Last updated on October 9th, 2018
In this post, I will tell you about 10 best destinations for white Christmas in Europe. Generally, Christmas in Europe is amazing – you can find everything from traditional German-style Christmas markets to warm destinations with mild weather in December. However, here I would like to focus on the best destinations in Europe with the biggest chances to see white Christmas with a lot of snow and experience this magical atmosphere.
To be honest, I miss white winters a lot. I was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, where we had snow for almost 7-8 months a year (from October to May) (okay, I agree, that’s a bit too much). However, every single Christmas & New Year I celebrated had snow. Right now, together with Pepe, we are based in London and as you can imagine, London doesn’t have snow very often (maybe for a couple of days every couple of years). If you’re just like me and you like white Christmas in Europe and find it very magical, check 10 best destinations in Europe, where you will most likely encounter white Christmas!
What to pack for Europe in winter:
1. A waterproof & windproof warm parka with a hood would be very useful when it snows. I bought mine from EA7 5 years ago and it still looks good!
2. Warm leather or faux leather boots to keep you warm. Alternatively, you can use leather UGGs. You need at least 2-3 pairs of shoes, because shoes get wet with snow (unless you use a special spray)
3. A huge warm cashmere scarf (preferrably from Scotland) – get those on ASOS!
4. External battery (power bank) for your smartphone, because with sub-zero temperatures, the smartphones work way less time
5. Warm touch screen gloves
6. A lot of warm wool sweaters – also makes sense to check ASOS or Macys for those
7. Warm hat – even if you don’t like hair accessoiries, a warm hat or a beanie is a must when heading to snowy Europe in winter
8. Waterproof backpack – again, when it snows, things get wet. To avoid accidents with your documents, secure yourself a waterproof backpack
Best destinations for white Christmas in Europe:
1. Moscow, Russia
Moscow is quite cold in winter and the temperatures can easily sink to -25C, however, that increases the chances of white Christmas in Moscow. That’s one of the reasons why I put Moscow on the place one on this list. Another reason is that Moscow is extremely well decorated for Christmas and the New Year and the city centre looks very impressive (especially, the GUM)! You can see more photos and my impressions after visiting Moscow just after the New Year in this post! Also, the hotels have massive discounts in winter, so you can get a great deal – that’s how we stayed in St. Regis, Moscow – the most impressive and beautiful hotel I’ve been so far! Check my 2-day itinerary for a trip to Moscow!
Flights to Moscow are also quite cheap in winter – check the prices of the flights now!
2. Berchtesgaden, Germany
You might have never heard of this town, but believe me, it’s wonderful. It’s located in the German Alps on the border with Austria and it’s just around 30 km away from Salzburg Airport. Berchtesgaden has its own Christmas Market and is very lovely decorated for Christmas and yes, since it’s located in the mountains, you have a very high chance of experiencing white Christmas there! Here’s my post about things to do in Berchtesgaden – believe me, even though it’s a small town, you won’t get bored!
Check the hotels in Berchtesgaden now – our recommendation – Alpina Ros Demming!
The flights to Salzburg often sell out, check their availability now!
3. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is a gorgeous royal city and the capital of Sweden. I’ve been there just before Christmas and loved it a lot! Again, you need to be prepared for really cold temperatures, up to -20C, but it’s worth it. Stockholm has a nice Christmas Market and in general, it has really many things to do, as the city is very big and beautiful. You can also take a Scandinavian cruise (yes, even in winter) and visit Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Helsinki in one trip! Read more about it in this post.
I was also in Stockholm this summer and wrote this post about the best attractions in the city – feel free to check it out!
Don’t forget to check the availability of flights to Stockholm now, there are sometimes really good deals!
4. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a charming little city (even though it’s the capital of Estonia) and its old town is just wonderful! Located within the city walls, it looks like a movie decoration. Tallinn has a Christmas market at the Main Square, where you can not only buy some souvenirs but also try some traditional Estonian dishes (I bet you haven’t tried Estonian dishes before). Tallinn is a perfect destination for a weekend trip from Europe or a great destination for a long trip around Europe if you’re coming from States or Asia (or basically anywhere else). It’s well connected and you can easily rich cities like Riga, Vilnius and St. Petersburg.
5. Riga, Latvia
One of the most gorgeous Eastern European cities is Riga. Located in the former USSR republic Latvia, it has a great mix of cultures and nationalities, as well as languages. However, the architecture in Riga is very unique. Riga looks like a typical Western European city, with its beautiful old buildings and cathedrals and yes, it snows in Riga quite heavily, so you have a very good chance to see white Christmas in Riga. If you’re wondering how to combine Riga with Vilnius and maybe even Minsk, head to this post about my small road trip around Eastern Europe.
Riga is a base of AirBaltic – one of the biggest European low-cost airlines, so you can get affordable tickets there. Check the prices of flights to Riga now!
6. St. Petersburg, Russia
Another destination in Russia, St. Petersburg is so beautiful that it deserves a separate mention. Yes, its Christmas Decorations might not be as impressive as in Moscow, but the city itself is way more beautiful than the capital. Full of imperial palaces, gorgeous cathedrals, castles and park, St. Petersburg deserves at least a week to explore it all. Check my local’s guide to St. Petersburg, Russia to see what you can visit in the city. St. Petersburg has exactly the same weather as Tallinn or Stockholm, so bring some really warm clothes, especially gloves and immerse yourself in into the real winter wonderland.
7. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is an absolutely gorgeous city in Austria and I’ve already been there nearly 6 times. Only twice it was during the coldest periods (over the New Year) and the whole city was covered by snow and looked truly magical! In Salzburg, there are so many things to do, especially in winter, as you can ski. Besides, you can go an visit one of the most instagrammable villages in the world – read my post about Hallstatt here.
8. Krakow, Poland
Krakow is one of the most beautiful and desired destinations in Poland and yes, it often has white Christmas! Poland is one of the most religious countries in the world and everybody is Catholic there, so believe me, they take Christmas seriously! Head to Krakow if you have to have a nice and short city break and explore the beautiful Christmas Market of Krakow!
9. Helsinki, Finland & Laplandia
If you want to experience the real winter, Finland is your destination. You can spend a couple of days in its capital, Helsinki and visit a Christmas Market with 99% change for a white Christmas. However, the Northern part of Finland, Lapland is one of the most amazing places on earth. You can experience the real winter, see the Northern Lights and play with the Huskies and even meet the Santa Klaus in his residence in Lapland.
In Lapland, you can stay in one of the most impressive hotels of the world – you can see the Northern Lights without leaving your room! How cool is that!
And the last but not least destination for white Christmas in Europe is Iceland. While many people go to Iceland in summer, I went in winter (beginning of March) and loved it! I can imagine that it’s as amazing and impressive in December as it was in March. Don’t be scared by the cold temperatures – Iceland doesn’t get that cold in winter and don’t forget to read my posts about prices in Iceland and things to do in Iceland during a short trip!
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