The festive season of Christmas is an extraordinary time to be in Europe. From the late November traditional markets set up in many towns and cities, shops and streets are decorated with sparkling lights, and the festive season starts to come to life.
The smells of cinnamon, ginger and roasting chestnuts permeate the air and glühwein (a spicy red wine served hot) becomes the favourite drink.
Combination of fabulous European festive fairs, ancient architecture, and sweet winter scents that will give you beautiful, unforgettable memories, a trip to one of these best cities in Europe for Christmas will knock the Scrooge out of you.
5 Best Cities In Europe For Christmas
1. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is one of the best-ranked places to spend Christmas in Europe. A trip of a few days or a weekend in Barcelona is the perfect way to experience the city during the winter. Aside from the beauty of Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, you can also visit the Christmas markets and enjoy delicious Catalan food.
Antoni Gaudi’s amazingly mesmerizing architectural sites are also open during the Christmas season. Parc Guell is open for visitors every day of the year. Before visiting La Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila La Pedrera, you have to check as they may have limited hours.
There are three eye-catching Christmas or holiday markets to visit in Barcelona. The oldest and most famous Christmas market, The Market of Saint Lucia, is located in the Gothic Quarter, at the plaza in the Barcelona Cathedral.
The Sagrada Familia Holiday Market is held next to La Sagrada Familia and provides the best local vibe. The Christmas markets are perfect to see and experience Catalan traditions, including the Christmas log and viewing detailed traditional scenes.
2. Berlin, Germany
With more than 60 excellent Christmas markets, Berlin is one of the best places to enjoy Christmas in Europe.
Here you will find some of the standard German Christmas market fare (spiced wine, sausages, roasted nuts) in these markets. However, at each one, you’ll find that Berlin’s Christmas markets have their theme or personality that makes them a bit different.
For example, you can find Scandinavian, medieval, green, or neighbourhood-themed Christmas holiday markets. On the other hand, if you want a bit of the native markets in a beautiful setting, I recommend the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market.
It’s impossible to take in all of Berlin’s Christmas markets in one visit, but try to get to at least four or five. As the city is quite large and neighbourhood-based, we recommend spending at least five days in the city to take in a bit of the Christmas spirit while also visiting several diverse neighbourhoods.
History and art buffs will enjoy the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain that has converted more than 2 km of the Berlin Wall into the most extensive outdoor art gallery. The Mitte neighbourhood is full of small modern art galleries and the city’s oldest museums on the UNESCO-designated Museum Island.
Cross the Spree River to explore Kreuzberg and Neukölln, two very diverse neighbourhoods with mesmerizing street art and back streets filled with cafes, galleries, and small restaurants.
3. PARIS, France
Paris, The City of Light, lives at its peak during the Christmas holiday season. Although holidays in Paris are pretty expensive, you can always get heavy discounts on late deals through websites like Dealcheakers.
Take a tour to the charming streets of Paris with a bag of roasted chestnuts, or feast on seasonal specialities like oysters and bûche de Noël (a pastry Yule log). I recommend shopping for gourmet gifts at Le Bon Marché, the world’s oldest department store, as well as the Christmas markets at Montmartre and La Défense.
To go even deeper into the old world, go to the recently expanded middle ages museum, Musée de Cluny, which offers some of the country’s most ancient treasures. Finally, I like to eat traditional French winter dishes when it’s cold outside, like boeuf bourguignon and blanquette de veau.
You might prefer to catch a view of the glittering tower from the giant windows at the Palais de Tokyo. However, if roaming through the Christmas stalls on Saint-Germain-des-Prés puts you in the mood for a sweet treat, head to Jacques Genin, where the hot chocolate is legendary among the locals, as is the architectural lemon meringue pie at Le Loir Dans la Théière.
4. LONDON, UK
London is the best holiday destination, from unique, one-of-a-kind shops and spectacular window displays along Regent and Bond streets to ice rinks with iconic backdrops like Somerset House.
You will find much to explore in the surrounding streets of Mayfair. “After a winter stroll in Green Park, I recommend you to visit Mount Street to shop for stylish gifts before warming up with a mulled wine at The Audley, a traditional English pub with ornate décor and cosy leather banquettes.
And venture out to the Royal Albert Hall for its Carols by Candlelight concert, two evenings of seasonal classics performed in complete 18th-century theme and costume on December 23 and 24.
London’s distinguished shoppers prefer nothing Hill, specifically Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road. Between stops at designer boutiques and Matches Fashion, you can visit Ottolenghi for some of the legendary chef’s roasted aubergine with feta yoghurt, mint, almonds, and pomegranate. If you enjoy Christmas cookies, head to Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Café on Kensington Park Road for exemplary versions featuring hand-drawn art.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
One of the best places to visit in Portugal is its capital, Lisbon. It’s the largest city in Portugal.
The city is located where the Tagus River estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean, be prepared for fantastic riverfront views.
You can experience the best attractions of Lisbon by hopping on the vintage Tram 28 that passes through historic quarters and gardens. During the ride, the stunning colours of Alfama and the reverberating traditional Fado will fill your senses.
Lisbon also has the best hotels and restaurants in the country. Here, you will find amazingly testier versions of the local culinary delights like Arroz de Tamboril and Bacalhau. Within the district of Alfama, you will find most of the restaurants housed in antique structures, like A Casa Do Bacalhau, which translates to “House of Cod” and was once the stables of the Duke of Lafoes. As the name suggests, you will findPortugal’s best codfish dish here.
You can use search tools provided on Dealchecker to compare prices on holidays, hotels, car hire, and cruises. I trust this website as they don’t sell anything themselves, but instead, they provide you with the tools to make savings on your next travel purchase.
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