10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe

Updated On: December 21, 2023 by   Maha YassinMaha Yassin

Christmas is a time for family, friends, and festive cheer. And what better way to experience the season’s magic than with a Christmas city break to Europe? From the twinkling lights of London to the snow-covered streets of Prague, there are many wonderful places to choose from.

But with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. We have compiled a list of the best Christmas city breaks for European families based on festive atmosphere, child-friendly activities, and affordability.

So, whether you’re looking for a traditional Christmas market experience or a more modern take on the holidays, there’s sure to be a city on this list that’s perfect for you and your family.

Europeans Christmas City Breaks for Your Whole Family

So, Christmas is right around the corner, and maybe you didn’t have the time or the means to plan a super indulgent Christmas trip for your family. That’s okay because we’ve got your back! If you’re lucky to live in Europe, you can go on a fantastic Christmas city break with your family.

Enjoy the holiday spirit, visit a new city, and spend the best Christmas without breaking the bank. If that is your vibe, we have ten cities perfect for your Christmas city break! So pack your suitcase and choose your next family vacation.

Rovaniemi, Finland

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Rovaniemi, Finland

Christmas mean Santa, especially for children! So, if you’re looking for a Christmas city break that your children will never forget, there is no better place than Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus!

Embrace the spirit of Christmas at the Arctic Circle itself! In Rovaniemi, Finland, families can meet Santa himself at his official residence, embark on magical reindeer sleigh rides through snow-covered forests, and even witness the mesmerising Aurora Borealis dancing across the night sky.

Imagine the thrill on your children’s faces as they step into SantaPark, an amusement park brimming with festive rides and arctic animal encounters. They can snuggle up with adorable huskies and embark on a dog-sledging adventure for an extra dose of wintery wonder! Rovaniemi is the perfect destination for a perfect Christmas.

Places You Cannot Miss While in Rovaniemi

  • Meet Santa Claus at the Arctic Circle: This is where you experience the thrill of meeting Santa Claus at his official residence. Children can whisper their Christmas wishes, take photos, and even receive a personalised certificate.
  •  Reindeer Sleigh Ride: Imagine the exhilaration of gliding through snow-covered forests on a magical reindeer sleigh ride. This quintessential Lapland experience will leave your kids beaming with joy.
  •  SantaPark Arctic World: Dive into a world of fun at SantaPark, an amusement park filled with themed rides, activities, and even an Arctic animal zoo. Let imaginations run wild with Angry Birds Land, meet Snow Queen in her Ice Palace, and pan for gold in Elf School.
  •  Husky Dog Sledding: Experience the power and companionship of husky dog sledging. This thrilling adventure through snowy landscapes will be a cherished memory for the entire family.

Nuremberg, Germany

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Nuremberg, Germany

One of the best things the whole family can enjoy about Christmas is strolling through a great Christmas market. And where else can you go better than Nuremberg, the city that hosts the oldest Christmas market in the world!

Your family will enter a wonderland of twinkling lights and festive cheer at Nuremberg’s Christkindlmarkt, one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated Christmas markets. Over 200 stalls overflowing with traditional ornaments, handmade crafts, and delectable treats promise endless festive shopping.

After your Christmas shopping, you can ride on the charming Christmas train adorned with twinkling lights and cheerful carols for a delightful market tour. To wrap it up with a bow on top, visit The Toy Museum, which offers a playful journey through toy history. The enchanting Zwetschgenmännle parade, featuring figures made from prunes and nuts, will also spark your children’s imaginations.

Nuremberg is a wonderful choice for a truly authentic Christmas city break.

All the Places You Must Visit in Nuremberg

  • Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt: The world-famous Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt will take you on a trip through the most beautiful and authentic Christmas of your life!
  •  Christmas Train Ride: Embark on a charming Christmas train ride through the festively decorated streets of Nuremberg. Cosy up in the warmth of the train as you admire the twinkling lights and soak in the Christmas atmosphere.
  •  Toy Museum: This museum will spark children’s imaginations and ignite a sense of wonder, from antique dolls and teddy bears to modern board games and video games.
  •  Gingerbread Baking Workshop: Get creative and indulge your sweet tooth at a gingerbread baking workshop. Decorate delicious gingerbread houses and cookies, creating festive treats that are fun and delicious to make!

Tallinn, Estonia

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Old Town Christmas Market, Estonia

Tallinn is an underrated city for choosing Europe’s best Christmas city breaks. With its cobbled streets, charming traditional Christmas markets, and picture-perfect holiday vibes, Tallinn is a wonderful city in which you can spend your Christmas break with the family.

Wander through a fairytale Christmas in Tallinn’s Old Town, where cobbled streets adorned with twinkling lights and the aroma of mulled wine create a timeless charm. The bustling Town Hall Square Christmas market, lined with wooden stalls selling handcrafted treasures and traditional Estonian treats, is a treasure trove for families.

You can also climb the spiral staircase of the Town Hall tower for breathtaking panoramic views and witness the enchanting nativity play performed on the square. Your children will be captivated by the magical Christmas House, where they can meet Santa Claus and tell him their deepest wishes.

Places You Must Visit While in Tallinn

  • Fairytale Old Town Christmas Market: At the fairytale Old Town Christmas market, you can get your hands on handcrafted ornaments, traditional Estonian treats like Piparkook (gingerbread cookies), and warm glögg (mulled wine).
  •  Town Hall Tower Climb: You can capture postcard-perfect memories of your festive adventure from the top of the Town Hall tower.
  •  Enchanted Christmas House: Step into the magical Christmas House and meet Santa Claus in his cosy cave. Your children can write letters to Santa and receive a personalised greeting that will spark joy.
  •  Nativity Play on Town Hall Square: Witness the enchanting nativity play performed on the charming Town Hall Square with live animals, traditional costumes, and captivating storytelling.
  •  Old Town Ice Rink: You and your family can glide across the ice rink on Town Hall Square, surrounded by the festive buzz and twinkling lights. This quintessential winter activity is sure to fill everyone with holiday cheer.

Edinburgh, Scotland

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s endless charm does not end with its abundance of castles and rolling hills. It is also completely transformed on Christmas into a Christmas wonderland that sweeps all its visitors by their feet! You and your family included. So make sure to immerse yourselves in the festive spirit of Edinburgh!

Princes Street Gardens transforms into a sprawling Christmas market, a paradise for shopping for unique gifts and sweet treats. Witness the spectacular Christmas lights projected onto the majestic Edinburgh Castle, casting an enchanting glow over the city.

Take a ride on the Santa Train for a charming journey through the city’s festive streets, or visit the enchanting Edinburgh Zoo’s magical Christmas lights trail, where twinkling animals and sparkling trees create a mesmerising spectacle. Your family can enjoy traditional pantomime performances with slapstick humour and festive cheer.

All the Places You Must Visit in Edinburgh

  • Christmas Lights Show at Edinburgh Castle: Witness the spectacular Christmas lights show projected onto the majestic Edinburgh Castle. Witnessing this dazzling display of colours and animation against the backdrop of the historic castle is truly magical.
  •  The Polar Express Train Ride: Book your tickets in advance to enjoy the wonderful winter experience of riding on the Polar Express in Edinburgh. 
  •  Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Lights Trail: Embark on a mesmerising journey through the enchanting Christmas lights trail at Edinburgh Zoo. Sparkling animals, twinkling trees, and enchanting lighting displays create a wonderland of festive wonder.
  •  Pantomime Performances: These lively pantomime shows featuring audience participation are a guaranteed hit with families and offer a uniquely British Christmas experience.

Prague, Czech Republic

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague is known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe, and that does not change when you visit it for your Christmas city break. Its romantic nature adorns itself with a festive cheer and a Christmas spirit, making it extra gorgeous!

Prague’s Old Town Square Christmas market, enveloped in the aroma of roasted chestnuts and traditional Czech trdelník pastries, is a feast for the senses. You will also marvel at the mesmerising Astronomical Clock’s Christmas light show, depicting the twelve Apostles parading across its face.

For the perfect romantic Christmas activity, take a romantic boat tour on the Vltava River, adorned with twinkling lights, for a unique perspective of the city’s festive decorations. Explore the enchanting Prague Castle, a majestic city symbol, and immerse yourselves in the nativity plays and carol performances that resonate throughout the streets.

Places You Must Visit While in Prague

  • Old Town Square Christmas Market: Immerse yourselves in the atmospheric Old Town Square Christmas market, a feast for the senses with dazzling light displays and traditional Czech treats like trdelník pastries.
  •  Prague Light River Cruises: Take in the breathtaking panorama of Prague’s historic bridges and festive decorations, creating a picture-perfect Christmas memory.
  •  Prague Castle Exploration: Explore the majestic Prague Castle, a city symbol decked out in its festive best. Discover its courtyards, gardens, and museums, and soak in the historical significance of this iconic landmark.

Salzburg, Austria

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Domplatz Christmas Market, Austria

Salzburg is nestled amidst the snow-capped Austrian Alps. It transforms into a fairytale Christmas wonderland, from the enchanting Hellbrunn Palace with its festive illuminations to the soak-in sights and sounds of the world-renowned Christkindlmarkt, Salzburg is a one-of-a-kind Christmas city break.

Salzburg’s Domplatz Christmas market, set against the backdrop of the Salzburg Cathedral, is a symphony of dazzling lights and festive melodies. Exploring the charming stalls brimming with traditional Austrian ornaments and handcrafted delights with your family is truly an enchanting experience.

Hellbrunn Palace transforms into a winter wonderland with its festive illuminations and captivating water features. Climb the Mönchsberg funicular for breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-covered city, or take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets, enveloped in the crisp winter air. Christmas carols resonate from the Salzburg Cathedral, adding a touch of heavenly harmony to the atmosphere.

All the Places You Must Visit in Salzburg

  • Domplatz Christmas Market: Stroll through the enchanting Domplatz Christmas market, nestled against the backdrop of the Salzburg Cathedral.
  •  Hellbrunn Palace Illumination: Witness the captivating illuminations at Hellbrunn Palace, where water features and statues come alive with festive lights and playful displays. This magical winter wonderland is sure to spark children’s imaginations.
  •  Mönchsberg Funicular Ride: Climb the Mönchsberg funicular for breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-covered city and its festive decorations.
  •  Salzburg Cathedral Christmas Carols: Witness the angelic voices of singers performing Christmas carols from the Salzburg Cathedral. Soak in the serene atmosphere and let the music fill your hearts with the spirit of Christmas.

Colmar, France

Colmar, France

Step into a living Christmas card amidst the quaint half-timbered houses and winding streets of Colmar in Alsace. Immerse yourselves in the six magical Christmas markets, each with its unique theme and charm or take a ride on the festive Petit Train. Colmar is a Christmas dream come true!

The Petite Venise district in Colmar, with its canals adorned with twinkling lights, reflects the charming half-timbered houses, creating a picture-perfect winter wonderland. Your family can ride on the festive Petit Train, chugging through the heart of the markets, or indulge in gingerbread delights at the Hansi shop, a haven for beautifully decorated treats.

You can all do ice skating on Place de la Cathédrale, surrounded by the festive buzz, or explore Petite Venise’s fairytale alleys and canals on foot, captivated by the magical illuminations. Paris is not the only Christmas city break in France! Give Colmar a chance; we promise you’ll love it!

Places You Must Visit While in Colmar

  • Six-Themed Christmas Markets: Discover artisanal treasures at the Place de l’Ancienne Douane, indulge in local delicacies at the Marché de Noël des Gourmands, and soak in the medieval atmosphere at the Place Jeanne d’Arc.
  •  Petit Train Ride: Take a charming ride with your family on the festive Petit Train. This enchanting journey is a delightful way to experience the Christmas spirit of Colmar.
  •  Hansi Gingerbread Shop: Marvel at intricately decorated houses, whimsical animals, and towering Christmas trees, all crafted from gingerbread. Indulge in a delicious treat or purchase a beautifully packaged souvenir.
  •  Ice Skating on Place de la Cathédrale: Glide across the ice rink on Place de la Cathédrale, surrounded by charming half-timbered houses and festive ambience.

Stockholm, Sweden

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Skansen Open-Air Museum, Sweden

Are you up for a Scandinavian Christmas in Stockholm? Then Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (Old Town), with its festive markets, is the Christmas city break you’re looking for! Sip on warm glögg, witness the enchanting Lucia procession with its crown of candles, skate on the ice rink at Kungsträdgården or take a boat tour to admire the city’s Christmas lights from a different perspective. Gamla Stan has it all!

Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town, transforms into a charming Christmas village during the holidays. Stroll through the traditional Christmas market, nestled amongst centuries-old buildings, and savour the aroma of Swedish glögg (mulled wine) and freshly baked pastries.

Witnessing the unforgettable Lucia procession, where a young woman crowned with candles leads a parade of singers dressed in white, ushering in the festive spirit, will be a family core memory for you! The Skansen open-air museum offers a glimpse into traditional Swedish Christmas celebrations, where families can join workshops, sing carols around bonfires, and meet farm animals.

All the Places You Must Visit in Stockholm

  • Lucia Procession: Witness the unforgettable Lucia procession, where a young woman crowned with candles leads a parade of singers dressed in white, ushering in the festive spirit.
  •  Skansen Open-Air Museum: Experience traditional Swedish Christmas celebrations at the Skansen open-air museum, the world’s largest open-air museum. Join workshops, sing carols around bonfires, meet farm animals, and discover the history of Christmas in Sweden.
  •  Boat Tour with Christmas Lights: Embark on a breathtaking boat tour on the canals of Stockholm, admiring the city’s Christmas lights shimmering on the water. Witness iconic landmarks and hidden gems adorned with festive illuminations, creating a mesmerising spectacle.

Copenhagen, Denmark

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a beautiful year-round destination, especially for a Christmas city break. Its Tivoli Gardens become a dazzling winter wonderland during Christmas, enchanting those lucky to visit. You and your family can enjoy a wonderful time surrounded by Christmas vibes.

Step into a world of twinkling lights and childhood dreams at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s enchanting amusement park. The park transforms into a magical wonderland during Christmas, with dazzling illuminations, festive rides, and charming performances. Meet Santa Claus in his cave, nestled amongst twinkling lights, and indulge in traditional Danish treats like æbleskiver (apple doughnuts) and warm glögg.

You can also visit the picturesque Nyhavn district, where colourful houses adorned with festive decorations line the canal, creating a vibrant backdrop for family photos. Go ice skating with your family on the rink at Kongens Have Park, surrounded by fairy lights and laughter, or join a festive workshop to create your Christmas ornaments.

Places You Must Visit While in Colmar

  • Tivoli Gardens Winter Wonderland: The park transforms into a magical wonderland during Christmas, with dazzling illuminations, festive rides, and charming performances.
  •  Nyhavn District Stroll: Explore the picturesque Nyhavn district, where colourful houses adorned with festive decorations line the canal.
  •  Ice Skating on Kongens Have Park: Channel your inner skater on the rink at Kongens Have Park, surrounded by fairy lights and twinkling trees. This family-friendly activity offers a delightful way to burn off energy and create lasting memories.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

10 Best Christmas City Breaks for Families in Europe
Rothenburg ob der Taube, Germany

Step back to a medieval Christmas in the charming town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Explore the cobbled streets adorned with festive decorations, marvel at the enchanting Town Hall and Christmas market, and ride on the festive Christmas gondola for breathtaking views. Our final Christmas city break destination is just as dazzling as our first!

Travel back in time to a medieval Christmas in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Cobbled streets adorned with festive decorations transport you to a fairytale realm. The enchanting Town Hall Square Christmas market, with its traditional wooden stalls and twinkling lights, is a treasure trove of handcrafted gifts and local delicacies.

Take a ride on the Christmas gondola for breathtaking views of the snow-covered roofs and medieval architecture. Visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop, a paradise for ornament lovers, where thousands of baubles in every imaginable shape and colour await.

The Best Activities You Don’t Want to Miss

  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market: Explore countless stalls brimming with handcrafted ornaments, local delicacies like Lebkuchen, and steaming mugs of Glühwein.
  •  Christmas Gondola Ride: Embark on a unique and scenic journey on the Christmas gondola, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-covered rooftops and picturesque streets of Rothenburg.
  •  Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Shop: Step into a paradise for ornament lovers at the world-famous Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop. Discover thousands of baubles in every imaginable shape, colour, and theme, from traditional glass ornaments to whimsical figurines.

With that, we conclude our list of our favourite —sometimes underrated— European Christmas city breaks! From Rovaniemi, Finland, to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, each city on our list has its unique charm and one-of-a-kind Christmas vibe to make your holiday with your family unforgettable. So pack your bags, choose a city, and take the first train to your Christmas wonderland!


Which cities are the most affordable for a Christmas family break?

Budget-friendly options include Nuremberg, Tallinn, Edinburgh, and Prague. Consider accommodation choices and travel dates for further savings.

What’s the best way to travel between cities with kids?

Trains are often convenient and scenic, particularly with intercity passes. Flights can be faster but are less family-friendly and pricey.

Do I need to book flights and accommodation well in advance?

Yes, Christmas is a peak season, so book early for the best deals and availability. Secure flights at least 4-6 months in advance and accommodation 3-4 months ahead.

What type of weather can we expect at Christmas in Europe?

Most cities experience cold weather with the potential for snow. Pack warm clothes, waterproof boots, and layers for adjusting to temperature changes.

Is it easy to get around cities with pushchairs or young children?

Most cities are pedestrian-friendly, but research accessibility for specific attractions. Public transportation options like trams can be helpful.

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