Full of magic, lights and expectations; there’s something extra special about traveling in December. If you haven’t already decided for a Christmas getaway, I’d like to turn your attention to one of these wonderful European destinations. Whether you’re craving for snow-covered mountains or buzzing city life, get ready to pack your bags!
1. Basel, Switzerland
First on the list is Basel; Switzerland’s third-largest city, which is most famous for its art scene. The well-preserved Old Town is the epitome of Christmas magic – perhaps even a little more magical this year, as Basel has been chosen as ‘Best European Christmas Market 2021’ by Forbes.
I personally love cities that are located close to the water, whether it’s a harbour or a river. Basel nestles on the Rhine river, which makes it super romantic and easy accesable. Furthermore, Basel has a very strong identity of its own, given its location next to both France and Germany. That makes up for some interesting museums, a vibrant nightlife, a colourful art scene and delightful gastronomy.
For more information, go to www.basel.com.
2. Hallstatt, Austria
Have you ever heard of Hallstatt? If not, it’s about time! Looking like something straight out of a fairytale, this Austrian town nestles on the shores of the idyllic Hallstätter See. There are plenty of reasons why you should visit this place in summer – swimming in the crystal clear like, for example – but Hallstatt is also an obvious Christmas destination due to its magical scenery (and chances of snow!). The salt mines here are more than 7.000 years old, and there’s even a staircase somewhere down there, which ranks as the oldest in Europe! A lot to see and do if you’re interested in history, but certainly also if you’re “just” looking for relaxation and gorgeous backdrops. Hallstatt is linked to Salzburg and Graz by road, which makes it easy to visit by car.
For more information, go to www.hallstatt.net.
3. Gothenburg, Sweden
Having gained a reputation as Sweden’s most “christmassy” city, there’s really no shortage of cosy vibes in Gothenburg in December. Apart from housing Sweden’s biggest Christmas market at the Liseberg amusement park, Gothenburg also has the most extensive illuminations in Sweden with a 3 kilometer long lane of lights.
If dining out is your thing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the city’s incredible world-class selection of restaurants. There are currently five (!) Michelin-star restaurants in Gothenburg – along with a sea of cocktail bars, seafood bars, wineries and other culinary gems. And if you find yourself in need of a little break, re-charge your batteries at one of the many beautiful beaches in the area. Yes, you read that right – a big city with sandy beaches. That’s hard to beat.
For more information, go to www.goteborg.com.
4. Poznan, Poland
Being one of the oldest cities in Poland – and located approximately 3 hour’s drive west of the capital of Warsaw – Poznan transforms into a true winter wonderland in December. In fact, the Christmas market here is a national favourite. You’ll get a chance to taste various local delicacies while enjoying the historical backdrop. History is basically a big part of the city’s identity and a good reason to visit. But if you’d rather want to eat your way through the Poznan, that’s also an option. There’s a wide selection of quality bars and restaurants here, and you truly get value for your money.
For more information, go to www.poznan.travel.
5. Trier, Germany
Founded during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus, Trier is the oldest city in Germany. With all that incredible history, you shouldn’t need another reason to visit – but if you do, Christmas (oh, and food!) is it!
Located in the wine district, gastronomy is part of everyday life here and truly second to none. in December, the Medieval market square will be transformed into a winter wonderland boasting 95 stalls as well as theatre shows, wine tastings etc.
Let me get back to the Roman heritage though, cause there’s a reason why Trier has earned its nickname ‘Rome of the North’! The number of well-preserved Roman monuments here is unparalleled and can’t be found anywhere else outside of Italy. Make sure to pay the majestic Porta Nigra gate a visit – on a sunny day, it really does like a bit like Rome.
For more information, go to www.trier-info.de.