Top 10 Christmas Holiday Destinations in Europe

Champs Elysées, Paris at Christmas. Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, I’ve already started to think about how I’d like to ring in the New Year. Over the last years I’ve done everything from house parties to street parades to fancy meals – I’ve even stayed at home with my mum to watch Jools’ Annual Hootenanny while demolishing our very own finger buffet!
Perhaps the best New Year’s I’ve ever had, however, was one that I spent in Paris, and so I’m almost settled on a plan to say hello to 2017 in another foreign country: Budapest. If you’re thinking about spending your Christmas holidays abroad as well this year but haven’t quite decided where you’d like to go, here’s 10 of the best Christmas holiday destinations in Europe to consider!

1. Paris, France

Paris is one of the most magical – and most romantic – places to spend your Christmas holidays. There’s plenty to enjoy, from gala dinners to stage shows, Disneyland to inner city markets. And, on New Year’s Eve, the city comes alive with street parties, firework displays and strangers exchanging bises over a bottle of champagne.

2. Budapest, Hungary

Again, there’s plenty to do in Budapest at Christmas. Watch a show at the Hungarian State Opera House, hop on a boat and cruise down the Danube river or go ice skating in the city park, for instance.

3. London, England

London is another great place to visit at Christmas. Come New Year’s, the city really comes alive with lights, fireworks and parties. South Bank London is an especially hot spot on New Years Eve, promising the best view of London’s firework display, while crowds swarm to the streets of the West End on January 1 for the city’s annual parade.

4. Berlin, Germany

More than one million visitors gather at Bradenburg Gate every year for Berlin’s spectacular open-air party. There’s also two kilometres of stages for shows, party tents, light and lasershows, food and drink and, of course, firework displays to enjoy throughout the month of December.

5. Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is enriched in culture and bursting with fun things to do all year round. During the Christmas holidays there’s also live DJs, parties and other entertainment lined up across the city.

6. Vienna, Austria

There’s plenty of life on the streets of Vienna in Winter. Going to a gala dinner or a party, visiting Vienna State Opera or hiking through some of the most beautiful scenery in and around the city are just a few of the things you can do.

7. Rome, Italy

Rome is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. With added street decorations, Christmas markets and thousands of fireworks, however, why wouldn’t you go in December?

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Christmas in Sweden has become dominated by the traditional offerings of the media. On New Year’s Eve, there’s a live broadcast from Skansen open-air museum where bells chime and a New Year’s verse is shared. You can also set your own fireworks off or sneak a peek at somebody else’s.

9. Madeira Islands, Portugal

Why not travel to the Madeira Islands to witness one of the world’s most famous fireworks displays from the Port of Funchal this Christmas?

10. Reykjavik, Iceland

Christmas and New Year in Iceland are unforgettable. Twinkling lights are thrown over the trees in Reykjavik. There’s also a national holiday for baking and children are visited not by Santa, but by the Yule Lads! On New Year’s Eve, you can find bonfires and firework displays everywhere in Iceland, but none bigger than in Reykjavik.

Are you going away this Christmas and New Year? Let me know where to in the comments!

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