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15 of the Finest European Cities to Go to in December

Even for the Grinchiest travelers (of which I’m one), traveling to Europe during the holidays is a captivating experience. Between the glimmering lights and the lingering smells of holiday treats, the best European cities to visit in December are those that fully embrace festive traditions and customs. From the absolute best destinations for Christmas markets […]

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Even for the Grinchiest vacationers (of which I’m one), touring to Europe throughout the holidays is a fascinating expertise. Between the glimmering lights and the lingering smells of vacation treats, the most effective European cities to go to in December are people who absolutely embrace festive traditions and customs.

From the best possible locations for Christmas markets to fairytale-like cities and even just a few locations to look at the northern lights, these are some unforgettable locations to journey this December in Europe:

1. Davos, Switzerland

Excessive up within the Swiss Alps lies the snowy paradise of Davos. Whereas most ski cities within the Alps have to provide snow for his or her slopes in December, the excessive elevation right here lends itself to having greater than sufficient recent powder for snowboarding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and different wintry actions.

The city of Davos is small and quaint, what you would possibly anticipate from a Swiss mountaintop city. December is a perfect time to go to, because the twinkling lights and elevated snowfall create an idyllic scene. For outside lovers who're wanting to hit the slopes, Davos is the most effective European metropolis to go to in December.

Discover out extra about visiting Davos, Switzerland in the winter here.

2. Berlin, Germany

In terms of visiting Berlin in the winter, dressing for the climate and understanding the place to go and what to do is essential. In any case, town has a popularity for being darkish and chilly this time of 12 months. This actually shouldn’t be a deal breaker, although, as a result of there's a plethora of issues to do right here which can be truly higher within the winter.

For starters, the Christmas markets in Germany (and particularly in Berlin) are completely magical in December. Cities around the globe attempt to replicate them, however there’s nothing fairly just like the OG ones you’ll discover right here. Heat yellow lights illuminate stalls promoting all the pieces from ornaments to snacks and mulled wine. Though these markets are unbelievable all through the nation, Berlin’s are particular as a result of they're extra multicultural (there’s even a Japanese one!) and quirky, breaking free from German custom.

Apart from hitting up the Christmas markets, December in Berlin can also be a good time to take a look at one of many metropolis’s well-known spas, like Vabali, for a little bit of pampering. Because the excessive season in Berlin is throughout the summer season months, December is ideal for trying out some fashionable websites, because the crowds will likely be thinner.

3. Stuttgart, Germany

best christmas markets stuttgart-2
The Heidelberg Christmas Market

December is arguably the most effective time to go to Stuttgart. The general environment is nothing in need of magical this time of 12 months. There quite a few Christmas markets throughout the city and nearby, every with its personal theme, so that you could be tempted to see as many as you possibly can. Try this video for a full rundown on the most effective ones in Germany:

Different issues to not miss out on in Stuttgart in December embrace the Winter Gentle Competition in Palace Sq., the Markthalle Stuttgart, and the Stuttgart Library. Although these final two points of interest are year-round locations of curiosity, they’re further particular in December, after they tackle their very own model of vacation cheer, identical to the remainder of town.

In case you need to enterprise exterior of Stuttgart, there are plentiful day trips which can be simply accessible through prepare. For instance, the quaint city of Tübingen, simply an hour’s trip away, is enchanting within the month of December.

4. Cologne (Köln), Germany

Cologne (Köln in German) is without doubt one of the best cities to visit in Germany, regardless of the time of 12 months. Nonetheless, the gothic structure it’s well-known for is especially lovely in December when Cologne attire up for the vacations. It is a nice different to Berlin, as Cologne is smaller and extra laid-back, with fewer crowds on the Christmas markets and different points of interest.

There are seven Christmas markets in Cologne in December, every with a special theme. Whether or not you enterprise to all of them or just some, that is a vital merchandise in your itinerary.

Karneval can also be in full swing in December. This is without doubt one of the largest road festivals of the 12 months and the best possible place to get in contact with German tradition. It options vibrant celebration filled with reside music, numerous dancing, conventional German feasts, and plentiful beer.

5. Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is a part of Finnish Lapland and the undisputed dwelling of none aside from Santa Claus himself. Are you able to think about a greater place to go to in December, when St. Nick is in full Christmas-preparation mode? You’ll discover him within the Santa Claus Village within the Arctic Circle of Rovaniemi.

This city can also be dwelling to the majestic SnowHotel, which is carved from snow every year, ever-changing in its design. There are additionally glass igloos with clear domes that permit friends to look at the northern lights above from the consolation of their beds. You may book both here.

Take into account that December is by far the most well-liked time to go to Rovaniemi, so ensure that to e book nicely upfront if you wish to reside out your Arctic winter desires right here.

6. Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

Touting itself as the best ski resort within the Alps is Saalbach, a stunning mountain retreat in Austria that's excellent in your December journey. That is simply one of the epic locations to hit the slopes. Not solely does Saalbach have a wonderful selection, starting from absolute newbie to professional degree, however the views of the Alps create a backdrop that feels virtually surreal. In case you need to take a break from snowboarding, you can too go for a powdery mountain snowshoe hike.

You may also discover the cute streets of Saalbach Hinterglemm, that are adorned this time of 12 months with glowing Christmas lights. Guests love staying at Boutique Hotel Anybody, because it’s solely 300 meters from the ski lifts.

7. Vienna, Austria

This enchanting metropolis is definitely the primary one which involves thoughts after I take into consideration the most effective European cities to go to in December. Very similar to Germany, the Christmas markets in Austria are legendary. The twinkling golden lights and wafting aroma of roasting chestnuts (actually, chestnuts roasting over an open hearth!) and smoky Viennese sausages characterize the environment right here in December.

Vienna is a hub for artwork, cinema, and music in Europe — nice information in case you want a break from strolling by the Christmas markets, that are exterior within the chilly. There are quite a few artwork museums to peruse, from the important Kunsthistorisches Museum to the Albertina. One other nice indoor different to the Christmas markets is a go to to the Edelstoff Design Market, which has a particular part only for Christmas gadgets.

8. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland is without doubt one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights — and a go to to Reykjavik this December grants you a spectacular alternative to see them. Because of the city gentle air pollution, your finest wager is to do a tour outside of the city, the place you’ll have a greater probability of seeing the aurora borealis.

Though December is the darkest time in Iceland, with solely 5 hours of daylight, Reykjavik makes up for the dearth of solar with loads of Christmas markets and delightful lights all through city. Plus, the elevated snowfall in December virtually ensures a white Christmas. Not like different international locations that solely have a good time Christmas for a day or two, Iceland marks this vacation for 26 days, from December 11 to January 6. Because of this, Reykjavik could be the most effective European metropolis to go to in December for diehard Christmas fanatics.

In case you need to escape town, you can too embark on an epic highway journey alongside the Golden Circle or Ring Road, though the heavy snowfall would possibly make the journey a bit treacherous. Discover out what else there may be to do in Iceland here.

9. Abisko, Sweden

Talking of northern lights, one other stellar place to see them in December is Abisko, Sweden. This rugged Arctic vacation spot is without doubt one of the finest locations on Earth to see the aurora borealis, though it’s actually distant and intensely chilly (find some packing tips here). The truth is, temperatures can dive beneath zero Fahrenheit now and again. When you’re unafraid of the chilly, although, this is without doubt one of the most magical locations to be in December.

Abisko can barely be categorized as a metropolis, because it’s extra of a small gateway city to Abisko Nationwide Park, which is dwelling to herds of reindeer — you would possibly even be capable of spot them trotting by the snow on the town! The reindeer are only the start of the attraction of Swedish Christmas, nonetheless. The Swedes go all out for this vacation; other than Midsommar, it’s the most important celebration of the 12 months. Even in small cities like Abisko, your entire month of December is stuffed with festivities.

10. Prague, Czechia

Other than being an excellent European destination for budget travelers, Prague can also be a culturally wealthy metropolis that's particularly charming in December, with snow-dusted cobblestone streets, Christmas markets smelling of gingerbread and cinnamon pastries, and an eclectic mixture of vacation celebrations that showcase Prague’s uniqueness.

Probably the most notable Christmas market and a fantastic place to start out exploring is in Outdated City Sq., the place you’ll see a huge Christmas tree and cubicles surrounded by among the metropolis’s most venerable buildings. Prague’s Jewish neighborhood additionally celebrates Hanukkah presently (test a calendar, because the date shifts every year), so could expertise an attention-grabbing mixture of traditions right here.

December is the right time to take pleasure in Prague’s gastronomical scene as nicely; among the most conventional dishes are hearty stews with meat and starchy greens. Czechia can also be well-known for its beer, which you'll strive on a craft beer tour.

11. Copenhagen, Denmark

When you’re chasing the final word hygge feeling this December, look no additional than Copenhagen. Let’s face it, the Danish have mastered the artwork of making cozy areas, which is why spending the vacations right here is so attractive. All through the capital in December, you’ll discover golden Christmas lights twinkling, ice rinks full of individuals skating, and small retailers promoting candy vacation treats.

One of the crucial well-known ice rinks is the Frederiksberg Runddel, the place you possibly can hire a pair of skates and be a part of the pack on the ice. From there, head to the Tivoli Gardens, the place you’ll discover a Christmas-themed carnival, a conventional Danish vacation market, and every kind of scrumptious meals and drinks. Some particular issues to strive are gløgg (spiced mulled wine), risalamande (a kind of rice pudding), and æbleskiver (candy fried dough balls).

Copenhagen in December is the epicenter of all issues cozy, making it top-of-the-line locations to go to throughout the holidays.

12. Riga, Latvia

Latvia escapes many vacationers’ bucket lists, which is why it’s one of many most underrated countries to visit in Europe. That stated, Latvia’s capital, Riga, is an unbelievable off-the-beaten-path metropolis to go to this December.

Like different cities all through Europe, Riga has three lovely Christmas markets. Probably the most well-known is the one in Doma Laukums, which is simply open on weekends. One other is the Livu Laukums market, which is extra fashionable and has a huge Christmas tree constituted of wooden planks at its middle. Probably the most distinctive of the three is in Esplanade Park, which has a whole part known as the Rabbit Village, full with a rabbit church and tiny rabbit homes.

Probably the greatest issues about visiting Riga in December is that there are far fewer crowds than in different European locations. Riga is smaller and quieter, and offers guests an opportunity to see how locals have a good time the vacations in their very own distinctive approach.

13. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburg does Christmas lights like no different metropolis, boasting one of the spectacular shows in Europe. You’ll discover an unbelievable instance of this Christmas cheer on George Avenue, which can also be the location of one of many metropolis’s largest Christmas markets. The markets listed below are German-style however have their very own Scottish id, serving conventional fare like venison burgers and Scottish beer. On George Avenue, you can too hire a pair of skates and go ice skating, which is a neighborhood favourite festive exercise.

Many American vacation traditions come from the UK, so visiting Scotland in December provides you a neat look into their origins, like consuming turkey and potatoes and sipping scorching toddies, that form how we have a good time throughout the pond.

14. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is known for its scenic canals, which have earned town its nickname, “Venice of the north.” Whilst you can’t discover the canals within the winter, you possibly can take pleasure in this lovely metropolis’s immaculate surroundings and festive vacation environment. Take a horse-and-carriage trip by the twinkling city at nighttime, or make your method to the candy Christmas market, which is rumored to be the most effective within the nation.

Bruges’ ornate structure takes on a mystical high quality throughout the vacation season. The castle-like spires and stepped gable roofs on the buildings in Markt Sq. lend the place an vintage really feel, which seems much more magical at evening with the glowing yellow and crimson lights.

When you select Bruges in your winter getaway, don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn how chocolate is made and visit a chocolate museum. In any case, Belgian chocolate is among the finest on the planet, and what may very well be extra festive this December than snacking on some when you peruse a Christmas market?

15. Budapest, Hungary

Visiting Budapest in December is an intensely sensory expertise. The streets fill with the scent of heat spices and desserts, and the inside metropolis turns right into a fairytale-like masterpiece of lights yearly. Vörösmarty Sq. is the place to be in Budapest throughout the holidays, as that is the place essentially the most spectacular gentle shows are, together with the most important of town’s Christmas markets, that are filled with meals stalls promoting stuffed cabbages, conventional goulash, and native wine.

One other improbable method to take pleasure in Budapest in December is to hop on the winter tram (line 2), which has hundreds of tiny blue and white lights and runs alongside the Danube Promenade, with among the finest views within the metropolis. Budapest can also be dwelling to Europe’s largest pure ice skating rink, the City Park Ice Rink.

Irrespective of the way you select to discover town this December, Budapest is bound to attraction you with its vacation cheer.

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Whether or not you’re hoping to hit the slopes or cozy up in a festive metropolis, mulled wine in hand, I hope this listing provides you some inspiration in your December travels this 12 months. Perhaps you possibly can even go to a number of of those cities throughout your European winter journey. Which place appears like the most effective European metropolis to go to in December to you?

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Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!
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