The Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit – Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of our Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit series. Read along to discover some of the most remarkable places to visit in France, as recommended by avid travellers from around the world. Embark on a virtual tour of some of the best cities to visit France and use these recommendations to plan your next holiday in France.

Click here to read Part One!

Beautiful Places In France To Visit

Strasbourg

Strasbourg is located so close to the German border that it is often misunderstood to belong in Germany, however, France have been fortunate enough to claim this magnificent little city. Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful places in France to visit.

Beautiful places in France to visit

Strasbourg oozes character and great charm, it is almost impossible to not fall in love with it at first sight. The traditional buildings, beautiful canals, market squares and great atmosphere around town, make Strasbourg a hugely popular place in France to visit all year round. There are a great range of things to do in Strasbourg and it is an easy town to explore by foot or on a bike if you wish to go slightly further afield. 

If you are a food lover, Strasbourg will not disappoint. Or perhaps a wine lover? Do yourself a favour and join an Alsace Wine Region tour. Strasbourg, or the Capitale de Noel, is known for its Christmas markets and people travel from all over the world to celebrate the festive season is this glorious town.

Strasbourg is easily accessed from Paris or Frankfurt and it is recommended you spend at least 2-3 days, although the longer the better – it is a hard place to leave. You must stay in central Strasbourg within the pedestrian roads to fully immersive yourself and have the full Strasbourg experience.

Recommended by Australian Mountains To Sea

Cherbourg

Cherbourg is a beautiful town on the coast of Normandy, often overlooked by tourists because of its harbour. Many people pass by Cherbourg when they cross the English Channel by ferry, either from the UK to France or the other way around.

Beautiful places in France to visit

However, Cherbourg is worth visiting and staying in for at least one day. The town because famous through the 19603 musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”. It was this film that actually inspired a young local man to create a brand of umbrellas that is now one of the most luxurious in the world. But Cherbourg is not only about high-quality umbrellas.

Cherbourg the first city in which the Titanic stopped after leaving Southampton, before continuing its doomed voyage on the Atlantic. The Cité de la Mer maritime museum hosts a fantastic exhibition about the commemorating 100 years since the sinking of the famous ship. The museum also hosts the deepest aquarium in Europe and a real submarine that can be visited inside. If you are coming to Cherbourg with Brittany Ferries, you can buy reduced tickets for Cité de la Mer on the ferry.

If you are wondering where to eat in Cherbourg, the city has some fantastic restaurants that specialise in Normandy cuisine such as galettes, salt lamb, camembert cheese or apple pies. Whilst in other parts of France wine is the typical drink, in Cherbourg it is apple cider and calvados, a local apple brandy.

Recommended by The World In My Pocket

Nantes

Nantes, the capital of the French region of Pays de la Loire, is one of the best cities in western France. It is located 380km southwest of Paris, and from Nantes, it’s only 50km west to the Atlantic coast.

Beautiful places in France to visit

Nantes is bisected by the Loire River, the longest river in France, and has pretty neighborhoods to explore. The city has a rich past and beautiful heritage, so the list of things to do in Nantes is long. Also, Nantes is a lively city with many festivals, cultural events, and busy terrace-cafes, so it’s impossible to get bored in Nantes.

The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany is Nantes’ most important site. Nantes was the capital of the Duchy of Brittany and a wealthy city during their rule.

Other top sites to visit in Nantes for a weekend of sightseeing are the Machines of the Isle of Nantes, a quirky project of ‘living machines’ located on the isle in the middle of the Loire River, the gothic Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul Cathedral, a couple of elegant covered walkways, the Graslin neighborhood – with the Royal Square, the Theater and beautiful buildings – and the Jules Verne Museum. The famous French author was born and raised in Nantes, and this museum is an excellent introduction to his life and work.

For your stay in Nantes, the Logis Hôtel Duquesne is a good option. This mid-range hotel is located 100m from the Tour Bretagne, in the city center of Nantes.

Recommended by Travel France Bucket List

Versailles

Versailles is one of the best cities to visit in France. It is located 17 km south-west Paris, and it is very easy to reach by public transportation from the French capital.

The Domain of Versailles is the city’s main highlight, home to three French kings and their courts from King Louis XIV until the French Revolution. The Domain of Versailles is vast, and it consists of the Palace of Versailles, the Queen’s Hamlet and the Trianons, the French-style gardens, and a park. Therefore, if you want to visit Versailles on a day trip from Paris, good planning is key to get the most out of your visit.

Beautiful places in France to visit

Apart from the Domain of Versailles, the city has beautiful baroque architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, large green avenues, a colorful local market. You may also want to check the Royal Opera of Versailles and Notre Dame de Versailles Church in the city center.

If you have the budget, head to the Trianon Palace Versailles for a luxury stay. Apart from its spacious rooms with fireplace and balcony, guests can enjoy the award-winning Guerlain Spa, with a fabulous heated indoor swimming pool and an extensive list of treatments available.

Recommended by World In Paris

Reims

One of the best places to visit in France is Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region, and a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from Paris.

The trip from Paris to Reims takes around 2 hours regardless of whether you go on a train or on the bus and it is around 7 Euros one-way.  Once you arrive in Reims, you will find yourself in a historic French city with a rich story and some of the most delicious food and drinks in the world!

Beautiful places in France to visit

The city is obviously known for its Champagne.  You can take a Champagne tour from Reims to one of the well-known Champagne houses in the region, or you can opt to stay in the city and visit the only vineyard there at Lanson.  For an affordable price of around 40 Euros, you can do a tasting and tour of their facility and experience one of the most famous drinks in the world all in a short walk from the city center.

Other popular sites in the city worth visiting are the Palace of Tau and the Reims Cathedral. Both are UNESCO sites and very important places in the city.  The church dates back to the 13th-century and even though it was destroyed during WW2, it still stands today after modifications and reconstructions.

Reims is a very underrated place to visit in France but hopefully, you will add it to your itinerary on your next visit and see what a fantastic city it really is! 

Recommended by Megan Starr

Saint-Émilion

Saint-Émilion is a tiny town in the south-west of France located 45 minutes away from the city of Bordeaux. Only around 1800 people live in Saint-Émilion permanently but it is a popular tourist destination and one of the most famous wine areas in France and the world.

Beautiful places in France to visit

Bordeaux is of course known for its world-class wines but some of the best ones are produced in Saint-Émilion. The town is surrounded by beautiful vineyards with historic chateaux which you can visit to learn everything you need to know about wine production. A great way to spend an afternoon is to take a little train around the vineyards which will show you the best spots around town for wine tastings and sightseeing.

Make sure to visit Saint-Émilion’s famous monolithic church and many of the other historic buildings some of which date back as far as the 8th century.

Saint-Émilion is perfect for a day-trip from Bordeaux but you could also stay here for a few days in a hotel like Les Logis du Roy which is a popular choice for those coming to town to buy wine. With over 800 wineries to choose from in the area, you’ll have an incredible selection of Grand Cru Classés wines to take home to friends and family. Luckily, not all of them have to break the bank and you’ll actually find a decent amount of affordable options too.

A trip to Saint-Émilion should be high on your bucket list when you visit the south-west of France. Combining incredible landscapes with lots of things to do this is the perfect place to spend a few days. Read all you need to know about Saint-Émilion here.

Recommended by Guide Your Travel

Menton

One of the best towns to visit in France is Menton. This is a beautiful place, located along the French Riviera in the south of France. There are plenty of things to do in the town.

Beautiful places in France to visit

The beach is one of the highlights of Menton. It is very relaxing to stay here and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea. Besides that, the colorful houses of the town are magnificent and very beautiful to see. Another great thing to do in Menton is visiting one of its gardens. Menton is known for its botanical gardens. One of the best of these is the Jardin Botanique Exotique de Menton, where you can find many exotic plants. Also, it is very fun to walk through the little streets of Menton and discover local life in the town.

A major city in France that is nearby is the city of Nice. From there it takes only about 40 minutes by train to get to Menton. Another major city that is close to Menton is the city-state of Monaco. Going from there to Menton by train only takes 10 minutes. A great place to stay in Menton is Hôtel Vacances Bleues Royal Westminster, which is a hotel with a lovely sea-view.

Recommended by Dymabroad

Metz

One of the most beautiful cities to visit in France is Metz, only a day trip from Paris by train, yet so underrated. Metz has a lot of things to see so make sure you put on some good walking shoes and have enough battery on your camera. Beginning with the astounding Metz Cathedral, which is the most prominent landmark in the city with its colorful stained glass windows and Gothic Renaissance style, being one of the tallest cathedrals in Europe.

Beautiful places in France to visit.

Take a walk through Porte des Allemands, cross the bridge, enter the medieval fortified gates taking you to the old towers of the structure. Temple Neuf is probably one of the most impressive churches as it is situated on the tiny island, Île du Petit-Saulcy, in the middle of the Moselle River. You should also see the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-Aux-Nonnains, one of the oldest churches in Europe, which originally was built as part of a Roman school when it first was built in the 4th century. But make sure you make time to wander around the charming streets in the old town, eat ice cream, and take a stroll along the river and in one of the many green gardens in this wonderful, green city.

Stay at Hotel de la Cathedrale Metz to stay central in the historical center.

Recommended by Andalucia Hiking

Paris

Paris is easily THE best city to visit in France! The reasons to visit the French capital are countless! First of all, you will love the history and the architecture. Paris features many impressive monuments and beautiful buildings. But Paris is also very enjoyable thanks to the presence of the Seine River flowing through the city. Called the City of Love, Paris is very romantic, and you will take pleasure walking in the streets. Last but not least there is no better place than Paris to enjoy French cuisine!

Beautiful places in France to visit.

Here are some of the highlights of Paris. Firstly, you have to see the Eiffel Tower! You can visit it or just gaze at it from different perspectives. From Trocadero you will get some of the best views of the Iron Lady. If you fancy some shopping, head to the Champs Élysées: one of the most iconic avenues of the world! Take a look at the stunning Arc de Triomphe on your way.

Another famous Parisian landmark to admire during your trip to Paris is Notre Dame. Despite the fire that caused a lot of damages in April 2019, the Cathedral is still standing and deserves to be seen!

If you want to enjoy the traditional side of Paris, you can go to Montmartre. This neighborhood seems like a charming village. The Sacré-Coeur Basilica, located at the top of the hill in Montmartre, is actually the second most visited monument of the capital after Notre-Dame.

A good place to stay as you are in Paris is the B Montmartre Hotel. Located in the 17th arrondissement (not too far from Montmartre), the 4-Star boutique hotel has lovely rooms and offers a great service.

Recommended by Limitless Secrets

Nice

Glamorous Nice is the largest city in the French Riviera and has long been a popular haunt with the rich and famous and also artists, who love its scenery and unique light. The Promenade des Anglais stretches seven kilometers along the seafront and is a ‘must-do’. Explore the Vieille Ville (the old town) with its narrow alleys, little shops, Italian architecture, and character. The Cours Saleya is the market in the old town, which sells different fresh foods including cheeses and beautiful fresh flowers.

Beautiful places in France to visit.

Climbing to the Parc de la Colline du Château is worth the effort for the spectacular panoramic views. There is Nice Cathedral to visit and art galleries, dedicated to Chagall and Matisse. In February there is a huge carnival to enjoy. The spring and autumn are ideal times to visit the city.

If you enjoy good food there are several local dishes to try – Salade Niçoise, Ratatouille (vegetable stew), fougaille bread, onion tart, and Daube Niçoise and the area’s rosé wine is becoming increasingly popular on the world scene. To explore the city will take several days, but many visitors use it as a base for exploring Cannes, St Tropez, and Monaco.

The most famous hotel to stay in is the 100-year-old dome-topped Negresco which was once a favorite with the ‘jet-set’. It is like stepping into yesterday with its opulent grandeur.

Recommended by Travel Passionate

La Tania

La Tania is the perfect place to visit in France, located just 2 hours, 18 minutes drive from the city of Lyon. There’s plenty to do in La Tania depending on when you choose to visit.

Beautiful places in France to visit.

During the winter, La Tania is one of the most popular skiing resorts in France, located in the Les 3 Vallées– the biggest ski area in the world, there’s plenty of slopes to suit all abilities and lots of good ski schools to choose from. There’s a small street with a range of souvenir shops, supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants – make sure you try the melted cheese dish – Raclette.

During the summer, where the bottom of the ski slope is, there’s a large open-air pool. Visitors can take chair lifts and gondolas up into the hills and go hiking and cycling on the woodland trails.

Make sure you go on a trip to the nearby town of Courchevel where there’s a huge range of up-market shops and a small shopping centre. Visitors can either catch the bus from La Tania or walk/ski down the hills.

The best place to stay in La Tania is the Hotel Le Montana, owned by the travel company ‘Alpine Elements’. The hotel is right in the heart of La Tania with the possibility to ski right to the door. Facilities include a hot tub, sauna, pool and steam room as well as breakfast and an à la carte 3-course dinner.

Recommended by Travels with Eden

The Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit – Part One

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

France is arguably one of the most popular destinations to visit in Europe. Paris top attractions boasts some of the most famous places in France; the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Seine River and Notre Dame will always bring a crowd. France oozes great culture, famous for its art and galleries, the castles or chateaux are marvelled from countries afar.

For food lovers, the gastronomy of France is enviable to the rest of the word. Vineyards are a popular touring route, locals flock to France’s remarkable seaside cities and villages in Summer and the French Alps in winter to ski incredible world class runs is high on everyone’s to-do list.

Some would contest that some of the best places to visit in France, are those that not so many people know so much about. Keep reading to discover some of the most beautiful places in France to visit, as recommended by avid travellers from around the globe!

Click here to see Part Two of the Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit

Beautiful Places In France To Visit

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, more well known as Chamonix, home of Mont Blanc (4810m). Located in the south east, Haute-Savoie region of France, Chamonix is a world class skiing destination and in the Summer months, known for its fabulous mountaineering and outdoor activities in France.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

The Chamonix village is surrounded by exquisite mountains which border Italy and Switzerland. One would argue the most impressive location in the French Alps, with snow capped mountains towering above in every direction.

People flock to Chamonix in the winter months for epic skiing, featuring some of the best runs in the country. In Summer, you can experience some fantastic adventurous activities including mountain hiking, canyoning, glacier walking, mountain biking, white water rafting and so much more – opportunities are endless.

Chamonix is also known for its great apres ski and is a remarkable spot to sit with a local wine in hand in Summer as the sun goes down. There are lots of great accommodation options in Chamonix with Airbnb properties and hotels that range in budget to suit all travellers.

If you’re planning a trip to France, be sure to add Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to the list, it is one of the best places to visit in France.

Recommended by Australian Mountains To Sea

Bayeux

Bayeux, in the North West of France, is one of the most historical places to visit in France

The town is most famous for the Bayeux Tapestry (also known as “Queen Mathilde’s tapestry”), which is a piece of embroidered cloth nearly 70m (230ft!) long.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

The 11th century tapestry tells the story of the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It’s housed in a museum in the town and is definitely worth a visit.

Whilst you’re in Bayeux, be sure to visit the botanical gardens- known as “one of the most remarkable 19th century landscaped parks in Normandy”. These incredibly lush gardens have trails and paths throughout, allowing you to explore and enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

Another must see is the cathedral in Bayeux. This Gothic building was consecrated in 1077- it’s nearly 1000 years old!  

There is also a path along the side of the River Aure which offers pedestrians and cyclists a fantastic way to explore the area and get a closer look at old restored mills and wash houses. 

If you’re looking for accommodation ideas, try the Chateau de Bellefontaine. The rooms are beautifully appointed and you’re only a 10 minute drive from the cathedral or the museum.

Recommended by Wandering Bird

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is just a short 30-minute drive from Avignon, making it an easy destination to visit. 

Hotel du Soleil is one of my favourite spots to stay in town. They have beautiful rooms, a lovely pool, a garden, and even a spa. It’s about a two-minute walk from the centre of the city, making it a simple choice. 

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

Although St. Remy is a bit off the beaten path it’s got plenty of culture and beautiful scenery. This tiny village is the place where Vincent van Gogh painted many of his famous works of art, including Starry Night

If you’re into art history, you can even visit The Saint Paul Monastery where Van Gogh was a patient. You’ll see the room he lived in during his time in this mental institution. Plus, visit the small museum that’s dedicated to his time there. 

I highly encourage you to stroll through the colorful cobblestone streets, browsing markets, and indulging in their delicious food and wine offerings. 

While you’re wandering around the village, you’ll also see plaques with images of his famous works, that point out references to that specific area in the village in the artwork. 

I also recommend renting a car to cruise around the countryside, especially during the sunflower and lavender seasons. You can plan and stock up on picnic items, and find the perfect picturesque spot in the country for a picnic. 

St. Remy will truly charm you and have you wanting to continue to return to explore more. 

Recommended by Ally Travels

Villefranche sur Mer

Villefranche sur Mer is a lovely small town just on the outskirts of Nice. It’s a popular getaway for many Nice residents, since Villefranche has much nicer beaches. It only takes about 15 minus on a scooter, 10 minutes by train or bus, or an hour long walk from Nice to get there.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

Apart from Villefranche’s charming pebble beaches, the historical part of the town shouldn’t be missed. It’s small and consists of a labyrinth of narrow streets. The church of St. Michael belongs to top landmarks, so does the chapel of St. Elisabeth with its unique façade.

Villefranche’s gastronomy is excellent too and you can savor a delicious meal with freshly caught seafood and using locally made olive oil, all with the view of the Mediterranean Sea.

After a good meal, climb to the hill just next to the Old Town – it’s where Villefranche Citadel, a stone fortress from the 16th century, is located. You can admire the City Hall, several museums and, above all, the elevated views of the Villefranche Bay, where often even large cruise ships are anchored.

You can easily visit Villefranche on a day trip from Nice, but if you’d rather stay overnight, you will experience a beautifully quiet town with just a few locals and cats. Stay e.g. at the mid-range Hotel De La Darse, which has great reviews and is a good value for money.

Recommended by Travel Geekery

Menton

At the very end of the legendary French Riviera (aka Côte d’Azur) and brushing the border with northern Italy, you’ll find the charming town of Menton, a colorful pearl overlooking the turquoise of the Mediterranean.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

If you manage to pluck yourself away from the beautiful shingle beach and the lively promenade, you’ll quickly reach the Old Town. The first thing you’ll notice here is the strong Italian influence in the architecture, a leftover from Italian occupation in the 40s. Colorful buildings with their pastel wooden shutters tower over quiet alleyways where you can get lost snapping a never-ending stream of Instagrammable pictures.

Keep strolling up the hilly streets and past the stately Basilica Saint-Michel-Archange and you’ll find Cimetiere du Trabuquet, where you’ll be treated to an astounding view over the city and the marina.

When you’re done exploring the streets and trying the many restaurants on offer, you’ll have a plethora of activities waiting for you, from exploring the Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden, to trying your luck at a casino, and even engaging in some intense hiking to the top of Pic de Baudon. If you visit Menton during the second half of February (post pandemic) you’ll even get an extra treat: the Lemon Festival, during which impressive sculptures made out of lemons line the streets and are paraded around the city on floats!

Between hotels and apartment rentals, accommodation in Menton abounds for multiple price points. Alternatively, you can stay in Nice, just 39km/18mi away, where you’ll have an even greater and slightly more affordable selection. There are over 40 daily trains connecting the two (USD $6/trip), with Monaco sitting roughly in the middle. This makes Menton a great option for both weekend trips and longer stays. Unlikely though it is you’ll get tired of this Mediterranean gem, if you do you’ll have a myriad of places to explore within a 30-minute train trip!

Recommended by Uncensored Escapes

Bayonne

Bayonne is the gateway to France’s Basque country, and its Basque History Museum is an excellent way to learn about this unusual culture, which has no similarities with any other on earth.

Beautiful places in France to visit.

Bayonne is also famous for its annual fair, which celebrates Basque culture. The fair is reminiscent of the running of the bulls in Pamplona (although no bulls are actually run), and plenty of music and food are involved in this week-long event, where participants all dress in traditional white with red bandannas.

Basque chefs are famous around the world so it’s no surprise the city has a gastronomic vocation. It is known as the capital of chocolate, because this is the city through which chocolate entered France – and the tradition continues, with chocolate shops dotting the streets. The other main food claim to fame is ‘jambon de Bayonne’, a prosciutto-like product.

Bayonne has always been a fortified town of sorts but major defensive works were undertaken in the 17th century by Vauban, the genius engineer who worked under Louis XIV. These are still in existence.

The metropolis of Bordeaux is not too far from Bayonne, less than a two-hour drive. While reaching Bayonne is relatively simple by train or plane, Bayonne is the perfect jumping off point for a French Basque country road trip.

Le Port Neuf is a cute little hotel in the old quarter of Bayonne, perfect to experience a traditional Basque house.

Recommended by Offbeat France

Gassin

Escape to the beautiful village of Gassin, close to the popular beach destination of Saint Tropez. This tiny village is perched high up on a rock, only a few kilometres from the sea. It offers the most incredible coastline views of the Gulf de St. Tropez in one direction and mountain views in the other. It’s no wonder it is known as Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, or one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

Gassin became a fortified village at the end of the 15th century. Some of the significant landmarks include chapels from the 11th and 16th centuries, a 16th century Town Hall and a botanical garden. It also holds the record for having the smallest street in the world measuring at only 29 centimetres at its narrowest point. Wander and get lost in the scenic winding pedestrian-only streets. The ancient houses, all brimming with delightful flowers, are a kaleidoscope of pretty pastel colours.

Follow along the terraced wall, the Promenade Dei Barri, where you will find the village’s restaurants. Each of them features large outdoor terraces all for the reason to gaze out onto the most incredible panoramic views. A recommended stay at La Maison de Village Gassin is a must. This highly stylized Airbnb is a modern loft with the most incredible terrace views.

Recommended by Dream Plan Experience

Les Gets

Les Gets in the French Alps is a wonderful town to visit in France. Located just over an hour from Geneva in Switzerland, this alpine village is a snowy playground during the winter and packed full of outdoor adventures in the summer. 

Beautiful places in France to visit

Les Gets (pronounced ‘les jeh’) forms part of the Franco-Swiss Portes du Soleil region. Numerous villages dot the area including purpose-built resorts and those such as Les Gets that started life as traditional farming villages. 

Skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions in winter months and there are slopes to suit all abilities plus great ski school options. Visit during the summer and you’ll discover that there are lots of things to do in Les Gets. The most popular activity is downhill mountain biking and the village is one of the best places to do this in Europe. The resort is home to 128 km of marked trails, 13 downhill tracks, 1 Freeride track plus a jump park and a kids’ zone. They also boast Enduro tracks – and an 80km Enduro tour through the Portes du Soleil – as well as electric mountain biking tracks. 

Other popular summertime activities include hiking, swimming in the mountain lakes and visits to the newly opened Alta Lumina, a magical light trail through the forest. 

There are plenty of accommodation options in Les Gets, from high-end hotels and chalets to more wallet-friendly apartments.

Recommended by Globetotting

Albi

Albi is a beautiful city located in southern France. Although well worth visiting in its own right, it is also one of the best day trips from Toulouse, as it is just an hour away by train. 

Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit

The Episcopal City has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status owing to the medieval architecture which characterises it. Reminiscent of something you’d see on a postcard, this is undoubtedly one of France’s prettiest cities. 

No trip to Albi is complete without a visit to the Saint Cecilia Cathedral which is the largest brick-built cathedral in the world. Whilst the outside of the cathedral is intimidating, the inside is a welcome haven from the beating sun and boasts some stunning intricate carvings. As well as the cathedral, there are a number of walking routes around the city which showcase more world-class architecture and picturesque street corners. 

One of the best things about the city is the local gastronomy. There are several incredible restaurants to choose from, many of which offer set lunch menus which offer great value for money. Don’t miss the opportunity to try French Onion soup! 

When it comes to accommodation, there are numerous options around the city. To stay in the heart of the action, check out Hotel Les Pasterliers. This hotel is a great budget-friendly option for couples, offering ensuite rooms. 

Recommended by Winging The World

Amboise

Situated on the banks of the Loire River, Amboise is a charming French town with a lot to offer.  The town is home to the Royal Château d’Amboise, Château du Clos Luce, and Château Gaillard.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

The Royal Château d’Amboise was formerly lodging for French kings as they traveled throughout the country.  Today it serves as a museum and offers spectacular views of the Loire River.

Château du Clos Luce is where Leonardo da Vinci lived up until his death in 1519.  In the Château is his workshop, where you have the opportunity to learn about his life as an artist, inventor, and innovative engineer.  His final resting place is also located in Amboise, at Chappelle Hubert.

At Château Gaillard, you can visit the impressive orangerie and explore the sprawling gardens.  

Amboise is one of the only towns in the Loire River Valley that is accessible from Paris by public transportation.  So, if you want to visit some castles during your trip to the French capital, Amboise is the perfect day trip from Paris.  

The town itself is filled with half-timbered houses, cafes and restaurants, and the remnants of French royalty.  This quintessential French town is by far one of the best to visit in France!

Recommended by The Migrant Yogi

Marseille

France’s second city is often overlooked by visitors on their way inland to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon, yet it has so much to offer the curious traveller. Located on a dazzling coastline, it’s less famous than the Côte d’Azur, and its beaches have a distinctly rustic feel, but that’s all the more reason to love this wonderfully authentic French city.

Most beautiful places in France to visit.

Venture into the Vieux Port at the heart of the city and you’ll find a bustling fish market, where the local restauranteurs select their catch for the daily menu. Climb the steep stairs to the iconic Notre-Dame de la Garde that stands tall above the city, and take a visit to the modern MuCEM (museum of civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean) that’s located right on the waterfront.

Don’t miss Marseille’s oldest district, Le Panier, where you can witness the true character of the city, and don’t be afraid to venture up to the Marché des Capucins where you’ll find a colourful display of spices, fruits and vegetables on offer among the raucous atmosphere of vendors peddling their wares. End your days with a drink on a rooftop terrace and you’ll soon understand why so many choose this noisy & sometimes gritty city as their home. 

Airbnbs in Marseille are surprisingly affordable for a large city. Or you could choose to stay in the comfort of the iconic Intercontinental Hotel Dieu which benefits from some of the finest views in town. To get to Marseille, take the TGV or a short flight from Paris.

Recommended by Le Long Weekend

Ribeauville

Ribeauville is one of the small picturesque French villages that lie on the Alsace Wine Route. Ribeauville has a population of just under 5,000 people and is highly popular with travellers exploring the Alsace.

Beautiful places in France to visit.

Located just 16 kilometres from Colmar and an easy day trip from Strasbourg, the town is surrounded by fields of Vineyards. The main street is lined with restaurants, bakeries, cellar doors and medieval cobblestones. At Christmas time the town holds a very popular Christmas mark in December. You should definitely try the local wine from the Ribeauville Wine Co-Op.

On the hill directly behind the town, you will find Castle Saint-Ulrich, Castle Girsberg and Haut-Ribeaupierre. There is a popular walking trail from the centre of town that takes in historical sites. If you want experience Ribeauville like a local head off the main streets and find some local establishments such as Gorman Drinks where the locals drink and eat. A visit to Ribeauville is a must.

Recommended by Wyld Family Travel

Things To Do In Strasbourg

THINGS TO DO IN STRASBOURG

Where is Strasbourg?

Things To Do In Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is situated on the border between France and Germany, sometimes confused as being in Germany; history shows there was a great battle between the countries to claim the region. Strasbourg is part of the beautiful Alsace region which is surrounded by the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River. Strasbourg is just minutes from the west bank of the Rhine River.

How To Get To Strasbourg

Things To Do In Strasbourg - Travel Europe

Strasbourg is directly west from Paris and conveniently located between a number of bigger cities. There are several options for travelling from Paris to Strasbourg.

By car it will take roughly 5 hours; by train, conveniently 1 hour 45 minutes. For obvious reasons, most people travel to Strasbourg from Paris using their very efficient public transport system, with Gare Strasbourg being centrally located. The heart of Strasbourg is a pedestrian hub, so if you have a car, you need to park outside the town and walk in.

From Gare Strasbourg, you can also connect to Frankfurt, Basel, Nice, Amsterdam and Prague.

Things To Do In Strasbourg

Things To Do In Strasbourg - Travel France

Strasbourg is a remarkable city which boasts medieval history and a vibrant and colourful feel. There are so many things to do in and around Strasbourg. From the pedestrianised streets, great cafes, restaurants and bars, Strasbourg is truly alive!

For food and wine lovers, the area is known for their great local produce and vineyards. You can enjoy a self guided gourmet tour or a wine tour in the Alsace Wine Region.

Here is a list of things to do and see when you are in Strasbourg:

  • Wander La Petite France – admire the narrow lanes, canals and locks – simply stunning! Keep an eye out Grande Ile which is simply fairy tale-like with half-timbered houses.
  • Participate in a bike tour with a local.
  • Place de la Republique – the main square in Strasbourg.
  • Cathedrale Notre Dame.
  • Astronomical clock – you can also go up to the viewing platform which is 66ft high.
  • Join a historical walking tour in Strasbourg’s city centre.
  • Grande Mosque de Strasbourg – France’s biggest mosque.
  • Musee de l’Oeuvre Notre Dame – for an incredible display of some of France’s most incredible sculptures, which includes some of the original cathedral statues.
  • Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain – for a great collection of work by Rodin and Picasso.
  • Musee Alsacien – for the history buffs, you can see more about the region throughout history.
  • Explore the Alsace Wine Region on an organised tour or hire a car and self-drive.

Day Trips From Strasbourg

Must-see In Strasbourg - Travel France

Strasbourg and the Alsace Region is a great area to explore by foot, ride a bike, drive, take a tour or even get on a train. There are great day trip opportunities from Strasbourg. The options are bound to create the most memorable visit to Strasbourg for you.

There are fantastic bike tours available from Strasbourg and will vary in duration and activities, dependent on what you are looking for.

Do yourself a favour and explore beyond Strasbourg itself! The villages in the Alsace region are simply breathtaking and not to be missed. You can easily do this if you have a car, or if you prefer to be shown around, book a seat on an organised tour. The streets are cobble stoned, quaint little laneways, beautiful cafes to stop in for a coffee and patisserie.

Enjoy the rolling hills Colmar and the cobbled street town of Euguisheim, visit the walled village of Riquewihr and visit the 12th century fortress of High Koenigsbourg.

The Alsace Wine Region

What to do in Strasbourg

If you enjoy a wine, be sure to explore the extensive and picturesque Alsace wine region. From Strasbourg you book a seat on a Alsation wine tasting tour with lunch – the perfect, hassle-free day out!

Stop in and sample the region’s characteristic white wines including Riesling. Popular villages to explore on the Alsace wine route are Mittelbergheim, Dambach-la-Ville, Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr.

Here is a list of some of the most popular vineyards and villages to visit:

Things To Do In Strasbourg

You can even do a guided tasting and cellar visit at Au Péché Vigneron, in Gertwiller.

What Else To See In Strasbourg

Christmas Market In Strasbourg

If you can visit Strasbourg in December, you will have the opportunity to marvel at the world famous Christmas Markets in the Capitale de Noel – Strasbourg. Christmas in Europe is truly remarkable and known for the magic they produce at their Christmas markets; Strasbourg’s will not disappoint! The city is known to light up and ooze Christmas spirit for all ages.

Where To Stay In Strasbourg

Where To Stay In Strasbourg - Travel France

Strasbourg is a beautiful city to stay in and you could certainly spend several days touring around the sites. The most highly sort after area to stay is within La Petite France and the pedestrianised area. The buildings in Strasbourg are so beautiful, you are bound to find somewhere completely magical and memorable for your stay in Strasbourg.

Nearby cities and villages to Strasbourg are also well worth consideration for lodging. There are beautiful smaller towns in the Alsace Region where you will find some lovely accommodation. These include:

Like most European cities, it is a good idea to do your research, look at a map and find the location that will work best for you. There is a great range of hotels and bed and breakfasts and you are always best to read hotel reviews from past guests.

Strasbourg Weather

Things To Do In Strasbourg - Travel France

This picture perfect village is nestled between two mountain ranges and therefore the weather in Strasbourg can be very mild and temperate. That said, Strasbourg experiences signficant rainfall throughout the year. In Winter, despite the chilly temperatures, you will pray for Strasbourg to snow and be covered by the white blanket.

The Best Markets To Visit At Christmas In Europe.

Christmas in Europe is incomplete without visiting at least one Christmas market. Christmas markets in Europe are one of the greatest draw cards for visitors, near and far. Selecting which European city you will spend your Christmas in, will require research and consideration, as the choices are so great!

Fortunately, Christmas in Europe extends well before December 25th. This gives you great opportunities to enjoy the European Christmas atmosphere in multiple cities and/or countries in one festive season. Whether you’re travelling on your own, with friends or seeking a magical family Christmas; be sure to check out some of the top Christmas markets in Europe!

WHERE ARE THE BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN EUROPE?

LILLE, FRANCE.

Lille is a gorgeous little town at the northern tip of France, near the border of Belgium. A lovely place to visit at any time of the year, however, during the festive season, it is a remarkable Europe Christmas destination.

Christmas Market Lille

Streets are lined with stalls, all lit up by beautiful Christmas coloured lights which create a magical atmosphere. The stalls have fantastic gift ideas and sell nativity figurines; as well as, local art, also from Russia, Poland and Canada.

Rug up for outdoor activities, including the ferris wheel which overlooks the market area. Enjoy the warm food and local delicacies, sip on mulled wine and immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. The crepes were a particular favourite of mine, I think I lost count of actually how many I ate in a day!

The French town excels at putting on a great celebration and brings people from everywhere, including the United Kingdom! Due to the easy accessibility on the Eurostar, it is a popular city for the British to go and experience one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. This is exactly what I did, board a train from London and went to Lille, especially for the Christmas market, for the day! It was a big day out, but it was certainly well worth the journey!

You will absolutely not be disappointed if you choose to visit Lille during the Christmas period. There are many great accommodation options available in and around Lille.

By ErinLove To Travel, Stay-Eat-Do

MUNICH, GERMANY.

Visiting a Christmas market in Germany is a must during the festive season. The Munich Christmas market offers an array of unique events, food and festivities. Running from November 23rd to December 24th the Munich Christmas market is perfect for families, couples and solo travellers. 

Christmas Market Munich

There are Christmas markets scattered all over Munich, but the most popular are situated outside the Munich Rathaus. You’ll also find others at the Munich Residenz and the English Garden. Many of the stalls will feature handmade Christmas ornaments, the perfect souvenir from your trip!

Christmas is the perfect time to indulge, and the markets in Munich do not disappoint. You’ll find a variety of German dishes on every corner you turn, including bratwurst, schnitzel, and sweet treats like strudel. Don’t forget to stock up traditional German treats such as Lebkuchen and Spekulatius cookies. 

Let’s not forget the drinks on offer too. German beer and Mulled wine or Gluhwein as it’s known in Germany, are a firm favourite among locals. And if you want an even more German experience, head to one of the many beer halls. My personal favourites are German Helles and Hefeweizen. 

During your trip to Munich there is plenty to see and do away from the markets. You can explore further afield and take a day trip the famous fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein or explore the many palaces in Munich such as Munich Residenz. If you’re looking for a unique experience in Munich, book your trip to coincide with the Krampus Run – an event thats exclusive to the Bavarian and Swiss areas of Europe. 

The Courtyard by Marriot Munich City Center is the perfect hotel to base yourself for your trip to Munich. The rooms are incredibly spacious with very accommodating staff. It’s also within walking distance to the main city centre.

By RachaelA City Girl Outside

FREIBURG, GERMANY.

Christmas Market Freiburg

After spending a year living in Freiburg, Germany,  I found its Christmas market to be my favourite across the whole of Germany and Europe. Freiburg is a small city located in Baden-Wurttemberg in south-west Germany. The traditional city holds its annual Christmas markets from November onwards, and the city comes alive at this time.

The Christmas markets flood the city centre from the cathedral square through the cobbled streets and into the town hall square. You’ll find European street food to die for! They sell traditional German foods including schnitzel, bratwurst and my personal favourite flammkuchen. This is a thin crispy ‘pizza’ with cream cheese and bacon on top. Don’t forget the German gingerbread and chocolate kisses – small marshmallow filled domes. So many options are available for presents from decorative baubles to small Christmas trees. The town hall square also has a small funfair for children and adults alike.

Winter is also the best time of year to visit Freiburg as there are so many things to do. Take the cable car up Schauinsland, Freiburg’s closest mountain. At the snowy top, there is a centre where you can hire a sledge. There is also a sledge lift to take you to the top. You can also head into the black forest where you can see frozen lakes and snow covered buildings. It’s also the perfect place to try the traditional black forest gateau!

If the German Christmas markets didn’t fill your stomach enough, I recommend visiting Martins Brau for a traditional schnitzel dinner and some German beer. Afterwards, visit Fierling to carry on your evening.

There are several accommodation choices in Freiburg and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

By HannahHannah’s Happy Adventures

STUTTGART, GERMANY

As one of the oldest Christmas markets not only in Germany but in Europe, Stuttgart’s Christmas market is spread out over dozens of acres and has nearly 300 stalls. With the festival lasting nearly a month over 3.5 million people visit Stuttgart’s Christmas market every year, and for good reason. 

Christmas Market Stuttgart

There are at least three different areas where the Christmas market stretches into downtown Stuttgart. In the area in front of the Old Palace, visitors can experience a kinderland, where small carousel rides and other carnival rides are available for children.

One of the most popular rides is the steam train ride, which takes parents and their children on a small locomotive that drives through a display of a miniature version of Stuttgart with decorated homes, festivities and people. Nearby there is an ice skating rink where small ride on penguins and dolphins are available for children who are not able to skate. 

Stuttgart’s Christmas market also has a traditional Finnish market at the beginning of the festival season, where visitors can purchase Finnish food and memorabilia. One very interesting aspect of the market is a building near the Rathaus (town hall) which mirrors an advent calendar as the windows of the building are transformed into numbers to represent each day of Advent. The stalls of the vendors also get into the spirit of the holidays and have beautifully decorated rooftops, many twinkling in lights. 

Among the hundreds of vendors, be sure to stop by the vendors selling traditional German gluhwein, which is a warm mulled wine, or flammkuchen a thin, crusty bread with a variety of toppings. Finally, be sure to walk among the displays presented in front of the Old Palace. Each year, the festival’s theme changes and the city has beautiful lighted displays that light up, several of which play themed music.

There are many great accommodation options available in and around Stuttgart.

By DianaTravels in Poland

NUREMBERG, GERMANY.

After enjoying a few Christmas markets in the UK, I was delighted to visit two real German markets in Germany, two days in a row; Frankfurt first, then the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. The second being the highlight out of the two and according to my research, it is the most famous Christmas market in Germany.

Christmas Market Nuremberg

Nuremberg is known as one of the most Christmassy places in the world and it delivered. I had two days to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the city as a whole, while on an epic InterRail adventure. The entire city was geared towards celebrating Christmas and was immaculately decorated with Christmas lights on all the thoroughfares.

The core area was located in the square near to Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady, a fantastic building looking remarkable throughout the day or in the evening. The atmosphere extended into most streets inside the old city walls, with stalls selling all sorts of wares and tasty treats.

The festivities were focused down the hill from the magnificent Imperial Castle of Nuremberg, that overlooks the old town. As you head closer, the lights get more vibrant and the fragrances of Christmas stimulate your senses. Entering the main square was special – a stage, where traditional music was being played, from various countries including traditional songs and dance.

The aroma of food tickled the taste buds. For me, the gingerbread stalls were a massive draw and I kept on munching; as well as storing a few for a midnight snack!

When in Rome you should do as Romans do, so when in Nuremberg, Nuremberger sausages should be eaten in the traditional manner. They were served grilled with unique sausages in a roll – three specialities included, horseradish, sauerkraut or potato salad. To confess I didn’t have 3, I ended up having 9 throughout the day. I also obliged with local tradition, by hydrating with the locally brewed dark beers and festive warm drinks.

The best Christmassy experiences I enjoyed from many on my recent InterRail adventure with the puppy in tow. 

By Richard from R.J. On Tour UK

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN.

Several Christmas markets are located in Sweden’s second city, but the largest Gothenburg Christmas market, is found in Liseberg Amusement Park. It regularly pulls in half a million visitors due to the huge selection of Christmas stalls, amusement rides and Swedish winter treats.

Christmas Market Gothenburg

Based in Gothenburg, the worlds most sustainable city means the five million Christmas lights that decorate Liseberg throughout the festive period, are all run off wind power created by the theme park’s very own wind turbine. On top of that there isn’t any single use plastic in sight! Liseberg is open daily from noon until 11pm.

For shoppers, there are two Christmas markets with a total of 80 stalls and shops, selling bespoke gifts and handicrafts as well as Swedish delicacies like cinnamon buns. With so much going on, including an ice skating ballet show, a traditional Christmas buffet, thirty roller coaster rides and attractions and of course Santa’s workshop, it’s easy to see why the Liseberg Christmas market is a favourite in Sweden. 

There are three other Christmas markets in Gothenburg, the most traditional is found at Kronhuset, in one of the oldest preserved buildings in the city. 

The most charming Christmas market is found in Haga, which is also home to the largest cinnamon rolls in Sweden, and the most modern Christmas market only runs for one weekend at the iconic Roda Sten Konsthall. The diversity of the Gothenburg Christmas markets make it a must for anyone visiting Sweden in December.

There are several accommodation choices in Gothenburg and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

By RoshniThe Wanderlust Within

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM.

If you are looking for not only one Christmas market, but ten at once, Manchester is where you want to be! Each year in November, the Christmas spirit grips the entire city. Filling the streets with bratwurst and mulled wine, that’s the promise of Manchester Christmas markets. 

They are all located in the city centre, within 5 minutes of each other. Manchester Christmas markets are open for over 6 weeks which gives you plenty of time to go check them out! 

Christmas Market Manchester

The main market, on Albert Square, is where you will find the most stands and bars but more importantly, big Santa! The other markets are located on: Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street, Albert Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street, St Ann’s Square and Cathedral Gardens.

You will find all sorts of foods, drinks and quirky Christmas gifts. I’d highly recommend you withdraw cash beforehand as most stands don’t take cards and the ATMs around the markets get very crowded.

Mancunians love their Christmas Markets and they generally get quite busy. But they are also the best place to experience a true Northern English experience. People are happy and friendly so just get yourself a delicious mulled wine and socialise!

If you want to have a bit more fun, head to the ice village on Cathedral Gardens. You will find a covered ice rink (perfect to skate under any weather condition), a cavern full of ice cultures and an ice tikki bar!

Manchester Christmas markets have it all and if you love all things Christmas, you will be in paradise. They just never get old!

There are many great accommodation options available in and around Manchester.

By PaulineBee Loved City

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA.

If you are looking for an authentic Christmas Market in Europe, you definitely should check out Bratislava’s Christmas Market at the Main Square (Hviezdoslavovo Square). Visitors are amazed by the picturesque location and the unique atmosphere in Bratislava.

Christmas Market Bratislava

During Christmas time, this Market is full of local specialities, delicious food and charming goodies. People come together for having some punch or mulled wine and enjoy the true atmosphere of a winter in Bratislava. Really delicious is here the Loksa, a salty pancake or the traditional Strudl, a crisp cake filled with apple and raisins. Also the mulled vine is here in Bratislava tasty – probably because it comes from local vineries nearby the city.

In addition to amazing food you will find plenty of home-made products and traditional souvenirs – perfect to bring home some souvenirs for your beloved.

Another highlight and for many a must-do is winter skating. Especially at the Main Square you will find a very well-prepared open-air ice rink. Not only kids, also adults love to turn some rounds in this incredibly beautiful atmosphere. Skates are available to hire, so you don’t have to bring your own ones.

In the evening, local artists – singers and dancers perform directly at this Christmas Market and make each visit to an extraordinary experience. Christmas Markets have had a long tradition in Bratislava and therefore a visit to Bratislava for Christmas is absolutely recommended.

There are several accommodation choices in Bratislava and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

By Places of Juma

GRAZ, AUSTRIA.

Hands down, the most famous Christmas markets in Austria are definitely located in the three main tourist cities Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck. However, let’s not forget the more southern part of the country. In the second biggest city named Graz, you can find the magical Christmas spirit as well. There you can find not only one, but many small and gorgeous Christmas markets located all over the city.

Christmas Markets Graz

One of the biggest and most famous ones is the one at the main square (“Hauptplatz”). Right in front of the city hall, this Christmas market features a huge Christmas tree, a lovely carousel and many different stalls offering sweets, mulled wine, teddy bears and hand-made decoration.   

Another cool Christmas market is the “Aufsteirern” market which is located somewhere unusual. On the famous Schlossberg and far away from the city center there’s a former castle moat called “Kasematten”. During summer, this place is used as an open-air stage but in winter it transforms into a festively decorated Christmas market with countless stalls offering mulled wine, delicious food and also different types of crafts.

Last but not least, the oldest Christmas market can be found at a square called “Franziskanerplatz”. It’s mainly focused on rural tradition and that’s why you can mostly find many arts and crafts, so-called “Thüringer Christmas tree decorations” and products from areas called “Styrian GenussRegionen”. Don’t worry, of course many stalls offer something to eat and mulled wine as well! Also, if you’re craving something sweet, there’s a stall selling mouthwatering chimney cakes. Be prepared to wait for a while tho, the queue is usually very long.

There are many great accommodation options available in and around Graz, be sure to read reviews of personal experiences.

By LinaWorld of Lina

GALWAY, IRELAND

Galway City located on the west coast of Ireland, is arguably not only the coolest bigger city in Ireland, it also hosts the best Christmas market. When the days are getting shorter, the nights darker and the spirit of Christmas becomes visible, then the Galway Christmas market is the place to be.

Photo by Fáilte Ireland via Ireland’s Content Pool

The market on Eyre Square, right in the heart of the city, includes the incredibly fun 32 metres high Ferris wheel (here you have the best views of the city!), the very popular Après Ski Bar, Santa’s Grotto for kids of all ages and more than 50 international and Irish stalls with arts and crafts.

Besides these, there is lots of great entertainment with many different music acts (Galway is anyways the best city for street buskers in Ireland!) and delicious food (e.g. Czech chimney cakes, German Bratwurst and Glühwein, French crêpes, yummy Irish fudge and much more). One of the best things about Galway’s Christmas market is the possibility to saunter through the beautifully decorated cobbled streets with lively pubs and cozy restaurants.

If you want to get away from the Christmas hustle and bustle in Galway, then you are just a few minutes away from the seashore with its romantic boardwalk of Salthill. This beautiful walk stretches for more than a mile and offers fabulous views of Galway Bay. If you are lucky you will even catch a glimpse of the traditional boats of the city, the Galway Hookers. Definitely give Galway at Christmas time a try, it is really worth it!

There are several accommodation choices in Galway and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

By Emer and Nils from Let’s Go Ireland.

FIRA DE SANTA LLUCIA, BARCELONA, SPAIN.

Barcelona may not be your best bet when it comes to seeing a white Christmas, but its Christmas market beats out many others in Europe, especially when it comes to unusual traditions.

The Fira de Santa Llucia is a 200+ year old Christmas market located in the plaza outside a Gothic Cathedral, making it extremely atmospheric. Visitors are always amazed to see two of the more unusual Catalan Christmas traditions: the caganer and the caga tio.

A caganer is a small figurine of a defecating man (or nowadays, woman) placed in the Christmas nativity scene. There are various explanations as to why, but the most common is that it’s seen to “bring it down to earth.” Nowadays, they make caganers of celebrities and politicians, too, and there are hundreds for sale at the Christmas market.

The other unusual tradition you’ll encounter at the market is the “caga tio,” a log with a face drawn on (and usually wearing a Santa hat) that is at the center of kids’ Christmas festivities here. Rather than Santa, this log brings kids presents on Christmas Day. He’s usually covered in a blanket and the family gathers around, hitting him with sticks while singing a song asking him to defecate presents (yes, there’s a bit of a theme to these two traditions). Then the blanket is lifted and the gifts are revealed.

If you haven’t been put off your dinner, Barcelona’s a great foodie destination with lots of glutenfree and vegan options too, so head out for dinner after seeing the Christmas market.

By Caitlin – The Vegan World

There are several accommodation choices in Barcelona and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.

Christmas in Prague is one of the busiest times of the year. There are thousands of people that are traveling to see local Christmas markets and not just from the Czech Republic. You can find here people from the whole world. Even though it might sound very crowded, there is a lot of good reasons for visiting Prague during Christmas time.

Christmas in Prague

Prague has a lot of gorgeous historical buildings and seeing them decorated by snow and Christmas lights is something spectacular.

You can get classical Czech crafted gifts for your loved ones. You can find anything from little wooden dolls to homemade aromatic candles or even specially made glass decoration. On some of the stands that you will walk by, you will see how craftsmen work on their products right in front of your eyes, which kind of give a special medieval atmosphere. 

At the same time, Prague Christmas markets have a great program. On a lot of stages, you would see people singing chorals and trying to entertain both adults and kids. For entertaining adults, there is a very yummy honey liqueur or mulled wine. While kids can actually see here some domestic animals like donkeys and sheep (sort of like it was in Bethelem, nothing wild).

So as you can see, Prague might be busy during the Christmas time, but for a very good reason. Local Christmas markets are filled with great potential gifts and magic for anyone big and small.

By Albi from Ginger Around The Globe

There are several accommodation choices in and around Prague. Be sure to read reviews to find the best choice to suit your trip.

Best Christmas In Europe For Families

BEST CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE FOR FAMILIES.

Are you looking for the best Christmas in Europe location for your family? Below we have a compilation of personal stories and recommendations, from experienced travellers from around the globe.

We have an additional list of the best destinations for Christmas in Europe here, as well as things to do at Christmas in Europe and the best markets to visit at Christmas in Europe. Be sure to do your research as Europe Christmas destinations options are truly endless. Every city has so much to offer!

EUROPE CHRISTMAS DESTINATIONS FOR FAMILIES.

FINNISH LAPLAND, FINLAND.

Lapland, in Northern Finland, is one of the most family-friendly Christmas destinations. There is nowhere better to get into the Christmas spirit, especially in December, than the home of Santa Claus himself. Santa even has an official hometown in Lapland, Rovaniemi.

As well as being the hometown of Father Christmas, Rovaniemi is very family friendly. Most of the centre of town is pedestrianised around Lordi Square and there are numerous hotels, AirBnB’s and restaurants to cater for families. Rovaniemi also has several family-friendly things to do in town including three museums and an Angry Birds park. Of the three museums, two are of interest for families with young kids.

Arktikum is the museum dedicated to the Arctic Circle and the inhabitants of it, including indigenous people and animals. There are lots of different areas with interactive section for kids. Pilke, conveniently located beside Arktikum, is a museum dedicated to showing people how intrinsically important the forests of the Arctic Circle are to the people and animals. Again, there are plenty of interactive areas for kids, with a lumberjack caterpillar for kids to climb up into.

A short bus ride out of town you’ll find two places to visit Santa Claus, Santa Park and the Santa Claus Village. Not only can you meet the big man himself, but there are lots of other things to do with kids in both places. There is plenty of things to do in Rovaniemi with kids.

Whether you are in Rovaniemi or visiting the wider Lapland area, most towns and resorts have the opportunity for families to meet Santa Claus. You can also enjoy meeting reindeer and huskies and going on safari rides with them. Kids can try their hand at snowmobiling, there are plenty of ski resorts in Lapland and older kids can also enjoy a Northern Lights hunt. Lapland is an amazing place to visit with kids and one of the most family-friendly European Christmas destinations.

Cath – Passports and Adventures

KRAKOW, POLAND.

Looking for a new location for your Christmas family vacation? Krakow has a lot to offer as it is one of the most family-friendly Christmas destinations in Europe. With a broad range of activities for all ages and great food and luxurious accommodation that can easily fit your budget, Krakow ticks all the boxes for a family holiday escape.

With family rooms and apartments starting at under 50USD a night, book early to get a room near the Old Town. The Sheraton Hotel, for example, would be one of the best places to stay with its amazing location at the base of Wawel Castle, making the logistics of visiting attractions easier with young ones in tow. You can also rent an apartment in the area for as low as $600 per week with the advantage of having a washing machine and a kitchen.

Designed to be kid-friendly, the city’s transportation system is reliable and equipped to handle strollers. Most of the restaurants in the city are also family-friendly and are equipped with facilities that will make every dining experience pleasurable for all members of the family, from special kids menus, children play area, and feeding and changing facilities. Massolit Books & Cafe, Oberza Sasaidow Restaurant, and Wierzynek Restaurant are among the most recommended restaurants for family.

During your stay, make sure to visit the Christmas Market with its line of wooden stalls that are filled with authentic Polish crafts, food, and drinks. Every single member of your family will fall in love with the quaint Christmas decorations, the delicious assortment of fudge, and the thick hot chocolate. To add some magic to the festive atmosphere, take a carriage ride around the Old Town. And, don’t forget to fill up on padja (open sandwiches) and grilled cheese.

Other places of interest that are open all year round are Wawel Castle with its dragon legends, the crypt of the Franciscan monastery with its mummified residents. The Groteska children’s theatre, where traditional wooden puppets portray well-known fairytales. To add to the fun, take your family to the Park Wodny Aqua Park which has a big collection of slides. For a bit of nature, head to Jordana Park, where you can take your children around the lake with rented paddle-boats and canoes.

By Karolina – Lazy Travel Blog

MADEIRA ISLAND, PORTUGAL.

The Portuguese Madeira Island is a perfect Christmas destination for an entire family. Weather in Madeira around Christmas and New Year’s Eve is very pleasant, on average around 20C.

If you are lucky, you will have a chance to enjoy the outdoor hotel pools, and for sure, you will come back home sunbathed. This makes Madeira a perfect destination for those in the Northern Hemisphere, who would like to escape the snow and cold…but not the great Christmas spirit!

Most of Portugal’s citizens are Christians, so Christmas is an important holiday. Kids and parents alike will enjoy strolling through beautifully decorated streets. TukTuk “Christmas Lights Watching” tours are also very popular.  You will see many decorated Christmas trees, palm trees, Christmas ornaments. As well as tonnes of different Nativity Scenes in different styles.

Kids will love the Christmas Village built for them in one of Funchal’s main parks called Jardim Municipal. The city centre is full of Christmas installations, including a huge, 3 metre-tall Santa Claus. Shops and shopping malls also do not stay behind and kids will have the chance to talk to Santa there. In 2019, there was also a busy fair set up next to the Funchal Marina, with attractions for kids of all ages.

When you visit Madeira Island for Christmas, it’s worth staying New Year’s Eve, as Madeira is famous for its spectacular New Year’s shows. It used to hold the Guinness record for the “Greatest Fireworks Show in the World”. Madeira Island is a great idea for any time of the year, but December is definitely one of the most beautiful periods.

By Edyta, from Say Yes To Madeira

BADEN-WURTTEMBERG, GERMANY.

I spent one of the best years of my life living in Baden-Wurttemberg. This stunning region in south-west Germany is home to many beautiful mountains. One of the best parts about them is they are completely accessible to families looking for a great Christmas destination. Not only that, but the beautiful snow scenes in winter means you can have that white Christmas you’ve been dreaming of.

I recommend spending some time within the Black Forest. Head to Feldberg ski resort for some family skiing. Lessons are available for beginners! Alternatively, there is a sledge park at the top of Schauinsland – accessible by cable car. Here you’ll find fun for all ages. There are also multiple castles for you to visit. I recommend Hohenzollern or Lichtenstein Castle. These are great for kids and adults alike. Furthermore, take a visit to Titisee Lake – see it frozen in winter and even go ice skating (dependent on ice thickness).

You can also explore the Christmas markets in either Stuttgart or Freiburg. Stuttgart’s are more extensive, while Freiburg’s are more local and traditional. Close to Freiburg you’ll also find Europa Park – Germany’s answer to Disneyland. While the water rides are closed in winter, there is still plenty to keep the family entertained for the day. There is also a reduced entrance rate during winter. These are just some of the great places to visit in Baden-Wurttemberg.

I highly advise staying in Freiburg. This gives you a good base for many activities. From Freiburg, it is very easy to access the Black Forest by public transport or by car. Alternatively, you could stay close to Stuttgart which has better transport connections with the rest of Germany and further afield.

By HannahHannah’s Happy Adventures

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS.

After living in Amsterdam for seven years, and starting our family with two young boys here, it’s no surprise that I happen to think that Amsterdam is a great family-friendly destination all year round, but I definitely think it’s a special place to visit at Christmas.

Firstly, I recommend visiting Amsterdam at Christmas and/or New Year because it’s one of the quietest times of year to come here so visitors can avoid crowds and queues, and there are even some great hotel deals to take advantage of. But more than that, there’s just a very special atmosphere to Amsterdam at Christmas.

The canals are all lit up at night, Christmas lights and Christmas trees make the streets and houses glow warmly in the dark, and there are also a number of cosy Dutch traditions and foods that are special to this time of year which kids will love.

Oliebollen are huge round doughnut-like warm treats filled with dried fruits or apple chunks and they are served from mobile kiosks that are found all across Amsterdam un the festive season. While traditionally, oliebollen are eaten at midnight at New Year, they’re also the perfect stomach-warming treat after an evening canal cruise taking in the world-famous Amsterdam Light Show which is an annual festival that turns Amsterdam’s canals into an art gallery of illuminations created by renowned international artists.

Another great festive activity for the family is ice-skating on the rink that is temporarily located on Museumplein – but don’t worry, they’ll provide chairs for kids (and adults!) to push and balance with if it’s your first time.

Don’t think you have to come to Amsterdam at the end of December to soak up the atmosphere for kids. In Amsterdam festivities start early as Sinterklass, their version of Father Christmas or Santa, arrives on the evening of 6th December delivering presents to all the kids who have left their shoes out for him.

All across the city, you’ll see children in colourful caps and clothes, dressed up as Sint’s famous helpers, his Piets. This in turn means that once Christmas is here, there is less focus on gifts and more on being with family and loved ones, which is possibly my favourite thing about Christmas in Amsterdam.

There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam, be sure to check out this ultimate planning guide for Amsterdam before you travel!

By FrankieAs The Bird Flies

The Best Christmas in Europe

PLANNING THE BEST CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE?

Experiencing a European Christmas, is on the bucket list for so many of us based in the Southern Hemisphere. Who doesn’t want to experience the magic of a winter white Christmas and all of the Christmas in Europe traditions.

The Christmas markets in Europe are envied by the rest of the world; the winter based activities, the magic and the traditions are so well published. Below you will find first hand experiences for some of the best destinations in Europe for Christmas.

For more ideas on fabulous family Christmas destinations read our compilation here, as well as the best markets to visit at Christmas in Europe.

WHERE IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE?

The Best Destinations For Christmas In Europe.

There are some magnificent parts of Europe you can visit for a white Christmas experience. It can be difficult to decide where to spend Christmas in Europe. Be inspired by these personal experiences – hopefully they will help you decide where to go to have the best Christmas in Europe.

SOLL, AUSTRIA.

Soll, Austria.

While living in London in my earlier, pre-kids years, I was fortunate enough to spend my first Europe Christmas holidays in Austria. It truly was as awesome and as magical as I hoped it would be. I bought a 7 day ski package and stayed in a beautiful town called Soll, where we literally had the Austrian Alps at our doorstep.

The town was lit up at night, festive during the day and had an exquisite Christmas feel – it was perfect. The people were friendly, the local food was amazing and Soll boasts some of the best apre ski in Europe!

Snow did not fall on Christmas day, however, we had the best of both worlds – freshly fallen snow the day before and beautiful blue skies to ski the Austrian Alps – all day long!

Soll is just a short trip from Innsbruck another buzzing and magical town at Christmas, with so many unique opportunities, including tobogganing and a visit to the 1964 Winter Olympics bobsleigh run. You will also find some of the best Christmas markets in Austria, here.

There are so many beautiful hotel choices in Soll, surrounded by mountains, which in Winter will be covered in snow – absolutely glorious! I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Soll, to have the best Christmas in Europe.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about accommodation in Soll, Austrian Alps.

By Erin – Love To Travel, Stay-Eat-Do.

INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA.

Innsbruck at Christmas, Travelers Universe.

Whenever I think of a white Christmas I’m taken back to Innsbruck, Austria. I don’t think I’ve seen so much snow in one place ever in my life! I’m convinced that Innsbruck is one of the best places to go for Christmas in Europe.

My husband and I arrived in Innsbruck on a cold December day. There was no snowflake in the air so we were slightly disappointed (although the city was charming regardless). When we woke up the next morning, however, Innsbruck was covered in a fluffy layer of snow. It was surreal!

We then took the cable car up the Nordkette and spent the whole day at 6,250ft playing in the snow and sipping hot chocolate while enjoying the views. It was the best Christmas present we could ask for!

Back in Innsbruck, we visited the markets (truly some of the top Christmas markets in Europe), walked under humongous Swarovski crystals, tried to spot all the fairy tale characters decorating the streets and warmed ourselves up with steaming cups of mulled wine.

Of course, eating is an important activity at any Christmas market, so we also took care to stuff our faces with delicacies like roasted chestnuts and hot doughnuts with Sauerkraut.

As for accommodation, I recommend you to find a hotel in the Innenstadt because you’ll be within walking distance of all the attractions, including the Nordkette Cable Car station. Bonus points if you book a room with views of the Alps (it shouldn’t be difficult!).

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Innsbruck.

By Laura from Travelers Universe.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA.

Salzburg at Christmas, Journey of Doing.

Nestled at the foot of the Alps is Salzburg, Austria. Whether you visit the chapel where Silent Night was first performed, take a sleigh ride, or visit the many Christkindlmarkts, there is no more magical place to have a white Christmas in Europe.

I recommend staying in the aldstadt (Hotel Goldgasse and Hotel Goldener Hirsh are my favorites!) to truly experience the magic of historic Salzburg. You easily will be able to explore the Christmas markets in Residenzplatz and Domplatz before taking the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Fortress for the beautiful views (and another Christmas market). When you come down the Moschburg, stop at St. Peter’s Abbey for the most serene sight in Salzburg’s old town.

By then you’ll be ready to warm up from the cold. Head to Getreidgasse, Salzburg’s famed shopping street and stop at Sporer to try traditional schnapps. If that’s not your style, Café Tomaselli is a short walk away and offers delicious coffee and cake.

If it’s too cold or too wet to take the bus to the Hellbrunn Palace and Christmas market, you can learn to make traditional Austrian Christmas cookies and apple strudel through this delicious hands-on cooking class. In addition to taking the leftovers home, you will also enjoy a delicious goulash soup for lunch. Other traditional restaurant recommendations are Zum Zirkelwirt and Gasthof Wilden Mann.

In the evenings you can take in a classical concert, join the ice skaters behind Residenzplatz, or continue your shopping at the Christmas markets. Salzburg is beautifully lit in the evenings; don’t forget to take a stroll through the romantic Christmas lights.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Salzburg.

By Sara Miller at Journey of Doing.

ROVANIEMI, FINLAND.

Rovaniemi at Christmas, The Elusive Family.

Rovaniemi, known officially as the hometown of Santa Claus is one of the most unique Christmas experiences in the world.  It sits in the middle of Finland in the region known as Lapland, and draws in thousands of visitors year-round.

In the winter there is an abundance of winter activities and things to see and do. Husky sledding is one such experience.  Husky dogs pull visitors on a sleigh ride across the white snowy countryside for miles and show off their endurance and dedication.  Husky riding is a family friendly activity and many tour operators provide this experience, ranging from 15 minutes to several hours.

Riding on a reindeer sleigh is another wonderful experience for families and this can happen on a reindeer farm, or out in the countryside.  One great place to do reindeer sleighs for smaller family members is at Santa Claus Village.  

Santa Claus Village is a top accommodation to stay at, as well as it has reindeer, huskies, and Santa’s on site.  It is also very easy to book excursions in Lapland directly from the hotels.  

When we went to Lapland with our kids our experience at Santa Claus Village was amazing and we were able to have a wonderful holiday, particularly since the Village accommodates families incredibly well.

Northern lights tours, ice floating and ice fishing and numerous other activities are available in Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is a very unique family experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity for experiencing a magical experience with your family.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Rovaniemi.

By Diana from The Elusive Family.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND.

Reykjavik at Christmas, The Travelling Twins.

In 2018 we visited Iceland in December and found ourselves in Reykjavik for seven weeks in the middle of last winter almost by accident. But that’s another story.  What we experienced when we were there was the most lovely Christmas with children ever, contributing to one of the best Europe holidays in December.

We were house-sitting for a family who has kids roughly the same age as ours. The place was already decked out with everything but the tree before we arrived.  We settled in, and fed the contents of a box of Christmas CDs into the stereo, and did some research about what to expect. No Santa Claus.

On our first foray into the centre of Reykjavik, we found a great illuminated model of a pussy cat – how sweet!  The information panel located by its rather sharp claws told us that this is the cat that eats lazy children. Hmm. 

We then discovered that our house would be visited on the thirteen nights before Christmas by as many trolls, the sons of a fearsome ogress.  We had better learn each brother’s likes and habits and leave an appropriate gift for him, and so it went on. It turned out that the Yule Cat and Yule Lad myths are embedded into everything during December.  Of course, our kids, and we bought into all of this.

As Christmas drew near, we met more and more friendly natives falling over themselves to explain to us what we had to do and eat and see. There is a free skating rink erected in the middle of the old town where we spent another delightful evening, soaking up the Christmas spirit.

We had a very cosy family Christmas enjoying these different traditions.  We saw the Northern Lights at last, swam in geothermally heated water, and ate a delicious Christmas dinner of lamb.  Then as the New Year broke, we sat in the middle of the most astonishing firework display we had ever witnessed.

We were in the middle of it simply because all our neighbours for miles in every direction had invested in what seemed like megatons of explosives and pyrotechnics.  The show continued not for hours but days – that’s one of the strangest facts about Iceland – they spent the enormous amount of money every year on fireworks. 

Want a different Christmas and an exhilarating new year?  Go to Iceland and soak up the local traditions.

For accommodation options in Reykjavik, there are tonnes of choices here. There are so many fabulous things to do in Reykjavik for families, including the very popular Golden Circle Full Day Tour.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Reykjavik.

By Ania from The Travelling Twins.

SWITZERLAND.

View over Lake Lucerne, Mt Pilatus, Expert World Travel.

Switzerland is an absolutely stunning destination for a white Christmas, for oh so many reasons. First of all, it is filled with mountains, so that alone makes the experience that much more picturesque and dramatic. Even if the weather is not playing along and the snow in the cities is yet to fall, you can always head uphill and get yourself a truly white experience!

Some of the best Christmas destinations in Switzerland are actually the cities like Lucerne, Geneva and Zurich. Why? Because they are filled with wonderful Christmas lights on all the main streets, and, of course, fun Christmas markets. The markets are great because they have enticing stalls with wonderfully warm comfort food and handmade delights to buy as presents. Here are some accommodation options for these three popular cities: Lucerne, Geneva and Zurich.

Be on the lookout for Gluhwein, a hot spicey wine drink, and other warm cheesy offerings like Raclette, and Fondue – Swiss classics you should be sampling anyway. In Zurich, a giant Christmas tree is put up in the middle of their market too. But not just any old tree, it’s filled with Swarovski crystals, from head to toe! So, it’s worth making a detour to see that alone.

If you want to take things a step further and head up into the mountains, “White Christmas” takes on a whole new meaning. Everything is white, as far as the eye can see. And that also means you can partake in all sorts of snow and ice-related activities like ice skating, tobogganing and even skiing and snowboarding if you are so inclined.

Swiss mountain gems, such as, Zermatt, Saas Fee, Davos and Crans Montana are worth putting on your bucket list. After all, there is nothing better than having a white Christmas in the mountains surrounded by snow!

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Switzerland.

By Roger Timbrook from Expert World Travel.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.

Copenhagen at Christmas, Robe Trotting.

I moved to Copenhagen a few years ago from Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to my fourth Christmas there this year. When it comes to the Christmas holiday, Copenhagen, Denmark is a fabulous and festive place to enjoy the Christmas season.

With warmer temperatures over the last few years, a Copenhagen white Christmas may be rare. However, when there is a dusting of snow in the city, it is remarkable. There are also adorable Christmas markets, gorgeous decorations all over the city and the Christmas magic of Tivoli Gardens.

The best area to stay and access all the Christmas majesty is Copenhagen’s Nyhavn neighborhood. Nyhavn is the name of the iconic Copenhagen harbor with pastel merchant houses and quaint cafes. There are many Airbnb and hotel options in the area. The streets here are crisscrossed with hanging lights and evergreen boughs. It’s also close to one of the best Christmas markets in Kongen’s Nytorv.

The Christmas market there is beautiful. You can walk around the vendors and shop for keepsakes while drinking glogg. It’s a famous Scandinavian winter-time drink – warm mulled wine with raisins and almonds stirred in. In Kongen’s Nytorv you’ll also see the Hotel D’Angleterre. It’s a gorgeous hotel where the facade is covered with LCD screens and turned into a Christmas advent calendar. 

Another winter highlight is Copenhagen’s famous amusement park, Tivoli Gardens. It’s a must-see attraction any time of year, but it’s magical at Christmas. The decorations, light displays, and Christmas vendors make it a spectacular stop. There is also a fabulous Christmas cabaret each year at one of the theatres inside of Tivoli. This show is an annual holiday season tradition for locals and the only English-language feature of the year. 

If you’re looking for a Christmas season winter getaway, consider Copenhagen. There’s no shortage of holiday fun and beauty. The Danes love Christmas. Even a workplace Christmas party is like nothing I’ve experienced outside of Denmark. You can see more about their Julefrokost (Christmas party) in this post about my biggest surprises after moving to Denmark.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Copenhagen.

By Derek Hartman from Robe Trotting.

FREIBURG, GERMANY.

Freiburg at Christmas, Hannah’s Happy Adventures.

Freiburg is a beautiful city nestled at the foot of the black forest. I was fortunate enough to spend a year living and working in Freiburg. I must say, I fell completely in love with the city.

Christmas was my favourite time of year. The city is regularly covered with a blanket of snow and the nearby mountains are transformed into a winter wonderland. Temperatures regularly reach lows of -10°C, so be sure to wrap up warm before heading out to explore.

While the German Christmas markets are on the smaller side, they offer a more authentic local feel and are significantly cheaper. Several markets are littered throughout the city centre. My personal favourite is the market centred around the Munster.

The cathedral provides the perfect backdrop for a festive Christmas evening. Enjoy a mulled wine with amaretto, or perhaps a scrummy bratwurst. The best place for German food in Freiburg is MartinsBrau. I spent many evenings here. I recommend ordering schnitzel with pan fried potatos and a mushroom sauce.

After exploring the city, It’s now time to enjoy the surrounding mountains. I recommend visiting Schauinsland. Take tram line two to Dorfstrasse, then switch to bus 21 which will take you to Schauinsland Tal-bahn. Take the cable car to the top to go sledging, skiing or hiking. Moreover, the restaurant at the top offers stunning views and a delicious marshmallow hot chocolate – exactly what you need after a day in the snow!

I’m in no doubt that you will love Freiburg just as much as I did. If Freiburg interests you check out the top 10 things to do in the city here. Where to stay in Freiburg? Budget: Black Forest Hostel; mid-range: City Hotel Freiburg; or, luxury: Novotel Freiburg Am Konzerthaus.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Freiburg.

By Hannah Golton from Hannah’s Happy Adventures.

BERLIN, GERMANY.

Berlin at Christmas, by Smita.

Berlin at Christmas time is bone-chillingly cold, but I believe, also the best time to visit. The Christmas markets in Germany are quite something else. Nothing else compares; the best place to start enjoying Christmas, is in Berlin.

Start with a free Sandeman tour of the city to get your orientation. Enjoy the sights of Brandenburg Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz, and the famously quirky, 1.3 km long East Side Gallery.

Stay or visit the Kreuzberg neighborhood. Kreuzberg, formerly a part of West Berlin, has transformed from being one of the poorest quarters in the late 1970s to one of the city’s cultural hot spots today. It is home to a large migrant population and also to the city’s hippest clubs and restaurants.

Eat at Curry 66 (on Grünberger Str. 66) along your way—best currywurst ever. Or go to the Currywurst museum for a tutorial on the invention of the city’s favorite dish and learn about its evolution over the years.

Finally, the best part of the trip, the reason you came. Go to WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt, arguably the best Christmas market in Berlin. It’s a party at these Christmas markets. They charge 1 or 2 to get in, and inside the revelry is infectious, especially after a glass or two of Glühwein or Eierpunsch, the glasses which you can keep as a souvenir.

Then pick up currywurst or bratwurst and watch a choir perform on stage or a group of people dance madly or buy a locally handmade goodie from the stores which look like straight out of a fairy tale. That’s a white Christmas you’re never going to forget.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say accommodation in Berlin.

By Smita Bhattacharya.

PARIS, FRANCE.

Twenty-Nineteen, was the first year we spent Christmas in Paris. We moved here from the UK, in August 2019 and so didn’t really know what to expect – but any expectations we did have were far surpassed.

Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities at any time of year. But at Christmas, it really comes into its own. The streets are full of glorious, sophisticated lights and the shop windows are beautifully arranged. The grand magasins on Boulevard Haussman are particularly magnificent, but the decorations certainly don’t start and finish there. The shopkeepers of Paris know about style and you can expect beautifully adorned windows all around the city.

Paris at Christmas

One of Paris’ Christmas traditions that we particularly enjoyed, were the pop up ice rinks. Last year there was a free rink on the top of the famous Galeries Lafayette department store. It may have been quite small and not real ice, but it did mean you could take in the Christmas windows, gawp at the incredible Christmas tree inside the shop as well as skate with a view of the Eiffel Tower on the rooftop! 

Paris also has many Christmas markets, that spring up all over the city. For example, there’s a huge market at La Defense, one in the Tuileries gardens and also along the Seine embankment. Sceptics would say they’re a bit commercial, but with all the fantastic food and mulled wine on offer, it’s difficult not to get into the Christmas spirit. If you prefer less stalls and less people, many of Paris’s arrondissements have smaller, more local markets too and it’s a wonderful experience to wander through Paris and come across one of these.

We loved our first Christmas in Paris and would certainly recommend a visit at this time of year.

There are endless accommodation options in Paris; find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about accommodation in Paris.

By Clare from Epic Road Rides

LONDON, ENGLAND.

London at Christmas, Experiencing the Globe.

When you think of a white Christmas in Europe, London doesn’t come to mind because usually there’s no snow, but let me tell you, it absolutely makes up for it with decorations and vibe. Winter Wonderland is the most Christmasy place on earth!

Hyde Park dresses up for the holidays in green and red, creating a magical place that will turn even the Grinch into a Christmas fan. There you’ll find delicious food, beautiful ornaments, fun games, the UK’s biggest open-air ice rink, and you’ll be able to visit the jaw-dropping Ice Kingdom that features  an ice bar. Fun for kids and adults alike!

If you want to get into the celebrations without going over the top, head to Victoria Park’s Winterville. A bit outside the city centre,  you’ll find less tourists and just as much charm. If you want great food and maybe to get a present or two, head to the Christmas Market of the South Bank.

For shopping, go to Oxford street. The street itself is full of lights, and the store windows are works of art. Visit in the evening for a full ‘wow’ effect.

If you want to get into the festivities Royal style, visit the palaces in London and around it. Hampton Court has an ice-skating rink just in front of the palace, giving you the perfect photo opportunity for a Christmas card (or Instagram post!).

For a more meaningful experience, attend mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’m not religious at all, but I spent a few hours before midnight handing coffee to people on the street waiting to get inside the church, and I got to marvel at the incredible choir singing in my favourite building in London. It’s a perfect way to spend Christmas in a foreign city!

While you could spend years in London and not see everything, with a 5-day itinerary, you will get to see the main highlights and a bit more. There are endless accommodation options in London, which makes it incredibly difficult to choose the best place to stay. A top tip, would be to stay somewhere in walking distance to a train or underground line, that way, you are never too far from all of the action.

By Coni from Experiencing the Globe.

TALLINN, ESTONIA

Tallinn, Estonia may not be on every traveler’s wish list, but the ones that choose to visit this unique destination are in for a surprise! Tallinn offers a perfect combination of Scandinavian cool, medieval charm, and Eastern European hospitality. It is a great destination for an eco-conscious traveler, especially during the Christmas season!

We chose to visit Tallinn over Christmas; while the weather was cold and the daylight almost non-existent, we found the city to be VERY charming nonetheless. Christmas lights, markets, cozy little restaurants and bars scattered all over the city kept our spirits high throughout our visit.

The Old Town is a UNESCO site where most of the action takes place. The town is small but is really well preserved, oozing with medieval charm and offering plenty of adorable nooks and crannies to explore during your visit.  Peruse the Masters Courtyard – a quiet area of Old Town with cafes and small shops where artisans showcase their finest handiwork. It’s a great place to pick up holiday gifts! Then head to the Christmas Market which is located in Raekoja Square. A huge Christmas Tree is erected each year and you’ll find vendors selling mulled wine, holiday treats, and activities galore. 

There are several accommodation choices in Tallinn and surrounds; be sure to read reviews for personal recommendations.

By Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.

Things To Do In Europe At Christmas

Sifting through the thousands of things to do in Europe at Christmas, can be overwhelming! Below you will find some of the best things to do in Europe through the Christmas period.

If you have not yet decided where to go in Europe for Christmas, we have two articles that provide excellent recommendations. You’ll find some of the best destinations in Europe for Christmas, including those for families.

Some of the best things about Christmas in Europe are undoubtedly exploring the plethora of Europe’s Christmas markets.

The list of things to do in Europe are endless and let’s face it, the best things in life aren’t things; they are truly magical and memorable experiences – Europe does all things Christmas incredibly well!

The Best Activities for Kids in Europe at Christmas

Finland – things to do in Rovaniemi this Christmas

Highlights of Rovaniemi Day Tour – a 7 hour tour to explore the local area, meet Santa and have a ride in a reindeer sleigh.

Aurora Borealis Tour (with photos) – experience on of nature’s most incredible phenomena, the Northern Lights.

Rovaniemi Ice Fishing – 3 hours of ice fishing with spectacular Finnish scenery.

Rovaniemi Wilderness Tour – 3 hours of Northern Finland wilderness, wildlife spotting and the spectacular Arctic Circle.

Austria – things to do in Innsbruck this Christmas

Cable Car Ride – an hour and a half of enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the Austrian Alps.

Hungerburg Funicular Round Trip – enjoy a trip out of the bustling streets of Innsbruck into a stunning Austrian landscape.

Innsbruck Card – this is a fabulous way to get around (all year round) and see what this beautiful European city has to offer.

Austria – things to do in Salzburg this Christmas

The Original Sound of Music Tour – the hills become alive as you explore all of the original locations where the film is shot.

Hallstatt Day Tour from Salzburg – a five and a half hour trip to the magnificent town of Hallstatt, enjoy the majestic mountain views and walk by the lake.

Salzburg Card – a fantastic way to get around and see some of the great sights of Salzburg for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

Iceland – things to do in Reykjavik this Christmas

Golden Circle Tour and Kerid Crater Day Tour – 8 hours exploring a volcanic crater, Gulfoss and Geysir and immersing yourself in the essence of Iceland.

Northern Lights Classic Bus Tour – let the experts do the work on this half day tour and get yourself the best chance of witnessing Aurora Borealis.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and South Coast Day Trip – a full day tour exploring some of the most spectacular wonders of Iceland, you’ll see waterfalls, glaciers and icebergs.

France – things to do in Paris this Christmas

Paris Big Bus Hop On-Hop Off Tour – discover the best of the Parisian landmarks over one or two days.

Disneyland Paris – where you watch the magic of your childhood unfold before your eyes; enjoy the attractions, shows and street parades.

Paris Museum Pass – access to over 50 museum and monuments in Paris and the surrounding region.