The “most wonderful time of the year” is almost here, so if you’re still looking for a destination to spend this magic holiday, you’d better speed it up!
Forget summertime - Christmas is just a few weeks away. That means you have to get prepared for festive events, cheerful decorations, and specific treats such as mulled wine and gingerbread. But what if you wish for something else this year? What if you want to celebrate this upcoming snowy season in a location other than your hometown?
And while this may be a quandary time (to go or not to go?), we highly advise you to book that long-awaited trip and rediscover yourself in faraway lands. There’s a plethora of destinations that celebrate Christmas in unique manners, so you’ve definitely got lots of choices of destinations where to spend your Christmas holiday.
If you find it hard to decide on a particular location, these are the places we’re setting our sights on this season:
Brussels is considered one of Belgium’s prettiest cities, and not for nothing. Everything from Notre Dame du Sablon and Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert to Brussels Cathedral and Grand Place is every tourist’s dream. Still, it’s the holiday season when this city becomes a real fairytale scene.
If you visit Brussels during this particular time, you’ll be blown away by the twinkly cobblestone and gabled, snowy houses that are some of the city’s quintessential attractions. The Art Nouveau architecture that characterises most of the centre’s buildings lures thousands of visitors from all around the globe. You can visit this marvellous place on Earth, too, sooner than you think if you take into account a journey by train Brussels.
During this holiday, the city’s squares are dotted with market stalls selling yummy specialities and all kinds of crafts. Among the treats this year’s edition is cooking in the oven are spiced glühwein, ice-cold jenever, a variety of cheeses, Belgian beer, and home-made hot chocolate.
And speaking of chocolate, you probably know that Belgian chocolate is one of the most appreciated in the world. So, if you are around for a while, don’t hesitate to visit some of the city’s best chocolate shops, including Laurent Gerbaud and Pierre Marcolini.
There’s something about this rugged and raw land in the cold that can’t be explained in words. Sure, it’s just magnificent when the sun shines on “the land of the brave,” but nothing compares with the beauty of this city in winter.
Just imagine what it would be like to spot some red deer across the Cairngorms’ snow-sprinkled slopes or bike the East Lothian beaches. And, after such a cold experience, drink a few wee drams by a thriving fire… sublime! Winter in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is wildly festive and the best time to enjoy the city’s hearty fare.
Travelling to Scotland is easier than you think, but just as a matter of fact, it would be better to have a railway trip than a road trip. We know that the vast wilderness of Scotland is alluring, but roads during this time of year are not exactly the safest. Railways, instead, are a safe and sound choice, not to mention that you’ll be on one of Britain’s most picturesque train journeys.
Belgium is full of surprises, and its magic doesn’t stop at Bruges - Antwerp is also a favourite Christmas location. Antwerp is famous for its eerie winter atmosphere, so there’s a slight chance for you to be disappointed by the Christmas spirit this city evokes.
Antwerp has so much to offer that you’ll likely lose yourself in this atmospheric city. The Christmas market is the best example in this sense. Apart from flavourful foods and drinks, you can buy arts and crafts from local, talented merchants. And let’s not forget about the Grote Markt, Groenplaats, Antwerp Steen castle, and Handschoenmarkt!
If you are thinking about travelling solutions, learn that reaching Antwerp by train is the most viable one. Apart from the incomparable train journey experience, you will enjoy maximum comfort and safety. So, if you already have Brussels on your list, we heartily encourage you to consider Antwerp, too.
Zell Am See, Austria
Austria is renowned for its festive splendour, and there is no wonder that thousands of people worldwide choose to spend their holiday in this country. Apart from the many Christmas markets it boasts yearly, Austria also has plentiful skiing destinations that we are sure enthusiasts will appreciate immensely. One of these fascinating skiing heavens is Zell am See.
Austria skiing destinations of the like previously mentioned are skiing adventurers’ favourites, and for a good reason: fun-filled days, festive markets, and fresh, sparkling snow are just some of the many temptations. During your holiday, you can spend your time skiing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing, curling, and paragliding if you are a bit more adventurous. This location has hundreds of kilometres of hiking routes and trails, so it is impossible to get bored while staying. Moreover, adrenaline merges perfectly with pure relaxation in the spa.
So, if you are still doubting Zell am See skiing, we heartily encourage you to make the move - you will be surprised by the hundreds of activities you can enjoy here.
The Floating City could be your next dream destination, but be sure to book your ticket in advance. December might be the month tourists don’t crowd too much to spend their vacation here, so it’s the perfect time for you to enjoy the city at its best.
No one plans to go to Venice in December, as people simply don’t imagine taking a gondola ride during winter. To be honest, that’s a pity. The fog curling eerily from the Canal’s water is really a thing. If there will be some snow, too, well, consider yourself a lucky person. More than that, you can go sightseeing without spotting any selfie sticks.
The “Serenissima” or “Queen of the Adriatic”, as Venice is also referred to, is an ideal destination for Christmas, even if not many consider it so. But remember - Venice and every city on this planet is better to visit out of season. You have, thus, the chance to explore a place’s hidden corners quietly, shop in small stores, and eat like a local.
So, did one of these ideas for where to spend your Christmas holiday catch your attention?
Why You Should Brave Paris Weather in December and Visit at Christmas
Exploring Belgium: 12 Exciting Things to See and Do
Holiday in Europe in Style: Tips for Affordable Luxury Holidays in Europe