Just a little bit left until the most magical and fairytale holiday in the year. The aroma of almond and cinnamon, flashing lights, street orchestras, wooden houses, cute souvenirs, and glitter create a magical Christmas spirit everywhere. The beautiful cities in Europe in December – as gifts in Santa’s bag. I chose the ones for the top 10 European destinations to celebrate Christmas.
#1 FINLAND, ROVANIEMI (LAPLAND)
Rovaniemi is full of entertainment, and the main ones are the northern lights, a walk over the Arctic Circle and a meeting with Santa Claus. ALL FOR FREE! Be ready that if you want to shake Yolupukki’s hand, you have to get bored in the queue, but after you’ll be shown live o on the Santa Claus YouTube channel. The gray-haired old man keeps up with the times 😀
For an extra cost, you can ride a snowmobile, team with husky or reindeer, get training at the School of the Dwarfs and have fun with children in Santa Park. About one hour from Rovaniemi is one of the most northern zoos in the world. Check more tours here.
#2 THE CZECH REPUBLIC, PRAGUE
Nothing transforms Prague more than the expectation of Christmas. Outside smells like roasted chestnuts, and light snow on roofs looks more like powdered sugar. Go for a walk to the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square: they are decorated with the most beautiful and noisy fairs. Shopping is great on the main shopping street Prshikop, and for the author’s gifts from Czech masters, you should look into the gallery Manes.
If you want to see more, check the most popular tours in Prague.
Only 3 hours away is the tiny medieval Cesky Krumlov city with its gingerbread houses, bridges, and a real castle.
The weather in Prague at the end of December is good: in the daytime it can be slightly above 0 ° С, at night it can be up to –5 ° С, but it not always snowing at that time.
#3 GERMANY, MUNICH
Munich is many years top European destinations to celebrate Christmas. In the evening, when 2500 lights light up on a 30-meter tree, it becomes obvious: magic came to Munich. Here, on the Marienplatz is the main Christmas fair. Until the New Year, the Tollwood Music and Theater Festival takes place, but the tickets are quickly dismantled. At the exit from the Old Town take the Christmas tram with mulled wine, gingerbread, and music inside.
There are so many things to do in Munich, check tours here.
From Munich, you can go to Nuremberg – the birthplace of the Nutcracker. Another fabulous place that is easily accessible from Munich is Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
#4 FRANCE, STRASBOURG
Strasbourg is rightly called the Christmas capital of Europe. The first Christmas fair in Strasbourg staged back in 1570. In the pre-Christmas time, more than ten fairs are scattered in the squares, houses and shops are decorated with live fir branches, painted balls, and soft toys.
There are also very cool 2-hour tours in the city by Segway. Check here.
A giant Christmas tree is planted in Place Kleber close to the “Sharing Village”, an ice skating rink at the foot of the cathedral will delight the children and their parents.
#5 SWITZERLAND, ZURICH
Zurich knows how to meet guests. From the first step in the building of the main station, you are waiting by the largest in Europe Christmas market and dazzling spruce, covered with Swarovski crystals. Also, it’s impossible to miss the Verdmühplatz fair: every day the choir sings Christmas carols near a huge Christmas tree.
Christmas comes to Zurich when 12 thousand lights, similar to shooting stars, light up over Bahnhofstrasse. On the Buerkliplatz, everyone could make candles with their own hands, and the Winter Circus Salto Natale has been giving performances for over 30 years. More tours check here.
From Zurich Main Station, you can reach Rapperswil-Jona in 40 minutes to climb the hill with the medieval castle and panoramic views of Lake Zurich and the mountains.
#6 ENGLAND, LONDON
Do not forget to visit the main Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square: there, as in the cathedrals, you can listen to Christmas carols. And the most unusual memory of winter will be dinner in the dining room of Hogwarts or a cruise on the Thames with Santa. More cool tours check here.
If you want to get out of London, go to the Cotswold Hills, where for almost three hundred years nothing has happened. Here you can endlessly enjoy the idyllic landscapes and toy houses.
#7 AUSTRIA, SALZBURG
Austria’s main Christmas destination is Vienna , but this year Salzburg is definitely not worse. Not only Mozart was born in the musical capital, but also Joseph Mor, the author of the world’s main Christmas song Silent Night, Holy Night, which will turn 200 years on December 24th.
The most magnificent fair of Salzburg attracts smells of hot baking and spicy punch at the Cathedral church. Join the processions of Krampus and Bakhtov – furry devils with huge horns that punish the naughty.
You can go also to Vienna. This city is transformed when festive fairs grow in the squares and streets. The main one is located at the Town Hall, here the “Vienna Ice Dream” is flooded – a 3,000 m² skating rink with music and illuminations.
You can check more tours from Salzburg here.
#8 BELGIUM, BRUGES
In Bruges, it’s easy to feel happy – and it’s not just that here you’ll be eating chocolate in kilograms. It is nice to look at the cute little things at the fair and not think about anything bad. If you suddenly freeze, sit with a mug of famous beer in a bar, or stir tiny candies in a giant cup of milk to taste the most delicious hot chocolate in your life.
There are some interesting tours with locals, you can check here.
From Bruges go to Ghent. Therefore, there will be fewer people here than in Bruges, and medieval charm as well. Get lost on the old streets, go to the fair and try the “Gents noses” – fruit candies that are sold only in Belgium.
#9 HUNGARY, BUDAPEST
To feel the atmosphere of Christmas Budapest is very simple – go to the spicy smell of baking and you will find yourself in the square of Vorosmarty, in the heart of the city, where the giant fair takes place. Here you can taste fragrant a roll with cinnamon, and also listen to an evening concert. If you want to add luxury glance – look at the coffee in Gerbaux, one of the most famous cafes in the world.
And for sure you have to visit the Szechenyi SPA – the largest public bath! Check more option here.
A half-hour drive from Budapest, you will be greeted by the tiny city of Eger. In winter, its baroque buildings seem even more beautiful, and its thermal springs are even warmer.
#10 CYPRUS, NICOSIA
The capital Nicosia maybe doesn’t have snow during Christmas, but it is, of course, a festive place to be with warm family traditions, special and interesting customs, many events for all and delicious tastes.
The Fairyland Christmas Fair in Nicosia opens its doors to visitors with access to 15,000 square meters of Christmas spirit. The fair offers many interesting events for adults and children and presents concerts of popular Greek and Cypriot singers.
During holidays you have a great opportunity to rent a car (left-hand traffic) and visit fabulous Christmas cities as Limassol, Paphos or Larnaca. And another option to take some tours, check here.
READ ALSO: “WINTER HOLIDAYS IN CYPRUS“
In addition, if you wish to make a day trip to the Troodos Mountains in winter, you can even go skiing or snowboarding on one of the four ski slopes, and also feel the almost Tyrolean atmosphere of mountain villages.
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