Your Guide To The Best Places to Visit in Europe in December
Europe is every traveller’s dream destination; you will find that its cities are a perfect combination of history, heritage, culture, and scenic beauty. In December, the continent is engulfed by a cold wave that brings cold temperatures and in most places snow. In Northern Europe, the snow creates blank canvases of landscape, while in Southern Europe the cities around the Mediterranean Sea get cold weather and not much else!
The highlight of December across the continent is the celebration of Christmas. Most cities start their festivities around the first week of December and go on till the first week of January. Christmas Markets, Concerts, Winter Shopping Fairs, Ice Skating Rinks and New Year celebrations are the major events that take place across Europe.
Most of the month is low tourist season with fewer queues and cheaper rates across the table. However, around Christmas and New Year, costs increases and lots of tourists move around the region. Here are the best places to go in Europe in December to enjoy the wonders of Christmas and New Year.
10 Best Places to Visit in Europe in December
Here's our list of the 10 Best Places to Go in Europe in December, which is just what you need to end the year on a high. Get a move on!
Best Places to Go in Europe in November
Average High: 14°C | Average Low: 6°C
History and tradition ensure that Naples finds it spot on the list of best places to go in Europe in December. The temperature might be too cold for a dip in the famous beaches along the sea, but it is perfect for exploring the city and its surroundings. The mild weather is ideal to go see the Ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the Royal Palace of Caserta. Within the city, take a walk down Via San Gregorio Armeno, the ancient alley where artisans work on the Neapolitan Nativity Scenes. Learn about history at the city’s castles and museums, and end your day shopping for trinkets in the Christmas shopping markets. Don’t miss out on tasting treats like Capitone, baccala and ragu.
Top Recommended Experiences in Naples
Average High: 13°C | Average Low: 3°C
Spain and sun go hand in hand and Granada in the region of Andalusia is no exception. The city is known for its Moorish heritage that is visible in its exquisite Islamic architecture inspired palaces including the Alhambra, Nasrid Palaces, Alcazaba and the gardens of Generalife. However, it’s the unique location of Granada that makes way for its entry into the list of the best places to go in Europe in December. Not only can you enjoy the culture in Granada but also head to Sierra Nevada, a short drive away and enjoy the joys of snow skiing! If skiing is not your cup of tea, you can enjoy the great weather and explore other nearby attractions like Alpujarras and Cordoba.
Top Recommended Experiences in Granada
Average High: 10°C | Average Low: 4°C
Madrid is synonymous with sunshine but it is not without reason that you find it on this list of best places to go in Europe in December. The capital of Spain, Madrid is a culture connoisseur’s delight! From exquisite architecture to museums that hold invaluable art, the city has several avenues to explore and enjoy its heritage. The weather in December is chill and dry, making it a breeze to explore the vast city on foot. When it gets too cold, hop inside the Prado Museum or the Reina Sofia Arts Centre. On a bright day, head out of the city to the heritage towns of Toledo and Segovia. Plus, barring the week of Christmas everything is affordable and cheap, from airfares to rooms.
Top Recommended Experiences in Madrid
Average High: 15°C | Average Low: 9°C
Barcelona is an exciting destination all year round; with its extraordinary architecture and electric energy that permeates everything from food, culture and entertainment. The city is a fantastic getaway for those who wish to explore the city in its most pleasant weather and not miss out on the European Christmas celebrations. It is generally low tourist season as the city is known for its beaches and they are not accessible during the winters. But, you have a plethora of activities to choose from. Headout to Montjuic for viewing the Magic Fountain, go ice skating in Plaza Catalunya, or watch acrobatics at Circ Raluy. Barcelona in December teases you with idyllic weather and constant fun!
Top Recommended Experiences in Barcelona
Average High: 9°C | Average Low: 5°C
London’s weather is unpredictable even in the best of times but in December you can generally expect it to be wet, cold and chilly. However, it doesn’t dampen the spirits of tourists who come to enjoy the festivities of the Christmas Season. It is the joyful festive season that puts London on the list of best places to go in Europe in December. Watch the Nutcracker play at West End and go ice skating at Hyde Park. If you are traveling with kids, take them to see the Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square and meet Santa Claus. Tourist crowds surge towards the end of the month but you can find the attractions to yourself for the most part of it.
Top Recommended Experiences in London
Average High: 4°C | Average Low: 0°C
Party-lovers should make a beeline for Budapest; it is hands down one of the best places to go in Europe in December for fun seekers! The temperatures go down to a chilling zero but the raring thermal spa parties at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths will keep the tempo going. The City Park Lake freezes up to become Europe’s largest ice skating park. The city’s magnificent architecture sparkles with holiday cheer and lighting that makes for great photographs. Take a city tour of Buda or Pest and go on a cruise down the Danube to witness the grandeur of the city. A glass of mulled wine and delicious chimney cake will set you up for a long night of revelry.
Top Recommended Experiences in Budapest
Average High: 11°C | Average Low: 3°C
Bargain hunters will love to visit Florence in December when the city is experiencing the low tourist season. Think of shorter queues and fewer people across all tourist attractions and the privilege of experiencing local holiday traditions. The Christmas celebrations in Florence like the rest of Italy start on December 8th on Immaculate Conception Day when the Christmas Tree and the lights are up in the Piazza Duomo. Check out the nativity scene and go inside to marvel at the architecture of the famous Duomo. It’s easier to get into the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries to witness the works of Italian Masters. Make sure you go on a culinary tour for sampling the best of Florentine cuisine and the holiday specials on the menu.
Top Recommended Experiences in Florence
Average High: 7°C | Average Low: 2°C
Milan is the fashion capital of Europe and is known for its avant-garde fashion, high-street shopping and fantastic architecture and heritage. In December, it is cloaked in snow during the latter part of the month and decorated with stunning Christmas lights. It’s most recognizable landmark, the Duomo, takes on an ethereal look, standing dramatic overlooking the frenzy of the holiday season. Right from the Immaculate Conception Day, Milan starts its affair with Christmas fairs and events. Catch a holiday show or concert at the La Scala Theatre, view the Last Supper at Santa Maria Delle Grazie and stroll down the famous Navigli in the evening. If you are there for longer, embark on a day to the beautiful Lake Como, Bellagio and Lugano.
Top Recommended Experiences in Milan
Average High: 12°C | Average Low: 5°C
magine cruising down the narrow canals of Venice and ducking under quaint bridges in the pleasant afternoon sun, without bumping into hordes of other gondolas! Venice is rated as among the best places to go in Europe in December for its cool weather, fewer crowds and unique Italian holiday celebrations. You can enjoy Hanukkah in the Jewish Quarter, whose history goes back centuries, or enjoy the Christmas market in Campo Santo Stefano. Venice is known for its musical heritage and a Christmas Concert at La Fenice is a must-do! Witness the beautiful Christmas decorations in Murano and go on an island tour of the Venetian Lagoon. December is also ideal for those wish to explore Venice on a budget.
Top Recommended Experiences in Venice
Average High: 8°C | Average Low: 4°C
The City of Lights takes on a shinier garb during the Christmas season and transforms into a magical fairyland. Paris in December is chill with a probability of snow towards the end of the month, but wrap yourself up nicely in layers and you are set to enjoy the treats. The most happening events in Paris are the ice skating rinks and the Christmas markets where you can indulge in food and shopping. Tourist numbers are lower during the start but pick up in the later part towards Christmas and New Year. Get a cup of hot chocolate at Angelina’s and enjoy a stroll down the Champs Elysees and wind down at the Eiffel Tower.