Term is almost over and it’s less than 3 weeks until Christmas… what better time than an impromptu break before the Christmas madness?
Below are some of the best deals we have found for a December vacation!
Visit Göteborg in Sweden from £29.34 per night, Riga in Latvia from £22 per night or Salzburg in Austria from £29.64 per night!
Sweden – Göteborg from £88 for 3 nights
(1 GBP = 12.85 SEK)
London STN – Gothenburg £14 (Available departure dates 15/12, 16/12, return on 18/12, 21/12, 22/12) with Ryanair Landvetter airport is the main airport and the centre of the city can be reached by bus in 30 minutes, and the bus runs every 15-20 minutes and costs 185 SEK (£14.40) return if bought online and 205 (£16) if not.
Things to do:
- Liseberg Christmas Market (open all December, excluding 1,7,14,24,25,31 – check here for opening hours)
- 95 SEK for the market, 245 SEK for the market and amusement park ride pass
- 27 rides are open during the market, including a Sleigh Ride with reindeer!
- Hansel & Gretel On Ice is currently included within your ticket – watch the classic fairytale as you have never seen it before!
- Gothenburg Museum of Art – 40 SEK (£3.12)
- Under 25? Entrance is free!
- Collections from the 15th century to today
- The museum houses one of the leading collections of Nordic art from the turn of the 19th century
- Fürstenberg Gallery displays paintings by such Nordic artists as Edvard Munch, Ernst Josephson, Carl Larsson, P. S Krøyer and Anders Zorn
- Wednesdays 5:30-7:30pm is time to explore your artistic side – be introduced to different techniques and get practical tips. 30 SEK (£2.33) or free if under 25!
- Visit the old City Hall (Kronhuset) – now a vibrant craft centre!
- Visit Haga
- One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg
- The streets are lined with well-preserved wooden houses
- Many independent shops and cafés!
- One of the most famous pastries in town – Hagabullen – a plate-sized cinnamon bun, is found at Café Husaren at Haga Nygata
- Christmas Market (until 20th December)
(Photographs from visitsweden.com, liseberg.com and Wikipedia)
- Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant (Trädgårdsgatan 6, Centrum, 411 08 Gothenburg) – £199 per night in a double room
- 6 minute walk from Gothenburg Central Station
- Bold décor and luxury Carpe Diem beds with Egyptian cotton bedding are featured in all rooms
- Room includes a minibar, bathrobes with slippers and an internet-connected TV with free movie channels
- Free WiFi
- Elite Plaza Hotel ***** (Västra Hamngatan 3, Centrum, 411 17 Gothenburg) – £147 per night in a double room
- All rooms at The Elite Plaza come with a minibar, cable TV and safe
- The decór is a blend of international style and classic Scandinavian design
- The atrium-style Swea Hof restaurant has elegant gourmet dining based on local ingredients. Drinks can be enjoyed at the Plaza Bar and at the British-style The Bishop’s Arms pub.
- On Sundays, guests can enjoy breakfast until 12 pm and check-out until 6 pm (excludes peak times, before 20th December only)
- Guests can unwind in the relaxation area, complete with a sauna and a fully-equipped gym. The exclusive spa services at nearby Elite Park Avenue Hotel are also available for Plaza’s guests.
- Spoton Hostel (Mölndalsvägen 3, Centrum, 412 63 Gothenburg) – £20 per night for a bed in a dorm
- Only 150 metres away from the south entrance of Liseberg Amusement Park
- The closest tram station is just a 2-minute walk away
- Free WiFi
- At Spoton Hostel & Sportsbar you will find a bar and restaurant serving internationally-inspired dishes
- A buffet is offered during lunch and an a la carte menu for dinner
- Shared facilities include a kitchen and communal lounge
- Breakfast for £6
- Göteborgs Mini-Hotel (Tredje Långgatan 31, Majorna-Linné, 413 27 Gothenburg) – £35 per night for twin room with shared bathroom, £30 for single room with shared bathroom, £24 for single bed in dorm
- Less than 5 minutes’ walk from Järntorget Square and the historic, picturesque Haga district
- It offers free Wi-Fi, a fully equipped communal kitchen and in-room fridges
- A TV, wardrobe and hairdryer are provided in each room
- Free coffee is available on site, as well as a small snack shop, laundry room and TV lounge. Mini-Hotel also serves a daily breakfast
- Mästhuggstorget Tram Stop is just a 3-minute walk away, taking guests to Gothenburg Central Station in 12 minutes
Accommodation £17.50 – £99.50 per night per person
Airport transfers £14.40
Liseberg Christmas Market £7.40
From £88.18 for 3 nights in a 2-star hotel, based on two people sharing
Splurge from £256.18 for 3 nights in a 5-star hotel, based on two people sharing
Latvia – Riga from £88 for 4 nights
(1 GBP = 1.39 EUR)
Liverpool – Riga £50 (14th – 18th December) with WizzAir
Riga International Airport (‘Starptautiskā Lidosta Rīga’ in Latvian) is located 10km southwest of Riga. Bus 22 runs between the airport and the old town, with a stop near the central bus and railway stations. The bus runs every 10 minutes during rush hour and the journey to the old town takes 40 minutes. Another option is mini bus 222 departing from the same stop for €2 (pay the driver).
Airport Express operates minibuses to the city center costing €5 per person. These run every 30 minutes but only take 20 minutes to get to the old town.
(Photograph from smarttravel.ee)
Things to do:
- Free walking tour – starts at 12 every day in front of St Peters Church
- 2.5 hours
- Free – but guests are expected to tip how much they think it was worth!
- Riga Card – 24h €25, 48h €30, 72h €35
- Great if you are a fan of museums!
- 10% discount if bought online
- First 24 hours include free public transportation
- Includes 1 free coffee at selected locations, free City Tour audio-guided bus tour, free Old Town walking tour, free entrance to various museums as well as discounted entry to others and discounts at some restaurants
- Rīgas Domas (Riga Cathedral)
- Open 10am – 5pm
- Concerts on often! Latvian Radio Choir on December 17th at 8pm
- It is the biggest medieval church and one of the oldest religious buildings in Latvia and in the whole Baltic region. It combines features from Romanesque, early Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau periods of architecture.
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
- Essential sightseeing for anyone with an interest in the history of the USSR or Nazi Germany
- Free entrance
- St Peter’s Church
- St. Peter’s Church is one of the oldest and most valuable monuments of medieval architecture in the Baltic States. It is located in the historical centre of Riga and on 4 December 1997 was included among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- CLOSED MONDAYS
- Admission €9 or €7 with student ID
- Old Town Christmas Fair (Dome Square)
- Free entrance
- The fair offers a wide range of Latvian handcrafts for Christmas gifts – patterned mittens, skillfully turned wooden candlesticks, Latvian honey and more
- Open 10 am – 6 pm
(Photograph from riga.inbaltics.com)
- Royal Square Hotel ***** (Kaļķu iela 3A , Riga, LV-1050) – £249 for 4 nights in a double room
- A varied buffet breakfast (included) is served in hotel’s lobby bar. Lunch or dinner can be enjoyed in the stylish Restaurant Desiderata, which specializes in Latvian and international gourmet dishes.
- Guests can relax in a hot tub and a sauna free of charge.
- The luxurious 5-star Royal Square Hotel & Suites is in the heart of Riga’s Old Town, a 5-minute walk from the National Opera. It features elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi.
- Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa **** (Kalēju iela 33, Riga, LV-1050) – £200 for 4 nights in a double room with spa access
- The rooms feature elegant décor in the shades of brown and beige. Each includes a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a minibar and an electric kettle. Featuring a hairdryer, the private bathrooms are also stocked with free toiletries.
- Spa center that features massages, as well as access to 2 saunas – Turkish and Finnish, and a hot tub. There also is an indoor swimming pool which is over 9 m long.
- Guests are welcomed to dine in the on-site restaurant, Melnā Bite, which specializes in Latvian cuisine. Breakfast buffet (included) is available in the mornings.
- Tree House (Kaļķu iela 11a (4th floor), Riga, LV-1050) – £29 for 4 nights in a 14-bed dorm
- Rated 9.8 “Exceptional” at booking.com
- Free WiFi throughout the property
- 350 metres from Latvian National Opera and the surrounding park
- Bright and minimalist in style, all dormitories have a shared bathroom
- There is a shared kitchen with an oven, a toaster and kitchenware
- Breakfast included
- According to reviewers, there is a Yoga teacher who comes on Tuesdays!
- Dome Pearl Hostel (Tirgoņu iela 4, Riga, LV-1050) – £57 for a double room with shared bathroom, £52 for a single
- Only 31 m from Dome Cathedral and has a 24-hour front desk
- Bed linens and towels are provided free of charge.
- The shared lounge room includes a small kitchen area with microwave, free tea and coffee, and a fridge. It also has a computer with free internet access.
- Many attractions are within a 10-minute walk from the hostel, including the Powder Tower, St. Peter’s Church and the National Opera.
Accommodation £28.50 – £124.50 for 4 nights per person
Airport transfers £2.88
St Peter’s Church £6.48
From £87.84 for 4 nights in a budget hotel, based on two people sharing
Splurge from £183.84 for 4 nights in a 5-star hotel or £159.34 for 4 nights in a 4-star spa hotel, based on two people sharing
Austria – Salzburg from £ for 6 nights
(1 GBP = 1.39 EUR)
London STN – Salzburg £51.28 (12th – 18th December) with Ryanair
Salzburg W.A. Mozart International Airport is situated about 20 minutes from the center of the city. Connection with the city is provided by bus. The trip from the airport to the train station is approx. 20 minutes and costs €2.50.
(Photograph from fineartamerica.com)
Things to do:
- Salzburger Christkindlmarkt
- Salzburg’s Christmas Market is one of the best in Austria, in my opinion. Potentially one of the best in Europe, although I may be biased as I live in Austria… but if you get the chance to visit Salzburg this winter, don’t miss the market!
- Open Monday – Thursday 10:00-20:30, Friday 10:00-21:00, Saturday 09:00-21:00 and Sunday 09:00-20:30
- Salzburg’s Christmas market dates back from the 15th century!
- 95 exhibitors display and sell goods such as decorations, candles, incense, Glühwein (hot mulled wine – the best!), Christmas delicacies, sweets, jewellery and more!
- Salzburg Christmas Tours for €25 pp, as well as daily performances from choirs, music groups and soloists
- Hohensalzburg Fortress – €11.30 including funicular, €8 without
- Looming high above the baroque towers of the city, this castle in Salzburg is an unmistakable landmark providing the city’s world famous silhouette
- The road to the castle can be walked in 30 minutes or a funicular railway takes you straight there!
- Mozarts Geburthaus (Mozart’s birthplace) – €10 entry
- Visit the bright yellow townhouse where Mozart was born in 1756
- Now a museum, items such as the mini violin he played as a toddler, as well as other instruments, documents, and portraits, are displayed
- Residenz – €12 entry
- The crowning glory of Salzburg’s new Dom Quartier, the Residenz is where the prince-archbishops held court until Salzburg became part of the Habsburg Empire in the 19th century
- An audioguide tour takes in the exuberant state-rooms lavishly adorned with tapestries, stucco, and frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr
- The 3rd floor is given over to the Residenzgalerie, where the focus is on Flemish and Dutch masters
- Self-guided walking tour
(Photographs by soundofsalzburg.info and christkindlmarkt.co.at)
- Austria Trend Hotel Altstadt Radisson Blu Salzburg ***** (Rudolfskai 28/Judengasse 15, Altstadt, 5020 Salzburg) – £776 for 6 nights in an executive room for two
- The Austria Trend Hotel Altstadt Radisson Blu Salzburg is a 5-star hotel in a historic building dating from 1377
- Free Wi-Fi
- The Altstadt Radisson Blu’s Symphonie restaurant specializes in Austrian and international dishes and views of the river and the Kapuzinerberg mountain
- The breakfast buffet is served between 6:30 am and 10:30 am (£19)
- Guests receive a 1-day bonus card with a 10% discount for a selection of stores in the Designer Outlet Centre.
- Hotel Villa Carlton **** (Markus-Sittikus-Straße 3, 5020 Salzburg) – £533 for 6 nights in a double room
- Located just a few steps from the Mirabell Gardens and the Salzburg Congress Centre
- Salzburg Main Train Station and the Old Town are just under half a kilometer away
- Free Wi-Fi
- The spacious, individually designed rooms at this boutique hotel feature a flat-screen satellite TV, a safe, and an iPod docking station
- A bar is available in the elegant lounge
- Meininger Hotel Salzburg City Centre *** (Fürbergstraße 18-20, Schallmoos, 5020 Salzburg, Austria) – £296 for 6 nights in a double room
- Just over 1.6 km from the Old Town and has rooms with a flat-screen TV
- Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel for free
- Each room is decorated with modern, wood furniture and has a private bathroom
- A shared kitchen and laundry facilities are at guests’ disposal
- A bar with a billiards table and foosball is available. Guests can also use a Nintendo Wii and a guitar.
- Salzburg Cathedral, the Mirabell Gardens and Mozart’s Birthplace can be reached within a 30-minute walk
- Airbnb has options for Salzburg and surroundings
Accommodation £99.00 – £388 for 6 nights per person
Airport transfers £3.60
Mozarts Geburthaus £7.20
Hohensalzburg Fortress £8.13
From £177.84 for 6 nights in Airbnb accommodation, based on two people sharing
Splurge from £466.84 for 6 nights in a 5-star hotel or £345.34 for 6 nights in a 4-star hotel, based on two people sharing
Found any great deals for a winter break? Share them with us in the comments!