I must admit I am not a winter lover. I prefer summer for its sun and beaches, but I do love Christmas and the way cities dress for this holiday. That being said, December offers the best opportunity to enjoy Christmas lights all over Europe, after all we are known all over the world for our Christmas markets. Every year I try to plan a different city break in order to enjoy this time of the year. This way, I almost forget about the not so desired cold weather. Let’s see what Europe has to offer.
- London, England
As I always say, London is my soul city in Europe so I had to check it out also in December. The good news is that temperatures rarely go under 5 degrees Celsius. Even though London is known for cloudy and rainy weather, I was lucky enough to enjoy sunny days in December in two different years! I hope you will too! A cup of hot English tea in one hand, a big scarf and preferably a cap and you are good to go!
!Tip 1: Oxford and Regent streets are well known for their beautiful Christmas lights so be sure to pay them a visit!
!Tip 2: Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park attracts lots of tourists every year. Good music, mulled wine and tasty snacks are a good recipe to success.
!Tip 3: Do not forget to try an English breakfast! I know healthy eating is important, but what is life without exceptions?
- Milan, Italy
A beautiful December surprise for me was Milan. Last year, I managed to catch up with my high school friend in the European capital of fashion and we enjoyed one weekend there together. It was my first time visiting the city in winter time, but I was delighted by Galleria Vittorio Emanuele that offers the most beautiful Christmas tree. I simply adored it!
!Tip 1: Piazza del Duomo is even more beautiful in December with colorful lights!
!Tip 2: Lasagna, my favorite Italian food, is as good as always so be sure to try it out!
!Tip 3: A glass of prosecco is always a good idea! As a plus, it may warm you up.
- Wien, Austria
Probably, I should have started with the most iconic Christmas market in Europe. Wien is known all over the world for its lovely lights, but also for its giant schnitzels. As a plus, this is a good place to buy gifts for your loved ones. Sadly, last time I was in Wien in winter was in 2012, so I might book a flight as well.
!Tip 1: Shopping is always a good idea and this time of the year comes with good prices. Be sure to hurry up because the place is packed with tourists willing to spend their money.
!Tip 2: You should pay a visit to Schonbrunn Castle and feel like a prince/princess for the day.
!Tip 3: DO&CO offers amazing panoramic view of the city. Try booking a table at night so you can enjoy the lights.
- Berlin, Germany
I must start by saying I didn’t have the change yet to visit Berlin in December so I do not know very much about its Christmas lights, but I have seen it in winter and you should put it on the list!
!Tip 1: I recommend visiting Branderburg Gate by night due to its perfect lightning. Do not forget to get a cup of mulled wine to keep you warm.
!Tip 2: For great views of Berlin, try NENI Restaurant that offers a rooftop terrace and big panorama windows with a view of the enclosures of the Berlin Zoo and the Emperor Wilhelm Memorial Church.
!Tip 3: Berlin is also known for its crazy nightlife, so make time, grab your friends and experience it for one night.
- Brussels, Belgium
Brussels was a lovely surprise for me when I visited it for the first time. I did not have the best opinion, but now I would go back in a second for a great weekend getaway. Waffles, macaroons and great food, doesn’t it sound excellent?
!Tip 1: I will start will desserts because I know lots of you are interested in this subject. I recommend heading to Maison Dandoy, 3 minutes away from Grand Place to taste the perfect waffles.
!Tip 2: Also situated just 5 minutes away from Grand Place, Chez Leon is a traditional restaurant famous for its seafood dishes. Try their mussels in white wine sauce! What a delight!
!Tip 3: Beer sampling is one of the most popular activity in Belgium. Here you can find hundreds of sortiments! Go and find out which one is your favorite!
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
I know you would not expect this one, but believe me when I say Monte Carlo is also beautiful in winter time. With temperatures of 14-16 degrees Celsius, it offers beautiful Christmas trees and lights, so you should definitely give it a chance, especially if you are looking for warmer weather.
!Tip 1: You can enjoy one glass of champagne at Café de Paris in front of Monte Carlo Casino even in winter.
!Tip 2: If you want to check your luck, the Casino is waiting for you! Maybe Santa sends you an early Christmas gift.
!Tip 3: Luxurious yachts will shine in the winter sun at Port de Monaco providing you with the best panorama!
As a plus, I recommend visiting Prague in December. Lots of people say here you can find the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe and I tend to believe them. Prague is one of my favorite cities in Europe and I guess Christmas lights can only add some magic. I also have this on my bucketlist. Maybe next year I will be lucky enough.
See you on Monday!!
And remember: Life is short and the world is wide…