Ready for Christmas city break ideas that jingle-bell-rock? From spinning on big wheels in Helsinki to hunting the northern lights in Iceland, we’ve got it all. So if you’re looking for Christmas market weekend breaks, cheap Christmas city breaks, or even Christmas trips for families that’ll give you memories to last well into the next snow season, look no further.
Best Christmas city breaks for solo travellers & singles
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Get your skates on for an ice-skating date at the locals’ favorite ice rink, Frederiksberg Runddel. Indulge yourself in Julefrokost and if you’re wondering what to do on Christmas day, why not munch on smørrebrød at the Christmas markets? Check out the colorful houses in one of the most amazing Christmas market weekend breaks there is! Chat to strangers and drink hot gløgg around a fire in Nyhavn at night, too. Copenhagen is one of the snuggliest Christmas city breaks we can think of!
Discover Tivoli, the Danish theme park that’s been enchanting visitors for almost 200 years! Spot some modern and medieval masterpieces at the National Gallery of Denmark, or spend the day learning about life at sea as well as how to protect one of the planet’s most precious natural resources at National Aquarium Denmark, Den Blå Planet.
The sound of bagpipes blends with Jingle Bells on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh at Christmas, which always makes for a bagpipe-tastic Christmas city break. See the nativity scene in St. Andrew Square Gardens. Shop the Christmas markets at Princes Street Gardens and George Street, (there’ll be no shortage of gifts to buy during this Christmas market weekend break) or get your fake beard on for the annual Edinburgh Santa Run, which this year is on Saturday December 04, 2022.
Combine your Edinburgh experiences and save money at the same time by combining the must-do’s, like The Real Mary King’s Close & The Scotch Whisky Experience – you might need a drink when you hear about the city’s storied past! Treat your ears to some bagpipes around Edinburgh Castle, or soak up the royal splendor of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Christmas is a great time to treat yourself in Helsinki and experience the luxury of a white Christmas city break – hopefully – from start to snowy Finnish! Wondering what to do on Christmas Day? Soak up the Christmas illuminations along Aleksanterinkatu – the official Christmas street. Sip on some traditional Glögi, or go ice-skating in The Ice Park in the Railway Station Square.
Feast your eyes on Helsinki’s scenery and landmarks from 40 meters in the air on the SkyWheel Helsinki. Spend some time with Santa’s reindeer at Nuuksio Reindeer Park or enjoy endless roller coasters and games at Linnanmäki Amusement Park, Helsinki’s most popular amusement park.
4. Ubud, Bali
It’s hot and not traditionally Christmassy at all, but if you’re going solo for the festive season, fall in love with yourself in Bali’s spiritual city, Ubud. As the epicenter of yogic wellness and health, it’s one of the most zen Christmas city breaks you can indulge in. Feast on Indonesian treats instead of turkey and get yourself to Lombok’s Gili islands for sunny island escapism at its best.
Elsewhere in Bali, why not get a new profile photo in one of Bali’s most beautiful locations with a romantic sunset dinner cruise from Denpasar, complete with a buffet dinner? Treat yourself! Or be at one with nature and its most Intagrammable locations with a private tour of Monkey Forest, Batur Volcano, and Goa Gajah. Don’t miss a snap of the famous T-Rex-shaped peninsula with a Nusa Penida Island tour.
Best Christmas city breaks for couples
5. Iceland & Reykjavik
Iceland and specifically Reykjavik is one of the best places to go for Christmas as a couple and one of the best Christmas city breaks. Get the full experience of the Northern Lights in Reykjavik on a Northern Lights cruise, or the work of Northern Lights phototgraphers and watch them dance on a big screen at the Aurora Reykjavik Northern Lights Center. For a unique thing to do on Christmas Day, put your masks on, brave the cold and spot the 13 hidden hologram Santa Clauses hiding on buildings and in windows on a romantic walk through downtown Reykjavik.
See Iceland’s biggest glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls in all their winter glory on a tour of South Iceland. Snuggle up on a Northern Lights Cruise, take a spectacular virtual journey over Iceland’s most dramatic scenery on the FlyOver Iceland, or see what the whales do for Christmas on a whale-watching tour.
While Iceland doesn’t make for a particularly cheap Christmas city break, its wintery wonders mean it’s definitely going to be one you’ll remember forever. Plus you can save money by booking combo passes for more than one attraction at a time!
London is a great place for couples and always makes for an action-packed Christmas city break. Somerset House has one of the most beautiful ice rinks in the city, and from bustling Christmas markets to double-decker bus rides, to museums, festive theater shows and more, there’s a new way to say “I love you” around every corner. London’s diversity probably makes for one of the country’s best Christmas market weekend breaks.
Step into the festive magic at Kew Gardens this Christmas. One of the world’s largest botanical gardens offers a romantic after-dark extravaganza with over one million Christmas lights. Cuddle up on the London Eye, or eye up some jewels together in the Tower of London.
7. New York City
The Big Apple, aka New York City, is one of the best places for couples to visit at Christmas. Looking to shop? Christmas city breaks don’t get much better for shopping than New York! Shop in the glitzy stores on 5th Avenue. Watch the Rockettes kicking up a storm at the Radio City Music Hall, and don’t forget a romantic horse and carriage ride around Central Park!
Fast track into the Met and the Guggenheim for some art and culture. See America’s symbol of freedom at the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. Or get high above it all on a romantic Empire State Building mission. Manhattan’s Christmas lights look amazing from above!
Pucker up in Paris — the architecture here is some of the most romantic in all of Europe. Start your own love affair with the city of love at Christmas. As for Christmas city break sightseeing, when the markets are out, the Eiffel Tower is twinkling more than ever, and the Seine just calls for a romantic river cruise.
There’s nothing like saying those three little words at the top of the Eiffel Tower at Christmas time (get the rings ready for your proposals!). Pretend to be kids at Disneyland Paris or take a Christmas cruise on the Seine. Can you feel the love tonight? As a bonus, with regular flights and trains to Paris from all over Europe, it can actually turn out to be one of the continent’s best cheap Christmas city breaks.
Best Christmas city breaks for families
The Christmas tree in Tallinn’s Town Hall Square has been put up every year since 1441, making it the first-ever Christmas tree on public display in Europe! It’s the best Christmas city break for storybook beauty, too. Explore the fairytale-esque medieval town center, visit the reimagined Soviet-era factories, and try some local delicacies — black bread and gingerbread are musts!
Get your ticket for the Tallinn Card and the whole Estonian capital is your oyster. With priority entrance to the Tallinn TV Tower, Tallinn Zoo, and the Estonian Open Air Museum it’s the best way to see the best bits of the city! Don’t miss the views from the Tallinn TV Tower, or a spin on the awesome Tallinn Skywheel.
10. Cancún, Mexico
If it’s sunshine you want, look no further than Cancún, one of the best destinations for families at Christmas. There’s white sandy beaches, zipline adventures in the jungle and zero chance of snow, but if you want a real Christmas dinner, try La Dolce Vita. Cancun itself is not especially large, but for sun in the holidays it’s a pretty decent Cheap Christmas city break (especially if you’re spending Euros). With heaps to do on this great Christmas trip for families, you’ll want to come back time after time.
Stun your senses with over 50 cool experiences in the air, on land and in the water at Xenses, Xcaret’s new playground for thrillseekers. Snorkel around life-sized sculptures in the ocean, or why not let the whole family cool off from the Christmas fun with a splash around Aquaworld Cancun and the floating obstacle course, Aquabounce?
Think cosy boozy cruises, sipping hot spiced wine. Ice-skating surrounded by giant museums, and canals that flicker with Christmas lights. Amsterdam is a charming fairytale destination for families at Christmas, from markets to bustling squares and Santa Claus. As a Christmas city break souvenir, how about some Edam cheese, or wooden clogs?
For the 10th time, the Amsterdam Light Festival 2021 will give Amsterdam that extra magical edge this winter. Between Dec 01 – Jan 22, 2023, you can cruise the canals and see the Amsterdam Light Festival from the water. Get hands-on at NEMO Science Museum, or see what the animals are up to at Christmas at ARTIS Royal Zoo. Do try the local delicacies, oliebollen at the Christmas markets, and catch the Christmas carols at Vondelkerk.
Thanks to an abundance of fun activities, Dubai might actually make one of the best Christmas trips for families, even though the UAE doesn’t get involved too much in Christmas traditions. Make your escape under blue skies. Think beach days, dune-bashing in the desert, great food and no tantrums on Santa’s knee!
They might be in the desert, but that didn’t stop Dubai building an ice-skating rink or a ski slope. Get some action-packed snow fun in, indoors, or see the world’s biggest choreographed fountain from a boat on the lake. And don’t forget to look for Santa from the top floor of the Burj Khalifa!