The Best European Cities for Christmas
Celebrate Christmas (or Noël, or Weinachten, or Jul) in these festive European cities.
Whether you’re hanging out in the Christmas markets of Berlin or marvelling at the lights in Montmartre in Paris, you’re bound to have a festive holiday so charming and romantic that it’ll instantly wipe all memory of what came before. Or that might just be the mulled wine; it’s gone right to your head. And that’s alright, it’s Christmas after all. Tipsy or not, you’ll sink right into your chairs in the hyggelige cafés of Copenhagen, which are designed around cosiness and comfort, and never want to come out again. Waking you up from your slumber are the thrilling rides of the world’s second-oldest amusement park, wrapped up in Christmas lights like a gift. And don’t forget the famous lights of London, where you’ll find Christmas carols, a Winter Wonderland and an entire country watching Love Actually all day. What these fabulous cities have in common, beside their festive spirit, is their abundance of some of our best Plum Guide homes, which we’ve personally inspected to make sure they’re right for your holiday. So, read on to decide which of the best European cities for Christmas to choose from.
Christmas is alive and kicking in the Danish capital, where the famous hyggelige cafés invite you to hunker down for the day. Drink mulled wine and slowly become one with the comfy chair, before plucking up the courage and energy to get up and explore one of the very best European cities for Christmas. Trust us: the Tivoli Gardens are so festive, they’d make Santa blush. It claims to have more than 70,000 Christmas bubbles, so if you’re ever feeling like you need more baubles in your life, this is the place to be. It also has 1,000 Christmas Trees, which seems a little excessive, but that’s what you’re here for, right? Recharge your batteries (metaphorical batteries, that is) at one of our Plum Guide homes in Copenhagen. Then, bring the little ones to visit Santa in his grotto and pick up sweets and Yuletide snacks from the market stalls. Amble along the riverside promenade, bright with lights, and check out the traditional tables at the Royal Copenhagen.
What could be more romantique than Christmas in Paris? (That’s French for romantic.) Saunter along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in view of the Arc de Triomphe in a blaze of Christmas lights. The trees lining this famous promenade can hardly breathe for bulbs, which is just how we like our festive seasons. What’s brilliant about Paris is there is something for everyone. You’ll find all the high-end brands open for service in December, their upscale window displays dressed in traditional decorations. But the kids can venture off to Disneyland (you’ll probably have to accompany them), with its parades of Disney characters all celebrating Noël. Climb aboard the carousels and go skating in this Christmas cracker of a setting.
Ol’ blighty is just the ticket for a celebration of old Saint Nick. Go ice skating in the rink in the posh surroundings of Somerset House. If you’re there a little before the Christmas season, attend the turning-on of the lights, usually performed by a celebrity. Perhaps they’ll ask you? We’re still waiting for our invitation. In Hyde Park, you have Winter Wonderland, which in itself could be named one of the best European cities for Christmas, it's so massive. Here, market stalls are enveloped by colourful lights, and hundreds of rides take kids zooming through the frosty air. Live music performances and a circus make the park almost ridiculous in its outrageously good-spirited Christmas efforts. Go shopping in Kew Gardens, Bond Street or Oxford Street, with a keen eye for festive deals. Peer into the homes of locals, to almost certainly find them watching Love Actually. Stay at one of our homes in London and watch Groundhog Day on repeat. Oh, and watch Groundhog Day on repeat. Top it all off with some carol singing in St. Paul’s Cathedral for a perfect Christmas in London.
Germany is the home of the Christmas Market. We don’t know why, but they somehow seem just ‘right’, or ‘richtig’, as they’d say. Drink mulled wine and mulled beer (it exists, you can find it) alongside roasted nuts and wooden toys that’ll warm the cockles of your heart with nostalgia. The Botanic Garden’s Christmas Garden makes for a spectacular festive walk, before heading back for a hot bath in one of the many Plum Guide homes we have in Berlin. (Make sure it’s the one you’ve rented, not just any random home, or they’ll be in for quite a shock).