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Tallinn, Estonia | © Ilya Orehov/Unsplash
Tallinn, Estonia | © Ilya Orehov/Unsplash
Europe / See & Do / 4 Oct 2017
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11 Dreamy Destinations For a Festive Weekend Escape

You can now fly to over 150 destinations direct from London Stansted Airport. Getting there via Stansted Express has never been easier, with trains from central London taking 47 minutes, and only 36 minutes from Tottenham Hale. Here we’ve selected some of our favourite festive breaks for a perfect weekend getaway.

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt’s famous holiday market is one of largest in Germany. Enjoy bratwursts, mulled wine and traditional marzipan treats while strolling through the elaborate and creative stand decorations in Römerberg and St. Paul’s Square.

In the run up to the holidays, the huge, sparkling Christmas tree in the city centre truly makes Frankfurt one of Europe’s most beautiful winter destinations. Flights take approximately one hour and 27 minutes.

Visitors at a traditional Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany | © J. Lekavicius/Shutterstock
Visitors at a traditional Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany | © J. Lekavicius/Shutterstock

Grenoble, France

Nestled at the foot of the French Alps, Grenoble, nicknamed the ‘capital of the Alps’, is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and bountiful Alpine forests.

Visit La Bastille, a centuries-old fortress tucked into side of Mont Rachais. The fortress can be reached via a ride on the city’s bubble-like cable cars, which provide spectacular 360-degree views of the Isère River, mountain ranges and even a peak of the famous Mont Blanc. Be sure to save energy for ice skating at Parc Paul Mistral, or for a visit to a few of the city’s extraordinary number of world-class art galleries. Flights take approximately two hours.

Backdrop of the Alps against Grenoble, France | © colores/Shutterstock
Backdrop of the Alps against Grenoble, France | © colores/Shutterstock

Basel, Switzerland

Switzerland’s third biggest city is filled to the brim with must-see attractions including the Kunstmuseum, the largest public art collection in the country.

Soak up the festive Swiss atmosphere with a stroll across the stunning Mittlere Brücke, Basel’s landmark bridge over the Rhine river, a symbol of the city since it first opened in 1226. Flights take approximately one hour and 30 minutes.

Rathaus, the Town Hall of Basel, Switzerland | © Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock
Rathaus, the Town Hall of Basel, Switzerland | © Leonid Andronov

Stuttgart, Germany

As the capital city of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, Stuttgart is home to wintertime stunners including the Stuttgart Palace, a glorious former hunting lodge commissioned by Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg .

Don’t miss the 19th-century, gothic church of St John’s, which is perfectly reflected in the surrounding Lake of Feursee. Flights take approximately one hour and 55 minutes.

Picturesque Christmas market in Stuttgart | © DS_93/Shutterstock
Picturesque Christmas market in Stuttgart | © DS_93/Shutterstock

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland’s charming capital is framed by the impressive sight of the Edinburgh Castle, a fortress that towers over the city on a rock formed by ages of erosion by glaciers.

After wondering around the castle grounds head to St Giles’ Cathedral and prepare to be awed by the 14th-century ceilings, intricate carpentry and stained-glass windows. The cathedral’s framed crown steeple plays a notable role in the city’s skyline. Flights take approximately one hour and 10 minutes.

Edinburgh City and Castle, Scotland | © Heartland Arts/Shutterstock
Edinburgh City and Castle, Scotland | © Heartland Arts/Shutterstock

Bologna, Italy

Home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Italy, Bologna is a picturesque wintertime escape. The beautiful market is split across two locations – the Fiera di Natale, found in the piazza in front of the 12th-century San Pietro Cathedral, and the smaller Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia, situated in the cloisters of the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, where it’s been based since 1796.

Make sure you don’t leave Bologna without having tried the traditional torrone, a festive nougat made with almonds and honey. Flights take approximately two hours and 5 minutes.

Bologna houses seen from the Asinelli tower, Emilia Romagna, Italy | © iladm/Shutterstock
Bologna houses seen from the Asinelli tower, Emilia Romagna, Italy | © iladm/Shutterstock

Tallinn, Estonia

Red-roofed Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a top pick for a festive and beautiful weekend. Take a tour of the fairytale-like Old Town and fuel up on sweet treats and handmade wares from the handicraft market before heading to historic St. Olaf’s Church, built in the 1200s.

From there, climb the cobbled streets to the top of Toompea Hill to the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform, offering up a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline. Flights take approximately two hours and 50 minutes.

Town square of Tallinn decorated for Christmas | © dimbar76/Shutterstock
Town square of Tallinn decorated for Christmas | © dimbar76/Shutterstock

Oslo, Norway

Home to winter activities from ice skating to tobogganing, you don’t even need to leave Oslo’s metro system to reach a ski centre in this winter-loving city.

For those looking for a more laid-back escape, head to Badstua, a hidden gem and floating sauna. Brave visitors can take a risky dip in the frozen fjord water before nestling up for a relaxing evening in the steam. Flights take approximately two hours and 10 minutes.

Oslo's Royal Castle in the snow | © byggarn.se/Shutterstock
Oslo’s Royal Castle in the snow | © byggarn.se/Shutterstock

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s beautiful capital city offers endless experiences for a memorable weekend getaway. Head to one of the city’s many natural geothermal pools and saunas to bathe and relax. A visit to Nautholsvik, Iceland’s white sand, geothermal beach, is a unique way to enjoy the ocean even in the winter, offering a heated lagoon.

In the evening, stroll through downtown Reykjavik for an Icelandic beer and dinner. Icelanders don’t tend to head to the pub until around 1am, so plan on a late, wild and unforgettable night. Flights take approximately three hours and 10 minutes.

Stunning view over Reykjavik | © KeongDaGreat/Shutterstock
Stunning view over Reykjavik | © KeongDaGreat/Shutterstock

Turin, Italy

Surrounded by the breath-taking Alps, Turin was the home of the 2006 Winter Olympics and is the main city in the region of Piedmont, meaning foot of the mountains.

Whether you’re after an afternoon on the slopes or an aprés-ski without the ski, the La Val di Susa, known as the Milky Way, is a network of slopes that both professionals and amateurs can enjoy. Flights take approximately two hours.

Perfectly clear winter day in Turin, Italy | © Roberto Caucino/Shutterstock
Perfectly clear winter day in Turin, Italy | © Roberto Caucino/Shutterstock

Seville, Spain

If your idea of festive means escaping the cold, then head to Seville for a bit of winter sun. The temperature generally hovers around 20°C (68°F), dropping to a still-pleasant 16°C (61°F) between December and February. The Andalusian squares are bustling this time of year, and it is still warm enough to dine al fresco and wander around the stunning Alcázar palace without getting frostbite. Flights take approximately two hours and 45 minutes.

Enjoy the winter sun in Seville
Enjoy the winter sun in Seville | © Eddy Boom/Unsplash

Stansted Express runs between Liverpool Street, Tottenham Hale and London Stansted Airport, with direct connectivity to the London Underground. For more information on train times and to book your tickets, visit Stanstedexpress.com.

© Stansted Express
© Stansted Express