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Celebrating Christmas in Europe is a dream for many. European cities are synonymous with white snow, age-old traditions, fabulous choirs at Gothic churches, and medieval squares filled by festive Christmas stalls.
Some European cities celebrate this festival in grandeur while others follow their traditional customs. If you wish to spend your Christmas in Europe, then we bring you the cities that are finest during this time of the year.
So, where to go in Europe for Christmas? Read down below!
Table of Contents
- 1 Christmas in Europe: Top 15 Ideas for Christmas Holidays
- 1.1 Zagreb, Croatia
- 1.2 Strasbourg, France
- 1.3 Aachen, Germany
- 1.4 Vienna, Austria
- 1.5 Dresden, Germany
- 1.6 Tallinn, Estonia
- 1.7 Prague, Czech Republic
- 1.8 Budapest, Hungary
- 1.9 Brussels, Belgium
- 1.10 Graz, Austria
- 1.11 Helsinki, Finland
- 1.12 Rovaniemi, Lapland
- 1.13 Stockholm, Sweden
- 1.14 Bruges, Belgium
- 1.15 Paris, France
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Christmas in Europe: Top 15 Ideas for Christmas Holidays
Zagreb in Croatia has been voted the best city to celebrate Christmas two years in a row. During this time of the year, every nook and corner of the city is adorned with decorations, stalls, and open-air entertainment.
The festive entertainments are the ones that take away the breadth of the tourists. Live music and open DJ all day every day is something that uplifts everyone’s festive spirit.
Traditional delicacies line up the streets and you can even opt for themed entertainment.
Strasbourg is one of the oldest Christmas markets operating in France. This place can be cited as the best winter tourist destination.
During Christmas, the mighty cathedral is surrounded by more than 300 traditional stalls that are packed with ornaments for decorating Christmas tree, lovely Nativity figurines, seasonal delicacies, and their very special mulled wine.
The continuous waves of carol singing will lift your Christmas spirit to a new level. And who can resist the temptation to jump into ice skating?
Read also: Castles in France
Every year during Christmas, the area around the Cathedral and Town Hall in Aachen, Germany is perfused with festivities. The entire city is transformed into a small paradise of colors and lights, twinkling festivity sounds, and salivating smells.
If you are a culinary enthusiast, you will love this place. Throughout the festival season, stalls of traditional delicacies, such as Potato fritters, Printen, Christmas cakes and biscuits, line up the streets. You will even find some very pretty art and craft items at the colorful stalls.
Every year this place witnesses more than 1.5 million visitors who come to enjoy the festival.
Vienna in Austria is known for the grace and elegance that it puts into while celebrating Christmas. It feels like magic if you are in Vienna at this time of the year.
The streets and plazas are filled with sparkling Christmas stalls, cafes with traditional delicacies, and twinkling lights adorning the city’s magnificent architecture.
You can indulge in freshly baked condiments at Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt, try your hand (or feet) at ice skating in Rathausplatz, visit the Snow Globe Museum, or be a part of the legendary Christmas concerts.
If you’re interested in visiting on some other season, make sure to read this useful post about when to visit Vienna!
Related read: Castles in Austria
When you step into Dresden in Germany during the festival season, a strong scent of mulled wine will hit you right away. Then slowly the happy Christmas music will flow towards you spreading joy. Next thing you know, twinkling lights will light up your life! Yes, this is what the markets of Dresden feel like during Christmas.
It’s worth experiencing the hustle-bustle of the markets and the traditional Saxon treats. This year, the city will be celebrating its 583rd Dresden Striezelmarkt.
Their yearly Christmas celebrations have earned them the reputation of being one of the most cheerful and treasured Christmas markets in all of Europe.
The pretty twinkling stalls are filled with handcrafted artisanal goods and traditional delicacies. Mini zoos with adorable animals keep the kids busy while the elders can go about their shopping sprees. Tallinn feels like pure magic during Christmas.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague in the Czech Republic gives the impression of a Gothic fairyland during Christmas. The grandeur architecture of the city provides the perfect and most elegant background for this lively festival that is filled with the scents of mulled wine, colorful stalls, and the decorations.
The Prague Christmas Market is topped up with cute wooden huts jam-packed with traditional delicacies like freshly baked pastries and hams, craft items made out by artisans, and beautiful Christmas tree ornaments.
The entire city is lit up by lights, music, and nativity scenes, the true spirit of Christmas.
This will be a unique experience for you. The grandeur plaza located at the heart of Budapest transforms into a festive space filled with wooden stalls, traditional delicacies, and stages for local entertainment.
If you are a foodie, it is recommended that you try the honey cookies made out of traditional Budapest recipes, cinnamon, and the scintillating mulled wine.
The fragrance of these food stalls will automatically lure you into the market square.
The market is jam-packed with cute little stalls that offer traditional craft items and delicacies, a festive ground with merry-go-rounds, and an ice rink for some skating.
But what takes away the breadth is the gigantic Christmas tree surrounded by the light and sound show. One of the best places to spend your Christmas holidays.
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Graz in Austria will leave you enchanted during the time of Christmas. The markets, especially, look dazzling against the backdrop of the city’s glimmering festive lights.
The markets buzz with traditional stalls of artisan-made products, freshly-baked condiments, and local delicacies.
A very famous local drink, the Feuerzangenbowle, comes very handy in the biting cold. Even there is something for the kids as well in the form of the carousel.
Related post: Castles in Austria
Snow arrives right at the time for Christmas in this Finnish city covering vast swathes of the city in white and creating a perfect cozy festive ambiance. Helsinki‘s Aleksanterinkatu, the main street of the city is lined with decorative lights that add to the Christmas spirit.
Moreover, the hustle-bustle of the traders and artisans in the markets accents the festive celebrations. Their traditional drink, Glögi, is served around with warm amiability. The Ice Park has recently become popular among tourists and locals alike for ice skating.
They also follow the traditional rituals of celebrating St. Lucia Day and The Tiernapojat tradition. The stalls offer handicrafts, decorations for Christmas, beautiful lanterns, traditional delicacies, and hot drinks.
Rovaniemi, the capital city of Lapland, witnesses snow 6 months of the year making this place an ideal landscape for Christmas celebrations.
The main attraction of this city during the winter months is the Santa Claus village, which means it is Christmas all around the year in Rovaniemi.
They hold exhibitions depicting the spirit and tradition of Christmas and that of Santa Claus. You can even take part in exhibitions for exquisite handicrafts.
And if you pay a visit to the forest of the Elves, you will even get a glimpse of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh through the forest.
You can just visit the Old Town’s Christmas Markets, have some gingerbread and glögg, and go shopping for artisanal products under the starry decorations that spread throughout the city. Little red stalls will definitely grab your attention and are a must-visit.
They offer traditional sweets, reindeer meat, smoked sausages, and elk meat along with many other Christmas specialties.
Related post: Palaces in Sweden
Bruges in Belgium buzzes with the festive cheer of Christmas and definitely takes you down the memory lane by helping you to experience the warm Christmassy feeling like when you were a kid.
The salivating scent of warm, freshly baked waffles fill the streets of Bruges and the twinkling fairy lights all over the majestic buildings make Christmas seem like a fairytale.
The white snow adds the perfect backdrop to the celebrations and festivities. You can even hop aboard a carriage driven by horses to take a tour of this beautiful Christmas-loving city.
Paris in France, the city that brings alive the art, fashion, and gastronomy cultures, is another dazzling destination for Christmas in Europe. The popular market buzz with shopping events at this time of the year.
The markets are jam-packed with cute chalets that accent the Christmas atmosphere. You will be awed by the diverse Christmas decorations and art products available at these markets.
When it comes to food, the typical French cheese, wine, and champagne are proudly featured in the gourmet market. And the glittering view of the city at night will definitely give you some unforgettable memories.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.