Christmas this year is going to be very different for us in England. There are talks of Christmas bubbles and travel permitted on certain dates, but with stricter tiers being enforced across pretty much the entire country, who knows what will actually happen over the festive period.
For the past two years we went away near to Christmas on short breaks. It was the first two years we ever went away over Christmas and we really enjoyed it. Last year we went to London on a budget and also Bluestone for a few days. The year before we went to Bluestone Holiday Resort too.
It gave us something extra to look forward to at Christmas and meant we could spend some real quality time together as a family. Not that we don’t enjoy seeing family and friends, but the years before this, Ben was always working full time and only had a few days off work – a week max some years. We’d spend his time off going here and there, travelling to different friends and family houses every day he was off and never feeling like he got to relax or we spent much time just to ourselves enjoying family time.
That’s why I really wanted to go away at Christmas, and although we haven’t been away for the day itself yet, it’s something I am tempted to do! I’d love a beach holiday and real break away at Christmas! Bah-humbug perhaps, but I’m not one for the cold and get SAD each year, so a week or two in the sun would really be amazing!
We’re not religious so we could celebrate Christmas a weekend before, or after!
Anyway, not going away at Christmas at all this year is such a shame. Whilst we weren’t planning on going abroad for a beach holiday, I was planning on a UK staycation to Cornwall or Devon. A little cottage or holiday home for a few days and some coastal walks.
I haven’t bothered to book anything as everything is so up in the air. The only weekend away we did have to Wales has already been rebooked three times and now delayed until next year, so I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of booking something just to keep cancelling it or rearranging it again, especially for a Christmas break.
Nonetheless, it hasn’t stopped me thinking about travel plans for next year and the amazing Christmas destinations we could visit.
Surely things will be back to normal next Christmas, yes? Lockdowns done and dusted and a sense of normality once again? Travel back to normal?
I really hope so!
Whilst a sunny break is a dream for me at Christmas, I’m not sure if the kids and Ben would agree! Instead, they may want something a little more festive full of Christmas cheer!
With that in mind, here are some of the cities in Europe that look great to visit for a Christmas adventure:
1. Paris, France
Thinking about holidays in Paris at Christmas time, I can’t help but be reminded of the ultimate Christmas movie Home Alone! Unfortunately for them they didn’t make their dream holiday in Paris, but hopefully we will make it one year.
I’ve never been to Paris before, only passed through on a coach on the way to Argeles-sur-mer in the south of France as a youngster, so it’s somewhere I’d like to see at least once in my lifetime, in person.
Who doesn’t want to see the Eiffel Tower in real life?
It’s such a landmark and if you’re only going to visit it once, then surely the best time is at Christmas?
The tower is lit up at night-time and looks spectacular! Just search the Eiffel Tower at Christmas on Google and you’ll see what I mean.
They even extend their opening hours over Christmas if you want to climb the stairs!
It’s not just the Eiffel Tower that is decorated for Christmas in Paris, but every corner has something Christmassy and magical to adore. There are numerous outdoor skating rinks, Christmas markets a plenty and for a feast for the eyes there’s a lavish Christmas light display at The Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
2. Salzburg, Austria
For a picturesque and shopping lovers Christmas then a visit to the Salzburg Christmas markets looks ideal. Their markets are so famous that many travel operators offer a package deal for a few days to visit Salzburg in December, purely for the purpose of the markets!
Dating back to the 15th century the city centre market wraps up Christmas into one wonderful place as described by Austria.info: “The smell of punch and toasted almonds, hot roasted chestnuts and freshly baked apples envelopes you, and the vendors’ gingerbread hearts, nativity figures, Christmas tree ornaments, toys, and snug knitwear are irresistible.”
It sounds so magical and there is almost guaranteed snow too! Apparently it snows for around 13 days in Salzburg, Austria each December, so the chances are pretty high!
If there is snow then a day trip to the mountains to see the beautiful snowy scenery is a must, if you can peel yourself away from the markets!
The most recommended place to visit is the mountain town of Hallstatt and it’s not hard to see why:
3. Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
No article of Christmas places to visit in Europe for Christmas would be complete without a suggestion to visit Lapland itself – the home of Christmas!
“Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region, a sparsely populated area bordering Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. It’s known for its vast subarctic wilderness, ski resorts and natural phenomena including the midnight sun and the Northern Lights. Capital Rovaniemi is the gateway to the region.” ― Google
Not only this, but it’s also home to Santaland and numerous Christmas themed attractions and experiences for a magical family Christmas for all ages.
It’s also one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, another once-in-a-lifetime must see event!