Its 2 weeks to Christmas! And if you still have no concrete plans for the holidays like my pretty self here, then grab some popcorn and read so we can plan something together you know I’ve got your back on this because we are all in it together!
Today’s post is specifically dedicated to readers in Europe who just like me have their families living on an entirely different planet and are not able to travel across the globe for the holidays, especially with the ridiculous cost of tickets in December… I mean the prices of tickets are so high you couldas well invest it in acquiring a landed property ?. So on a lower budget I will be sharing 5 great destinations for the yuletide holidays.
To simplify the process since it’s a last minute plan for most people, all destinations are visa free and accessible by trains, buses and flights. I have particularly chosen “unpopular destinations” as it is almost impossible to get reasonable prices if visiting major Christmas destinations like Strasbourg, London, Madeira, Vienna ….etc So in no particular order below are my top 5!
*Enjoy the slides above of my favourite Solo Christmas holidays from these destinations!
This city that has me loving it with my whole heart….LYON! I literally have the Keys to the city so believe me when I say you can never go wrong visiting Lyon!
The beginning of the holiday season is traditionally marked by the famous “Festival of lights”, (Fete des lumières). This Festival is an international event renowned for its temporary light installations during which the city is metamorphosed for four magical evenings, different artists light up buildings, streets, squares and parks all over the city. It is one of the most magical festivals in the whole world, trust me when I say its bucket list worthy.
So during the holidays here are some interesting thing to do when in Lyon;
Ice Skating in Monplaisir and Carnot Square
Visit the amazing Christmas markets
Winter wonderland (luna park winter funfair)
Holiday Food Tour at Paul Bocuse’s Covered Market
Do not miss a trip to the Fourviere Basilica and the amazing Parc de la tete d’or
Make sure you wander around Vieux Lyon(Old) Lyon’s beautiful cobbled streets and traboules (secret passageways)…
The list goes on and on but these are some interesting activities I personally never missed indulging in when I was a Lyonnais.
On the average, accommodation is usually not expensive as Lyon is a student’s city, you can easily find an airbnb, hostel, sublet from students or cheap hotel starting from 15euros per night. And the good news is that because this city is made up of mostly young expats/students from all around the world, in December there are always people who just like you didn’t travel home. The nights life in the city is amazing and so is the food and wine in Lyon!
Berlin is also a great budget city to spend the holidays. One would think that because it is the Capital city prices might be outrageous but surprisingly its not so! With lots of fun activities, the city is one that never sleeps during the holidays!
Here are my favorites in Berlin and I assure you there’s never a dull moment
Christmas parties on the boat with treat of comedy, DJ, and samba music
The magical Christmas botanical garden
The amazing Christmas markets to visit,
Cool Christmas films festivals
The cool musical concerts, I specially loved the Harlem Gospel night!
The Christmas Circus
Duck and goose dinner and Mary Markthalle for foodies like me ?
*And on the 24th of dec make sure to be at the ‘Berliner Dome’ for an amazing church service…
That been stated if you are wondering where to stay in Berlin during the holidays, my number one recommendation is always St.Christophers Inn. With lots of tourists from around the world you are sure not to feel alone, I made amazing friends every day at the lounge. They offer a long list of activities, gay weekends, free breakfast, free tours, discounts on meals and drinks from the restaurant etc… the prices are very affordable and way cheaper than you expect!
Alright so it’s winter but if you are not a fan of all that cold and white Christmas thingy, well…Valencia is for you! The holiday season in Spain means lots of turrón (Christmas special), so time to eat your heart out lol. ??. In Valencia there’s always this tangible sense of excitement in the air as the locals prepare for the string of festivities, the weather is not so frightful (10-13°) and there are a list of activities to enjoy.
The city has many Christmas traditions to discover and the experience feels like something right out of a storybook.
Apart from visiting the amazing Christmas markets, while in Valencia make sure to;
Witness the mesmerizing decorations at Plaza Ayuntamiento,
Explore the Christmas amusement park to awaken the child in you(Feria de Atracciones de Navidad)
Go ice skating at the Aqua shopping mall
Visit one of Valencia’s extravagant “belenes” (Bethlehem, showing the entire town on the night of Jesus’s birth)
Treat yourself to the roasted chestnuts,
Visit the Gran Circo Wonderland, and more.
Accommodations in Valencia during Christmas is also not pricey at all, starting from 20euros per night you can book a decent airbnb. I recommend airbnb on this particular trip because it will be a great opportunity to feel like a local and enjoy the typical traditional Christmas. The Spanish hosts are very welcoming and would make you feel like family during the holiday season.
So…since we didn’t make it home for Christmas due to crazy ticket prices, how about a little shopping therapy to calm our nerves while we spend the holidays alone??? Milano is another budget location to spend the holidays!
In Milan, as the sun goes down, the lights go up! stylish streets with miles of designer stores, unique boutiques and outdoor markets during Christmas.
Celebrating Christmas like the typical Milanese would include indulging in the following activities;
Winter Wonderland-The Partinoire of the Bagni Misteriosi for a fairytale experience
The floating cinema Bianchini in Darsena for a memorable experience
Visit to the village of wonders
Gae Aulenti Christmas village for some good skating
Visit the gothic cathedral, straight ahead is the 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and below is the Piazza del Duomo in all its vastness
Shopping, Shopping and more SHOPPING!
And for shopaholics like me don’t forget to go on the ‘Serravalle Outlet Shopping Tour’ and explore Italy’s largest designer outlet where you can shop luxurious brands with huge discounts of up to 70%, honestly after this shopping experience you will thank me!
With prices starting from 23 euros per night, Just like Spain, airbnb is a better option to enjoy Milan but there are also very affordable hostels and guest houses.
Finally while enjoying Milan, do yourself a favour by having a taste of the delicious home made pastas and mouth watering pizzas….its the holidays so no holding back on those cravings ?
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
I bet you knew I was gonna add Prague to the list right??? ? Trust me this is not because I now live in the Czech Republic, but in reality Prague tops the list of best places to spend Christmas holidays…
Unparalleled in beauty, Prague boasts of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the whole of Europe, with its famous attractions all decked up and all the streets shining brighter than ever, celebrating Christmas in Prague feels like nothing less than a carnival.
With an unending list of things to do, the most recommended things are;
Take a relaxing and romantic river cruise
Visit the Castle and feel royal
Ice skating in the historic old town
Explore the picturesque Christmas markets
Watch world class performances, breath-taking orchestras and dance arts
Attending the Advent and Christmas concerts at St Salvator Church
Explore some great museums and galleries
Indulge in some street food while strolling around admiring the city…
Concerning accommodation in Prague, St. Christopher’s Inn is always the best place, just like in Berlin they offer same services at good rates. Airbnb is off course another option depending on your budget.
….So dear friends, where are we linking up this Christmas? we can do a group meet up and enjoy the season together right?? I got no plans yet and would be happy to plan something on a budget for us all. You can leave a comment or send a personal message if you have no plans yet for the holidays!
Finally, depending on your location in Europe, prices of tickets may differ, I recommend using Hitlist, Sky-scanner, Goeuro…etc to get the best ticket prices, but for a full package including flights and accommodation sites like Groupon, Vente Privé, etc.. offer great last minute deals also for the holidays.
Anyway guys, whatever plans you have for the holidays, travelling or not, I just want to wish you a happy holidays ahead…Enjoy the season and don’t forget to spread only love and positive vibes!
*P/S On Next week’s post a huge Christmas surprise awaits someone…? it might be you!!!
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