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Christmas in Europe

Thinking about Christmas in Europe, but having trouble narrowing down the city(s) of choice.

France - Paris? Provence? Brittany?
Germany - Berlin? Munich? Black Forest area?
Austria - Vienna? Saltzberg?

Any others I should consider?

Posted by
12040 posts

Unless you want to go skiing on Feldberg, the Black Forest will be low yield in December. And if you're coming all the way to Europe to ski, the Alps would be a much better recommendation.

I suspect Brittany would be similarly bleak at that time of year.

My recommendation? Stick to a city.

Posted by
2982 posts

Southern Germany in the Christmas SEASON is lovely. But traveling here during the actual holidays (Dec 24th to 6 Jan) are likely to be disappointing as many attractions, restaurants, shops, etc are closed during this time.

That said, the larger the city, the more likely that attractions will be open more. Berlin would be the obvious choice for me in Germany, mostly because of it's 50+ Christmas markets. And unlike the markets in Southern Germany, it appears that many of Berlin's are open through the New Year.

Salzberg's Christmas Market didn't particularly impress me, and I don't see the city as big enough to be a base in winter. I haven't been to Vienna over Christmas, but I'm sure it would be a good choice, probably my second after Berlin.

I don't know much about Christmas celebrations in France (aside form Alsace, which is more Germanic in style) but again, I think sticking to the big cities during winter and over a holiday makes the most sense by far, so Paris is what I'd consider.

Posted by
506 posts

We had the best New Years in our life in Paris last year. Flew in on Dec 27th and stayed until the 3rd of January. By luck got into a neighborhood restaurant for New Year Eve, just by asking around the Rue Claire area. Only thing was it was hard to find places to eat on New Years day. This is the only city in the world that is so lite up in the middle of winter that it is still beautiful without all the greenery.

Posted by
44 posts

I was in London last year for Christmas and loved it. The previous year, in Rome--also lovely. Both places are very, very walkable and have reliable public transports. The weather in Rome was beautiful (one rainy day/night). The weather in London was more...typical for London, but didn't stop us from getting our strolling in. We rented an apartment via airbnb so we did not have to rely on restaurants. Both cities have great markets for taking care of groceries. .... The 24-26 day offers some challenges in what is open or not, but the cities themselves are still "open."

Posted by
809 posts

We flew into Munich and then took the train to Verona and then on to Venice (where we spent Christmas). We had a day in Munich to visit beer halls and Christmas markets. We took at 7:30 train to Verona and the scenery was beautiful. Verona was all decked out for Christmas - wandered and drank glug wine. And Venice ... so beautiful and very few people. There were ice rinks set up (more glug wine). After that we went to Bologna and to Milan (where we flew home from).

Posted by
13524 posts

Berlin to Prague to Vienna to Budapest makes a really nice Christmas trip. Easy relatively short train trips, Christmas markets, theater, concerts, snow, lights and all the trimmings.

Posted by
837 posts

Last Christmas went to Paris, Strasbourg, Salzburg, York, and London. Found Paris somewhat disappointing. Somewhat festive, but certainly not memorable. Strasborg was wonderful. The underlying architecture is lovely and it is very festive. Salzburg not quite so festive, but very nice. I would disagree with the poster who was disappointed in Salzbukrg markets. They are not nearly so extensive as other places, but I would rate their quality above others we saw. London is wonderful. Again, you don't say how long you have or exactly when you well be there. Christmas markets are gone by Christmas eve. We had three weeks+. If you only have a week or so, I would choose London for sure and, if time, Strasbourg. Again, this assumes prior to Christmas.

Posted by
1 posts

Two years ago we spent Christmas in Amsterdam and New Year's in Cologne. Both were wonderful. Amsterdam does not have markets like those in Germany, but they do have stands for gluwein and poffertjes, cheese and sweets. It's an exciting and fun place at any time of year! We had a marvelous Christmas dinner in a small restaurant, one of the best meals I've ever had. And the Rijksmuseum has reopened, in all its glory. Worth a trip! We love classical music, and were thrilled with the variety and quality of concerts at the Concertgebouw and at churches all over the city, in Cologne as well.

Posted by
31 posts

We were in Vienna last Christmas and New Years and it was wonderful. The city is full of Christmas markets with great food an d drinks for the whole family. New Year's Eve is a big party in the center of town. We went early with our 5 year old granddaughter and enjoyed the music and puppet shows as well as the food. Our daughter and son-in-law went later and enjoyed the fireworks.

Posted by
13524 posts

Christmas in Budapest followed by New Year in Vienna. The perfect holiday season.