Are you planning on spending Christmas in Europe? The continent is full of festive destinations to suit every family. From snow-capped mountains and traditional winter festivals to more sunnier climes, your perfect break is within easy reach. Travelling by ferry not only means a more relaxed way to begin Christmas, but you can pack as many presents as you like in the car – and bring back treats from the local markets, too!
Snow (or sun) in France
If you want to guarantee a white Christmas, France should be top of your list. Head to a resort in the Alps for endless festive activities – skiing, sledging, mulled wine and cosying up in a traditional chalet make for a delightful Christmas. Kids will love Les Arcs, where Santa paraglides into town, and Vars, where you can find elf workshops, a Christmas village and festive shows.
Prefer a sunny Christmas? France is also the ideal destination for a spot of winter sun. Stay on the Cote d’Azur for a beautiful Christmas by the beach – there may not be soaring summer temperatures, but you can be sure it’ll be warmer than home!
Traditional festivals in the Netherlands
As well as traditional festive markets and the grand arrival of Sinterklaas, the Netherlands has a heap of traditional Christmas activities. This includes the Midwinter Horn Blowing event, a Dutch tradition where a horn of up to four feet long is blown and heard from far away. The most popular place to see this is on 23 December in Twente, where groups have walked together for 40 years to the sound of these horns.
Nearby, the city of Deventer lets you step back into the 19th century with the annual Dickens festival, which is perfect for book fans spending Christmas in Europe. Walk alongside the author’s most popular characters, enjoy roast chestnuts and listen to choirs. Alternatively, a 30-minute drive from our Rotterdam port is Gouda, where you can stay for the traditional Gouda Candle Night. During this special evening, all lights are turned off and candles are lit for a picture-perfect wintry glow.
Christmas treats in Belgium
Christmas is absolutely a time for family and friends in Belgium – and indulging in Christmas fare, of course. As the capital of chocolate, Belgium is perfect for festive treats. Begin your break in Bruges, just a half hour drive from our Zebrugge port. Work up an appetite by gliding around the ice skating rink in Markt Square before warming up with the best hot chocolate in town at the Old Hot Chocolate House.
If you’re staying in Brussels, a tour of the local chocolatiers is a must – munch on the delights from the inventor of the praline, Neuhaus, or buy loved ones a beautiful selection box from Laurent Gerbaud or Pierre Marcolini. And of course, Belgium is full of Christmas markets – sip Flemish gin, nibble on traditional waffles and browse charming stalls for guaranteed Christmas spirit.
Ready to plan how you will be spending Christmas in Europe? Book your spot on one of our ferry crossings today.