European weather in December
For sightseeing in Europe choice is limited in December, unless a) you’re happy with primarily indoor culture b) you don’t mind the cold c) you head south.
North and middle Europe are usually either cold, wet and grey, or cold, white and dark, with daylight in increasingly short supply as you move north.
On the upside, tourists are also in short supply, many cities add interesting lights to their streets, and indoor entertainment is exceptional.
Some European cities have lively pre-Christmas markets, or colourful New Year celebrations, or super-value January sales.
There are lively, colourful Christmas markets and entertainment in these pretty European cities:
Austria (Vienna); Belgium (Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges); France (Paris, Lille, Strasbourg, Nancy, Metz), Germany (Berlin, Heidelberg, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Munich, Trier, Dusseldorf); Netherlands (Amsterdam); Sweden (Stockholm).
Austria: Vienna Kaiserball – waltzing into Vienna’s glamorous ball season is this, the ultimate in posh dances, set in the Hofburg Palace. No expense spared. December 31st.
England: Officially the London sales start in early January, but many high street shops start their sales just after Christmas. Combine shopping with Christmas and New Year celebrations, throw in a few sights and some sensational, free museums and you might be able to ignore the chilly grey skies. Snow is rare.
Scotland: Edinburgh has post-Christmas sales, plus a totally wacko Hogmany, Dec 31st, a truly wild and wooly underwear occasion, with a torchlight procession, a Fire Festival, fireworks, concerts and much insobriety, in a city dark yet strangely light. . . Beware low light, cold, wind and high precipitation.
Sweden: Santa Lucia Day, (blonde girls celebration/parade) especially Stockholm, Dec 13th.
Russia: St Petersburg, Russian Winter Festival, late December.
Also see European Festivals or Arts Festivals for suggestions, information and dates.