As winter falls across Europe, much of the continent transforms into a land of festive enchantment. It’s here in this magical, icy wonderland that our collection of historic hotels offers not just a place to stay but an opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable Christmas break away. Read on to discover five unique ways to experience the most wonderful time of the year…
Festive Self-Catering in Wales at Penrhiw Priory
Nestled in the heart of Pembrokeshire, Penrhiw Priory invites you to embrace the spirit of Christmas in a cosy self-catering retreat. The historic charm of this 19th century house is perfect for a break away with family and friends. Penrhiw Priory is a large detached property, perfect for lovers of the outdoors with an abundance of walks, a rugged coastline and clean, sandy beaches just a stone’s throw away. Think crackling fires, luxury rooms and stunning views. Discover the joy of preparing a decadent Christmas feast in your own private, fully-equipped kitchen, before enjoying the meal in an elegant dining space with your loved ones. Walk off your festive indulgences with a stroll through the Welsh countryside or blow off the cobwebs with a walk along one of the nearby beaches. This festive retreat is guaranteed to be one you’ll never forget.
Don’t miss: A trip to nearby St Davids — a charming city (the smallest in the UK) and the resting place of St David, the patron saint of Wales. And if you’re in the area to ring in the new year, don’t miss the New Year’s Eve street party in Fishguard, a short drive away.
Christmas in the City at Hotel Stefanie, Austria
Experience the magic of Christmas in the heart of Vienna at Hotel Stefanie, the city’s oldest hotel. This Austrian city is a must-visit any time of year but is especially beautiful in December when it comes alive with enchanting lights and festive markets — making it a dream destination in which to celebrate Christmas. Hotel Stefanie, with its rich history dating back to 1600, offers a luxurious escape for the whole family all within walking distance of Vienna’s iconic landmarks. Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural festivities, from the enchanting Christkindlmärkte (we love the Karlsplatz Market) to the melodic sounds of festive performances that fill the streets here. Return to the elegance of Hotel Stefanie, adorned with seasonal decorations, for a truly magical Christmas in the city. Here, you can enjoy a delicious meal to celebrate the holidays, created by the hotel’s team of talented chefs — an enchanting Christmas experience.
Don’t miss: Drinking Glühwein (mulled wine) and Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch) while snacking on Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) and Maroni (roasted chestnuts) as you explore the city’s Christmas markets. Heaven!
Have a Scandi Christmas at Hotel Park, Norway
For a Nordic-inspired Christmas, head to Hotel Park in Bergen and experience the cosy traditions of Scandinavia. Surrounded by breathtaking fjords and snow-covered landscapes, Hotel Park provides a one-of-a-kind Norwegian getaway. This modern Scandi stay is tastefully decorated and full of history. Bergen itself is a delight and as Advent unfolds here, you can experience the city’s traditional Festival of Lights around the picturesque lake Lille Lungegårdsvann. Explore the Bergen Christmas Markets or take a short trip to join the lighting of candles on Mount Fløyen every Sunday leading up to Christmas — you can even sledge back down! You can really embrace the Norwegian winter here with outdoor activities like cross-country skiing or simply relax in the serenity of the snow-clad surroundings.
Don’t miss: Bergen’s unique contribution to the holiday season — the Gingerbread Town (Pepperkakebyen), the world’s largest town of its kind! Bergen’s citizens contribute to this tasty town, crafting edible houses, churches and castles.
Festive Cheer on the Wild Atlantic Way at Rathmullan House, Ireland
Escape to the rugged beauty of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way for a yuletide escape at Rathmullan House. This historic house sits in 7 acres of lush woodland – as gorgeous in the winter as it is during the warmer months — and is just 3km from some of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches. Here, it’s all about the warmth of Irish hospitality as the manor house transforms into a holiday haven with traditional decorations and lively celebrations. Explore the scenic coastline, take bracing walks on the beach, and then return to the warm embrace of Rathmullan House. With two award-winning restaurants on site, The Cook & Gardener and The Taproom, you are sure to enjoy a remarkable meal. So this Christmas, why not let the Wild Atlantic Way be the backdrop for cherished moments and joyful festivities.
Don’t miss: Recently voted the ‘fourth-best region to visit in the world’ by Lonely Planet, take time to explore Donegal’s incredible landscapes.
Celebrate with a Mountain View at Hotel Villa Kastelruth, Italy
Elevate your Christmas experience to new heights at Hotel Villa Kastelruth in the breathtaking Italian Alps. Wake up to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy gourmet Alpine cuisine, unwind in the heated outdoor pool and spa and enjoy a Christmas like no other. Hotel Villa Kastelruth is near Castelrotto, the largest town in the Seiser Alm region — a great starting point for walks in the Dolomites, hikes on the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi, to Tires, Val Gardena and the Schlern mountain.
Don’t miss: Seeing the mountains by moonlight on the Moonlight Seiser Alm walk. Run by the Tourist office Alpe di Siusi, the hike starts at Compatsch.