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10 best places to spend Christmas eve in Europe

Lights, chocolates and love everywhere! Christmas brings joy to the heart even as a word. When the whole world comes together in celebrating a festival, it is only fair that it’s as grand as Christmas is. Whatever world may it be, religions, or even realms like Narnia and the magical community, celebrate December the 25th, in all its glory. After all the years of Christmas, it has come to be the celebration of life and a season everybody waits for, as soon as it is over.

A whiff of a scent could bring you Christmas in the middle of summer, snow on any normal day, the sight of snow-capped trees being lit up, tiny little figurines placed in a certain way, thick woollen socks, a particular song about a red-nosed guy, sipping chocolaty Starbucks- it goes on. But the point is, Christmas visits you any time of the year, all you need to do is hold on to it. Remember to just keep your Yuletide gay. Here is something to help you with that.

11. Tromso, Norway :

Christmas in Tromso
Image credit – Flickr.com

Starting this list with a huge bang is Norway’s Tromso, the mother of snowy Christmases. I completely believe in all the theories that claim that Santa and his Reindeer live here (the North Pole, Christmas all year around, Hello!). Snowy with a chance of Northern Lights is the perpetual weather here. How can Christmas paired along with these Nordic light showers not be the best in Europe? The white hues of the town blend seamlessly with the reds and greens of the festival. Lights and Christmas trees propped up against the white mountains in the background is something you should never miss. Spend your next Christmas leaning back into a blanketed chair, in front of a crackling fire, sipping glasses and glasses of Aquavit or simply under the Norwegian moon.

Read also: Where and how to watch the Northern Lights in Iceland

10. Zagreb, Croatia:

The Advent, Zagreb
Image credit – Businessinsider.com

Zagreb is Croatia’s most dreamy city. With high beige roofed medieval buildings that look like Shakespeare’s palace sets, it is an ever beautiful jewel. Christmas Tale, a market on Ban Jelacic, plays host to a giant wreath called Advent Wreath. It is positioned around the Mandusevac fountain in a bewildering fashion. The first candle is lit on December 2nd, followed by a new candle is that appear each Sunday. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the wreath is completely fired up. With the glimmering wreath as a backdrop, concerts, shows and festive activities start. Each picture taken of this frame is celebrated all over the world for the sight it puts up.

9. Milan, Italy:

mMilan's Cathedral
Image credit – hotelcavour.it

You must already know how Milan is the fashion capital of Italy. But did you know that Christmas in the city is the most beautiful in the country? You do now! There are at least a million lights throughout the city. Not only are the markets glowing in the night, so are the storefronts and boutiques that come out to celebrate Christmas. Everybody you see will smile and welcome you inside for a cup of coffee. The Naviglio Grande and Duomo are the prettiest parts of the city in this respect. Local Jazz schools put up gigs to celebrate the advent calendar. The Christmas markets shown in the picture above, are self-explanatory.

8. Krakow, Poland :

Image credit – Viajerospiratas.es

If you’re in love with the idea of spending a Christmas in Europe but do not have the dough for it, Krakow is your place. Not only budget travellers but people looking to chase Jack Frost and have a peaceful little Christmas in cottages, Krakow should again be your place. The decorated Old Market Square and Old Town’s centre become the most picturesque and the most colourfully lit areas against the plain stone cold of the city. Carols and live performances are always happening in the squares and artists being introduced to the world.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Amsterdam's lit canals during Christmas

Christmases in Amsterdam is the snowiest time of the year. No native reindeers present but definitely expect a drunk Santa Claus to end up at your door because that’s how the Amsterdammers roll. Surely, Amsterdam doesn’t show any lesser Holiday spirit than the other European towns. If you take a walk during the night and you will know. Even the canals and trees aren’t spared. The traditional Dutch houses are somehow even prettier in the new light. Not to mention all the famous cafes. Nightlife is tweaked a little bit with the Christmas Eve parties. The Amsterdam Light festival takes place too, which is a European version of the Thailand one. Dutch cheese, Olieballen and appelbeignets are some delicacies you should try during the season.

6. Prague, Czech Republic:

Prague Christmas
Image credit – Culturetrip.com

Brick reds of the Art-Nouvelle structures contrasting stunningly with the scarlet carpeted roofs of market shops. Mixed aromas of Trudel, pancakes and hot chocolate whirl in the music-saturated air. Waking up to the smell of delish food and clouds of snow and watching people falling in and out of markets on their way to the traditional Christmas mass is one of the best holidays ever. Especially if that city is as beautiful as Prague is.

Also read: Christmas Markets in Europe for some early festive vibes. 

5. Hallstatt, Austria:

Hallstatt's White Christmas
Image credit – Culturetrip.com

Consider me a sucker for picturesque European towns and Alpine mountains hovering over them. Hallstatt not only made me fall in crazy love right at the first go, but it gave me so much to look forward to in the world. The way these beautiful houses cling to the lake hits me in all its glory. When Christmas arrives, it is already a winter wonderland. With the added beauty of the festival’s influences, Hallstatt becomes the rich postcard sight that we all swoon over. You could get to the place after just an hour’s walk. The rest will all be party time. Freshly falling snow on the cobbled streets is a sight that will stay with you forever. Go fall in love!

4. Manchester, UK:

Manchester's Christmas Markets
Image credit – Flickr.com

The United Kingdom celebrated Christmas like no other place in the world. The very mood of the towns and its people is uplifting. Kids hang up socks full of treats for Father Christmas, dad bring in the biggest tree they can acquire and erect it in a grand place in the living room. Moms spend hours in the kitchen, making pies, cakes, tarts and potlucks. You’d think, isn’t this how Christmas is in every country? It is, but the warmth that wafts out of the chimneys and the glow in the eyes of everybody on the street. Everything that we read about English Christmases in the books is true. One city that sets the bar high is Manchester. At least a dozen Christmas markets exist in the city squares. Special Christmas theatres, fairs, food stalls and ice skaters pop up. Every mall and restaurant sprinkles stardust and throb with high spirits.

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3. Paris, France:

Parisien Cafe In Christmas
Image credit – paralela45.ro

Did you really think we’d compile a list of top destinations for Christmas in Europe, and leave out the city of love? Take my word upon it, if you should ever decide to visit Paris, it should be during Christmas. It is when all the important historical spots like Champs Elysees, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower look their best, drenched in all their former glory. Every cafe you enter will be a little piece of Christmas heaven. The crepes, hot chocolates, croissants and even the pastries that you eat will whisper the word ‘Christmas’ in your ears. Every storefront will be colour coordinated in red, green and gold. You can literally love in the air. Just point yourself in the direction of the nearest Mistletoe and you will know.

2. Nuremberg, Germany:

Nuremberg Christmas
Image credit – Parkinn.com

The whole place starts smelling a lot like Christmas much before the actual festival. You can’t resist much against mulled wine and rum rage. Needless to say about the Christmas markets, which are world famous. This scenic little town in Germany‘s Bavaria came to be so famously associated with Christmas because of the ongoing festive mood that is observed, year after year. Snow drenched needle pines adorn the streets along with the fairy lights. Tiny little shops full of candy canes, hot pancakes, eggnog and gingerbread are seen everywhere. If not for the Christmas markets, you should visit Nuremberg just to check out the toy making factories in the outskirts.

1. Vienna, Austria:

Viennese Christmas
Image credit – independant.co.uk

There isn’t a city that equals Vienna’s grace and class. Especially when it comes to Christmas, it seems as if Christmas exists because it has to come to Vienna. There are so many books and theatres written about the Viennese Christmas. It seemed good enough for Romeo & Juliet, so it should be magical enough. The cute little cafes that are scattered throughout the city, are decorated with alluring lights, hence the collective look of stars on earth. Winter is in its most ravishing state too. Rathausplatz is the place to be if you need a change of air. Ice skate your way into the markets too!

Book your own little Christmas getaway here. Or just go crazy with these already designed itineraries.

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