Enjoy a Unique Christmas in Europe – Inspiration & How to Start Early

by Last updated Aug 16, 2023 | Published on Jul 19, 2023Asturias, Europe, Spain, Travel, Valencia

Christmas in Europe is a magical time to explore enchanting destinations, immerse yourself in the festive spirit, and create lasting memories with loved ones. To ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience, planning your Christmas trip early is crucial. I think this is where the phrase ‘Christmas in July’ comes from.

In this article, I’ll explore the numerous benefits of starting the planning process early for your Christmas in Europe. I’ll also introduce you to some less frequented European destinations and trip ideas that make for a wonderfully unique way to celebrate the holiday season, European style. Make the most of my first hand insight and professional expertise as a certified travel advisor to enjoy an ideal Christmas in Europe that you won’t forget.

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The Advantages of Early Booking for Christmas in Europe

Above ImageThe Cathedral Plaza in Oviedo, Spain.

Booking your Christmas in Europe well in advance comes with several advantages. First and foremost, early booking allows you to secure the best deals on flights, accommodations, and activities. Many airlines and hotels offer discounted rates for early reservations, enabling you to save a substantial amount of money. Additionally, by planning ahead, you have a wider selection of options and can choose from the most desirable accommodations and activities that might otherwise be fully booked during the peak holiday season.

Wait too long and your top choices may be sold out or outside your budget. The other benefit of planning early for your Christmas in Europe is that it prompts you to make sure you have all your travel ducks in a row. For example, is your passport up to date? Remember that the passport requirements for entering Europe is that it was issued in the last 10 years and is valid for at least three months from your departure date from the Schengen Zone.


How far in advance should you start planning your trip? I recommend to start planning at least six months in advance if possible. 

Your Personal Travel Advisor for Christmas in Europe

Above ImageEric and I in Oviedo, Spain for Christmas.

Navigating the complexities of planning Christmas in Europe can be overwhelming. Not to mention all the time that it takes researching, planning, and booking. That’s where I come in! As your dedicated travel advisor, I will tailor your itinerary to your preferences, budget, and interests, ensuring that every aspect of your journey is thoughtfully planned.

From crafting a personalized travel schedule to providing insider tips and recommendations, my goal is to make your European Christmas getaway an extraordinary and stress-free experience.

Visit Asturias, Spain for Christmas in Europe

Above ImageThe traditional ‘horreo’ structure at the Christmas Market in Oviedo.

The region of Asturias, located in northern Spain, is one of my favorite destinations in Spain to visit. I’ve spent Christmas and New Years in Asturias with family who came from Spain and family who joined us from the United States.

Asturias is a hidden gem that offers a charming experience any time of the year but it is especially magical at Christmas. The region’s landscape is verdant with hills, mountains, and stunning coastline. The weather gets refreshingly cold, but it rarely snows at the lower elevations.

Make sure to explore the enchanting historic center of its capital, Oviedo, which becomes decked in creative Christmas lights and features a picturesque Christmas market in the Plaza de la Catedral. Indulge in Asturian cuisine such as Fabada and Cachopo with a drink of Sidra (Asturian hard apple cider). There are countless charming villages to stroll through and warm hospitality to experience that creates a cozy ambiance. Spain is also a great option for Christmas in Europe because of the affordability versus other European countries.

The Enchantment of the Valencia Region for Christmas in Europe

Christmas in Valencia - Plaza de Ayuntamiento Ice Rink

Above ImageThe Plaza Mayor in Valencia during Christmas.

Sticking with Spain destinations for Christmas, the Valencia region is another fantastic option for Christmas in Europe. Discover the vibrant city of Valencia, with its stunning architecture decorated in lights, lively Christmas markets, and delicious Mediterranean gastronomy.

If you’re looking for more of a small-town vibe, then consider the nearby town of Denia, where I call home. The Christmas lights, processions, and festive spirit here will warm your heart. Or for another city option, venture a little further south on the Mediterranean to the city of Alicante for Christmas in Europe. Their renowned promenade and old town will be lit up for the holiday season and have Christmas markets as well.


It still gets cold on the Mediterranean Coast of Spain and in this area known as the Costa Blanca. Although not as cold as northern areas, come prepared with warm clothes. The area does enjoy a lot of sunshine even during the winter season but can get some rain as well.

Skiing in Europe’s Premier Ski Areas for Christmas in Europe

Above ImagePhoto by Christopher Izquierdo on Unsplash

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas in Europe, then consider a ski trip for the holidays. This is also a great option if you’re traveling with family or a group of friends who like to ski. Europe boasts some of the world’s best ski areas. From the Swiss Alps to the French Pyrenees, early planning is even more important for securing coveted accommodations near the slopes and lift passes at discounted rates.

Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner, hitting the powdery slopes during the Christmas season during the day and taking in the Christmas lights and festivities at night, is an unparalleled experience.

If skiing is not your thing but you’re traveling with those who enjoy it, you can still have a wonderful Christmas in Europe’s ski areas. Indulge in relaxing spas, wintery wonderful excursions such as snowshoeing or a sleigh ride, and shopping in stylish stores.

Christmas Markets River Cruise for Christmas in Europe

Above ImageAmaWaterways is one of my favorite river cruise lines, especially for Christmas.

Embark on a truly unique trip for Christmas in Europe with a Christmas markets river cruise that takes you along some of Europe’s most iconic waterways. Sail through enchanting cities adorned with twinkling lights to vibrant Christmas markets that are charmingly historic. Some even date back hundreds of years and are the original first Christmas markets, such as the oldest, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt.

What better way to immerse yourself in the rich traditions and customs of the season, than in the heart of Europe where the Christmas customs we adore originated. Early reservations guarantee you a spot on these sought-after Christmas market river cruises, which are sometimes booked even a year or more in advance.


I get access to the latest promotions from the top ocean and river cruise lines. Contact me to learn the latest!

Christmas in Europe with a Spa-Winery Getaway

Above ImagePhoto by SANDY HIBBARD on Unsplash

If you enjoy wine and spas (I mean, who doesn’t!), then give yourself a Christmas in Europe that is based at a winery hotel and spa. I love these luxurious accommodations where you can indulge in relaxation and rejuvenation, European style. Pamper yourself with luxurious spa treatments, savor world-class wines at a winery, and bask in the serene ambiance of vineyard landscapes.

An early start to planning ensures availability at these sought-after retreats, where you can unwind and celebrate the holidays in ultimate comfort. It’s also the best way to get early-bird specials for everything from accommodations to treatments.

Christmas Galas for the Holidays in Europe

New Year's in Spain

How would you like to stay in a renovated castle or monastery for Christmas in Europe? Throughout Spain and Portugal are the Paradores hotels, which I can book for you as a travel advisor. These are historic buildings, many of which are castles, that are beautifully turned into hotels. Some of them are also known for their Christmas Galas which includes a delicious Christmas dinner, live music and dancing on Christmas Day.

Throughout Europe are similar high-end accommodations that also host galas for the holiday season. But don’t wait long to book because they sell out as well. Another reason to start planning your Christmas in Europe early.

Planning Christmas in Europe, Made Easy

Whatever time of year you’re reading this, you know how it goes – the holiday season will be here before you know it. The time to start planning your unique Christmas in Europe is now. By beginning early, you can take advantage of exclusive deals, secure preferred accommodations and activities, and make sure you’re prepared to travel.

Whether you’re dreaming of Christmas in Spain, a snowy ski adventure, a Christmas markets river cruise, or a serene spa-winery escape or Christmas Gala in a castle, I’m here to curate your perfect itinerary to ensure a stress-free travel experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a memorable Christmas in Europe.

Gift Yourself with Christmas in Europe

Kick back and relax with my Custom Trip Planning Services that will take the stress out of planning your holiday vacation + get exclusive perks.

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Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Fora Advanced Travel Advisor & Content Creator

I love living in Denia, Spain and traveling worldwide. My idea of a great time is ‘eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people. As a Fora Advanced Travel Advisor, I specialize in custom travel planning for trips throughout Europe, as well as scouting trips for moving to Spain. Here on you can enjoy our Europe travel resources to experience Europe and live in Spain.


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