Christmas is the (most wonderful) time of the year to get away with your partner. With Europe resplendent in fairy lights, sprawling markets and glittering decorations, exploring the streets of its quaintest cities is bound to make you feel as though you’ve stumbled into a Hallmark Christmas movie: hand-in-hand, no doubt. Take a look at our suggestions for Christmas getaways for couples below, and make a last-minute plan with your loved one – merry memory-making awaits…
1. Hotel Stefanie: Vienna, Austria
Vienna in December is a sight to behold. With many of the city’s facades festooned in sparkling ornaments and fir trees, while incredible festive displays deck the grounds of several cultural hotspots (notably including Belvedere Palace), it’s no wonder that the Austrian capital is high on the list of the best Christmas getaways for couples.
Whether you want to pick up a seasonal souvenir or wander the streets of the Christmas market with a spicy ‘glühwein’ in hand, Hotel Stefanie is the best place to do it all from. This historic hotel was established in the 1600s and is the oldest hotel in Vienna. With a traditional ambience, accommodating staff and enviable central location close to the capital’s most spectacular sights, it’s sure to suit your coupley city break.
2. Castello di Gargonza: Tuscany, Italy
At Castello di Gargonza, your hotel is also your number one sightseeing spot. Originally a fortified village in the 1300s, the hoteliers have done a remarkable job of retaining the property’s culturally-rich and community-focused roots. Guests love the self-catering apartments, each of which is named after one of the property’s original inhabitants which include a seamstress and gamekeeper.
There are plenty of things to see and do on and around the hotel grounds, too. Enjoy authentic Tuscan dishes made by expert chefs at the drool-worthy restaurant, and take time to explore the surrounding Gargonza woods. With snow capped fir trees as far as the eye can see, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into Narnia itself.
3. Flanders Hotel: Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is known as another of Europe’s most eye-catching and enchanting cities… and for good reason. Not only is the capital of Belgium a confectioner’s paradise – with fresh-from-the-oven waffles and sweet chocolates available around every corner – it packs all the charm synonymous with the Christmas season. As well as the Christmas market, make time for the Grote Markt Christmas Light Show, which turns the historic city into a phosphorescent festive fantasy.
For a place to stay, Flanders Hotel is the way. This four-star property prioritises comfort in its contemporary bedrooms, but isn’t short on historic value either: in fact, it still retains a former Gothic room dating back to 1304! There’s also a chilled lounge bar that you and your partner are sure to love. It’s the perfect place to fuel up before traversing Bruges’ snowkissed streets.
4. Eccles Hotel: Cork, Ireland
Escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas in the city with a trip to Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff, where escapes to the country take on a festive flavour. The hoteliers here have thought of everything you may want to do while on your December escape, and can suggest a range of ways in which to make the most of their winter wonderland: including sailing on the icy waters of Bantry Bay and taking advent-age of their wellness facilities. The best way to unwind before heading into the big day.
You’ll also want to make sure you get a trip to the hotel’s restaurant in your itinerary. Multi-award winning and headed up by a chef of Michelin acclaim and BBC celebrity, you’ll be transported by the seasonal fare and festive flavours. There’s nothing not to love.
5. Hotel Le Bouclier d’Or: Strasbourg, France
‘The capital of Christmas’ is a must-feature on your bucket list of Christmas getaways for couples! Out of the million and one reasons to come here at this time of year, the city’s iconic Christmas market, huge Christmas tree and festive programme of events all rank highly. Make sure to check out what’s happening in advance to get the scoop on all the best exhibitions, singalongs and more going on throughout December. As such a thriving hotbed of Christmas activity, you’re sure to find a local event or two that will make your Strasbourg stay even more special.
Speaking of special, don’t overlook Hotel Le Bouclier d’Or. Based in the city’s historic La Petite-France, this renovated Alsatian building is the perfect place for lovers. Cosy up with your favourite person in your traditionally-furnished bedroom, or enjoy luxuriant spa treatments in their cutting-edge wellness facility. Don’t forget to keep your camera on you while you wander around. The property has retained many of its original features, including a 16th-century spiral staircase and old tower – the perfect background for this year’s couple’s Christmas card.
6. Twr y Felin: St Davids, Wales
St Davids does a good job of looking quaint all year round, but particularly so at Christmas. The littlest city in the UK is a couple’s paradise too, no matter how divergent your interests: with a glimmering coastline next door, local events to dip your toes into and a suite of tourist activities that cater to every interest. Of particular note at Christmastime is the city’s annual Festival of Trees, where visitors are invited to admire a selection of uniquely-decorated trees and vote for their favourite.
Built in 1806 as a working windmill, Twr y Felin is a fascinating and unique place in which to rest your head after your festive forays into the city. Consider reserving a windmill suite, which boasts 360 degree views of the St Davids Peninsula from its own observatory, for an incredible addition to your most romantic of Christmas getaways for couples. After all… what’s more romantic than stargazing?