Ten beautiful city destinations for a great pre-Christmas break

Want to get into the festive spirit a little differently this year? Why not take a magical mini-break in one of these charming cities?

Hygge at it's finest

Copenhagen says about itself that during Advent it turns into a veritable Christmas city where it is impossible NOT to get into the spirit. This may be due, among other things, to the "gløgg" that is now served everywhere to warm you up. Also at the Christmas markets within walking distance from the hotel: In the birthplace of the fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen, there is of course an appropriately imaginative "H.C. Andersen Julemarked", but it's not just little guests who feel at home there. And one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, "Tivoli", is transformed into a Christmas wonderland until 31 December. God jul!

Like a Fairytale

The country that brought us the Christmas movie classic par excellence - "Three Wishes for Cinderella" - is of course now worth a visit: traditional Bohemian handicrafts, regional food and Czech Christmas choirs are not only to be found on Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square but also - yes, indeed! - but on ALL of Prague's market squares and historic market streets - until 6 January!

What a pleasure

Where to start - the Winter Wonders or "Plaisirs d'Hiver" in Brussels (until 1 January) makes it hard to choose! With nearly 250 chalets offering treats and handmade goods? The light show on the Grand-Place? Or the glittering parades that roam the streets? Plus numerous concerts, comedy shows and bands playing in the city's many neighbourhoods. Go on a discovery tour!

Quite Christmas-sea

A historical Christmas market, a star and fairytale forest or the Maritime Christmas Market (until 30 December), where you can find beach chairs and lilac punch - need we say more?
If you like it classical, there are daily concerts in the St. Jakobi Church in Lübeck during Advent.

Sit back and relax

The Basel Christmas market (24/11/21 – 23/12/21) manages to break two records: it is both the largest Christmas market in Switzerland and home to the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe. And you can enjoy the first mulled wine of the night right on your doorstep: our Motel One in Basel actually has its own ‘Glühwein’ stand right in front of the hotel! Or you can explore the city by tram – from 1 December, the Christmas ‘Drämmli’ will once again be making its rounds in Basel city centre for a total of 11 afternoons.

Let there be light!

Come winter, the city of canals undergoes a huge transformation – but it doesn’t look any less beautiful. With numerous Christmas market stalls throughout the city, you won’t have to go far to find tasty sweet treats like ‘poffertjes’ (little Dutch pancakes), ‘oliebollen’ (Dutch doughnuts) and hot chocolate. A real highlight here is the Amsterdam Light Festival (1/12/22– 22/01/22), with its beautiful light installations all over the city. We think the best way to experience the festival is by night, during a relaxing canal boat ride. You can also skate on the canals when they freeze over – guaranteed to be a ‘cool’ experience!

A journey through time

Located right at the heart of the city and directly between both of our hotels in Princes Street Gardens, the Christmas Market is a colourful treasure trove of all things Christmas, featuring a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and Santa’s grotto. If you’d rather get away from the hustle and bustle, you can explore the old town surrounding Edinburgh Castle and enjoy its fairytale medieval atmosphere. Find gifts in a host of charming little boutiques offering traditional Scottish souvenirs – from whisky to wool (Grassmarket & Cockburn Street). On Princes Street, over on the ‘new’ side of the city, you’ll find a tempting range of shops, fashion chains and designer labels (George Street). You’ll be spoilt for choice!

Satisfy your sweet tooth

The Dresden Striezelmarkt is officially ‘Germany’s oldest verified Christmas market’. From 23 November to 24 December 2021, it will be open to visitors for its 588th Christmas. There’s the fairytale house, the world’s tallest Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid, and the famous ‘Stollenfest’, a centuries-old tradition in which the ‘royal baker’ and the Dresden ‘Stollenmädchen’ (stollen girl) cut into a giant stollen. There’s so much to see – and to eat!

Something for everyone

Guests at our hotel will have Linz’s main Christmas market (on the central square) right on their doorstep – but the city also has a whole host of other markets to explore: the Kathrein market, the Advent market, the Truffle market, the market at the Wärmepol and the ‘Kekserlmarkt’ (filled with baked goods). You can find an overview here. Handmade trinkets meet culinary specialities, with a whole programme of exciting attractions to boot. Discover Ice Magic, a Christmas wonderland in the Volksgarten made from pure ice, or the ‘Musical Advent Calendar’ in the Brucknerhaus concert hall, which celebrates each day of Advent with a free concert. Or why not take a boat ride along the Danube and gaze at the illuminated city from the water?

If Santa was sporty...

Did you know...? Poland’s capital is one of the few cities in the world with its own ski slope, the Górka Szczęśliwicka, right at its centre, including a chairlift and a drag lift (ski equipment can be rented on site). There are also several ice rinks in the city, where you can show off your skating skills (usually for free!) in some truly picturesque locations, such as in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, between the skyscrapers around Plac Europejski or in the Old Town Market Place, surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. Afterwards, you can enjoy a well-deserved snack, like some sweet gingerbread, or even a hearty winter meal, such as the traditional beetroot soup with dumplings.