Thereupon the fireplace, Santa Claus won’t make ‘em happy! With the joy of ringing bells, Christmas in Europe will make ‘em go sappy!!
Inching closer towards the year-end, one can’t suppress the desire to revel in the grand celebrations at the romantic European cities for Christmas holidays. December is the time when the entire Europe is coated with best Christmas markets and thick layers of snow and looks prettier than ever.
While Christmas makes for the perfect topping to end the year on a high, a European Christmas vacation presents all the reasons to celebrate moments amidst cheers, crackers, and chaos! Go partying hard in the pubs of Amsterdam, take a romantic ride with your partner in Prague, or stay in a glass igloo – European cities offer you Christmas celebrations in the most incredible manner ever!
12 Things To Do While Celebrating Christmas In Europe
Let us take you through the alleys of best European cities where the warm aroma of gingerbread and the fragrance of Christmas tree mark the beginning of month-long festivities. Each city has its unique flavor and you can start exploring activities during the month!
- Reykjavik, Iceland: A True Celebration Of The Festival
- Tromso, Norway: Glorious Holiday Celebrations
- Lapland, Finland: Eat The Mighty Feast
- Tallinn, Estonia: Enter The Wonderland
- Krakow, Poland: Indulge In The City’s Glitter
- Prague, Czech Republic: Explore The City’s Charm
- Cologne, Germany: Soak In The Festive Essence
- Copenhagen, Denmark: Shop Loads Of Goodies
- Innsbruck, Austria: Visit The Markets
- Gressoney Saint Jean, Italian Alps: Enjoy The Breathtaking Views
- Zagreb, Croatia: Live The Unique Experience
- Budapest, Hungary: Celebrate The Winter Festival
1. Reykjavik, Iceland: A True Celebration Of The Festival
Don’t get deceived by the size of this thinly populated island nation, Iceland erupts with joy and bonhomie during Christmas. Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland has become a leading Christmas destination and looks straight out of a frame.
Highlights of Christmas in Reykjavik:
- Lighting of Oslo Christmas tree: a tradition that has been in practice for decades and marks the beginning of Christmas holiday preparations.
- Christmas creatures at Reykjavik art museum, Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, and City Hall. They remain there until the Christmas festivities, narrating Icelandic folklore and making Christmas holiday memorable.
- Winter Woods Wonderland at City Hall officially opens in December. The centerpiece is neatly placed among trees and one can also find Christmas creatures there.
2. Tromso, Norway: Glorious Holiday Celebrations
Northern Lights have glorified Tromso in front of the world, but the happening city also gives people ample reasons to await Christmas glitz, which puts Tromso among the top Christmas holiday destination in Europe.
Plenty of outdoor activities, nightlife, and amazing local food make Tromso one of the perfect places to plan your Christmas in Europe.
Highlights of Christmas in Tromso: Spectacularly decked up downtown, beautiful Christmas market, and live concerts are just perfect to bask in the festivities.
Find the details of the events here.
Club your Christmas holiday tour with some of the popular attractions in Tromso like Northern Lights chases, whale watching safaris, photo safaris and excursions in the surrounding scenic landscape and make it a trip of a lifetime.
3. Lapland, Finland: Eat The Mighty Feast
Evocative evenings shimmering on the spotless sheet of snow define a fairy tale Christmas holiday in Lapland- popularly known as the village of Santa. The highlight of the town is its spirited atmosphere, picturesque locale lit by stars and ice lanterns. Countryside cottages in this quaint village of Finland make for the perfect place to jazz up the Rovaniemi Christmas in Europe.
Food being one of the highlights of the festivity leaves its lasting taste and feel. Some of the popular dishes of the Christmas season are pork roast, casseroles, rice puddings, and a variety of fish. Amidst the merriment and celebrations, Christmas carols are sung, goodwill gestures are exchanged, and finally, people call it a day with a relaxing sauna.
Highlights of Christmas in Lapland:
- Munch on Gingerbread, sip on Glögi – a spicy mulled wine, and experience wood-fired sauna.
- Lanterns made up of snowballs popularly known as ice lanterns are widely used as a decorative is the perfect mood uplifter.
- Christmas mass at midnight, which is quite a Finnish thing!
Suggested Read: 11 Bewitching Places Of The World Where The Sun Never Sets
4. Tallinn, Estonia: Enter The Wonderland
Tallinn is an ancient city epitomized by rustic charm and enchanting decoration. Walking past the medieval structures and streets of Tallinn in Estonia, one gets a feeling of having entered the wonderland.
Considered as one of the best European cities for Christmas celebration, Tallinn’s key attraction is its Victorian Christmas market.
Highlights of Christmas in Tallinn:
- Feast on popular delicacies like roasted pork, sauerkraut, blood sausages, gingerbread, marzipan, and local honey.
- Christmas market, which was opened on 18 November 2016 and will remain open until 7 January 2017: Timings are 10 am to 7 pm (every day).
Interestingly, Tallinn happens to be the home to the world’s first Christmas tree, which was erected in Tallinn’s Town Hall Square when the ritual began in 1441.
5. Krakow, Poland: Indulge In The City’s Glitter
The mystic city of Krakow looks more adorable as Christmas in Europe closes in. With a fresh dash of snow all over the place, imposing Gothic churches and Baroque palaces, the typical charm of the picturesque city is just perfect.
Architectural marvels of the town, age-old traditions, glittering Christmas trees and carols everywhere make Krakow one of the popular places to spend Christmas holidays in Europe. This Christmas celebrate it the Polish way and get the real feel of white Christmas in Europe at its best.
Highlights of Christmas in Krakow:
- Watch out for the yearly contest called Krakow Christmas cribs held on the first Thursday of December at city’s central Grand Square.
- Christmas markets in Europe, a popular sight during the month of December, take place in Krakow at Rynek Glowny central square. The market begins from the last 2 days of November and lasts until January.
6. Prague, Czech Republic: Explore The City’s Charm
One of the perfect days to explore the charming city amidst the chants of rum-pa-pum-pum and reindeer games, Prague brims with festivities during the Christmas holiday. Go around sightseeing in Prague and strolling in the Christmas markets in Europe like Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.
Prague is also known for to serve some of the most authentic food in Europe and finding one isn’t difficult at all.
Highlights of Christmas in Prague:
- Don’t forget to explore the smaller yet well-organized markets at Republic Square, Havel’s market on Kampa Island, and the one on the square in front of St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle.
- Classical concerts in churches and historical buildings are a must visit.
- Attend the masses – The Afternoon Mass at Tyn Church at Old Town Square, Timings: 4 pm | The open-air Christmas Mass on a stage at the Old Town Square, Timings: 9 pm | Midnight Mass at Strahov Monastery and churches around Prague, admission is free
7. Cologne, Germany: Soak In The Festive Essence
The Rhine flows by the gorgeous beauty and what could be a better way to celebrate Christmas than going for a ride in the river, soaking in the rustic charm of the city and listening to the live music. Christmas markets in Cologne exudes the festive essence and can be felt soon as you smell fresh cinnamon biscuits, mulled wine, and baked apples!
Highlights of Christmas in Cologne:
- Christmas market at the cathedral is the most famous of several markets in Cologne.
- The Cologne Philharmonic, a concert venue, organizes live concerts to keep up the festive mood.
Also visit: Hamburg, Nuremberg, which is counted among best European cities for Christmas celebrations.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark: Shop Loads Of Goodies
It is next to impossible to stay in Copenhagen and yet escape the spirit of Christmas because the capital city of Denmark provides one of the most sought-after Christmas holiday deals. Tivoli Gardens – where people from across the world assemble to celebrate and rejoice – is the perfect place to tune up the festive mood.
Of all the European Christmas markets, Tivoli Gardens Christmas market is a must visit during the months of November and December. This is the time when chimes, carols, music, decorations, lights, and entertainment make the celebrations bigger.
Tivoli Gardens timings: 11 am – 11 pm (Monday to Thursday, Sunday), 11 am – 12 am (Friday & Saturday)
Highlights of Christmas in Copenhagen:
- Royal Copenhagen Christmas Tables – an exhibition by artists and celebrities in the Royal Copenhagen store at Strøget is a must visit attraction.
- Visit the ice rink at Frederiksberg Runddel.
- Purchase Christmas goodies and gifts from Copenhagen Christmas markets.
- Savor delights like Smørrebrød & schnapps, white gløgg, and prawn-heavy open-faced sandwich.
9. Innsbruck, Austria: Visit The Markets
Boasting of one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Innsbruck is a beautiful destination for the festive times. With all the decked up Christmas trees, piles of gingerbread, wooden toys and hand blown ornaments of glass around, Christmas couldn’t get any better. Hallstatt Christmas in Europe is also famous for its merriment and jovial celebrations.
To top up the festivities, the romantic Christmas market in the narrow medieval square close to the Golden Roof makes for the special attraction.
Highlights of Christmas in Innsbruck:
- Watch trumpeters playing carol tunes on the traditional 500-year-old Golden Roof.
- Relish Kiachln- advent doughnuts with cranberry sauce.
- Take a ride on the funicular up Nordkette mountain to Hungerburg.
- While you are there, do not miss Vienna Christmas in Europe which is equally grand and glitzy.
10. Gressoney Saint Jean, Italian Alps: Enjoy The Breathtaking Views
What could be a way better than spending Christmas holiday skiing, strolling through the ancient structures, and walking on a frozen lake? That’s what the entire arena of Gressoney Saint Jean in the Italian Alps area is pepped up with!
Another of the sought after places to spend white Christmas in Europe, the Italian Alps area is gorgeously decked up in the rustic charm of yesteryears. Also, there is a beautiful Christmas market – a place natives and tourists gather to eat, drink, and rave!
Highlights of Christmas in Gressoney Saint Jean:
- Enjoy the breathtaking view of Alps mountains from the market area.
- Make the maximum of your Christmas holidays by planning a skiing session in the Alps.
11. Zagreb, Croatia: Live The Unique Experience
One of the top cities to celebrate Christmas in Europe is in the capital city of Croatia, Zagreb. Every nook and corner of this city is cherished with beautiful stalls, lights, specially-designed European Christmas decorations, and open-air entertainment.
Highlights of Christmas in Zagreb:
- Live Music and open DJ elevate the festive mood and uplifts everyone’s festive spirit.
- Enjoy the traditional delicacies that line up in the streets as you opt for themed entertainment.
- The Ban Josip Jelačić Square: a huge Christmas tree is installed and the fountain is transformed into a light display. You will also find conservatories serving food and drinks.
- Ice Park on King Tomislav Square: Glow your holiday in one of Zagreb’s most beautiful parks, get food and beverages, as well as music events. Don’t forget to enjoy skating in the ice rink.
12. Budapest, Hungary: Celebrate The Winter Festival
Make sure you visit Hungary during your winter holidays experience the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival taking place at Vörösmarty Square. A unique experience – the grandeur plaza turns into a festive space – with traditional delicacies, wooden stalls, and local entertainment.
Highlights of Christmas in Budapest:
- Try the honey cookies made out of traditional Budapest recipes, cinnamon, and mulled wine. A fragrant combination!
- Celebration with modern elements including Flash Mobs, monumental light shows, and contemporary hand-craft products.
- Advent Feast Basilica is held with a community spirit in mind. Enjoy charity-boosting concerts, and delicious meals.
This video picks the top 10 Christmas market in Europe. Though, slightly different from the one that you saw above, this video too portrays the Christmas celebration in true taste!
Money can’t buy you happiness but you can buy a plane ticket and travel to Europe, and that’s kind of the same thing. How about celebrating this Christmas in Europe to visit all the lovely places mentioned above. It’s true that Europe is beautiful, so how about visiting Europe when there’s lights and gifts all around! While you’re there, don’t forget to share your memories with us.
Frequently Asked Questions About Christmas In Europe
A. Prague, Budapest, Netherlands, Berlin, and Italy are some of the best European countries to visit in December.
A. Strasbourg in France, Viennese Christmas Market, Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague, and Piazza Santa Croce in Florence are just a few of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
A. While there are multiple different ways Christmas Day in Europe is celebrated, usually people go for a Midnight Mass celebration followed by a grand meal. Others focus more on Christmas Day and gift-giving.
A. Zagreb is one of the best cities to be present during Christmas due to a variety of reasons including delicious meals, ice skating and advent festival.
A. Nuremberg in Germany is the biggest Christmas market in Europe, and in fact the entire world.
A. The best Christmas markets in Europe await you from 29th November.
A. Canary Islands. In general, temperatures rise above 20 degrees, and sometimes go over 25, making Canary Islands one of the warmest places in December in Europe.