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Holiday travels always have a special place in my memory box. Let me share my current favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe.

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Christmas is almost here…

After all these years of traveling across Europe in December, I´ve realized an obvious thing – every European city is beautiful in its way over the holiday season. Nevertheless, in my case, there were some surprise places I´ve unexpectedly fallen in love with. A few epic winter destinations where Christmas music, arts&crafts, bakeries&decorations all together created an unmatched holiday atmosphere.

Dreaming of a white Christmas in Europe?! – This year I´ve tried to recall for you all of my favorite Christmassy towns in order to pick top 5 destinations for a magical Christmas in Europe.

My Top 5 Christmas Destinations in Europe

1. Colmar / France

Christmas in Colmar

Despite my eternal love for the German Christmas Markets, if I am to pick one place in Europe to behold the magic of Christmas flowing through the air – it´s going to be a little French town of Colmar. Christmas in Colmar feels like an illusion taken from children’s books. But, pinch me! – This is real.

With its half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, cozy cafes, mysterious antique shops and of course, some of the most delicious French patisseries, Colmar is a festive fairytale everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.

Must-see Christmas Markets in Colmar: Place des Dominicaines, Place Jeanne d´Arc, Place de L´Ancienne Douane, Koifhus – Marche Interieur, Petite Venise

Sightseeing in Colmar

If you plan to stay in Colmar for a few days, checking out the main sights along the way could be an interesting cultural addition to your christmassy trip. Make sure to check Place Rapp, Toy Museum, Hansi Museum, Unterlinden Museum, Bartholdi Museum, Natural History Museum, Pole Media Culture, Municipal Theater, Collegiate Saint-Martin, Church of Saint-Matthieu, and Church of Dominicans.

Colmar - one of the most epic Christmas Destinations in Europe
Colmar – one of the most epic Christmas Destinations in Europe

2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber / Germany

Christmas in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

If I am to pick my favorite European country to search for the Christmas spirit – it is going to be Germany. This is where you find the best Christmas markets in Europe: Nuremberg, Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Cologne… German-style Christmas Markets or Weihnachtsmärkte are Europe´s well-known pioneers when it comes to traditional holiday aromas and chilly festive moods.

Also read: Holiday Mood – Vintage Christmas Playlist

German Christmas markets and cities over the holiday season – it´s a topic for a separate post because each and every place there is unique. Cold weather (potentially even a snowfall) always adds some unforgettable charm to the Christmas street food smells, like grilled Currywurst or fresh-made Gluhwine.

Although the brightest Christmassy impression from my German memory box is definitely the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In the photo below you can see one of the local shops! How do you make yourself leave a place like this anyway?! Even one day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber will give you the chance to experience all that makes this town so magical!

Must-see Christmassy places: Reiterlesmarkt, German Christmas Museum, Käthe Wohlfahrt – Weihnachtsdorf

Käthe Wohlfahrt Weihnachtsdorf in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of my favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe
Käthe Wohlfahrt Weihnachtsdorf in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of my favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe

3. Vienna / Austria

Christmas in Vienna

Let’s face it – almost every list of European Christmas destinations starts with Vienna. As much as I try to avoid crowds and go for the less-touristic cities, Vienna is a must stop. There’s just no way around this epic imperial capital.

Besides, when it comes to an epic holiday atmosphere, Vienna will definitely win oven any first-time visitor with some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Must- see Christmas Markets in Vienna: Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall, Christmas Village Belvedere Palace, Christmas Village Maria-Theresien Platz, Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital, Christmas and New Year’s Market at Schönbrunn Palace, Christmas Market at Spittelberg

Sightseeing in Vienna

Besides, with the rich history Vienna has – you can add some epic sightseeing to your Christmas in Europe. Make sure not to miss Palaces of Hofburg and Schönbrunn, St Stephen’s Cathedral, Rathaus, Belvedere Museum, Vienna State Opera, Vienna Natural History Museum, Prater Amusement Park, Donauturm Viewing tower

Rathaus Town Hall in Vienna, one of my favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe
Rathaus Town Hall in Vienna, one of my favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe
 Vienna, one of my favorite Christmas Destinations in Europe
Views from Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel

4. Lucerne / Switzerland

Christmas in Switzerland

A Christmassy weekend in Lucerne is one of the most magical experiences one could possibly seek for in the whole Europe.

First of all, Switzerland is significantly less touristic than its famous neighbors, especially outside of the big cities. Second, the standards of life are really high here. Switzerland is literally pioneering in safety, stability, environmental cleanliness, public services, infrastructure and government effectiveness. As a tourist, you immediately notice their safe&reliable public transportation network and that everybody around you looks very well off. Cheese, chocolate, wine, clocks, banks… it feels like everything in Switzerland come with a quality tag.

Lucerne is the most winter-wonderland and picture perfect city in the whole country. Switzerland is an amazing travel destination over the winter holidays. Here, you could find some amazing Swiss Christmas markets, that similar to the German ones, but have fewer people and breathtaking natural landscapes around.

Must-see Christmas Markets in Lucerne: Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt, Lucerne Christmas and Crafts Market at Weinmarkt, Venice Christmas Forum at Kapellplatz

Sightseeing in Luzerne

In case you plan a laid-back christmassy weekend in Luzerne, make sure that after getting some handmade Christmas presents at the local Christmas markets, you check the Old City center and Kapellbrucke. You can also visit Transport museum or Rosengart Collection. Zt the end of the day make sure to check Lucerne Lake to spot one of most beautiful sunsets around the world.

Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt in Lucerne, one of the most magical Christmas Destinations in Europe
Lozärner Wiehnachtsmärt in Lucerne, one of the most magical Christmas Destinations in Europe

5. Cologne / Germany

Christmas in Cologne

I’ve never expected Cologne would make it to my personal top 5 Christmas Destinations in Europe. Indeed, I´ve never really considered it as a Christmas destination at all. But those magical Fairytale Christmas markets and a little train circulating in between them.

Also read: Fairytale Christmas in Switzerland – Top 3 Cities

From the first glimpse, the city of Cologne itself, might not look as charming as Rothenburg ob der Tauber or some other German little villages. Nevertheless the glorious lights of Kölner Dom, sparkling cruise boats on the Rhine river, and plenty of Christmas-inspired activities&events, altogether make Cologne one of the coolest places to experience a magical Christmas in Europe.

Must-see Christmas markets in Cologne: Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral, Heinzels Winter Fairytale on the squares Alter Markt and Heumarkt, Harbour Christmas Market next to the Chocolate Museum, Market of Angels on the square Neumarkt, Village of St. Nicholas on Rudolfplatz, Christmas Market at Stadtgarten.

Sightseeing in Cologne

What you cannot miss in the city of Cologne, besides its glorious holiday markets and events?! – Make sure to check the Cologne Cathedral, The Old Town, Ludwig Museum, Romano-Germanic Museum, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Gross St. Martin, KolnTriangle, Hohenzollern Bridge, Belgian Quarter, Rheinauhafen District.

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Heinzels Wintermärchen in Cologne, one of my top Christmas Destinations in Europe

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Heinzels Wintermärchen in Cologne, one of my top Christmas Destinations in Europe

For more tips on holiday travel my Pinterest Boards Winter Travel Destinations and Travel to Spain.

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