Spending winter in a historic European city is always a heartwarming affair. Bustling with Christmas markets, snow topped churches and medieval squares, European cities are atmospheric occasions during the festive holidays.

Some European cities are like chocolate box calendars, and others are more dramatic and elaborate in style. Anyone wanting to enjoy Christmas somewhere different this year should check out our budget favourites below. 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Christmas

Image by Roderick Eime (Flickr/Creative Commons)

There is no better place to get into Christmas spirit than Vienna. Austria’s capital is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities when the snow is falling. Famous for its Christmas markets, roasted chestnuts and Baroque architecture, it’s the perfect place to have a juicy bratwurst and mulled wine in the snow. 

Cologne, Germany

Cologne Christmas Market

Image by Jason Mrachina (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Cologne attracts over two million visitors every year and it’s easy to see why. The city’s most popular Christmas market is located at Cologne cathedral and has over 160 stalls, and you’ll find an equally great one at the Alter Markt serving craft beers, mulled wine and chunky dark slices of chocolate. 

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Copenhagen Christmas

Image by Stig Nygaard (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Copenhagen is a traditional Christmas city and will be bustling with food markets and celebrations, both indoors and out. There are several Christmas markets to enjoy in Denmark, but if you’re looking for the most famous of them all – offering a real Danish flavour this Christmas, then go to Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market.

Naples, Italy

Naples Nativity

Image by Royal Olive (Flickr/Creative Commons)

The bad boy of Italy is a magical place to experience Christmas. Naples is one of the most festive cities in southern Europe, with its enigmatic backstreets and folklore decorations. It’s also the epicentre of the nativity scene tradition and the shops along Via San Gregorio Armeno both make and sell the figurines all year round.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm Christmas

Images by 2benny (Flickr/Creative Commons)

With its snowy rooftops, flickering candles and freshly baked gingerbread, Stockholm does an excellent job of getting people into the Christmas spirit. For a real Stockholm Christmas, the Old Town’s Christmas market is a must see. Dating back to 1915, the Stortorget market is full of little red stalls selling warm “glögg”, gingerbread, cheese, candy, and craft items.   

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Christmas

Image by Kris Williams (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Christmas is a magical time to experience Iceland. From beautifully-lit decorations to hearty feasts, Icelanders celebrate Christmas in a traditional fashion, with carol singing and the cheeky Yuletide Lads. With extravagant lights reflecting off the Arctic snow, Reykjavik is one of the most atmospheric and enchanting places to experience Christmas. 

*Header image by Jason Mrachina (Flickr/Creative Commons)