It can be difficult to describe how the perfect Christmas getaway destination looks and feels. For most people, it all depends on whether it is cosy and welcoming and the addition of snow is always a welcome bonus! Christmas is, for many, the most wonderful time of the year and so spending the festive period in a place that is a little different will always make this time feel much more special.
Whether you’re heading away on a festive break with your significant other or fancy some sightseeing with your best friends, there are plenty of cities you can visit to make the most of your free time this Christmas. Here are 3 of the best festive city breaks you can go on this Christmas.
If you fancy a break away from a Christmas dominated by gifts and spending money, the Reykjavik in Iceland is a destination that escapes all of the usual everyday stresses over the festive season. Almost every hotel is fully booked leading up to Christmas and New Year, and it is no wonder why. With one of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes in the world, Christmas in Iceland is a world away from the hustle and bustle of most European cities.
The Nordic country focuses on its own Christmas traditions, particularly the thirteen Yule Lads who take Santa’s place during the holidays to prank the locals. Christmas is a big deal for Icelanders, who celebrate over 26 days. On Christmas Eve, a huge procession singing carols is led from the Hallgrimskirkja church through the main high street. Christmas Day and Boxing Day are generally quiet days, with most shops and restaurants shut, making it the perfect chance to unwind and relax.
Instead of jetting away, you might be looking for the perfect Christmas staycation location and Leeds comes highly recommended. It is in the perfect location in that it is just a stone’s throw away from other bustling cities such as York and Sheffield, whilst also being on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales. There is plenty to do if you want to get out and explore, or if you want to finish your Christmas shopping at one of the many shopping centres in Leeds, you’ll find all the shops you can dream of.
If you want to relax and unwind before Christmas, then book yourself into the Dakota – dubbed one of, if not the, best hotels in Leeds, or for cosy Christmas vibes, find a cute Airbnb nearer to the Dales. Leeds is easily accessible, whether by foot, car or public transport, and there is plenty of parking in Leeds if you do choose to drive.
Whilst many cities offer just one or two Christmas markets, Amsterdam is home to 26. Some of the best market stalls can be found at Leidseplein, where you can try the region’s most-loved snack – Oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts). Other stalls have some great must-try snacks, including waffles and sausages or buy some last-minute Christmas gifts.
If, after all the doughnuts and waffles, you fancy burning off a few calories, head to the ice rink in front of the Rijksmuseum. Here, you’ll also find the Ice Village, which is a wonderland full of festive music, gifts and steaming mulled wine. Don’t forget to have a stroll along the canals and make the most of the Amsterdam Light Festival, which is an annual light festival where the famous canals are lit up with unique installations.