The December weather guide for Europe shows long term weather averages processed from data supplied by CPU (University of East Anglia), the Met Office & the Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Save up to £300 on summer 2021 holidays in TUI sale Discount varies by spend.
We also include our traditional White Christmas outlook potential for both sides of the North Atlantic. Blocking high forms over the Atlantic and turns the flow into the meridional direction, so from the Arctic region towards the European continent.
While on the other side of the Pond, a major winter storm and snow are in store for Christmas week in a good part of the United States. There will be also very heavy rain and some severe weather potential along the cold front moving across the Southeast parts of the country and the East Coast.
There are fairly good chances that some parts of Europe and the United States will enjoy a reasonable amount of snow coverage around Christmas and the holidays. But this year, a powerful Omega blocking ridge pattern develops over the North Atlantic and both continents experience cold outbreaks.
This (positive phase) means that an upper ridge is dominating the western part of the North American continent, allowing intrusions of deep Arctic trough on its eastern side. In the final days before Christmas this year, an Arctic outbreak with a dangerous winter storm is forecast to impact the East Coast, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast of the United States.
It consists of anomalies in the potential height fields (typically at 500 bar) observed over the western and eastern United States. We can see that the pattern is a typical PNA+, blocking high to the west and much lower pressure towards the east of the United States.
Image is provided by Windy.com In the wake of the deep surface low, an intense Arctic air mass starts its east-southeast progress from Canada, spreading much colder temperatures into the northern United States and towards the Great Lakes. Image is provided by Windy.com The low could introduce a significant snowstorm for Minnesota and dangerous winter weather is forecast.
Against the large upper high over the Northwest Atlantic, strong southerly flow establishes moisture advection into the Northeast United States. An Arctic cold develops the surface high further west, across the upper Midwest into the Dakotas and Minnesota.
A powerful warm advection ahead of the front will introduce very heavy rain across the Southeast United States, gradually moving into the East Coast and the mid-Atlantic. Heavy wet snow is expected at the beginning, then becoming dry with blizzard conditions through late Christmas evening.
Therefore, a narrow channel along the front could see some freezing rain potential but should be existing for a rather short period, a few hours only. The associated surface low under the deep upper trough strengthens while moving onto the Great Lakes and the Northeast United States.
A quite intense snowstorm develops over the region, combined with blizzard conditions given the impressive pressure gradient around the low. Image is provided by Windy.com Christmas day will be the peak of this Arctic outbreak for the Great Lakes and the East Coast.
The warm advection is pushed east into the Atlantic Ocean but it also spreads into New England, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland ahead of the deep low further west. Image is provided by Windy.com The surface cold will be blasting the East Coast and the mid-Atlantic through the early Christmas morning, introducing very heavy rain across New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Image is provided by Windy.com Behind the front further west, winter weather with heavy snow is forecast across the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley and towards Pennsylvania on Christmas morning. Image is provided by Windy.com Strong to severe winds will also develop blizzard conditions, combined with heavy snowfall.
The North Atlantic goes from a deep trough into a strong blocking high in the final days before Christmas and established an open channel for cold advection from the Arctic region towards the south. Thursday, Dec 24th The established pattern then gradually strengthens into the pre-Christmas day, developing a strong surface high-pressure system over the Atlantic and Western Europe.
Low pressure remains over Northern Europe, so the air mass has an undisturbed flow between these two large scale features. Image is provided by Windy.com This response in the advection of cold air mass further south into the western, southwestern, and Central Europe through the Christmas evening and continues overnight to Friday.
Image is provided by Windy.com The Arctic front associated with the pattern change will become more active while arriving in Central Europe, therefore introducing heavy precipitation. Strong blocking high remains over the Atlantic while the trough to its east enters the northern Mediterranean.
This normally means a secondary surface low forms over North Italy, supporting an additional advection of warm air mass towards the moving front from the Alps. As we can see, the surface high is expanding into Western Europe as well, allowing the cold air mass on its eastern flank to move further into the Mediterranean, into the Balkan peninsula, and towards Iberia.
Image is provided by Windy.com With the Arctic cold front ejecting the Alps, a much colder air mass brings temperatures below freezing, and winter weather is forecast to develop. Strong B Ora winds will also develop difficult driving conditions due to blowing snow and blizzard at times in southwestern Slovenia and northwestern Croatia.
Image is provided by Windy.com The Arctic front continues further south across Italy, the Adriatic Sea, and the western Balkan peninsula on Saturday, with potentially heavy snowfall ongoing through all day. The front might arrive in the southern Balkan countries (Greece, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria) by Saturday night.
Historically speaking, the highest chances are Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, the Appalachians, Idaho, the Rockies, or the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The map above is provided by NOAA The chart above indicates the historic probability of there being at least 1 inch of snow on the ground in the Lower 48 states on Christmas day.
Parts of the Midwest, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast United States will likely see a white Christmas, thanks to this last-minute snowstorm. Some areas along the Atlantic coast might even lose the snow coverage due to the arrival of a much warmer air mass ahead of the system.
In addition, there is also some fresh snow coming across this part of the country as the rear side of the new system travels across the region in the days before Christmas as well. The map above was created by Reddit user Haayoaie But historically speaking and based on the statistic probabilities, most of Europe actually has a very low chance to see snow on Christmas day.
Typically, that is only over Scandinavia or more precisely, over the Lapland (that area is covering northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland). Unfortunately, in other parts of Europe like England, France, Germany, the Balkan peninsula… the chances for white Christmas are statistically very poor there.
One interesting thing to note from the map, have a look over central Spain (Madrid area) and Dublin (Ireland). Dublin is located quite far north of Madrid (Spain), but the chances for snow covering the ground on a Christmas day are minimal, only 2 % for both areas.
White Christmas Outlook 2020 Overall, the snow coverage situation across the European continent is forecast to improve as winter weather is likely to arrive later this week. The general pattern over Europe and the North Atlantic will bring the weather change sometime around Christmas day.
Possibly also in Slovenia and Croatia as weather models forecast there are rising chances for an intense winter storm to develop right on Christmas day. Depending on the progress of the pattern transition into more winter weather around Christmas, it may bring some fresh snow in these areas, as well as across the higher terrain between both mountain chains.
One is the western part of the peninsula, where fresh snow seems possible on Christmas day as we’ve discussed earlier. Also, over the eastern half of Turkey and Georgia as winter weather is forecast to bring quite some fresh snow in the pre-Christmas days this coming week.
From the glittering conifers, to the midnight mass glitz, From the aroma of rum cakes, to the greetings with a kiss! From the smiles that the gifts bring, to the ones that we truly miss, It’s the favorite time of the year, that feels nothing less than sheer bliss! With the snowfall covering the rooftops, Christmas conifers up for sale, the taste of cinnamon and ginger breads in the air, and with the hustle and bustle of the best Christmas markets in Europe, it’s undoubtedly going to be a grand show.
And for those who cannot help but be a part of this mega celebrations, get going to these best places to spend Christmas in Europe that will add magic to your winter holiday! Image Source Celebrations in Europe start four Sundays prior to the eve of Christmas which marks the beginning of the Advent.
Post the Advent, most of the Catholic countries also celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas on the 6th of December. This may not be the tradition in all countries but some of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe 2021 do celebrate it as a part of their culture.
Following the feast, the main celebration is that of the Christmas Eve wherein people attend the Midnight Mass and relish a heart-warming meal their families, and friends. Every city and every town am colorful and full of light during this time of the year.
Aliens, France Basel, Switzerland Belfast, Ireland Heidelberg, Germany Wrocaw, Poland Valletta, Malta Leukemia, Switzerland Manchester, England Grunewald, Switzerland Florence, Italy Edinburgh, Scotland Berlin, Germany Kraków, Poland Reykjavík, Iceland Cologne, Germany Prague, Czech Republic Milan, Italy Strasbourg, France London, England Romanies, Lapland Vienna, Austria Leipzig, Germany Copenhagen, Denmark Salzburg, Austria Amsterdam, Netherlands Brussels, Belgium Valencia, Spain Budapest, Hungary Madeira, Portugal Helsinki, Finland Stockholm, Sweden Tallinn, Estonia Geneva, Switzerland Dubrovnik, Croatia Vilnius, Lithuania The town shares the same atmosphere, enthusiasm and authenticity of other cities but with a lot less crowds.
How to reach : You can take a flight to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris from where Aliens is 110 km away via train ride. Being one of the best Christmas getaways in Europe, a winter vacation is inevitable once you visit this city.
It holds well against the best places to spend Christmas in Europe with its buzzing and uniquely local festive charm. Explore the Botanic Area of Belfast which is highly popular amongst the students of the city.
Must-have experiences : Visit the giant Christmas Pyramid located at the middle of the town Winter in Poland can be very cold and so the market is full of nooks like a three-story house where you can warm up.
Must-have experiences : Visit the Cathedral Island and then tour the Rank Square where you can catch the Christmas parades and theater performances. Malta might be a summer destination but Christmas holidays are really charming once you set foot.
Must-have experiences : Shopping at the Christmas markets and eating some delicious traditional food How to reach : Valletta is the capital city and the Malta International Airport is located in it.
It is a picturesque Swiss village perfect to soak in the Winters and play with the snow. Located high in the Swiss Alps, you can definitely expect a lot of snow making Leukemia one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe.
Must-have experiences : Spent some Christmas Day soaking in the hot springs of the village Manchester is a city full of life but Christmas takes the energy to another level.
Must-have experiences: Spend time at the rooftop bars in the city enjoying the view and food Endless carpet of snow, pine trees, and warm festival lights, this place will bring alive all your childhood Christmas dreams.
Must-have experiences: This has one of the most popular ski resorts in Switzerland, bod mi Arena, so trying this adventure sport is a must. Decorated with lights and Christmas trees, the public places like cafés and piazzas welcome guests with the warmth of this festival.
You would fall in love with the skyline of the city dominated by ancient cathedrals that are decorated with lights. You would not need to think again about where to spend Christmas day in Europe if you are considering Edinburgh as your first option.
The Christmas markets in this German capital add life and shimmer to the whole cityscape. The restaurants surrounding these Christmas markets make the best hangout places for spending time with your friends and family, enjoying good food and carols.
Image Source Considered to be the most underrated Christmas getaways in Europe, celebrating the most favorite time of the year in this historical land feels nothing less than magic. Must-have experiences: Explore the International Christmas Charity Bazaar at Rouse, admire the Cathedral Square Christmas tree, visit the Church of St Anne, buy a pair of woolens at the famous Wool House, and more.
Famous cuisine or food item : Elena MENESR or Green Stew The whole Lake Geneva is lit up with shops, stalls, and a thousand lights as a part of the European Christmas traditions.
And for the foodies who’re looking forward to the best places to spend Christmas in Europe this year, look no further than Geneva that hosts a market full of pre-Christmas food exhibitors from all over the world. Also, the nearest rail head is that of Gear de Cornavin which enjoys a central location in the city.
Image Source The real glow of Christmas can be witnessed in its glorious form only in Tallinn. Reckoned to be one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe, walk through the cobblestone streets that take you down the nostalgic lane of a winter wonderland.
Must-have experiences: Skating in the Old Town, taste the mulled wine, explore the medieval churches, shop at the Town Hall Square’s Christmas market, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Tallinn, and more. Image Source Be it shopping at the beautiful Christmas markets or relishing some delectable and freshly baked gingerbread, none of your Christmas trips to Europe are complete without experiencing the best of both the modern and traditional worlds at Stockholm.
How to reach: Stockholm Aroma Airport is located at a distance of about 11 km from the city center. The nearest rail head is that of the Stockholm Central Station which connects the city to nearby places of Oslo, Goteborg, and so on.
Image Source In most of the European destinations, the Christmas markets steal the show for the whole of winter season. Forming the core of almost all that the best places to spend Christmas in Europe have to offer, attending one of these bustling markets is all about fun, food, family, friends, and the festive mood.
Must-have experiences: Follow the tradition of eating rice, oatmeal, and plum juice in the morning, shop for some of the best handicrafts from more than 140 vendors at Christmas markets at the Senate Square, attend a free Christmas concert, and more. How to reach: The airstrip of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the closest to the city center located at a distance of 19 km.
Image Source For those who are planning to spend their Christmas holidays in Europe with one of the best music and entertaining scenes, must head towards Madeira in Portugal. The moment the streets of Funchal are lit up with decorative lights, everybody in the city turns on their festive mood and becomes a vital part of the cultural, artistic, and religious programs that is probably the most unusual Christmas celebration in Europe.
Must-have experiences: The Fireworks show, Twelfth Night celebrations, the traditional Christmas Carol show, live performance by the local music bands, attend the Funchal Road Race, and more. How to reach: Madeira Airport is the nearest airstrip located at a distance of 18 km from the city center.
Traveling by train to Madeira is not the best choice as the nearest railway station is that Agadir in Morocco. With grand celebrations like attending midnight mass at the St Stephen’s Basilica to being a part of the traditional and classic Hungarian Folk Show, Budapest will leave no stone unturned in charming you with its festive offerings.
Must-have experiences: Christmas Market at Vorosmarty Square, Christmas Fair at the Basilica, explore the Szechenyi Baths, enjoy night cruises on the river Danube, relish the Chimney Cake at the Xmas Fair, and more. Also, the Budapest Delete Train Station is located just 10 minutes away from the city center.
Image Source As traditional as the nativity play, and as modern as the quirky feel of the city, Valencia offers a perfect mix of both the old and the new during Christmas. Lifting the true essence of the holiday spirit, Valencia is one of the best European cities to be cherished on a Christmas Eve followed by New Year’s as well.
Must-have experiences: Witness the mesmerizing decorations at Plaza Ayuntamiento, go ice skating at the Aqua shopping mall, treat yourself to the roasted chestnuts, take your kids to the Gran Circa Wonderland for an offbeat Christmas celebration in Europe. The city also facilitates the travelers with easy access to nearby cities of Madrid, and Barcelona from the central train station of Valencia Train Station or the Stacie del Word.
Head to one of the biggest Christmas markets held in Brussels inside the premises of Place Flag. Shop for some of the best handicrafts products as souvenirs by artists who fly down from places like France, Hungary, Germany and so on.
Must-have experiences: Adore the huge Christmas tree at the Grand Palace, witness the soul-stirring light and music show, go skating at the March aux Poisson's, don’t miss out on savoring the best beef stew in town, treat your sweet tooth with some chocolate waffles at the Christmas markets of Place Sainte-Catherine, and more. How to reach: Located at a distance of 55 km, Brussels Charleroi Airport is the nearest airstrip whereas Brussels Word train station is easily accessible due to its central location.
From enjoying a joyous Ferris wheel ride to the endless food, music, drinks, and dance scenes, Amsterdam is indeed one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe. How to reach: Schiphol Airport is the nearest airport located at the distance of just 18 km while the Amsterdam Central Train Station is the nearest train station to the city center.
Image Source Considered to be one of the oldest Christmas markets in not just Europe but the whole world, Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is known to be rooted to its age-old traditions and cultural values. Dating back to the 15th century, Salzburg serves as one of the traditional cities with a strong historical background for those who are gearing up for one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe.
Must-have experiences: Drinking Grumman and eating Lebkuchen is a must, enjoy skiing in the Alps, go shopping in the famous Salzburg Christmas markets, attend the Alpine Heritage event of Perchtenlauf, know the history behind Silent Night, and more. The nearest rail head happens to be the Central Train Station which is just 15 minutes away from the city center.
From relishing the best of street food to touring the old candy factory, Copenhagen has a lot more than what meets the eye. Must-have experiences: Stroll through the majestic gardens of Tripoli, enjoy mulled wine at the unique Hotel d’Angleterre, go ice skating at Fredericksburg Have, dine at one of the Royal Copenhagen’s Christmas tables, and more.
Temperature in December: An average of 2 °C How to reach: The nearest airport is that of the Bastrop Airport which is just 8 km away while the nearest rail head of Copenhagen Central Station is located at a distance of 15 minutes from the city center. Image Source Considered to be the second oldest yet one of the prettiest markets in the whole of Europe, Leipzig also happens to be one of the lesser known destinations in the continent.
Serving as a stunning and one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe at its best, Leipzig is yet to be explored to its fullest potential. Must-have experiences: Explore the city center of Pentium, be a part of endless parades and music scenes, attend the arts and craft market at the Old Leipzig, take a ferris-wheel ride at Augustusplatz, go for cross-country skiing, and much more.
How to reach: Leipzig / Halle Airport is the nearest airstrip located about 22 km away from the city center while the nearest Leipzig train station serves as the central point for getting around the city. Image Source From the evening sky at Belvedere to the streets of Graben and Partner Stress, every bit of Vienna feels magical during Christmas in Europe.
Must-have experiences: Capture Belvedere Palace in a perfect light, taste the culinary delights served in the most creative forms, gulp down the Christmas punches called Weihnachtspunsch, take a hop on hop off bus tour in the evening, attend the nativity play at St. Peter’s Church, and more. Celebrating at one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe brings a lot of surprises on the go, of which, the best one can be encountered in the city of Romanies.
Must-have experiences: Meet Santa at the Santa Village, experience a Reindeer ride, tour the city with huskies, let northern lights charm you, explore the Arctic zoo, enjoy snowshoeing during Christmas, and more. How to reach: Romanies has its own international airport which is located at a distance of 11 km from the city center.
If you do not have enough time to discuss and decide with your family about where to spend Christmas in Europe then London is the easiest option. The whole city transforms into a winter wonderland with skating being one of the most loved activities during Christmas.
Must-have experiences: Know the history behind Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square, attend the midnight mass at Westminster Abbey, don’t miss out on the Christmas Lights, attend the Carol Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, be a part of the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and more. Similarly, the three express railways of Heathrow, Started, and Gatwick facilitate the travelers in daily commuting and getting around the city easily.
Image Source Christmas in Europe is not complete without considering the fashion capital of the world in the list. All those who’ve dreamt of a fairyland like that in the movie Frozen, can flock to Milan to make their dreams come true.
Must-have experiences: Adore the Christmas tree at Piazza Del Duo mo, spot the beautiful window displays throughout Milan, visit the Church of Santa Maria Dell Gracie, relish the Panettone, and more. Image Source Last but not the least, nothing surpasses the charm of Prague when it comes to the best places to spend Christmas in Europe.
With its famous attractions all decked up and all the streets shining brighter than ever, celebrating Christmas in Prague feels nothing less than a carnival. Must-have experiences: Experience dining with Mozart, shop till you drop in the best Christmas market at the Wellesley Square, walk through the Old Town Square, savor the traditional Czech Christmas meal, and more.
How to reach: Prague Václav Havel Airport is the nearest airstrip to the city located at a distance of just 19 km. Prada Have Nazi is the central railway station which is located just 15 minutes from the Old Town Square.
Must-have experiences: Boating in the Rhine, a concert at Cologne Philharmonic, live music at the bars and pubs. You can also take a bus to Cologne from other nearby cities in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
While it may look like a tiny city with not much going on, Reykjavík actually bursts into a frenzy of colors, cheer, and festivities on Christmas. In fact, unknown to many, it is one of the best places in Europe for Christmas celebration with your loved ones who do mind the cold temperatures.
This city truly turns into a hub of joy and bonhomie during Christmas time and every bit of it is lit up with festive lights, filled with the aroma of freshly baked goods, and the sounds of Christmas carols echoing through the houses! How to reach: Take a flight to Kelvin Airport or the Syria Line ferry from Denmark.
Disclaimer : TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. Some of the best countries in Europe to visit during December are Germany for its Christmas markets, Norway for the chance to enjoy watching Northern Lights, Finland to have a great time at Santa Claus Village and France for its gorgeous Christmas decorations.
Christmas markets originated in Germany in the late Middle Ages, but now are held worldwide. Some popular cities where Christmas markets are held are Augsburg, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Dresden, Erfurt, and Stuttgart making these cities top tourist destinations during the time of Christmas.
Christmas' markets have spread worldwide and Paris hasn’t been left untouched by its charm and glitter. These markets start during late November and continue till early January.
Another amazing country which is warm in December is Malta which is home to quite a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the temperatures here do not drop below 15 °C.