Last Updated on 6 November 2022
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As we head deeper into the Autumn, you may be starting to think about planning a Christmas break to get yourself into the festive spirit. To help you decide where to go, here are 5 of the best destinations for a Christmas city break in Europe. Magical vibes, traditional markets, streets illuminated with lights, and scrumptious Christmas delights – what’s not to love?
1. Wroclaw, Poland
Wroclaw Christmas Market is one of the most under-rated Christmas Markets in Europe (bold statement, but I promise you it’s truly magical)! With a backdrop of curvy-roofed and colorful façades, and cobbles underfoot, the traditional style wooden huts line the length and breadth of the Old Town Square selling all kinds of festive delights. What’s more, Wroclaw is homed to hundreds of bronze dwarves that scatter the city (yes, really) and has some fantastic things to see and do to complement any festive short break!
2. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a charming and cheap city in Eastern Europe, and makes for the perfect city break at any time of the year, but at Christmas it has an extra special vibe! Christmas Markets are dotted around the city and the streets are illuminated with glistening Christmas lights. The Christmas Market located on Vörösmarty Square is not to be missed and you should be sure to visit the one located in front of St Stephen’s Basilica on St Stephen’s Square as it’s one of the prettiest. 3 nights in Budapest is the perfect amount of time to embrace some of the many things to do in the city and indulge in the Christmas Markets. Be sure to try Lángos – a traditional Hungarian deep fried bread covered in sour cream, cheese and garlic oil (yum)!
3. Valletta, Malta
I know you’re probably thinking that Malta is somewhere you would only visit when the summer sun is shining bright, but I’m here to tell you that you should consider a short trip in November or December! Valletta is the perfect place to visit during the festive period to get yourself into the Christmas spirit! It has an impressive array of Christmas lights which illuminate the city’s streets and Maltese nativity displays which depict traditional Christmas scenes. Furthermore, Valletta is brimming with baroque architecture and is small enough to be able to do your own city tour on foot!
Tip: Accommodation in Valletta can be more expensive than staying in the nearby towns of Sliema or St Julians. So, why not cut costs by staying in these areas and using the ferry to/from Valletta when you want to visit the city!?
Read more: How to spend 5 perfect nights in Malta (including trip costs).
4. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Home to some great things to see and do, an Amsterdam city break is a good option at any time of the year, but is especially stunning at Christmas. Festive fairy lights line the streets and Christmas cheer fills the chilly air! There is nothing more magical than taking a canal-side stroll and seeing the lights glisten in the reflection of the water, enjoying a Dutch beer in a cosy Brown Café under the Christmas tree, or gliding across the ice in front of the Rijksmuseum! If you need a hotel recommendation, I would suggest Ibis Styles Amsterdam Amstel which is a canal-side property with a colourful and modern interior, situated within walking distance of Centrum.
Tip: I accidentally stumbled across Café Berkhout on my trip to Amsterdam, and it turned out to be one of the best places to enjoy a local beer underneath the Christmas tree! Café Berkhout is a Brown Café – a traditional and cosy Dutch pub known for their warm and friendly atmospheres, and named after their brown interiors!
5. Berlin, Germany
Visiting Berlin for a Christmas city break should definitely be on your bucket list for Europe. Germany is the home of Christmas Markets, and Berlin certainly knows how to put on a festive show! With over 60 Christmas Markets spread across the city, there is certainly no shortage to chose from on your festive trip to Berlin. Traditional alpine huts stock treats such as toffee apples, Glühwein and gingerbread, and sell and array of gifts and trinkets making it a perfect place to grab a special gift or two to take back home for your loved ones! Furthermore, Berlin is brimming with things to see and do which you can pack into your festive itinerary! I stayed at Novum Hotel Aldea Berlin Centrum which was easily accessible by public transport to the main hotspots in the city.
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