Europe is a continent of contrasts, where you can find ancient history, modern culture, stunning scenery, and diverse cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family adventure, a warm escape, or a solo trip, Europe has something to offer for everyone. And what better time to visit than in December, when the festive spirit is in full swing and the winter wonderland is at its best?
In this blog post, I will share with you 40+ best places to visit in Europe in December, categorized by different types of travellers and preferences. You will discover some of the most popular destinations as well as some hidden gems that will make your trip unforgettable. Plus, I will give you some tips on what to eat and drink in each place, because let’s face it, food is one of the best parts of travelling.
So grab your passport, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the best of Europe in December!
10 Best Romantic Places to Visit in Europe in December
If you’re searching for a warm and enchanting setting to share precious moments with your loved one, Europe offers a delightful array of choices. From enchanting castles that seem straight out of a fairy tale to quaint, picturesque villages, from intimate candlelit dinners to the joy of gliding on ice, and from soothing hot springs to savouring the rich flavours of local wines, I’m here to introduce you to 10 of the most enchanting and romantic destinations to explore in Europe during the magical month of December.
The City of Love is an obvious choice for a romantic getaway, but it’s also a great place to visit in December. The city is beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments, and the Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour. You can stroll along the Seine River, visit the Louvre Museum, admire the Notre Dame Cathedral, or shop at the Galeries Lafayette. Don’t miss the Christmas markets around the city, where you can enjoy some mulled wine and crepes.
Local food to try: Croque monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with béchamel sauce.
Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and it’s even more magical in December. The crowds are smaller, the canals are quieter, and the fog adds a mysterious touch. You can take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal, explore the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, or visit the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. Don’t forget to try some of the local specialties like cicchetti (small snacks) and prosecco (sparkling wine).
Local food to try: Risotto al nero di seppia, a creamy rice dish with squid ink.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague truly appears as though it has sprung from the pages of a fairy tale, especially in the enchanting month of December. The Gothic architecture, cobblestone pathways, and the magical Charles Bridge all glisten beneath a snowy blanket adorned with twinkling lights. Here, you can explore the majestic Prague Castle, stroll through the historic Old Town Square, and marvel at the intricate workings of the Astronomical Clock. Moreover, Prague boasts some of Europe’s most delightful Christmas markets, where you can discover handcrafted treasures and savor delectable seasonal delicacies.
Local food to try: Trdelník, a pastry made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, grilled, and topped with sugar and nuts.
Salzburg seamlessly harmonizes culture and nature, creating a splendid blend. This city is not only the birthplace of Mozart but also the enchanting backdrop of “The Sound of Music.” In Salzburg, you can explore Mozart’s home, wander through the splendid Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and ascend to the commanding heights of the Hohensalzburg Fortress. For those seeking outdoor adventures, a day trip to the nearby Alps offers opportunities for skiing and snowshoeing, surrounded by breathtaking alpine vistas.
Local food to try: Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam filling and chocolate icing.
Bruges is a medieval city that has preserved its charm and beauty over the centuries. It’s known as the Venice of the North because of its many canals and bridges. You can take a boat tour along the waterways, visit the Belfry Tower and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, or admire the artworks at the Groeninge Museum. Bruges also has a cozy and festive atmosphere in December, with Christmas lights and decorations everywhere. You can shop at the Christmas market on Market Square, where you can also ice skate on a temporary rink.
Local food to try: Belgian waffles, a crispy and fluffy pastry that can be topped with whipped cream, chocolate, or fruits.
Also Read: How to Plan a Dreamy Honeymoon in Sicily
Lucerne is a city cradled between a tranquil lake and majestic mountain ranges, gifting visitors with breathtaking vistas and an inviting, snug ambiance. In December, Lucerne takes on a wintry guise, with average temperatures hovering around 2°C (36°F). Amidst this scenic backdrop, you can embark on a journey to discover captivating landmarks such as the iconic Chapel Bridge, the poignant Lion Monument, and the engaging Swiss Museum of Transport.
For those seeking elevation and adventure, Lucerne provides the means to ascend Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi via cable car or train. At their summits, a snowy wonderland awaits, offering a variety of snow activities and panoramic views to savor.
Local food to try: Raclette, a melted cheese dish that is served with potatoes, pickles, and bread.
Bratislava is a city steeped in history, culture, and an undeniable charm. In December, a cool breeze fills the air, with average temperatures resting around 4°C (39°F). While exploring this enchanting city, you’ll have the opportunity to visit prominent landmarks such as the stately Bratislava Castle, the awe-inspiring St. Martin’s Cathedral, and the historic Old Town Hall.
For those with a thirst for knowledge, Bratislava offers a rich selection of museums, including the Slovak National Gallery, the Bratislava City Museum, and the Museum of Jewish Culture, each unveiling layers of the city’s captivating past.
As December paints the city with a festive spirit, be sure to explore the delightful Christmas market on the Main Square. Here, you can peruse handmade crafts and savor delectable culinary delights, adding a touch of holiday magic to your Bratislava adventure.
Local food to try: Bryndzove halusky, dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon.
Porto, nestled beside the meandering Douro River, is renowned for its rich wine culture and captivating architecture. In December, the city enjoys a temperate climate, with average temperatures hovering around 14°C (57°F). As you explore this charming destination, you’ll have the opportunity to discover notable attractions such as the imposing Clerigos Tower, the ornate Sao Bento Station, and the atmospheric Ribeira District.
For wine enthusiasts, Porto beckons with the allure of world-famous wineries, including the venerable Sandeman Cellars, the esteemed Taylor’s Port, and the historic Graham’s Port Lodge, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s wine heritage.
As night falls, Porto’s vibrant nightlife and music scene come alive, ensuring that you’ll find plenty of entertainment to round out your days in this dynamic city.
Local food to try: Francesinha, a sandwich with cheese, ham, sausage, and steak covered with tomato and beer sauce.
Riga, a city steeped in history, art, and culture, beckons travelers with its rich tapestry of experiences. In December, a snowy wonderland envelops the city, with average temperatures resting around -1°C (30°F). As you delve into this enchanting locale, you’ll have the chance to explore notable monuments such as the iconic House of Blackheads, the poignant Freedom Monument, and the venerable Riga Cathedral.
Art and history enthusiasts will find their passions ignited by Riga’s array of museums, including the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, and the engaging Riga Motor Museum, each shedding light on different facets of the city’s heritage.
Riga’s distinction as one of Europe’s oldest and most traditional Christmas markets brings added charm to the season. Here, you can peruse exquisite amber jewelry and handcrafted wooden toys, immersing yourself in the festive spirit of the city.
Local food to try: Karums, a curd snack coated with chocolate.
Also Read: How to Plan a Dreamy Honeymoon in Ischia
10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in December with Family
When you embark on a family adventure across Europe, you’ll discover a wealth of destinations that are sure to put smiles on everyone’s faces. From thrilling amusement parks to enriching museums, from sprawling nature reserves to captivating zoos, and from indulgent chocolate factories to the enchanting abode of Santa himself, allow me to introduce you to 10 exceptional places to explore with your loved ones in Europe during the delightful month of December.
Exploring London is a journey through a city that caters to everyone, regardless of age or interest. Whether you’re drawn to iconic landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge, captivated by the world-class exhibits at the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum, or in search of seasonal merriment, London has something special in store for you.
And for families seeking a dose of holiday spirit, don’t miss the enchanting Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Here, you can immerse yourselves in the excitement of thrilling rides, captivating shows, and the simple joy of ice skating, making London the perfect destination that truly has it all for family travelers in December.
Local food to try: Fish and chips, a classic dish of fried fish and potato fries.
Barcelona seamlessly melds culture and nature into a vibrant tapestry of experiences. Here, you can marvel at the awe-inspiring architecture crafted by Gaudi, including the iconic Sagrada Familia, the whimsical Park Guell, and the captivating Casa Batllo. Stroll through the historic Gothic Quarter, ascend Montjuic Hill for panoramic vistas, and unwind on the golden sands of Barceloneta Beach.
Families with children will discover a host of exciting attractions, including the Tibidabo Amusement Park, where thrills abound, the mesmerizing Aquarium, and the delightful Chocolate Museum, all adding to Barcelona’s allure as a multifaceted destination for families in December.
Local food to try: Paella, a rice dish with seafood, meat, or vegetables.
Stockholm, embraced by the serene beauty of water and nature, offers a captivating array of experiences. Begin your exploration in the heart of the city at Gamla Stan (Old Town), where you can immerse yourself in history at the Royal Palace, explore the fascinating Nobel Museum, and wander through the picturesque Stortorget Square.
Venturing further, the city’s archipelago beckons with its islands, including Djurgarden, where the enchanting Skansen Open-Air Museum, the intriguing Vasa Museum, and the immersive ABBA Museum await your discovery.
In December, Stockholm comes alive with some of Scandinavia’s most enchanting Christmas markets. Here, you can peruse exquisite handicrafts and savor the delightful warmth of glögg (mulled wine), adding a festive touch to your Stockholm experience.
Local food to try: Meatballs with lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes.
Edinburgh is a city that is full of history and charm. Edinburgh has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures around 9°C (48°F). You can visit some of the landmarks like the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You can also visit some of the museums like the National Museum of Scotland, the Camera Obscura, and the Dynamic Earth. Edinburgh also has some of the best Christmas events in Europe, including a giant Ferris wheel, an ice rink, and a street party on New Year’s Eve.
Local food to try: Haggis, neeps, and tatties, a dish of minced sheep’s organs with turnips and potatoes.
Zurich is a city that is located on the banks of Lake Zurich and at the foot of the Alps. Zurich has a frosty climate in December, with average temperatures around 3°C (37°F). You can visit some of the attractions like the Grossmunster Church, the Bahnhofstrasse Street, and the Lindenhof Hill. You can also visit some of the museums like the Swiss National Museum, the Kunsthaus Zurich, and the FIFA World Football Museum. Zurich also has some of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Europe, where you can buy chocolate and cheese.
Local food to try: Fondue, a melted cheese dish that is dipped with bread.
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal and is located on the Atlantic coast. Lisbon has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures around 15°C (59°F). You can visit some of the attractions like the Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the Sao Jorge Castle. You can also explore some of the neighbourhoods like Alfama, Baixa, and Chiado. Lisbon also has a festive Christmas market along the river banks, where you can buy souvenirs and drinks.
Local food to try: Pasteis de nata, a custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon.
Rome is a city that is full of history, art, and romance. Rome has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures around 13°C (55°F). You can visit some of the monuments like the Colosseum, the Vatican City, and the Trevi Fountain. You can also visit some of the museums like the Borghese Gallery, the Capitoline Museums, and the National Roman Museum. Rome also has some of the most festive Christmas celebrations in Europe, like the Nativity scenes and the Pope’s blessing.
Local food to try: Carbonara, a pasta dish with eggs, cheese, and bacon.
10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in December that are Warm
If you’re in search of a sunny respite from the winter chill, Europe offers enticing possibilities. From tranquil islands to picturesque coastlines and sun-kissed beaches to serene mountain escapes, I’m here to introduce you to 10 delightful destinations in Europe that promise warmth and sunshine during December.
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Tenerife is the largest and most popular of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa. Tenerife has a mild climate all year round, with average temperatures around 20°C (68°F) in December. You can enjoy some of the best beaches in Europe, like Playa de las Americas, Playa de las Teresitas, and Playa del Duque. You can also explore the Teide National Park, where you can find Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain.
Local food to try: Papas arrugadas con mojo, boiled potatoes with spicy sauce.
Malta, nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is a charming island nation steeped in a tapestry of history and culture. In December, Malta offers a warm embrace, with average temperatures hovering at a comfortable 18°C (64°F). As you explore this captivating destination, you’ll have the opportunity to wander through UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Valletta, the capital city, Mdina, a beautifully preserved old city, and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an intriguing underground burial site.
Moreover, the island is adorned with pristine beaches, including the inviting shores of Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, and St. George’s Bay, where you can bask in the Mediterranean sun and embrace the tranquil beauty of Malta.
Local food to try: Pastizzi, a pastry filled with ricotta cheese or peas.
Cyprus is an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that has a mix of Greek and Turkish influences. Cyprus has a warm climate in December, with average temperatures around 19°C (66°F). You can visit some of the ancient sites like Paphos, where you can find the Tombs of the Kings and the House of Dionysus. You can also enjoy some of the stunning beaches like Nissi Beach, Coral Bay, and Fig Tree Bay.
Local food to try: Halloumi, a semi-hard cheese that can be grilled or fried.
Madeira is an island off the coast of Portugal that is known for its natural beauty and wine. Madeira has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures around 20°C (68°F). You can explore some of the scenic landscapes like the Laurisilva Forest, the Pico do Arieiro, and the Cabo Girao. You can also visit some of the charming towns like Funchal, Santana, and Camara de Lobos.
Local food to try: Espetada, skewered beef marinated in garlic and herbs.
Granada is a city in southern Spain that has a rich cultural heritage and a stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Granada has a pleasant climate in December, with average temperatures around 16°C (61°F). You can visit some of the impressive monuments like the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress complex, the Generalife, a royal garden, and the Cathedral, a Renaissance masterpiece. You can also enjoy some of the lively nightlife and tapas bars in the city center.
Local food to try: Tortilla de Sacromonte, an omelette with lamb brains and offal.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece that is famous for its ancient history and mythology. Athens has a moderate climate in December, with average temperatures around 15°C (59°F). You can visit some of the iconic landmarks like the Acropolis, where you can find the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. You can also visit some of the museums like the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Benaki Museum.
Local food to try: Moussaka, a baked dish of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
Antalya is a city that is located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and is known for its beaches and resorts. Antalya has a warm climate in December, with average temperatures around 18°C (64°F). You can visit some of the historical sites like the Hadrian’s Gate, the Yivli Minare Mosque, and the Aspendos Theatre. You can also enjoy some of the natural attractions like the Duden Waterfalls, the Konyaalti Beach, and the Olympos National Park.
Local food to try: Kebab, a grilled meat dish with various spices and sauces.
10 Best Places to Visit Solo in Europe in December
When it comes to solo travel, Europe boasts destinations that will embrace you with warmth and ensure your safety. Whether you’re drawn to vibrant cities or the peaceful countryside, seeking cultural enrichment or thrilling adventures, I’m here to share with you 10 outstanding places in Europe that are perfect for solo exploration during the serene month of December.
Berlin is a city that is full of history, art, and diversity. Berlin has a cool climate in December, with average temperatures around 4°C (39°F). You can visit some of the landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, and the Berlin Wall. You can also visit some of the museums like the Museum Island, the Jewish Museum, and the East Side Gallery. Berlin also has a vibrant nightlife and music scene that will keep you entertained.
Local food to try: Currywurst, a sausage with curry sauce and fries.
Amsterdam is a city that is famous for its canals, bicycles, and tulips. Amsterdam has a chilly climate in December, with average temperatures around 6°C (43°F). You can visit some of the attractions like the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum. You can also take a canal cruise or rent a bike and explore the city by yourself. Amsterdam also has some of the best coffee shops and pubs in Europe that will make you feel relaxed.
Local food to try: Stroopwafel, a thin waffle with caramel filling.
Budapest is a city that is divided by the Danube River into two parts: Buda and Pest. Budapest has a cold climate in December, with average temperatures around 3°C (37°F). You can visit some of the sights like the Buda Castle, the Parliament Building, and the Chain Bridge. You can also enjoy some of the thermal baths and spas that are scattered around the city. Budapest also has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe that will make you feel festive.
Local food to try: Goulash, a stew of meat and vegetables with paprika.
Copenhagen is a city that is known for its design, hygge, and happiness. Copenhagen has a freezing climate in December, with average temperatures around 2°C (36°F). You can visit some of the attractions like the Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid Statue, and the Nyhavn Canal. You can also visit some of the museums like the National Museum, the Design Museum, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Copenhagen also has some of the best restaurants and cafes in Europe that will make you feel cozy.
Local food to try: Smorrebrod, an open-faced sandwich with various toppings.
Dublin is a city that is famous for its literature, music, and Guinness. Dublin has a mild climate in December, with average temperatures around 9°C (48°F). You can visit some of the landmarks like the Trinity College, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Guinness Storehouse. You can also visit some of the pubs and bars that are full of live music and friendly locals. Dublin also has some of the best Christmas events in Europe, like the Winter Lights Festival and the New Year’s Festival.
Local food to try: Irish stew, a hearty dish of lamb, potatoes, and carrots.
Krakow is a city that is rich in history, culture, and beauty. Krakow has a freezing climate in December, with average temperatures around -1°C (30°F). You can visit some of the attractions like the Wawel Castle, the Main Market Square, and the Cloth Hall. You can also visit some of the museums like the Schindler’s Factory, the National Museum, and the Galicia Jewish Museum. Krakow also has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, where you can buy amber jewelry and wooden toys.
Local food to try: Pierogi, dumplings filled with cheese, meat, or fruits.
Reykjavik is a city that is surrounded by stunning natural wonders. Reykjavik has a cold climate in December, with average temperatures around 2°C (36°F). You can visit some of the landmarks like the Hallgrimskirkja Church, the Harpa Concert Hall, and the Sun Voyager Sculpture. You can also take a day trip to some of the nearby attractions like the Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfall. Reykjavik also has a chance to see one of the most amazing phenomena in the world: the Northern Lights.
Local food to try: Skyr, a thick and creamy yogurt-like dairy product.
Ljubljana is a city that is small but charming. Ljubljana has a cool climate in December, with average temperatures around 5°C (41°F). You can visit some of the sights like the Ljubljana Castle, the Triple Bridge, and the Dragon Bridge. You can also visit some of the galleries like the National Gallery, the Modern Gallery, and the Metelkova Art Center. Ljubljana also has one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, where you can buy handmade crafts and taste some honey liqueur.
Local food to try: Potica, a rolled cake with various fillings like nuts, poppy seeds, or chocolate.
Europe is a beautiful continent to visit in December, whether you’re looking for romance, family, warmth, or solo travel. You can find a variety of destinations that will suit your preferences and expectations and enjoy some of the best attractions, activities, and events that Europe has to offer. You can also experience some of the most unique and festive Christmas traditions and celebrations that will make your trip unforgettable.
So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the best of Europe in December! And don’t forget to share your experiences and photos with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you! 😊
What are the best places to visit in Europe in December for Christmas markets?
Top European cities for December Christmas markets include Strasbourg, Vienna, Prague, Munich, and Riga. Explore historic markets for crafts, ornaments, food, drinks, and festive ambiance.
What are the best places to visit in Europe in December for skiing?
For prime December skiing in Europe, consider Bansko, Bulgaria; Val d’Aran, Spain; Mayrhofen, Austria; Gudauri, Georgia; and Interlaken, Switzerland. These destinations offer top-notch ski resorts, scenic slopes, affordability, warm hospitality, and cozy lodging.
What are the best places to visit in Europe in December for winter sun?
For a sunny December escape in Europe, consider Tenerife, Malta, Cyprus, Madeira, and Granada. With temperatures around 18-20°C (64-68°F), these destinations offer beach bliss, history, and delicious cuisine.
Where is the Best Place in Europe for Christmas?
Prague, Vienna, and Strasbourg are renowned for their enchanting Christmas markets and festive spirit.
Where in Europe is Warmest in December?
Southern Spain, including Malaga, offers the warmest temperatures in Europe during December.
What is the Best European Country to Visit in December?
The best European country to visit in December depends on your preferences. For festive markets, consider Germany. For mild weather, Spain and Portugal are great choices.
Is it Good to Visit Europe in December?
Absolutely! Europe in December is a magical experience with festive markets, snowy landscapes, and cozy atmospheres.
How much does it cost to travel to Europe in December?
European travel expenses vary with factors like location, duration, transport, lodging, dining, and activities in December. Prices are generally lower due to the low season, but some places can be pricier during the holidays. On average, expect $104 per person daily.
How cold is Europe in December?
In December, Europe provides a variety of climates to suit all travelers. From Reykjavik, Iceland’s chilly -1°C (30°F) to Tenerife, Canary Islands’ pleasant 20°C (68°F), you have options. Some regions might even offer unique weather experiences, adding excitement to your trip.
What are the best places to visit for romance in Europe in December?
In December, pick Paris, Venice, Prague, Salzburg, and Bruges for a romantic European escape. These cities charm with architecture, quaint streets, and scenic views. Explore canals, museums, candlelit dinners, and luxurious stays
What are the best places to visit with family in Europe in December?
London, Barcelona, Stockholm, Lisbon, and Rome are excellent family-friendly destinations in Europe during December. With diverse attractions like museums, parks, and holiday festivities, they guarantee an enjoyable and educational experience for all ages.
What are the best places to visit solo in Europe in December?
Top solo travel destinations in December: Berlin, Amsterdam, Budapest, Copenhagen, and Dublin. Explore history, art, and culture. Enjoy vibrant nightlife and socializing in pubs.