Five destinations, five perfect last minute Christmas breaks
Still unsure about your plans for Christmas break? We are here to help you. Check out these five wonderful cities that offer lots of festive fun – and that you can still find seats for. Make sure you take your pick and book while there is still availability.
Amsterdam goes all out for Christmas season. Your first stop should be at Ice*Amsterdam, a cosy Christmas village on the Museumplein. There is an ice rink, lots of events and entertainment, market stalls, and a bistro selling warming dishes such as cheese fondue.
If you prefer something a bit trendier, head out to the Sunday Market (on the 4th and 18th of December). It is the best place to buy presents made by local artists and creatives. If you’re willing to venture out of central Amsterdam, the very cute Winter Village in Amstelveen is worth experiencing.
During December and January, the city also hosts the Amsterdam Light Festival. The event dedicated to light art is a perfect way to celebrate the winter season – without any Christmas hassle. You can explore the artworks by foot or on a special canal cruise!
Do not miss the beautiful nativity scenes around Rome during the Christmas season. Every church will have one, the largest is at St Peter’s Square. Another impressive nativity scene can be found by the Spanish Steps. Smaller ones can be seen in shop windows and museums, for example.
Christmas season is also a great time to experience concerts around Rome. Many of the churches have seasonal music, one of the highlights being the Baroque Concerts in the Capuchins Crypt. Or maybe you would like to make the most of the chance to hear some Italian opera? You could have an aperitif on a rooftop while listening to some popular arias at the Rooftop Bar Opera Show.
Milan becomes a city of lights and decorations during the festive season. Head out to the shopping gallery Vittorio Emanuele II to admire some of the most impressive Christmas lights you have ever seen. On Piazza Duomo, there is a huge fully lit Christmas tree. In addition, and true to the nature of this design-heavy city, the fashion house Chanel is creating a decorated tree on Cordusio square and Dior on Scala square.
Milan is known for its love of the aperitivo, and during the festive season drinks with friends are even more important. The best area to have a glass of something warming with nibbles is the Navigli district, known for the canal running through it. The streets in Navigli are dotted with decorations and market stalls during December. With the Christmas lights reflected on the canal and streetside restaurants serving great bites to eat, it’s the most atmospheric place to be.
Germans know what they are doing when it comes to Christmas markets. In Berlin, there are about 80 to choose from! Some of the best ones include the Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt where you can sip your glühwein while admiring the huge tree and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market that has some of the best market stalls for seasonal shopping. If you want to take a trip to the olden days, choose the Opernpalais Nostalgic Christmas Market selling cute wooden toys and ornaments.
You could, in fact, buy all your presents while you are in Berlin. The department store KaDeWe is your one-stop shop, where the chocolate and candle displays alone are very impressive. Don't stop the chocolate buying spree there though, you must also visit the shops of Rausch and Hussel. For small boutiques with special gift items, the Hackescher Markt is worth a visit.
You can't talk about Copenhagen around Christmas time without mentioning hygge. You can really make the most of cosy hygge vibes in the city's many coffee shops and restaurants. The mulled wine gløgg is served everywhere, the Danish like it strong and with lots of raisins.
Another Danish festive treat is risengrød, or rice porridge. The best one is served at the porridge restaurant GRØD. The familiar Danish favourites of beer and smørrebrød also get a Christmas twist in many of the restaurants. The Christmas beers tend to be very dark and expect a variety of fish or paté on your open sandwich.
There are a lot of seasonal events to attend, too. The Nutcracker ballet is shown at the historic Old Stage of The Royal Danish Theatre. In the historical open-air museum Frilandsmuseet in Lyngby, very near Copenhagen, the weekends are dedicated to historical Christmas. There are games to try, theatre to see and animals to pet.