Summery Christmas Around Europe

Winter comes in many guises in Europe – from snowy Northern Europe to the lingering sunshine in the Mediterranean and everything in between. If you don’t enjoy cooler months in Europe during winter you don’t have to stop exploring it – there are several European destinations we think you may really enjoy Summery Christmas celebration.

Let’s explore these warm Christmas opportunities around Europe together.

Gran Canaria, Spain

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the second most populous of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the Atlantic coast of Northwest Africa and part of sunny Spain. And Christmas in Gran Canaria is something you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. With its warm and sunny weather, Gran Canaria is a great place to enjoy lovely weather (not too hot like in Australia or too cold like in Northern Europe) on the beach or out and about indulging in local food, dance and traditional Christmas festivities – or nearly 500 years, local village musical troupes have come together to sing Christmas carols. Some towns on the island also see the Museo Castilla la Mata in Vegueta hosting a series of jazz concerts and a Christmas carol competition. And, of course, Gran Canaria boasts the biggest sand sculpture belén (nativity scene) in the world, and it’s definitely worth a look!

Algarve, Portugal

The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is known for its Atlantic beaches and golf resorts. In winter, there is an equal chance of a bright sunny day as an overcast cloudy day and even some rain but often warm and very comfortable. With that, a winter holiday to southern Portugal will offer exceptional value for money, and will be significantly less expensive than the more popular Christmas destinations.

Christmas here isn’t your traditional celebration so you can try out something different. The Portuguese have their main Christmas celebrations on the evening of the 24th of December. All generations of the family gather for a special (late) evening meal of Bacalhau (codfish) and their traditional Christmas cake called the Bolo Rei. When booking your accommodation, make sure it provides meals on Christmas Day; as many places will be closed. Boxing Day isn’t a public holiday here though. We can help you plan your trip here.

Algarve offers a non-stop programme of events and attractions every December, from Christmas parades and festive concerts to handcrafted nativity scenes. And when it comes to New Year’s Eve, nothing quite beats watching fireworks glitter over the ports, rivers and seafronts of the Algarve.

Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras, in southern Greece and the largest city of the homonymous administrative region. With its very mild weather here in winter, Kalamata is an exciting alternative to a traditional Aussie Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, children, especially boys, often go out singing carols in the streets. They play drums and triangles as they sing. Sometimes they also carry model boats decorated with nuts which are painted gold – this is a very old custom in Greece. And if you are here for Christmas, extend your stay a little – people in Greece also celebrate Epiphany on 6 January – it’s a cultural experience worth checking out.

Greece has really been an oasis of non-commercialism when it comes to the festive season – there are simply not that many decorations Westerners often expect to see. Christmas in Greece is traditionally a solemn, religious holiday. This is a great opportunity to dive into a new experience. For example, while other cultures have Christmas elves, the Greek equivalent is a mischievous and even dangerous sprite called the Kallikantzaroi who prey upon people only during the twelve days of Christmas, between Christmas itself and Epiphany on January 6th. Celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece is like finding yourself in an expressionist work of art. If you need help planning your Greek holidays, we’d be happy to help.

Palermo, Sicily

Beautiful Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. It’s no doubt a cultural kingdom with deep roots in tradition and festivities. And with mild weather in winter, you can enjoy all the outdoor events without sweating your socks off, which often happens in Australia, or freezing your toes off, like some may experience in Norway. Due to the abundance of religious cavalcades, spectacles, and displays, Palermo is a perfect Christmas destination in Europe.

As opposed to Christmas Day, children normally open their presents during the Epiphany, on January 6th. But despite this, Palermo’s Christmas season is in full swing by early December. The city centre springs to life in a mesh of gleaming lights, elaborate nativity scenes, and vibrant Christmas markets where you can find eclectic handmade Sicilian gifts and toys.

If you want help planning your Sicilian holiday, we’d be happy to help.

If you are planning your European holiday, give us a call on 1800 242 353 or visit our website for a live chat..