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Best European Places to Holiday in During December

It’s the holiday season and some of us just want to get away. For me, it’s always Europe. I’m not one for sandy beaches and balmy weather. I’d rather spend my time enjoying the holiday ambience in Europe. If you like snow, skiing, and winter wonderlands, then here are a few European destinations that will fill you with the holiday spirit.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague during the holiday season

Prague is one of the prettiest places in December. The perfectly preserved ancient buildings and fairytale streets make it a magical experience. Visit the Christmas markets and inhale the rich cinnamon aroma, try some mulled wine, and pick up some souvenirs and ornaments. During the day, visit the Prague Castle or enjoy a private skiing tour that takes you to the largest ski area in the Krušné Mountains. At InterSkiregion Klínovec-Fichtelberg it’s possible to ski both in the Czech Republic and in Germany.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin during the holiday season

Berlin’s is a pulsating metropolis, but come Christmas time, it’s magical and enchanting. Some of the best attractions are within easy walking distance of the biggest Christmas markets, and by planning in advance you’ll be able to ensure you don’t miss out on the sights while you’re enjoying Berlin’s special festive atmosphere. Here are a few must-see Christmas sights,  Deutscher Dom church, French cathedral, and Konzerthaus concert hall in the central district of Mitte.

Old town charm in Spandau – Berlin

Berlin, Germany during the holiday season
Photo by Chris Jobling

It is no longer an insider tip, but it is still one of Berlin’s most attractive Christmas markets: the traditional Christmas market in Spandau’s old town. Some 250 traders sell food and handicrafts from four continents on the historic roads. Here you can find everything from Scandinavian flame smoked salmon to Ukrainian Christmas tree decorations, as well as the obligatory mulled wine.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is a tiny village tucked in the Alps on the south side of Switzerland. White mountains, snowy forests, and festive lights turn your Zermatt vacation into a real Christmas fairytale. Zermatt is best known for boasting a perfect view of the Matterhorn. Zermatt is a vehicle-free, pedestrian village only, so you’ll either be walking everywhere, or you can hop on an electro taxi.

Zermatt Switzerland during the holiday season
Photo courtesy of Leandra Wenger

The clean air, quiet surroundings, and gorgeous holiday decor will fill your heart with holiday joy. For impressive panoramic views board the cogwheel train in Zermatt and ride to Gornergrat for a half an hour spectacular ride.  There are four stops along the way for photos and hiking starter points. There are lots of places to ski, charming churches to visit, and festive places to dine.

Lapland, Finland

Reindeer pulling Santa on a sleigh, Finland

Lapland covers the region of northern Europe and includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Everyone knows that Santa Claus is from Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Here’s your chance to visit him and his elves.

Santa's Village, Lapland
Copyright photo by Kimmo Syvari

Swing by the Santa Claus Holiday Village and take a picture with him and maybe even discuss whether you’ve been naughty or nice. This is also your opportunity to send a Christmas gift to a special person from Santa’s office.

Norther lights

The second best thing to do is to see and experience the Aurora Borealis. A journey to the Arctic Circle is never complete without watching the Northern Lights, especially when there is no daylight in winter. The warm and glowing lights will mesmerize you as they dance in the sky for our entertainment. They’re considered as a symbol of Lapland. Go with friends, or you have the option of taking an Aurora Borealis tour.

If you’re looking for an enchanting Christmas holiday, then venturing out to Europe may be just the ticket. Enjoying different cultures and traditions expands our appreciation and life experience and also broadens our minds.

Merry Christmas
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Wesołych Świąt
hyvää joulua
veselé Vánoce

 

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