Europe is ideal for a winter break. From the snow covered Alps to vibrant cities, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to planning a holiday at this time of year. Whilst student budgets often don’t allow us to leave the Leeds bubble for months at a time, there are plenty of places that are reachable and affordable for a well deserved Christmas break. ￼
Berlin for Art and Culture
Although freezing at this time of year, Berlin is a must see city packed with fascinating history and culture. Though an historically enthralling place, Berlin holds a vast amount of contemporary art galleries and an array of remarkable street art. Given Germany’s past, the politicised work makes it one of the contemporary art capitals of Europe. December is an ideal month to visit the city owing to more than 50 traditional Christmas markets that appear all over the city. Although these are now commonplace in the UK, there is something special about experiencing them in their original setting. Students will also be undoubtedly drawn to the nightlife, which is famous in Berlin for being all night long. Flights to Berlin aren’t the cheapest at this time of the year, starting from about £112 in mid December from London Stansted. However there is so much to do when you get there that is free or very inexpensive. If street art and photography is your thing, try Alternative Berlin free street art tours.
Dublin or Copenhagen for Festive Markets
If Berlin doesn’t take your fancy but it is festive shopping that you’re after, there are plenty of other cities that have their fair share of Christmas markets. Dublin is a £30 return flight from Leeds Bradford airport and hosts the 12 Days of Christmas market. This is the perfect place to find Christmas gifts, from wooden toys to craft jewellery. The German- themed bar (think Leeds Christmas market on a far larger scale) is also a popular place to finish off with a few beers. Copenhagen is a slightly more expensive flight (around £84 from London Gatwick or £115 from Liverpool). The market here, that goes by the name ‘Tivoli’, is like stepping into ‘Santa’s Grotto’. As well as Christmas shopping, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, the park next to the market has an ice rink and theme park rides to provide entertainment for everyone.
Marrakech for Sun Seeking
For those who are looking to get away from the icy temperatures and explore a different culture this Christmas, head to Morocco. Not strictly Europe but considered under the euro-umbrella by airline companies, November to March is the best time to sightsee this remarkable city given that the average temperature is 22 degrees Celsius. Flights go from Birmingham and London Gatwick for around £70, or Manchester from £82. The old city or ‘Medina’ boasts some of the best market and boutique shopping in Morocco all at affordable prices (depending on your bartering skills!) whilst the colour and diversity of the market place will entice photographers and shoppers alike! The food in Marrakech will only leave you wanting more, from tagines to spicy meatballs, making a slight change to Turkey and Brussels sprouts this Christmas!
Top tip: Check out skyscanner for the best flight deals. For those who don’t mind longer journeys, National Express and Megabus have great prices on return tickets to Amsterdam and Brussels.
Want to start planning a your summer holiday? Check out our Greek Island Guide.
Photo: Property of panoramio.com