Home to some of the most magical places in the world, there’s no experience that rivals what spending Christmas in Europe is like.
If you’re considering leaving home altogether to experience the holiday season elsewhere, there’s no better place to do so than at destinations that take the spirit to the next level, and you’ll find plenty of those scattered all over the Old Continent.
Twinkling lights all over, streets that look like they came straight out of a storybook, and Christmas markets galore are just a few of the things that make spending Christmas in Europe a magical experience.
From the sparkling canopies of lights in London to a place that is said to be the real hometown of Santa, these are some of the best Christmas destinations in Europe to consider for your trip!
It may sound very Love, Actually, but spending Christmas in London is as magical as it gets.
Come December, the city becomes a Christmas wonderland of all sorts, be it through the millions of lights that create a glittering canopy over the streets, the magical scenes displayed in front of businesses, the many outdoor skating rinks that pop up all over, or the hundreds of holiday-inspired activities on offer.
The annual Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is a favorite for visitors and locals alike as it features a German-inspired Christmas market, a large outdoor skating ring, live music, and more.
Other activities loved in London at this time of the year include catching a holiday Christmas show at the theater, joining in the Christmas carolers at Trafalgar square, and more!
What better place to spend Christmas in than Santa’s official hometown?
If a little (okay, A LOT of) cold isn’t enough to scare you away, Rovaniemi is one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe and beyond. This place in Finland is located some 4 miles inside the Arctic Circle, providing an incredibly quintessential experience for those looking to have a white Christmas (and did we mention the Northern Lights are a guarantee here?!)
The town features a Santa Claus village, where you’ll find plenty of activities to experience what it takes for Santa and his elves to prepare for the big date.
Moreover, there are also plenty of activities in the snow to enjoy, including husky sledding, snowmobiling safaris, reindeer sleigh rides, ice skating, and much more!
The gateway to Germany’s Black Forest region and a gorgeous city in itself, Stuttgart in Germany is another amazing place to head to during the Christmas season.
Germans love celebrating Christmas, and being close to the Black Forest means you’ll get to experience the season inside a region that feels straight out of a fairytale.
Come late November, Stuttgart gets dotted by wonderful Christmas markets, enormous Christmas trees, and decorations all over. Aside from that, you can use the city as a base to explore the region a bit further.
Recommended places to visit include the town of Esslingen for all things medieval, Gengenbach for a dreamy and more local Christmas market, Tübingen for a chocolate festival, and Breitnau to attend a market that takes place under a gorge in the middle of the forest!
Home to the oldest Christmas market in Europe, medieval architecture that looks like it came from a painting, and a wonderful holiday-themed foodie scene, Dresden is another wonderful destination to consider for your Christmas escapade.
What’s best? Even though the city is now a very modern place, locals still stay true to their roots and traditions. An example of this is the fact that, instead of a Christmas tree, a Christmas pyramid is put up every year. The pyramid roots back to the folklore of the Ore Mountains in Germany and was a predecessor to the Christmas tree we use today!
Paris is dreamy year-round, but during the festive months, the City of Lights takes its name to a whole new level by turning itself into a wonderland of glimmering Christmas lights and ornaments meant to celebrate the season.
Christmas markets, coffee shops blanketed in original Christmas decor, ice skating rinks on iconic locations, and lights all over are all part of the recipe that makes celebrating the holidays in Paris the incredibly enchanting experience it is.
Among the many things to do, some of the best ones are found at Disneyland Paris (they put on a fabulous Christmas festival every year!). Taking a Christmas-themed cruise over the Seine river is also a must, as is checking out the lavish ornaments of Lafayette’s Paris Haussman.
Ice skating is an absolute dream here, with an ice skating rink set up right beneath the Eiffel Tower as well as other iconic locations throughout the city.
Towered by a castle and brimming with centuries-old architecture, Prague is simply magical at Christmastime.
Here, you’ll be able to gaze at beautiful Christmas trees at main landmarks (the Old Square, Wenceslas Square, and Náměstí Míru), check out a plethora of local Christmas markets to savor mulled wine in, go ice skating at the many temporary rinks all over the city, or attend holiday-themed concerts.
Prague also delivers on the sweet treats department, with tons of traditional goodies and desserts to try during the Christmas season. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t miss out on trying a Svarak, a Czech wine made out of apples instead of grapes!