Are you looking for the best places to visit in Europe in December with family? In this guide we will round up all the best European Winter destinations for families for winter sun, Christmas Markets and more.
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Tips for Visiting Europe in December with Kids
Now before we get into the details of our favorite places in Europe to visit in December with Family we thought it would be good to point out a few key considerations when planning your European winter itinerary with kids.
Weather varies greatly across countries
Wherever you are visiting in Europe in December it is important to remember thatt the weather changes dramatically from country to country in Europe.
Although December isn’t as peak season as summer you will find that accommodation gets booked up quickly around Christmas Market time in Europe. Therefore we recommend booking your European accommodation early when visiting in December.
Pack a Stroller
If you plan on traveling to Europe in December with toddlers then we always recommend packing a stroller.
For more information on traveling to Europe with toddlers and using a stroller check out our dedicated posts.
Now it can be tempting when visiting Europe to try and cram as many countries into your European itinerary as possible. I think part of the reason is because it is so easy to travel between countries in Europe and they are so close. However you don’t want to over schedule your itinerary in December a there is so much to see in each place on this list.
Best Places to Visit in Europe in December With Family
Amsterdam in December with Kids
As ex Amsterdam locals, I can say that December was one of my favorite months in the city. It isn’t peak city like April in Amsterdam so it isn’t as crowded but there are also plenty of festivities in the city.
Our favorite thing to do in Amsterdam in December is skate on the ice rink that is erected annually in front of the Rijksmuseum.
We also love learning about the local culture around Christmas in the Netherlands. Sinterklaas or St Nicholas arrives by the city in boat in November before the Dutch give presents on the 5th / 6th December which is different from our British and American celebrations.
For more information on visiting Amsterdam with toddlers check out this post.
Barcelona in December with kids
I love visiting Barcelona in Winter as compared to summer the prices are cheaper and there are not so many crowds.
There is a large market in front of the Barcelona cathedral however the festivities are more understated than in other European places which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere in Dember.
For more information on visiting Barcelona with toddlers check out this post.
Colmar in December
The Colmar Christmas market is consistently named as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe so it is no surprise that we think Colamr is one of the best places in Europe to visit with family in December.
Colmar has beautiful Christmas lights that adorn its stunning Medieval buildings and is generally one of the most festive places you can visit in Europe.
Copenhagen in December with Family
Copenhagen has lots to offer for families looking for a city break in December. Bot only does it have some traditional Christmas markets but it also has the beautiful Tivoli Gardens which have rides families will love alongside other festive offerings.
Although the city has lots of Christmas Markets our favorite is along Nyhavn. The most traditional of Danish Streets which you will recognise from films and TV. The street is adorned with wreaths and traditional stalls.
On top of that there is great ice skating in fromt of the Royal Palace and the castles which are a favorite thing to visit no matter the time of year you travel.
Iceland in December
Iceland is never a bad idea but you may think that the weather and dark days make December a bad time to visit but I really don’t think so.
December is a great time to go hunting for the Northern lights and for older children you can enjoy the Blue lagoon in the snow.
We also love hiking in the snow. And while we wouldn’t normally head too far away from Reykjavik due to the conditions on the roads, there is plenty to see in the capital of Iceland.
Lapland in December
If there is one family bucket list destination for Europe in December it has to be Lapland. Lapland is the home to Santa Claus and therefore is most special to visit in December.
Lapland isn’t the cheapest place to visit in December but you can do a DIY or package Lapland deal depending on your budget.
And once you reach Lapland on top of meeting Santa you can do husky dog rides, sledding and a whole array of magical festive activities that will make a true holiday to remember.
London in December
Hands down for me London is one of the best places to visit in Europe in December with family. That is because if you are visiting London at Christmas there are so many festive activities to enjoy.
The most famous Christmas Market in London is located at Hyde Park in the Winter Wonderland and is one of the best things to do in London with kids at Christmas.
Winter Wonderland is large and get busy but one of the best things to do about the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland with kids is that it has a dedicated family entrance that takes you straight into Santa Land.
Some of the family friendly attractions here are the ice kingdom, Paddington on ice show, Zippos Christmas Show, Cirwue Berserk, a Mr Men Show, an observation well and of course an ice rink! There are also lots of stalls to browse for once you have worn the kids out.
But there is so much more to London at Christmas than the Christmas markets. One of my little one’s favorite things to do in London in December is watch a traditional London pantomime. Pantomimes for those that aren’t familiar are retellings of classic fairy tales in a comic way. The most famous pantomime in England is held at Wimbledon but you will enjoy any.
On top of that your kids will love adding to their Christmas list at Hamleys and seeing the lights on Regents Street to name the tip of the iceberg pf festive activities that London has on offer.
Wondering what to wear in London for the Christmas Markets check out this London Winter Packing List post.
Munich in December with Family
Munich is one of the most traditional European destinations for families in December. Munich is a very large Christmas market and is famed for its amazing food and drink.
Nuremburg with kids in December
If you want to visit Christmas Markets with kids then the place to go has to be Nuremburg. That is because of all the Christmas Markets in Europe maybe the best Christmas Market for toddlers and kids is held at Nuremberg.
Nuremberg is actually one of the few places that has actually designed a Christmas Market for kids (not just as an afterthought). In 1999 Nuremberg started running the Kinderweihnactht which means Children’s Christmas Market.
The market is held at Hans-Sachs Platz and holds a whole series of programmes for children and has lots of stalls with hands on children activities. Activities include baking, candle making, and present making.
You can also meet the Christkind here. The Christkind is a Nuremberg tradition – a young lady dress in white and gold who delivers presents to the kids. This is a great local Christmas traditional that children will love to partake in.
This is currently top of my Christmas market bucket list as it sounds like THE best Christmas market for kids!
Paris in December
Paris in December is a great time to visit the city. You don’t have the crowds that you get in the summer and there are lots of festive touches to enjoy.
We love visiting the Eiffel Tower in December and kids enjoy riding the carousel in front of the Tower as an added bonus.
However if you are looking for something extra special then why not visit Disneyland Paris in December which as snow, Santa and plenty of Disney Christmas touches. Children of any age will love this but it particularly great to visit Disneyland Paris with toddlers at Christmas.
Rome in December with family
Winter is absolutely one of my favourite times to visit the Eternal City for several reasons. There are lower crowds in Rome in December, it is cheaper than traveling at peak times in Rome and has some wonderful if understated festivities.
Also if you are religious then really there is no better place to visit in December than the Vatican City. We love seeing the Christmas Trees in St Peters Square as well as visiting the Colosseum and Pantheon without the usual crowds.
For more information on visiting the Vatican with kids check out this post.
Stockholm in Winter with Kids
The first Christmas City break we did with our toddler was Stockholm and it is one of my favorite places to visit in Europe in December.
I was unsure about visiting Stockholm in Winter but it turned out to be perfect and one of the reasons was because of the great Stockholm Christmas markets. In the heart of the Stockholm old town – Gamla Stad there is a traditional Christmas market with stands selling local artisan products as well as food and drink.
However my favourite Christmas Market is held at the Living History Museum Skansen. The Skansen Christmas Market has been held since 1903 and in my opinion it is one of the best Christmas market for families.
What I loved about the Stockholm Christmas Market is how local everything was from the food and drink products to the hand crafted Christmas ornaments and gifts.
As an admission ticket to the museum is required to visit the market it never gets as crowded as some of the other Christmas Markets in Europe and children will love mixing the Christmas Market with the living history museum houses or attending a carol service in the on site church or going for a walk around the Nordic Zoo that is also in the Skansen grounds.
This combination of activities and lack of crowds in comparison to some of the bigger markets in Europe makes it in my opinion one of the best christmas markets with toddlers.
Although not as extensive as some of the other European Christmas Markets and only on the day time (which I actually think is a bonus when travelling with toddlers) you are sure to get into the Christmas spirit here. For me it might be the most perfect Christmas Market for families.
For more information on doing a Winter City break in Stockholm check out this post.
No list of best places to visit in Europe in December is complete without mentioning Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is consistently named in, and often tops the Best Christmas Markets in Europe lists.
The town is beautiful and the Christmas Market is one of the biggest in Europe. Just be warned that Strasbourg is one of the busiest places in Europe to visit in December and make your bookings well in advance.
Vienna in December with Family
Vienna in Winter holds a very special place in my heart as it is where we went on honeymoon and the Vienna Christmas Market with toddlers is definitely one of the better ones to visit with this age group.
There are a many Christmas Markets scattered across the city which means that you can do little sections which is easy to do with toddlers.
One of the most popular Christmas Markets in the city is held in front of the city hall and is often called one of the best European Christmas markets for families.
During the Vienesse Dream Christmas Market you can actually go inside City Hall and there is a specially dedicated kids area which is on of the reasons I think this is the best Christmas Markets for toddlers. IN this section children will be able to do hands on Christmas related activities like making Christmas cookies and Christmas candles.
For music fans there are also international choirs performing at the weekends for free.
However if you fancy a historic and slightly quieter Christmas Market then head to the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn Palace is one of the best things to do in Vienna in my opinion and is a great place to indulge in the Christmas Markets.
As this market is only open from 10am-6pm it is the perfect Christmas Market for toddlers as they don’t have to stay up late to partake in the Christmas festivities.
On top of that you can visit the Spanish riding School in December with kids and get some great food around the city.
York in December with Kids
York is my favourite city to visit in the UK with kids and Christmas is an extra special time to visit for many reasons.
Firstly, York has in my opinion the most picturesque Christmas market in the whole of the UK.
The York Christmas Market is held in Parliament Street and Coppergate and you’ll find lots of food and beverage stalls as well as artisan crafts.
One of my favourite features to the York Christmas Market is the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village where I always indulge in a lot of tasty treats.
For kids visiting York Christmas Market there is a Santa’s grotto near the Jorvik Biking Museum – which is one of the best things to do in York with kids in December.
There is also a funfair in King’s Square that you’ll find it hard to tear the kids away from.
However if you are looking for things to do beyond the Christmas Market then York will also have you spoiled for choice.
If you are looking for a great Christmas day trip from York I recommend heading to Castle Howard- a stately home which is beautifully decorated for the Christmas period. However if you want spend your time in the city I would recommend heading to Fairfax House to see the traditional Christmas decorations in the house or seeing the lights in the Museum Gardens.
And if you are visiting York with toddlers then they will love visiting the National Railway Museum which offers an amazing array of festive activities.
Do you have a favorite place to visit in Europe in December? Please let us know in the comments.