12 Days of Christmas

There’s nothing more festive about Christmas than spending this magical time of year in Europe! Have you ever imagined a white Christmas and strolling through buzzing Christmas markets with streets filled with twinkling lights and smells of locally baked sweets? We’ve put together an itinerary to showcase a white Christmas in the Swiss Alps, an eventful New Year celebration in Munich and everything in between.

Day One - Two


Let’s begin your 12 days of Christmas in the ‘City of Lights’ – Paris. Take out your cameras because you won’t be disappointed! Every corner of Paris has its own special attraction – beautiful outdoor skating rinks, many magical Christmas markets lining streets and squares, store fronts aglow with delightful Christmas displays…there’s just so much to explore at this time of year.

You. In Paris. On the Seine River. Why not step aboard one of the luxurious vessels and enjoy a sumptuous meal while immersing yourself in the winter beauty of Paris as you meander your way down one of the most famous and beautiful rivers in the world. Just imagine yourself with a belly full of local specialties, a glass of wine in hand, seeing the beautiful lights of a Parisian Christmas pass you by. It can’t get any better than this!

If you’ve never been to Paris during Christmas you’re in for a real treat – it’s all about food at this time of the year and perhaps chocolate and pastries are the most popular of choices. The greatest way to find the best of the best is to join a walking tour where everyone is in the holiday mood and offering those delicious samples. Let’s be glad that we are walking!

To see how the French like to celebrate Christmas, bundle up warm and delve into one of the Christmas markets where the Parisians shop for decorations, crafts, roasted chestnuts, mulled wines and many other holiday specialities.

Day Three - Four


If you time this itinerary right you will find yourself in Switzerland, breathing in the fresh alpine air for Christmas day. Just think falling snowflakes, twinkling lights, the glistening peaks of Swiss Alps as your backdrop and centuries old traditions. The perfect white Christmas that you have always dreamed of and more.

If you are a skier or snowboarder where else would you want to be? Combining a skiing vacation and a white Christmas gives you the best of both worlds. With guaranteed snow, due to the higher altitude St Moritz, Zermatt and Davos/Klosters are your best bet. Not only do they offer wonderful skiing but also offer après-ski activities too!

If skiing is not for you the enjoy your time wandering through the local village and discover what Christmas festivities you can find. There are plenty of activities available for visitors of all ages – sledging, snow-shoeing and horse-drawn sleighs are a common sight in some resorts. Make sure to pull out your camera and capture all your memories in this winter wonderland.

Of all the attractions, everyone has to make the ascent on the Gornergrat Cog Railway up to the viewing platform in the Alps. Passing by snow-covered trees and over stone bridges you will reach the point of the most spectacular views of the Swiss an Italian Alps.

Or if you prefer to keep warm and have a relaxing Christmas day, spend it indoors next to a fire with gooey cheese fondue and a glass of mulled wine.

Day Five


It’s now time to swap out the snow and head down through Northern Italy to Florence – home to Michelangelo’s ‘David’. It is the best time of the year to enjoy Florence like a local!

Spend time taking in the sights of Florence and all that it has to offer – make sure you visit Piazza Duomo to capture the essence of Christmas of the nativity scene – or more traditionally known in Italy as presepe. This particular nativity scene is life sized and is made of terracotta by a local potter. If you find yourself meandering during the evening, next to the Baptistery of St. John, you can find a beautiful Christmas tree exquisitely lit up.

Day Six - Seven


Again, don’t forget to pull out your camera as you make your way down south to Rome, where every inch of the streets are twinkling with Christmas lights. In Italy you can enjoy the Christmas season even after Christmas day as celebrations last through January 6th – the day of the Epiphany.

This is the perfect time to visit Vatican City – we always recommend purchasing a skip-the-line ticket or even take a private or small group tour where you can truly appreciate the history with VIP access. Visit the Sistine Chapel and marvel at the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo and all the other beautiful art pieces that are dotted around the buildings.

Even though the Christmas tree at the Colosseum may be a wee bit shorter than the one at Rockefeller Centre, New York what could be more beautiful with a backdrop of the ancient Roman stadium. Make sure to make a visit to the Colosseum to take that holiday selfie with a truly beautiful Christmas tree.

With so much to see in Rome – from historical sites to tasting local sweets that appear during the silly season to the street lined markets, Rome doesn’t disappoint. After all of this exploring why not give ice skating below the stars during the holiday season a whirl? Grab a pair of skates and skate to your heart’s content amidst the Christmas markets.

Day Eight - Nine


You’re more than half-way through your magical holiday escape but don’t let that damper things because the scenery today as you roll past vineyards and orchards will only impress you with the gorgeous backdrop of majestic mountains.

When you reach Venice you will notice that the floating city is even more magical during the Christmas holidays with lights decorating piazzas, ornate architecture and even gondolas! Although it may be a tad cold, Venice is a lot less crowded which makes for a fantastic time to visit. Museums and centuries-old churches are open during the Christmas season and is the perfect time for all you art-lovers!

Once you have spent time on foot exploring the small markets and admiring the Christmas tree entirely made out of Murano glass step onboard a gondola which is aglow with decorations for a different perspective and appreciation of the superb structure of Venice.

Day Ten


As you farewell Italy the famous Brenner Pass will magically appear as you make your journey up to Germany. And because Innsbruck has a wonderful and dramatic mountain scenery this is the best place to make an overnight stop for a taster of this picturesque city.

After dark Innsbruck comes to life with impressive light displays. Take a stroll and admire the projections illuminating the facades of several buildings throughout the city.

If you are in search of a last stop market, you are in luck! The Christmas Market in Maria-Theresien-Strasse remains open until 6th January. The main shopping street comes to life offering 30 stalls with an exciting array of gifts and all sorts of delicious treats while all lit up with twinkling trees.

Innsbruck is such a beautiful city and a great way to take it all in and see the city from above is to take the cable car up the Nordkette. The breathtaking 360° view leaves a lasting impression. Before heading back down the mountain make sure to stop in at one of the restaurants at the top to enjoy a bite to eat – what better with a view like that?

Day Eleven - Twelve


On the last part of your 12 day Europe holiday you make your way to Munich. A city that is buzzing with many New Year celebration spots! Although the Christmas markets in Munich have finished (usually end 24 December) there is no shortage of things to see and do. With the temperatures dipping snowy parks and frozen fountains are some of the things that make Munich unique.

From the tower of Old St Peter’s Church or the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), you will be able to see the entire city with the rooves of the old town dusted with snow. On some days with good visibility you will even be able to see the Alps in the background.

As everyone knows Munich is home to the most famous beer festival in the world – Oktoberfest! And you are in luck if you want to enjoy a local beer as Hofbräuhaus, Munich’s most famous beer hall is open.

Every year the Tollwood Winter Festival takes place at the fairgrounds of Oktoberfest. With an international Christmas market you can hunt for the perfect treasures from around the world and sample all the amazing cuisines. Even better – entrance is free! So this is definitely a must see.

You will also discover that the winter festival has long been the place to party at New Year! Ring in the New Year with a tasty dinner and live music. Then make your way to one of the best viewing spots such as Schwanthalerhöhe or Olympiaberg to watch the skies over Munich burst with colour with brightly lit fireworks.

The day after New Year, you may like to take it easy and wander through the city or if you want to get your muscles moving Prinzregentenstadion (Ice Sport Center), the Olympic Park Ice Sport Centre and the Ice and Fun Sport Centres East/West have plenty of activities on offer.

There are endless options after your 12 days of Christmas – extend your trip to visit more exciting parts of Europe or spend a few days in one area to really soak up the atmosphere and relax or if you are a ski buff why not spend some more time amidst the ski resorts in the Alps. Whatever you choose let us know and we will be glad to help make your dream itinerary.

Give us a call, chat to us online or email us today so we can start planning your next holiday.