Whether you like it or not, Christmas is less than one hundred days away. If like me you love the festive season, you’ll be dusting off your copy of Elf ready for multiple viewings and excitedly writing your gift list (ideas for loved ones, as well as suggestions for yourself – for Santa, of course). However, if you’re more Grinch than Buddy, no doubt you’ll be huffing and puffing at the mention of the C word in this post.
Being the ever obliging travel blogger that I am, these top Xmas breaks will please all of you. I have snowy-hot-chocolate-Christmas-market-ice-skating city breaks for the festive lovers, and for the haters, well I have escape-it-all-bring-me-sunshine-Christmas-denial city breaks. All budgets are catered for too. Boom! Here are my seven pearls of wisdom (#7POW):
♥ Traditional Christmas Breaks #1: Budapest
The freezing temperatures, the log cabins selling chimney cakes, and the giant snow globe with reindeer makes Budapest a perfect weekend break. It’s ridiculously cheap to fly to this city from the UK (prices from less than £25 per person one way). Once you’re out there it’s just as cheap. You’ll even find some gorgeous boutique accommodation spots tucked away behind imposing doorways. Bland looking streets lead to charming and romantic courtyards housed in beautiful hotels. In December, it’s likely to snow so make sure you head to the Széchenyi Baths. Sit in the outdoor pool of steaming hot water, watching the locals play chess whilst snow falls on your head. Magical! Read more travel blog posts on Budapest here.
♥ Alternative Christmas Breaks #1: Marrakech
If you travel to Morocco in December, specifically Marrakech, you’ll take advantage of cheap flights and cheap accommodation. Not only that, Bah Humbugs will love that it’s still deliciously warm and about as non-Christmasey as you can get. Many riads are often empty around this period, so you’ll enjoy cheaper rates and have a very strong chance of having it all to yourself. Head up to the roof terrace of Dar Les Cigagones if you want to have a zen moment watching the storks on the palace roof. You might need it after an indulgent evening at Le Comptoir Darna. Read more travel blog posts on Marrakech here.
♥ Traditional Christmas Breaks #2: Paris
Ah, Paris is such a delight. It’s so easy to get to this European city from the UK. Hop on the Eurostar for less than £100 or catch a cheap flight. With a short journey time, it really is an easily achievable Xmas break destination. Wrap up in a stylish warm coat and hit the Champs-Élysées for a whole boulevard of beautiful shops. Get some of those pressies, or if you’re on a tight budget, simply admire the tastefully designed festive displays. Whatever your spending habits, make sure you include a visit to the iconic department store, Galeries Lafayette, for a truly amazing burst of Christmas. Hotel Gat Folies is recommended for the greedy breakfast, but if you really want to have a special time keep an eye out for my Parisian adventure in November.
♥ Alternative Christmas Breaks #2: Birmingham
If you can’t afford to go abroad, head to Birmingham. It has one of the biggest and most authentic German Christmas markets in England. Log cabins fill the city centre squares under a canopy of Christmas lights. You’ll find the same treats that you’d sample if you really were in Germany without the cost of a plane ticket. From bratwurst to gluhwein, and giant pretzels to pizzabrochten, it’s here from mid November. If you plan ahead you’ll even enjoy traditional carols and other festivities. Read more in this Birmingham Christmas market post.
♥ Traditional Christmas Breaks #3: Copenhagen
So this little city break won’t cost you much to get there – I went for £60 return during mid-December. However, once you’re there you’ll pay Danish prices – that’s a lot. Even if you shop at the local supermarket and make your own lunch you’ll still need to use a note. However, don’t let that put you off. Copenhagen is gloriously festive. No trip would be complete without a visit to Tivoli Gardens, a theme park of sorts right in the centre. It’s more about the twinkly lights and delicious food stalls than the fairground rides. Make sure you also include a jazz boat ride. The warm heat from the energetic band against the icy air outside makes for a memorable evening. Read more travel blog posts on Copenhagen here.
♥ Alternative Christmas Breaks #3: San Francisco
It may require a long flight, but if you really want to escape that typically English Christmas scene fly to San Fran. Everyone knows Americans do things bigger. A lot bigger. Yes, you’ll find Christmas trees and outdoor ice-skating rinks, but you’ll also find lots of distractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and big, juicy burgers. I’m indulging my inner hippy and visiting this colourful city in December, so watch this space for all the exciting recommendations. In the meantime, you can get a fix of San Fran here.
♥ Meet in the Middle Christmas Break: Madrid
If you want to feel the wintery chills of December without the risk of getting frostbite, this Spanish city could well be your ticket. Usually a big hit in the summer, the flight prices dramatically fall during November and December. You can pick up return flights from the UK for less than £60. Bargain. You’ll find Christmas celebrations taking place all over Madrid, but when it gets too much just escape into one of the many art galleries or museums. When you’ve refuelled on a delicious hot chocolate, head back out there for another festive fix. Go on, you know you want to…
Do you love Christmas? Do you have any other recommendations to add to this list or are you planning to hop to one of these destinations? I’d love to hear what you think and to share your plans. X