Christmas Vacation Spots in Europe You Will Love

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Winter must be one of the best times to travel, especially if you’re a fan of Christmas festivities. Cities around Europe transform during Christmas time. They become embellished with Christmas markets and filled with joyous people.

After three years of European Christmas markets working in a limited capacity due to the global pandemic, this winter marks the return of the well-known markets in full swing. Suppose you're looking forward to experiencing winter magic in one of the European cities. In that case, you'll be impressed with these vacation spots after visiting them during the most beautiful time of the year.

Christmas markets Europe
Christmas markets in Europe

1. Krakow, Poland

Krakow has one of the loveliest Christmas markets in Europe – everyone who has visited this city in Poland during Christmastime will probably agree with that.

So, getting to Krakow to experience its enchanting Christmas markets is a delightful journey, with several convenient transportation options available. Whether you're arriving by air, train, or car, reaching Krakow is relatively straightforward. For those traveling internationally, Krakow Airport serves as a major gateway, providing seamless connectivity to the heart of the city. It is essential to gather info on Krakow airport, ensuring a smooth transition from arrival to the festive atmosphere of the Christmas markets, as navigating the airport facilities, understanding transportation options to the city center, and obtaining local insights can enhance the overall travel experience.

The 13th‑century main square turns into a real Christmas miracle with rows of stalls selling anything from tasty food and delicious beverages to unique souvenirs and hand-knit sweaters. Since Krakow is known for its amber, this is the perfect opportunity to shop for some amber items during your visit.

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Another city that’s widely known for its rich Christmas market is Prague. This city truly comes alive during winter as Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square become hosts of the two main Christmas markets. However, that's not all. Prague has numerous smaller markets spread across the city, including Republic Square and Kampa Island.

Christmas tree in Prague

Visitors will find anything from festive glassware and ceramics to decorative lace in these Czech markets. When talking about food, trdelník is the most popular choice – a special pastry covered in sugar, cinnamon, walnut, or cocoa. Visitors also like to try sausages, hams, dumplings, and traditional fish soup.

3. Vienna, Austria

It’s impossible to list Europe’s prettiest Christmas vacation spots without mentioning the Austrian capital. Vienna is one of the sparkiest cities during Christmas, as numerous streets decorate with Christmas lights and ornaments.

Christmas train in Vienna

The smell of freshly baked pretzels and mulled wine fills the streets where the Christmas market occurs. Visitors can get cozy in one of the many coffee houses serving decadent cakes and hot drinks. Besides Vienna, other Austrian cities are excellent visiting spots during Christmastime, including Innsbruck, Salzburg, Klagenfurt, and Linz.

4. The Dolomites, Italy

Although many people think of the hot Amalfi coast and serene Tuscany upon mentioning Italy, the Dolomites are the perfect spot to see Italy in a different light. Towns like Merano, Bolzano, and Bressanone are in the mountainous north, where tourists can experience cultural influences from Switzerland and Austria.

The picturesque mountain range with snow-covered peaks is the perfect scenery to experience the winter wonders of Italy. When you’re ready to replace enjoying the breathtaking panoramas with the jolly Christmas atmosphere, simply head to one of the small-town squares where you can sample gingerbread snacks and mulled wine.

5. Dresden, Germany

As one of the more luxurious places on this list, Dresden is a perfect destination for everyone ready to splurge a little bit on their Christmas vacation. While numerous cities worldwide have tried to mimic the unique style found in this part of Germany, there's nothing better than enjoying the original.

Dresden Christmas markets

Dresden is the ultimate German city to explore rows of wooden huts, enjoy the classical music in the background, and warm yourself with a cup of hot mulled wine. If Dresden is out of your way, Nuremberg and Frankfurt are excellent alternatives with a similar atmosphere. In fact, many Christmas markets in Germany offer delicious treats that visitors will appreciate. 

Useful tips for travelers

Travelling is an expensive hobby, especially during Christmas and other winter festivities. Luckily, you can quickly reduce your travel costs. Here are several useful tips for your upcoming travels.

  • Use a VPN while planning your trip. You should change your virtual location to the one you plan to visit before purchasing tickets or booking hotels. A VPN download can certainly help you here. A Virtual Private Network lets you encrypt traffic and reroute it through a server in a country of your choice. Thus, you get to be a local visitor and see whether you can spot any excellent deals. 
  • Always purchase travel insurance. There’s nothing worse than getting sick or injured on vacation. Doctor’s appointments and any other form of medical attention are extremely expensive for foreigners, which is why it’s always recommended to travel with travel insurance. It is easy to slip on ice or get down with a cold during the winter. Ensure that you will be taken care of wherever you go. 
  • Use city passes. Most cities with a larger influx of tourists offer different city passes that allow visitors to experience the city for a low price. While some city passes include access to public transport so you can quickly move around, others have passes to museums, theaters, and other attractions.

With these few simple tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your vacation without stressing out. 

Europe has many cities, towns, and locations ideal for experiencing the festive season. Since every city and every country has something unique to offer its visitors, choosing the destination can be difficult. However, with the top five Christmas vacation spots in Europe mentioned here, it’ll be much easier to make the call and start getting ready for your adventure.

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Lenny is one of the contributors here at Backpacker Travel. Her favorite destination is the Philippines.

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