One of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit is to visit a beautiful city, where glittering decorations are in every view, festive music fills the streets, and the people are cheerful and welcoming. Thankfully there are a number of places you can visit this time of year – both near and far – where this experience is easy to find!
Take a winter break on a cruise in December, and enjoy spotting Christmas trees, skating on ice rinks and frozen lakes, indulging in amazing festive food, and mooching through Christmas markets. Read on for some inspiration on the best cities to visit in December.
We Brits are lucky enough to have one of the prettiest cities in the world in our home country – London. In December, the city comes to life with bustling shops, an abundance of pretty Christmas lights, and a jovial atmosphere in general. If you will be embarking on a cruise from Southampton this year, be sure to spend a few extra days in nearby London to soak up the spectacular festivities. Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, ice-skating in front of the brilliant Natural History Museum, and stopping to gaze at the window displays in the likes of Harrods, Hamleys, and Selfridges, are among the top things to do in London in December.
Those wanting to venture a bit further afield this December might want to consider ticking this amazing city off the bucket list. The City That Never Sleeps, Gotham, The Big Apple, – no matter what you call it, New York is certainly a must-visit city. In December especially, the city sparkles with life and lights, and even the Scrooges among us will leave with a warm festive glow. See the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Centre, take a snowy carriage ride through Central Park, and admire the window displays on 34th street. Not forgetting Christmas shopping opportunities; pick up some extra special gifts from over the pond for your loved ones back at home.
Prague is known for its stunning architecture, winding cobbled streets, and extensive, fascinating history. Like many European cities, in December Prague plays host to a number of Christmas markets, each with its own charm and unique ambience. A particular favourite is at Wenceslas Square – yes, named after the very same Good King Wenceslas about whom we sing every year. A walk around the city gazing at the illuminated architecture, while sipping on a warming hot chocolate, is a real highlight during a December cruise in Prague, on the Danube River.
Another superb European city that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime is Budapest. You will likely have the option to stop here on a Danube River cruise. Again, here you will find some stunning architecture, and a labyrinth of streets to get lost in. In December there is plenty of choice when it comes to Christmassy things to do, with a selection of Christmas markets, ice-skating, and a ride in the beautifully lit ‘Christmas Light Tram’. Another wonderful option is to spend an afternoon, or evening, in the Szechenyu Baths. Built over a hundred years ago, the warm, open-air baths offer the perfect place to relax after a day spent exploring.
Many would argue that no country does Christmas quite like Germany. The German Christmas markets are considered second to none, and Cologne is one of the most popular cities for Christmas markets. Conveniently situated, Cologne is a common stop on a Rhine River cruise. Whether you spend a few hours or a few days here, you will not be short of things to see, do, and eat! The vast markets are peppered with plenty of gluhwein, bratwurst, and stollen, and you will find an array of trinkets and decorations to take home with you.
Cruising in December is a great way to really immerse yourself in the festive season, and could be the perfect Christmas present to yourself and a loved one.