10 European Winter City Breaks

Holidays aren’t just for summer, they can be taken in winter too. As winter sets in, the only thing you start to crave is another holiday. That’s why a winter city break is always a good idea. Good news, why not combine the two trains of thoughts (minus the sunshine) and arrive at something magical.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you’re looking for a travel deal. The Christmas/New Year’s holiday is the most crowded and expensive time to take a holiday almost anywhere. A Christmas holiday destination should be cosy, magical and if it’s snowy then that’s even better. But who wants normal? Here are my favourite 21 alternative Christmas getaway ideas. If this list leaves you feeling festive, then getting searching for flights there on Skyscanner.

Get that winter getaway booked ASAP and give yourself something to look forward to as the darker nights roll in. Long haul, or short haul, I’ve popped together some of the best winter retreats for the festive season. Move quickly though, the best gets booked up pretty quick!

Christmas Markets Europe  

Looking for a winter city break in Europe this festive season?

Here are some of my favourite best winter city breaks in Europe!


10 European Winter City Breaks

Santa Claus Holiday Village, Finland

What says Christmas more than an entire village named after the man himself? If you fancy making the hop, skip and a jump over to the Arctic Circle, you may as well opt to stay in Rovaniemi, Finland’s Santa Claus Holiday Village. We’re talking reindeer, dog sleighs, hot chocolate and husky snowmobiles. IN THE SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE! There are varying degrees of fancy cottages to stay in, with a Classic Cottage with a Sauna coming from £289* for a night for three people.


10 European Winter City Breaks

European Christmas Markets

Get into the Christmas spirit with a winter adventure and explore enchanting Christmas markets. Immerse yourself in the best traditional markets when you stay in Vienna, which date back to the thirteenth century. See miniature puppets, glistening lights and delicate hand blown glass. Or go to Innsbruck for a romantic Christmas retreat – see Christmas tree lights bounce off the snow-dusted mountain backdrop and smell the aroma of sweet gingerbread. Visit the best festive food spot in Budapest. Stroll through the stalls and try kurtoskalacs (a cinnamon-pastry chimney cake), toki pompos (a Hungarian-styled pizza with bacon, onion and cream), home-made chocolates and honey cakes.


10 European Winter City Breaks

A staycation with friends

Celebrate Christmas early this year, ahead of the big day, with your friends and book a Christmas break with Holiday at Home for over the festive period. Christmas doesn’t mean just celebrating with family does it?! Holiday at Home have the perfect properties to entertain any group of friends… They have large luxury holiday accommodation for up to 12 guests including properties with garden hot tubs, a Scandinavian BBQ house, games rooms and cocktail bars to impress and even a hot tub and sauna area to relax in! Depending on the size of your group they have a wide choice of three bedroom lodges and for larger groups four or five bedroom luxury country houses as well as a six bedroom lodge at Brompton Lakes… Prices start from £505 for a 3 night weekend arriving Friday during December 2017 at Brompton Lakes.

READ MORE: 9 of the best Mountain Retreats in Europe 

Winter City Break

10 European Winter City Breaks

Skiing in the Alps

Do you dream of experiencing a place where skiing isn’t just a sport, but rather a deep-rooted culture, a way of life? Skiing has existed in Europe’s Alps for several hundred years. First as a means of transportation through the rugged mountains and more recently, in the last century, as a fun way to recreate during the winter months. Throughout France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany ski vacationers can experience dozens of perfectly preserved villages and hamlets boasting original chalets, hotels, inns and restaurants. 


10 European Winter City Breaks

Winter sunshine in St Lucia

If you’re looking forward to some Caribbean warmth before the UK winter sets in, St Lucia the perfect destination. By November, the hurricane season will be over, and temperatures will be somewhere in the mid-20s.
Stay at the wonderful four-star St James’s Club Morgan Bay, priced from £1119 per person. Rates quoted include flights from the UK and transfers with Caribbean Warehouse. This is based on flights from Gatwick with Virgin on 20, 21, 28 Nov; 5 Dec 2017. Price subject to availability.


10 European Winter City Breaks

Festive weekend in Budapest

Budapest has smaller and bigger Christmas Markets, which usually open around mid November and close at the end of December (December 31) each year. The two city central markets have been attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and are the most spectacular. The most beautiful, oldest and internationally acclaimed Budapest Christmas fair is the Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square in the heart of the city (since 1998). Budapest has smaller and bigger Christmas Markets, which usually open around mid November and close at the end of December (December 31) each year. The two city central markets have been attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and are the most spectacular.


10 European Winter City Breaks

Canals, beer and chocolate in Bruges

All of my favourite things preside in the wonderful European city of Bruges, making it the perfect winter city break in my eyes. You’ve got chocolate, boat trips, beer and canals. What could be better? The city is packed with historic sights, amazing places to eat in Bruges and Christmas markets. Here you can take a horse and carriage ride around the city’s historic squares, before heading for a beer to warm up, and some chocolate to fill your tummy. There are also museums here for Belgium’s most famous exports: chocolate at the Choco-Story Museum and chips at the Frites Museum.

Winter City Break

10 European Winter City Breaks

Thermals spa water in Bath

Voted the UK’s favourite Christmas market in 2017, it’s easy to see why people love getting into the festive spirit in Bath. Against the backdrop of the city’s Roman baths and magnificent 16th-century abbey, over 200 twinkling chalets line the Georgian streets. These little grottos hold many beautiful gifts, from handmade jewellery and cosy hand-knitted socks to tasty gingerbread and cheeses. There really is something for everyone. For a bustling, atmospheric feel, look around the traditional wooden stalls during lunchtimes and weekends. For a slower, less crowded meander, visit in the mornings or on weekday evenings. Whenever you decide to go, you’ll be delighted by the choirs, carollers and musicians floating their festive tunes across the market.


10 European Winter City Breaks

The cold in Bergen, Norway

Norway is known for it’s white snowed-over landscapes and in the depths of winter this magical city is the perfect winter city break. Its cobbled streets, pine trees and fairy lights make Bergen one of the most magical cities in Europe in winter. And here you can find cosy cafes, craft shops and festive lights. The Festival of Lights sees thousands of locals gather with flaming torches around Lille Lungegårdsvannet lake to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree, replete with carols and dazzling fireworks in the inky winter sky. The nearby Fløibanen funicular whisks visitors to the top of Mount Fløyen for twinkling city views, and you can also go sledding here. 


10 European Winter City Breaks

Guinness and snow in Dublin

Last year me and the girls went to Dublin for a weekend exploring this wonderful city. We spent the weekend in Dublin drinking, walking, eating and drinking some more. We flew with British Airways, but you can also fly with Aer Lingus, Ryanair and FlyBe to Dublin Airport from the UK. Have a browse on Skyscanner to see what deals they’ve got floating around here. And we stayed at the wonderful Generator Hostel, Dublin. Generator Dublin is a design and party hostel located in Dublin near the famous Temple Bar in the heart of Smithfield. The fairly new hostel is a stylish hostel, which great reviews and a fun atmosphere. 


Where are you heading this Christmas?!


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Other posts that may help you:

The Best City Breaks for Couples

Beginner’s Guide to Europe Interrail Routes

Copenhagen Chic at the Andersen Hotel

Best Vegan Restaurants in Malmo

Ultimate Guide to a Weekend Break in York

10 of the Best places to eat Brunch in London

The Best Weekend Trips in the UK


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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! 

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Sophie X

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