Christmas in Europe: our top festive destinations

Our September blog focuses on the best European cities to visit ahead of Christmas. Here are our recommendations for travellers who want to embrace Europe’s winter weather and experience the magic of the festive season…

1. Rovaniemi, Finland

Finland is one of Europe’s ultimate pre-Christmas destinations, with plenty to offer visitors. The pristine wonderland plays host to a range of activities – from snowmobiling and skiing to trekking, ice fishing and husky safaris – and is also an ideal place to witness the humbling spectacle of the Northern Lights, due to minimal light pollution.

Wildlife lovers can explore Raunua Arctic Wildlife Park to spot polar bears, wolves, and lynx. For those travelling with young children, what could be more magical than a reindeer safari and visit to Santa Claus village?

Suggested itineraries: Our 7-night Lapland Winter Adventure  or our 4-night Christmas in Rovaniemi trip.

2. Nuremberg and Munich, Germany

Germany is the birthplace of the traditional Christmas market and we recommend Nuremberg’s world famous Christkindlesmarkt, with its stalls of festive decorations, culinary delights, and advent concerts.

Munich is also an excellent destination, with rustic Bavarian market stalls offering hand-crafted gifts and warming seasonal goodies such as gingerbread and mulled wine. As daylight fades, witness the majestic Neues Rathaus Christmas tree, illuminated by thousands of sparkling lights.

Suggested itinerary: Our 5-day Bavarian Christmas Markets tour.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s Christmas markets offer crafts, artisan gifts and festive treats in addition to Santa’s Grotto, ice skating, and panoramic views over the city from the Ferris wheel.

Beyond Christmas, visitors can experience the enchanting torchlight procession on 30th December and celebrate the New Year with a Hogmanay street party and spectacular firework display against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

Suggested itinerary: Our Edinburgh Christmas Markets trip.

4. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen’s cobbled streets – scented with spice and mulled wine – are ideal for romantic meandering, while the night skies and canals provide the perfect foil for glowing fairy lights.

Visit one of the city’s dedicated Christmas markets – at scenic Nyhavn Harbour, the Grey Hall, or Nytorv Square – or head to Tivoli Gardens to enjoy quaint fairground rides alongside stalls selling festive gifts and seasonal delicacies, such as iced cookies and sugar-encrusted pancake balls.

5. Zurich, Switzerland

We recommend visitors head to the heart of Zurich’s idyllic Old Town to experience a magical atmosphere at the city’s oldest Christmas market. Take in the cinnamon-scented air, twinkling lights, and advent carols before warming up with a rich Swiss hot chocolate or glühwein and feasting on raclette or fondue. Alternatively, the extensive Zürcher Christkindlimarkt is thought to be the largest indoor market in Europe.

Suggested itinerary: Our 4-day Swiss Christmas Markets tour combines Zurich with Geneva.

Three more European cities to consider this winter…

• Prague, Czech Republic – the fairytale city looks even more beautiful when decorated with fairy lights and a dusting of snow.
• Vienna, Austria – enjoy carol concerts, Christmas shopping, beautiful decorations, and delicious street food.
• Bruges, Belgium – chocolate shops, festive skating, and trees and gothic buildings strung with lights.

For a festive itinerary for your clients, please get in touch and speak to one of our European travel experts.

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