City guide: Where to go for a European December break

Why December is the best time of year to travel in Europe & the ultimate Christmas Markets that aren't in Germany.

When planning a City break, December might not be the first month that springs to mind. Firstly it's Freezing, and you're probably busy making christmas plans or putting up the tree. But it really is one of the most wonderful times of the year!

With December fast approaching it's time for us to plan our next festive getaway. We usually go for the second weekend, somewhere not too close to Christmas, and late enough that the festive decoration game is already in full swing. 

Keep reading for my guide to the top five festive European destinations in December.

Got any December travel tips? Share them in the comments below or get in touch via social media


Rome, Italy

Clockwise from left: Piazza Navona, View up to the Colosseum, The Pantheon

Rome is stunning all year round. So the reason it starts us off last on this list is because they don't really do Christmas markets. But they don't need to. With the streets adorned in festive lighting and the city filled endlessly with sites you won't want to miss, Rome makes the perfect December break.

The Colosseum and Christmas tree

The month's average temperature is 10°c, and it's actually the warmest on the list. Italy, for many travellers, is seen as a Summer destination, so you'll find the crowds have thinned out in time for December. This makes it a perfect time of year to squeeze all the sites into a long weekend. With queues short you'll wonder why there are online forums filled with people complaining about getting tickets for the Colosseum. And if you're lucky enough, you'll get a heat wave with highs of 20°c like we did in 2014.


Gdansk, Poland

Golden gate at night ,View of the medieval port crane across the Mot laws river

Gdansk is a Polish gem. When we explored, the temperatures were bitterly cold, so we were thankful that the city is quite small. But what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in it's beauty. We found ourselves in Gdansk after finding a super cheap return flight to the city and deciding after viewing a couple of pictures that it was good enough to go. It exceeded all of our expectations

Hotel & brewery Krolewski

With temperatures cold outside you'll find yourself venturing into Bavarian Brewhouses and quirky bars for a welcome retreat. And if you're still cold Polish food and drink will be sure to warm you up.


Budapest, Hungary

Clockwise from left: Fisherman's Bastion, View from St Stephen's Basilica, View of Parliament from Buda Castle

Budapest completely blew my mind. As we wandered the streets and squares filled with little wooden Christmas Markets selling anything from bags to bratwurst, we knew that there was no better time than December to visit. I could hardly imagine these places as empty roads or open spaces, it would be a shame for them to become a path to a destination rather than being a destination itself. 

Inside Szechenyi Baths

Budapest is bigger than I ever imagined. At one end is Castle hill overlooking the Danube with magnificent views of the city. And at the other is the breathtaking Heroe's square, entrance to the most incredible museum and castle filled park you've ever seen. On the hill don't miss grabbing a Mulled wine at the cafe in the fisherman's bastion overlooking parliament. On the other side of town, be sure to visit the szechenyi baths. A winter dip is not to be missed, with the heat rising to create a mysterious fog and the regal architecture the experience is just like a fairy tale.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli theme park entrance and inside

Copenhagen *almost* tops this list thanks to it being home to one of the the oldest theme park in the world. Tivoli Gardens. If you're planning a trip to Copenhagen you'd be insane to chose any date that doesn't fall into their opening times. With the entrance price at a little under £14, it's a steal. The experience is as if you've been transported back in time to the most spectacular Christmas there ever was. Once inside you'll wish you never had to leave. And thanks to a selection of unique danish restaurants inside the theme park, you might not have to so soon.

The Nyhavn during the St. Lucia's day kayak descent

Another Icon of Copenhagen is the Nyhavn, in December you'll find these canal streets lined with little markets and al fresco dining chairs paired with winter blankets and heated lamps. It's also home to a spectacular event once a year. On St Lucia's day there is a decorated Kayak descent down the nyhavn. Complete with christmas trees, fairy lights and christmas carols. 


Prague, Czech Republic

Clockwise from left: The Old Town square christmas market, view from the top of the Astronomical Clock, Horses in Old town square. 

Prague is, quite possibly, perfection. And the reason it makes it to the top of this this list is because their Christmas market game is on point. When you squeeze your way down the narrow streets and finally step into the Old town square, you'll stare in awe of the dramatic and breathtaking views, dating back almost 700 years. And if that wasn't enough, you'll smell sweet cinnamon in the air drifting over from the bustling Christmas Markets, tempting you in for a Mulled wine or two.

Old Town Square

Out of all the cities on this list Prague is one of the cheapest. With a pint starting at as little as 70p you won't stay hungry of thirsty for long. Be sure to venture to the basement under the old town square to one of the oldest medieval taverns in Prague if you need to get away from the bustle of the markets. Don't miss a trip across Charles bridge and up the hill to the St. Vitus cathedral and surrounding areas.

Thanks for reading, do you have any December travel tips? Share them in the comments below or get in touch via social media


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