerbread cookies to mulled wine and more. You can also find some handmade gifts perfect for gifting to special families and friends.
Colmar is one of the most beautiful cities in France during every season, and during the Christmas season, this beauty is only amplified. The town’s 13-century old town is brimming with Christmas spirit amongst its festive lights, Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. It is hard to ignore the festive feelings here and will almost have you feeling like you’ve stepped into a fairytale! Christmas in Europe doesn’t get much better than in Colmar.
Prague, Czech Republic
The magical beauty of Prague is only amplified during the Christmas season where the spectacular old town charm is decked out in holiday decorations and events. Prague is one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe if you are seekings many things to do, see and enjoy! Here you will find some of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets featuring mulled wine, fresh trdelnick, and much more.
Budapest is one of the most magical places to visit year-round. During the Christmas season, you can enjoy this stunning destination with the spark of Christmas cheer! All around the city you can find Christmas decor and bright lights amplifying the Christmas Spirit. Plus, Budapest has an amazing Christmas market that is full of local goods and traditional Christmas treats.
Saint Moritz, Switzerland
One of the best places to mark the beginning of the Christmas holiday is Saint Moritz. The ski resort is one of the best places to ski in Europe, and at Christmas, it offers one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe. Here you can not just see Christmas all around you, in snow-blanketed wooden chalets, ice paths, and town buildings but also taste it by eating Swiss cheese or drinking mulled wine, one of the surest recipes to bring the child in you back to life.
Another great spot to celebrate Christmas is Courchevel. This one-of-its-kind skiing destination is usually visited for its scenic terraces, luxurious accommodation, great food, and zippy skiing pistes. During the Christmas season, it acquires a special charm making it one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe, with its prized festive atmosphere.
Another reason to visit Courchevel at Christmas is Millet Ski Touring: one of the best vertical races on Earth, starting at Christmas. Grab your skiing gear and winter jumpers and head to Courchevel to compete with fellow ski lovers and enjoy the wintery magic of its many scenic chalets.
One of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe is Grindelwald. This small village already looks like it is straight from a fairytale and during the Christmas season the atmosphere is buzzing. Walking around admiring the picturesque houses, snowcapped mountains and bright Christmas lights is a must. You can also stop in for some hot chocolate or mulled wine at one of the many Christmas market stands.
One of the most places to spend Christmas in Europe is in Munich. The capital of Bavaria is not only one of the world’s best places to drink beer and eat German meat products but also to celebrate Christmas. The market at Marienplatz, dating back to the 14th century, is a great place to meet locals and celebrate the spirit of Christmas.
One of the most overlooked destinations for Christmas in Europe is Estonia. The medieval architecture mixed with Christmas markets makes its festive Christmas spirit one of the world’s most enchanting. If you head to Estonia, travel to Tartu, the Christmas capital of Estonia, on whose main square it is not just a Christmas market, but also bonfires, an ice rink and even birds and animals. Explore Tartu, to marvel at how beautiful a Christmas can be.
Note that Estonia is one of the best European Christmas markets destinations to visit on a budget with a long holiday setting you back as much as a day at more upscale destinations such as Courchevel or Saint Moritz
Travel to Geneva, the Alpine capital of Switzerland to marvel at its natural miracles such as Lac de Geneve and Mont-Blanc mountain towering over the city. Prepare to fall in love with the scenic old town complete with perfect Christmas dining establishments and its own Christmas markets.
Not only can you find one on Rue de Mont-Blanc, selling the usual attributes of Christmas: trinkets, locally baked treats and vin chaud. But also others at Marche de la Fusterie and in Parc des Bastion, known for its fondu made from world-famed Swiss cheese, an ice rink and a carousel, making it a great choice to visit European Christmas markets with kids.
Paris offers one of the best Christmas in Europe experiences. There are various Christmas markets strewn around the city, in almost all of the arrondissements. Here you can buy presents of all kinds for all the elves, deer, and Santa himself to keep going all year round, head to La Magie De Noel at Tuilleries Gardens, with over 100 stalls selling gifts of all kinds.
If you want something cozier and more scenic, go to Marche de Noel at Notre Dame. The market is known for its unique romantic atmosphere sitting right at the base of Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris. All in all, Paris offers markets that can satisfy the most jaded of shoppers and can make your Christmasy anticipation of something miraculous last forever.
One of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe is Rome, Italy. The architectural capital of the world offers its one of kind Christmas market at Piazza Navona, a picturesque spot in Rome’s city center. It is not just goods that make it one of the best European Christmas markets, it is also the unique atmosphere of a feast that pulls travellers from all over the world here. Take pleasure in the singing of street musicians, the gaudiness of the sellers’ clothing, and the characteristic flamboyance of a Roman Christmas.
Travel to Lugano to celebrate Christmas not only on skis but also close to one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, Lugano Lake. On its shores is located one of the prettiest European Christmas markets, Lugano Christmas Market. It is set in a beautifully decorated area of the city and offers not only trinkets of all kinds but also mulled wine, and cheese, to make your Christmas not only delicious but also truly Swiss. Also, note that Swiss European Christmas markets are known for especially boisterous Santas, elves and deers so don’t forget to partake of this all-encompassing joviality.
What can be more Christmas-like than the innumerable selling rows of Harrods or the pizzaz of Oxford Street boutiques? London offers one of the best Christmas’ in Europe.
One of the best things to do in Europe in London is enjoying the many Christmas markets. Especially worth a visit is Southbank Center Winter Market. Set in a highly photogenic location it offers great cheese-based foods and all kinds of magical stocking fillers. Head here alone or with friends and you are guaranteed tons of good mood and Christmas charm. Other London European Christmas markets include Leicester Square Christmas Market and Greenwich Christmas market.
Note that at Christmas the whole of London often feels like one big Christmas fair, with almost ubiquitous Santas waking child in each and every heart.
Europe is a great place to celebrate Christmas, a holiday all Europeans love. Christmas in Europe is widely celebrated and a time for people to come together and be thankful for the year that has passed.
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Sarah McDonald says
Great list! I like the inclusion of Estonia, it looks absolutely beautiful.
I met my partner on Christmas eve’s eve in Estonia in 2016! I might be partial but seems like a great place to spend Christmas in Europe.