The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe

Updated On: November 27, 2023 by   Maha YassinMaha Yassin

Ah, the most beautiful time of the year is just around the corner! And what better way to celebrate the holiday season than by exploring some of Europe’s most festive and magical cities? From dazzling light displays to charming Christmas markets, there’s nothing quite like the holiday spirit in Europe.

In this article, we’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of Europe’s best and most exciting Christmas city breaks. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Christmas traditions or prefer a more modern holiday, there’s something for everyone in these European cities.

Get ready to be enchanted by the twinkling lights of Strasbourg, indulge in the festive delights of Rovaniemi, or immerse yourself in the cosy atmosphere of Prague. So grab a mug of mulled wine, don your warmest scarf, and embark on a merry adventure through some of Europe’s most enchanting Christmas destinations! 

Key Takeaways

  • You can have your pick of destination when it comes to Christmas city breaks. However, nothing holds a light to the wonder of European cities during Christmas.
  • From France to the Czech Republic, Christmas is a big deal in all of Europe, but some cities are just inherently better at festivities!
  • When you think of Christmas, think of Nuremberg, Germany. With the oldest Christmas market in Europe, this city is a must-visit during the holidays.
  • Strasbourg in France and Rovaniemi in Finland are two of the most charming cities to visit with family during Christmas.
  • If you’re up for a historic Christmas holiday, then Vienna and Tallinn are where you should go! These European cities are truly a gem during the holidays.

Why Christmas City Breaks in Europe Are The Best!

The festive season in Europe is unlike any other. The cities transform into winter wonderlands with elaborate Christmas decorations adorning every street corner and market stalls offering delightful trinkets and delectable treats. From the oldest Christmas markets to the traditional German Christmas villages, the holiday season in Europe is a true spectacle. One of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets is the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. Dating back to the 16th century, this market is filled with wooden stalls selling handmade ornaments, toys, and traditional German treats like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Glühwein (mulled wine).

Whether strolling through the charming cobblestone streets of a medieval town or sipping hot chocolate while taking in the stunning views of a historic city centre, the European festive season is a truly magical experience that should not be missed. With the scent of roasted chestnuts in the air and carolers singing in the background, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to Europe to experience the joy and wonder of the holiday season. 

The Best European Destinations for a Christmas City Break

Europe loves Christmas! With a Christian majority, the celebration is held on a pedestal in every nook and cranny all over the continent. Even people from other religions who don’t specifically celebrate Christmas would join in on the festivities because of how fun they are! Wherever you go in Europe, you will find Christmas trees, Christmas markets, and all sorts of celebrations throughout the cities and towns.

But, of course, some cities are better at the whole Christmas spirit thing than others! So, if you’re looking for a Christmas city break to enjoy with your family this year, these destinations below are your best options!

Nuremberg, Germany

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
Traditional German Christmas market in the historical centre of Nuremberg, Germany, during snow

Ah, Nuremberg, Germany, where the Christmas celebration is taken very seriously. And rightly so, since the city is home to the oldest Christmas market in Europe! This must-visit event is steeped in tradition and oozes festive charm. This gem of a town in Germany is home to the most senior Christmas market in Europe, and boy, do they know how to throw a festive celebration.

From the twinkling lights to the smell of roasting chestnuts, the tradition of the Christmas market is alive and thriving in Nuremberg. And let us tell you, the local food is an absolute must-try! Indulge in the traditional Nuremberg sausages and gingerbread, and you’ll be in culinary heaven.

But it’s not just about the shopping; there are also plenty of events to keep you entertained, from live music performances to holiday-themed activities for the whole family. And don’t even get us started on the mulled wine – it’s practically mandatory at a German Christmas market!

So, if you like your holidays with a side of history and a generous sprinkling of holiday cheer, Nuremberg is the place to be. Just don’t blame us when you find yourself booking a return trip before you’ve even left. Whether you’re admiring the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the city centre or attending one of the many festive events, Nuremberg will have you feeling holly jolly in no time. So, do yourself a favour and make Nuremberg your next Christmas city break. You won’t regret it, and who knows, you might just find yourself entirely enchanted by the Christmas spirit of this magical city. 

Strasbourg, France

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
Buildings near Strasbourg Cathedral before Christmas

Strasbourg, known for its enchanting Christmas market, is a must-visit destination. With its impressive Christmas lights and festive decorations, the city hall sets the perfect backdrop for a magical holiday experience. The Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest in Europe, dating back to 1570. Visitors can wander the charming streets and squares, browsing the many stalls selling traditional crafts, ornaments, and delicious festive treats.

The city’s iconic cathedral, stunning architecture, and towering spires also add to the enchanting atmosphere. The market is divided into different themed areas, such as the “Village of Sharing” and the “Children’s World,” catering to all ages and interests.

In addition to the market, Strasbourg offers plenty of other attractions to explore during the holiday season. Visitors can take a boat ride along the picturesque canals or enjoy a traditional Alsatian meal at one of the city’s cosy restaurants.

For those seeking a bit of history, the city is home to several museums and historic sites, including the Alsatian Museum and the Palais Rohan. And, of course, no visit to Strasbourg would be complete without sampling some of the region’s famous wines and culinary delights. With its festive atmosphere, beautiful decorations, and an array of attractions, it’s a magical Christmas city break that should not be missed!

Rovaniemi, Finland

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
Santa Claus Village

Rovaniemi, where Santa Claus hangs his hat, is the ultimate spot for a festive family getaway! The Christmas city break is straight out of a storybook, complete with brightly painted homes, reindeer rides, and an atmosphere that will charm visitors of all ages. Inside the village, you can find unique gifts, indulge in Finnish treats, and even send a letter from Santa’s official Post Office.

But the real magic happens when you meet the big man himself. Kids and grown-ups can share Christmas wishes with Santa and snap photos to cherish the moment. It’s an experience that will create memories to last a lifetime for the whole family.

Apart from the Christmas village, Rovaniemi has a variety of winter activities like husky sledging, snowmobiling, and the chance to catch sight of the Northern Lights. With its beautiful snowy scenery and lively atmosphere, Rovaniemi is the ultimate spot for an enchanting Christmas city break.

Overall, Rovaniemi is a delightful and family-friendly spot that genuinely captures the essence of Christmas. Whether you’re there to meet Santa Claus, participate in winter activities, or simply bask in the festive vibes, Rovaniemi is guaranteed to bring joy to visitors of all ages. It’s a place where the enchantment of Christmas comes alive, making it a perfect option for a Christmas city break with loved ones. 

Prague, Czech Republic

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
The Old Town Square in Prague at winter night

Prague’s picturesque city centre is transformed into a winter wonderland during the festive season, making it one of Europe’s best Christmas city break destinations! The charming Christmas market in Prague is a sight to behold. Visitors can explore the market’s beautifully decorated wooden stalls selling handmade gifts, ornaments, and traditional Czech treats such as mulled wine and trdelník (a delicious pastry cooked over an open flame). The aroma of gingerbread and roasted chestnuts fills the air while festive music and twinkling lights create a magical atmosphere.

In addition to the Christmas market, Prague offers a variety of holiday events and activities, including ice-skating rinks, festive concerts, and theatrical performances. The city’s historic architecture, including the iconic Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, provides a stunning backdrop for winter activities, and the snow-covered cobblestone streets add to the enchanting ambience.

For those seeking a unique Christmas experience, Prague’s rich cultural heritage and historical charm make it an unforgettable destination. Whether strolling through the charming streets, admiring the impressive holiday decorations, or savouring traditional Czech cuisine, visitors to Prague are sure to be captivated by the festive spirit of this beautiful Christmas city break. 

Tallinn, Estonia

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
Tallinn. Town Hall Square at Christmas

With its medieval charm, Tallinn becomes even more enchanting during the holidays. The traditional Christmas carols and the festive market create an idyllic atmosphere for a memorable city break. The historic Old Town is transformed into a winter wonderland, with the streets and squares adorned with twinkling lights and decorations. The aroma of roasted almonds, mulled wine (yes, all Europeans LOVE this thing!), and traditional Estonian treats fills the air, creating a truly magical experience.

Visitors can browse through the stalls at the Christmas market, where local artisans sell handmade crafts, jewellery, and festive decorations. The market is also the perfect place to sample some traditional Estonian cuisine, such as blood sausage, sauerkraut, and gingerbread cookies.

Tallinn offers a range of holiday events for those interested in culture and history, including concerts, exhibitions, and traditional performances. The city’s churches often host special Christmas concerts, where visitors can enjoy the beautiful melodies of classic carols and festive music.

Overall, Tallinn’s medieval charm and festive atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of Christmas in a truly unique setting. Tallinn will leave a lasting impression on all who visit during the holiday season with its rich history, traditional celebrations, and enchanting ambience. 

Vienna, Austria

The Best & Most Exciting Christmas City Break in Europe
Christmas market in Vienna

Vienna’s festive ambience and dazzling Christmas lights make it one of the best destinations for a Christmas city break. The city’s traditional Christmas market offers a delightful shopping experience. Visitors can stroll through the festive market stalls and enjoy the aroma of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine while picking up unique gifts and decorations. The historic city centre is transformed into a winter wonderland with beautifully decorated streets, charming Christmas displays, and lively holiday events.

In addition to the Christmas market, Vienna’s renowned cultural scene comes alive during the holiday season with special concerts, theatre performances, and dazzling light displays. The city’s grand palaces and historic buildings are illuminated with festive lights, creating a magical atmosphere perfect for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. And, of course, a Christmas trip to Vienna is only complete with a visit to the famous Hofburg Palace, where visitors can marvel at the dazzling Christmas decorations and enjoy the enchanting atmosphere.

Whether you’re looking to experience the magic of the holiday season, enjoy traditional Christmas festivities, or simply soak up the festive atmosphere, Vienna is the perfect destination for a memorable Christmas city break. With its enchanting charm and vibrant holiday spirit, it’s no wonder that Vienna is considered one of the best places in Europe to celebrate Christmas.

 And that, my festive friends, concludes our whirlwind tour of the best Christmas city breaks. Whether you fancy ice skating beneath the twinkling lights of Vienna, diving into the Christmas markets of Prague, or sipping mulled wine in the charming streets of Nuremberg, there’s a winter wonderland waiting for you. So, pack your cosiest scarves and warmest mittens because it’s time to jingle. No matter your destination, you’re guaranteed to be swept away by the magic of the season. Here’s to making merry memories and spreading holiday cheer in a new, enchanting city. Merry Christmas, and may your travels be filled with joy and glad tidings! 


What is the most Christmassy city in Europe?

This question is hard to answer as everyone has their own preferences for Christmas celebrations. But it’s safe to say that Prague and Vienna are two of the most Christmassy cities in Europe! If you’re looking for that classic Christmas vibe, then these cities will do it for you.

What is the most romantic city in Europe at Christmas?

That would definitely be Vienna, Austria! The Christmas market at the City Hall Square, named “Vienna City of Advent”, is one of the most charming and romantic destinations during Christmas. The whole square feels like it came straight out of a fairy tale!

Which country is most beautiful at Christmas?

Many are, but we’re sort of biased to Santa Clause City in Finland! Rovaniemi is known as the city where Santa resides with his Mrs Clause and all his reindeer. If you’re looking for a magical family time during the holidays, then this city is the one for you!

Where in Europe is the warmest at Christmas?

Sometimes, people don’t want a white Christmas. If you’re looking for someone warm and cosy in Europe, then the cities on the Mediterranean will do it for you. Try Sicily, Cyprus or Malta for some beach time and a warm Christmas.

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