Christmas is the most exciting time of the year all around Europe and you ought to enjoy the holiday season the best way possible. And what’s better than a white snowy Christmas in some of the best European cities. These cities embrace the spirit of Christmas, and you can see that in the way how everything comes alive during the holiday season. A typical White Christmas has the sent of snow, fir trees, Christmas markets full of mulled wine and spices. So if you looking for a traditional white Christmas in Europe, here are the top places you could head to:
Aosta Valley, Italy
Val d’Aosta is Italy’s smallest region and is located in the alps. This northwestern mountainous region shares its border with France and Switzerland. It is somewhat obvious that this valley is snowy as it is neighbours with Switzerland.
The history of Aosta Valley dates back to ancient Roman times. The whole region, including its small villages, are all covered in a blanket of snow. You can usually find it snowing here even during the Christmas week. This makes it the perfect destination for a white Christmas is Europe.
There are many pretty Christmas markets in this region. However, the fanciest remains the Marché Vert Nöel, which is in the region’s capital. It is the biggest event in Aosta during Christmas. This Christmas market is held in an extravagant archaeological area of the Roman Theatre.
Check out other things to do in Aosta Valley here.
Dotted through the region, you will find alpine village with streets, squares and wooden chalets. Each filled with music, lights and fun surrounded by fir forests. Each village also sets up a unique live nativity scene. Children and adults, both actively participate in the festivities during the holidays. The children animate the nativity scene while the adults bring to life ancient and forgotten craft workshops in the streets.
The Christmas markets are an integral part of the heartfelt holiday traditions in the Aosta Valley. You will come across some of the best traditional and artistic creations made for Christmas here.
The Austrian capital, Vienna celebrates Christmas like no other European city. The Austrians go all in a while preparing and celebrating their festivals, especially for Christmas. If you want to experience a fairy tale Christmas like the movies, Vienna is the place for you. It constantly snows every day in Vienna with just a few hours of sunlight. This makes it one of the best places to experience a white Christmas in Europe.
Vienna is well known for its Christmas markets, and you can find the best gifts and decorations in those markets. You can also enjoy various festive events organized around the city in markets and churches during the holidays.
The month of December calls for traditional Christmas street food, and you can taste the best of it on your trip to Vienna. The roasted chestnuts and mulled wine are special delicacies that also help you endure the freezing Austrian temperatures.
Vienna in December is extremely cold. The temperature goes down below zero, but it gets better in January. So you better be prepared for the low temperatures and pack the right winter clothes. To save your hair from snow, make sure you carry a raincoat with you.
The best way to get around Vienna is by public transport. You can even buy a Vienna City Card that gives you unlimited rides on metros, buses and trams. Make sure to get your restaurant reservations done in advance or else you won’t find a place to eat.
What can be a more fulfilling Christmas than visiting Santa’s home in the village of Rovaniemi at the Arctic Circle? This vacation in Finland can be a fairy tale dream come true for the young ones. The Christmas you will experience here is like no other. There is literally magic in the air with the mid-winter twilight night sky. The shimmering white snow with the magical aura of the Northern lights, how much better can it get!! This is certainly the ideal winter wonderland for you to experience a white Christmas in Europe.
Rovaniemi is a city all about snow, reindeer, huskies, Santa, presents and the holiday spirit. There is a wide array of activities that you can engage yourself and your kids in. You can visit Santa’s post office, go on reindeer and husky sledge rides and visit the Lapland. These are obviously the most popular activities around here as you are in Santa land. Some other activities to try are snowmobile safari, ice fishing, skiing, hot water saunas and the most exciting one, chasing the northern lights. You check this off your bucket list after spending your vacation in Santa land. Just make sure to book these activities before your trip as it can be sold out during the holiday season.
It will be a very snowy experience, so be sure to pack your winter clothes accordingly. One pro tip for you, while planning your activities keep the daylight hours in mind. The days in winter are much shorter in Finland.
Snow in Europe definitely makes you think about the Swiss Alps. So why not spend a magical snowy Christmas in the heart of Switzerland’s beautiful Zermatt. The snowy beds of Swiss Alps with the magnificent Matterhorn in the background makes Zermatt the perfect place for your family vacation to spend white Christmas in Europe. What makes this village even more special is that it is car-free. So forget the traffic and enjoy the breathtaking view. How do we replace cars? Well, we go old school with horses and carriages.
Zermatt has something for everybody to enjoy making it a perfect place for a family vacation. If you are the adventurous kind and enjoy skiing, there are ski resorts to get your adrenaline high. Adventurous much? If not, you can also take on the extreme adventure of Heli-skiing possible only in Zermatt. Or you could go in for some snowboarding in the Gravity Park.
If you are the more laid back kind and just want to relax and enjoy, you can go ice skating, bar hopping or shopping. While you’re there warm yourself up with a kirsch and enjoy your drink. And if you want to spend time with your family, you can go on winter walks, sleigh rides and sledging. And if you simply want to enjoy some indoor activities, Zermatt won’t disappoint you in that aspect as well.
This place has everything you could possible ask for to experience a perfect white Christmas in Europe. There is no better feeling than hopping on a carriage and seeing Zermatt light up like a Winter Wonderland inside a snow globe.
The Dolomites is already known as an extravagant place to vacation, but it also is a great place to spend a white Christmas in Europe. The grey rocky mountains in the Italian Alps look their best during winters. “Enrosadira” as called in Italian, is the phenomenon that is indescribable and can only be witnessed to believe it.
The peaks of the Dolomites turn reddish at dusk and dawn with the higher peaks appearing purple or pink in colour. The mountains, the valleys, the villages and the tiny huts are all covered in snow and dimly lit which gives the Dolomites a magical appearance during winter.
The Dolomites is a place for everybody, for families, for couples or a group of friends and even the solo traveller. During Christmas you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding on kilometres of slopes or you could take the calmer way and ski cross country or go snowshoeing through the silent woods. The scent of roasted chestnuts and sweet cinnamon will warm you up from the inside. You can also warm yourself up with hot tea and mulled wine.
The spirit of Christmas comes alive with the markets, events and festivals that breathe in the magic into the atmosphere with candles, lights and Christmas decorations. From the end of November, the Christmas markets are set up that offer a wide range of colourful and original Christmas gifts and decorations. You can buy glimmering Christmas tree ornaments, knitted woolen sweaters and hats and traditional woodcarvings up till the first week of January. The largest Christmas market in the Dolomites is in Bolzano filled with appealing scents and gentle sounds bringing to life the spirit of Christmas.
Krakow may not be the first city that comes to your mind when you think of a white Christmas in Europe. It is always snowing in Krakow during December, so it is definitely one of the best places in Europe for a white Christmas. The people in Krakow like to celebrate Christmas in high spirits even with the harsh climatic conditions. The celebration is month-long and includes several activities over this period. The city through its festivities celebrates the lively, rich and colourful traditions.
The Rynek Glowny in the old town is where all the major Christmas events in Krakow take place. Here you can also find the famous and lively Christmas market of Krakow. You can shop for a wide array of Christmas gifts, decorations from the small and cosy wooden stalls. The markets here are set up in the last week of November and last until early January. The Christmas markets in Krakow bring out the best of traditional Polish food and delicacies.
Krakow has some amazing places for you to eat some very good food. A plus to that is that the food here is very cheap and the experience is wholesome. The amazing street food combined with some mulled wine and your loved ones will give you a very heartwarming and inexpensive white Christmas in Europe to remember.
Christmas in Munich is like spending your holiday in a classic European town covered in soft white snowflakes. Munich is definitely popular during summer; however, the snow-covered winters in the city is a different experience in itself. The red-roofed buildings covered in white snow is definitely going to remind you of a fairy tale or a movie. You can get one of the best views of the whole city from the roof of St. Peter’s Church, located in Marienplatz, in the heart of Munich. You can enjoy the snowfall as it only moderately snows here and it doesn’t feel like you are trapped in the snow.
There are a lot of things to do in Munich around Christmas, and you won’t even have to leave the city to enjoy yourselves. The most hustle bustle is in the centre of the city where you can find almost everything. You heard it right! You can even go sledging right in the centre of the city.
Another speciality of Munich is the Christmas tram, a tram decorated with Christmas ornaments that goes around the city. You can hop in the tram and enjoy Glühwein served on it. If you do not want to take a ride on the tram, then make sure you at least admire the beautifully decorated Christmas tram from the outside.
There is also a beautiful ice skating rink in the city centre where you can enjoy ice skating. At nights the rink is lit up with neon lights, and it turns the rink into a party.
Lastly, let’s not forget shopping in Munich and the Christmas markets that are open from November to January. You can shop for Christmas gifts and decorations, try authentic German food like würst and drink Glühwein. The markets range from traditional to medieval and modern, and you can find something for everyone in these markets.
Chamonix is a stunning landscape blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery in the Alps making it a perfect spot for a white Christmas in Europe. This region is best explored on foot and especially during winter when everything is covered in pure white snow. This magical time of the year in Chamonix has a traditional opening night with live music, hot chocolate, and vin chaud. The season of festivities and fun begins, for you to enjoy the Christmas markets, snowshoeing, husky dog sledging and good food.
Chamonix is one of the best places to ski, and if you don’t know how to ski, you can learn it here as well. There are various ski areas and ski schools on the mountain for you to get an amazing skiing experience. One extremely memorable experience to take away from here for you is the skill to ski. While you are there you can also try the amazing husky dog sledging.
Chamonix has a wide range of cuisines to taste, from traditional and local to modern and gourmet. The food and beverages here will amaze you as many restaurants put up their Christmas special menus for you to dine in festive style.
When you are exhausted after a long day of skiing, you can relax and pamper yourself in one of the many world-class spas in Chamonix.
For those shopping enthusiasts make sure to visit the town’s boutiques, designer stores and Christmas markets. For those looking for works from local artisans you could visit the village of Servoz.
One of the most beautiful experiences in Chamonix though is the Tramway du Mont Blanc. Yes! It is a cable car that takes you up on the Mont Blanc. Hop on the cable car to enjoy the breathtaking views of the great mountain.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is known for its architectural landmarks and rich history and culture. The month of December has enough snowfall for you to enjoy a white Christmas in the beautiful city. The city’s most popular market is held in Old Town Square, which makes it look like a huge Christmas village. You can experience the true spirit of Christmas roaming around the market with scents of cinnamon and clove in the atmosphere.
The Christmas markets in Prague will make you feel like you are in a Winter Wonderland. The brightly lit markets filled with locals and tourists flocking the huge Christmas tree is the most impressive sight in Prague during the holidays. The markets are open from the last week of November to the first week of January. You can buy some of the best souvenirs, Christmas gifts and traditional arts and crafts. The markets have something for everyone to enjoy like a petting zoo for kids to pet goats, sheep and donkeys. Other sights to behold in the market include the grand nativity scene. Make sure to try some of the local mulled wine, delicious Trdelnik, hot mead and the famous juicy ham in the Christmas markets.
For a more convenient travelling experience get a Prague City Card to get unlimited public transport usage, various discounts and free entry to several monuments.
Budapest, one of the most colourful cities in Central Europe. When covered in snow, the city feels like a fairy tale especially during Christmas. The holiday season is the most beautiful time of the year in the city. The temperature generally falls below zero, and it can get quite cold. The city is filled with beautiful bright lights, amazing food and the echos of Christmas carols everywhere.
Budapest offers a spectacle of Christmas markets all around the city, from its centre to the outskirts. Two of the most famous and lively Christmas markets are situated in Vörösmarty Square and in front of St. Peter Basilica. they make the city look like a huge Christmas village.
You can buy traditional Hungarian Christmas presents in these Christmas markets and experience the Hungarian culture. While you are there, you should definitely try Hungarian delicacies and sweets like Kurtos Kalacs and Beigli. To complement these and to keep yourself warm get some of the delicious mulled wine or a mug of hot chocolate which is a specialty in this part of Europe.
The other main attractions includes the City Ice Rink located in the City Park next to Vajdahunyad Castle and the thermal baths. The warm waters of thermal baths with snow on the outside can be a magical thing to experience.
Tips on Packing for Winter in Europe
Packing for a winter trip to Europe can be quite stressful and confusing for you, considering the baggage that you are allowed to take on board. Packing light is an art which needs to be mastered, so here are a few tips for you that will make packing convenient and busy. Because you definitely would not want to pay extra for your additional baggage.
Winter clothes are generally bulky and can take up a lot of space, so you need to pack very wisely. One pro tip never carries an item that cannot be paired with one or more others because you will have to mix and match layers to sustain the changing temperatures.
Make sure you carry a pair of thermal wear that can be worn under everything to keep you warm. While picking your wardrobe, prefer wearing a breathable fabric like cotton inside so that it soaks your sweat and lets your skin breathe in the cold winters. When it comes, it overcoats, chooses wisely a neutral coloured warm jacket that goes with multiple bottoms and can be worn again.
Picking the right pair of footwear during your vacation in winters is extremely important. Pick a pair of warm boots with thick rubber soles that will keep your feet warm. As boots can take up a lot of space in your bag, a pro tip wears your boots on your journey there. This not only saves a lot of space but also takes off a lot of weight from your bag as winter boots can be extremely bulky. However, make sure they are easy to take off or else they might be a hassle in case of security checks or other halts. You can pack the extra pair of footwear inside the bag and stuff them with rolled socks or other stuff to optimize space.
Accessories and Toiletries
During winters, it is extremely necessary to carry the right toiletries like vaseline, lip balm, dry shampoo and lotion along with other essentials to protect your skin from the drying and itching in the cold weather. Other accessories should include neck warming scarves, warm mittens and gloves, earmuffs, headbands and lots of socks. A nice pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from both the sun and its shine on the snow.
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