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4 glorious European holiday trips

Instead of spending nights online shopping and weekends in line at the mall, why not give your family and loved ones a gift they ll never forget this Discount Holidays © holiday season: A European vacation. So long as it s not in the style of Clark Griswold and company, a European Discount Holidays © holiday getaway can inspire the magic of the season by introducing travelers to centuries-old traditions and modern Discount Holidays © holiday merrymaking. Whether you plan it this year or give it as a gift for next, here are some enchanting European Discount Holidays © holiday escapes for all ages.

  • 1.&nbspTour the Alpine Christmas Markets

    If you re really looking to get into the spirit of the season, tour the Christmas markets of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. These markets, some of which date back to the 1700s, take you back to the time where locals bought ingredients for their Christmas dinner, the candles to light the table, and gifts to give at the village market.

    Insight Vacations1 offers a 10-day family-friendly trek through some of the most famous Christmas markets. Spend two or three nights at each stop, which include Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Zurich, and stay in premium hotels, several with spectacular mountain views. Highlights include a horse and carriage ride through Germany s Black Forest, a visit to Europe s biggest indoor Christmas market –complete with a Swarovski Crystal Christmas tree in Zurich — meandering through Munich s Christkindlmarkt, and a stop at France s oldest market in Strasbourg. Count on the scents of cloves, gingerbread and spicy mulled wine following you back home to the U.S.

    If you re looking for more sightseeing combined with your Christmas Market tour, Go Ahead Tours offers a 14-day December trip through the Christmas Markets in Germany, Switzerland and Austria2, but it includes many other sights, as well. Their trip begins in Heidelberg, Germany, where you can tour Germany s oldest university and the Castle & Gardens of Schweztingen. Next, you head to Switzerland for stops in Lucerne and the Alpine town of Kapellbrucke, and then on to Innsbruck, Austria, to see the famed Golden Roof and Triumphbogen. Tour the castle of mad King Ludwig on your way to Munich, where you ll visit its traditional Christmas Markets and sip its famous beer. In Salzburg, tour the Mozart House and do your Christmas shopping on the old-fashioned Getreidegasse.

    Finally, conclude your vacation in beautiful Vienna, so named the capital of Christmas for its Christkindlmarktes.

  • 2.&nbspGet Adventurous With Disney

    For families with children, Adventures by Disney offers a 7-night trip to England and France3 over the winter break. The trip offers a taste of both big-city European life, as well as a trip back in time to the land of castles and cathedrals, the setting for many a Disney fairy tale. Kick off the trip in London aboard a classic red double-decker bus with stops at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Kids get a history lesson at Stonehenge where they can see the mysterious ancient stones, up close and personal. Then it s off to Paris for a climb up the Eiffel Tower and other stops at key tourist attractions, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, where little ones can envision Quasimodo courting the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda.

    Also, stop in the Louvre Museum for a study in art during an interactive scavenger hunt. Disney recommends that children be no younger than 4 and ideally at least 6 to fully enjoy this European holiday.

  • 3.&nbspA Parisian Discount Holidays © Holiday for Singles

    For those with no kids in tow, Contiki Vacations, for adults 18-35, offers a 4-day Christmas in Paris4 holiday. Ideal for those who can t get away from work for long or who need a more affordable option (the trip starts at only $463/person), this trip takes travelers from London to Paris and back. Tour Paris by night on an Illuminations tour by coach, shop Parisian boutiques including its famous perfumeries, cruise down the River Seine, enjoy a festive Christmas feast with your fellow travelers and have plenty of time to explore the city on your own, choosing the sites you most want to see.

    To keep costs down, Contiki has guests stay two to a room and also allows you to pay in installments with their layaway plant.

  • 4.&nbspHit the Highlights of Europe

    Get all your top European bases covered with the December Essential Europe trip5 from Globus Journeys, which hits Rome, Florence, Venice, Lucerne, Paris and London all in the span of 11 days. Visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter s Square and the Colosseum in Rome. In Tuscany and Florence, shop the local stores and munch down a traditional Tuscan dinner, then arrive in Venice by boat, see the sights, watch the city’s famous glassblowers and indulge in a pasta party. Take in the beauty of the Alps in Switzerland, stroll the streets of Old Town Lucerne, shop for classic Swiss watches or knives, and sample delicious Swiss chocolate. In the City of Lights, you ll visit the top attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, of course.

    Then, head to London via high-speed train to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard at St. Paul s Cathedral and take in the River Thames, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Whether you choose a chic Discount Holidays © holiday to Paris or an old-fashioned Christmas in the Alps, Christmas clean-up back home will seem another world away.

  • Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer.

    You can find her at or on Twitter at @GotoTravelGal.


    1. ^ Insight Vacations (
    2. ^ Christmas Markets in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (
    3. ^ 7-night trip to England and France (
    4. ^ Christmas in Paris (
    5. ^ Essential Europe trip (

    Cheap camping holidays: Our top 10 guide to the best-value European campsites

    Forget about the pricey Euro when you stay in our selection of Europe s top family campsites. Free kids clubs and on-site bars and restaurants give mum and dad a few hours peace into the bargain.

    Read more: 30 Flybe fares and 6 more January flight sales you don’t want to miss1

    1. De L Atlantique, West Brittany

    Alamy Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites

    De L Atlantique in West Brittany offers a water park and Discount Holidays © holiday camp rolled into one with the white sands of Beg-Meil bay for good measure. The bar overlooks the water park so you can keep an eye on the kids as they whip down the slides and chutes. There is family entertainment in the bar – from karaoke to magic shows and a disco.

    This Discount Holidays © holiday centre at Fouesnant in Brittany is aimed at families. Tour operator Eurocamp operates Fun Stations for kids aged four and above plus a Mini Funstation for tots. There’s also an Energy programme organising sports for older kids – from basketball to football and orienteering and rounders. To find out more on this break, head to

    2. La Brasilia, South of France

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites

    A sporty park with direct access to the lovely sandy beach at Canet-Plage in the Roussillon corner of southern France. When you re not playing beach volleyball or swimming in the sea and pools, you can join in a game of football, hit the courts to play badminton, tennis and volleyball or work out in the gym. There are also more traditional pursuits, from archery to sea fishing. Hire a bike to explore the countryside – cycle rental is 10 euros per day for adults and eight for kids.

    There are kids clubs with organised sessions plus a daily children s disco to give you time for a swift half early evening. After dark, the park puts on family discos and live entertainment. Make daytrips to historic Perpignan and even across the border into Spain. To find out more about this southern France camping holiday, visit Eurocamp3.

    Read more: The hacks to save on a family Eurocamp break to Europe4

    3. Bella Italia, Italy

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Bella Italia is right on the edge of Lake Garda

    Perched on the south-east tip of Lake Garda, this campsite is the perfect base for summer sightseeing, with Verona, Milan and the walled city of Mantua a short train ride away. As well as a massive waterpark, it has tennis courts, archery, kids clubs and a sandy beach.

    Bliss Camping has seven nights in a luxury tent sleeping four from 700.5

    4. Vilanova Park, Spain

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Vilanova Park, Spain, is on a lovely sandy beach

    This site is on the beautiful Costa Dorada, near a sandy beach (free bus every 30 minutes).

    On site is a bar and restaurant in a beautiful Catalan farmhouse, plus indoor and outdoor pools, a wellness centre, play areas and supermarket all set in large gardens. There s plenty to keep you busy, from table tennis and boules to volleyball and mini golf. Vilanova is also ideal for a city break, with bus services to Barcelona. To find out more about this break, visit Eurocamp online6.

    5. Camp Ka ela Medulin, Croatia

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Kazela Medulin is one the biggest campsites in Croatia

    Situated on Medulin bay near the historic centre of Pula, this is one of the largest campsites in Croatia, with a long pebble beach. Sporty campers are in for a treat it has a superb range of facilities: 15 pools, scuba-diving, water-skiing, wind-surfing and jet-skiing. For more information about this break, head to Arena Camps7.


    Quarteira, Portugal

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Quarteira is in the heart of the sunny Algarve

    This spacious campsite is in the heart of the Algarve close to the resort of the same name, which has a sandy beach and charming promenade. There is plenty to keep kids amused, from a games room and children s club to tennis, table tennis and football. There is also a waterpark in the gardens and plenty of watersports on offer at nearby Quarteira beach. To find out more, head to Eurocamp8.

    7. Ch teau de Chanteloup, France

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Ch teau de Chanteloup has stylish French sites

    This five-star campsite is set in 50 acres of parkland in the grounds of a 19th Century chateau. Guests can now bed down in a Glamping Toil tented suite sleeping up to four people, with big beds, a kitchenette and outdoor lounge with a BBQ. Or retreat to the ch teau, with its restaurant, bar, billiard room and TV lounge. For older kids there s paintball, golf and horse-riding.

    To discover more about this break, visit Le Chateau de Chanteloupe9, for ferry deals, Brittany Ferries10 is currently offering 20% off.

    8. Ca Savio, Italy

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Ca Savio is a boat ride from Venice

    Combine a camping Discount Holidays © holiday with a city break, staying at this laid-back site just a short boat ride away from Venice. Enjoy the two pool complexes, pedalo and cycle hire, mini-golf, boules and football, or relax on the long sandy beach. To find about more, visit Venue Holidays online11.


    Camping Manor Farm, Switzerland

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Camping Manor Farm is great for watersports

    This site is on the shores of Lake Thun, with views of the Eiger. It s great for watersports you can fish, windsurf, canoe and swim and there s also trampolining, table tennis and mini golf. Interlaken is less than two miles away… take the mountain railway up to the Jungfraujoch, the highest station in Europe. For more information about this holiday, visit Canvas Holidays12 online.


    Domaine de Litteau, France

    Cheap Camping Holidays: Our Top 10 Guide To The Best-value European Campsites Domaine de Litteau is on a forest edge

    This peaceful site on the edge of Cerisy Forest is the perfect base for exploring Normandy, famed for its huge beaches and medieval towns. It has a large pool complex and a new kids adventure zone is opening this summer. To find out more about this holiday, visit Siblu Villages13 – book before 15 January and get 20% off stays until September 2015.

    For cross channel deals, Brittany Ferries14 currently has 20% off 2016 Portsmouth-Caen ferry crossings.


    1. ^ 30 Flybe fares and 6 more January flight sales you don’t want to miss (
    2. ^ (
    3. ^ Eurocamp (
    4. ^ The hacks to save on a family Eurocamp break to Europe (
    5. ^ Bliss Camping has seven nights in a luxury tent sleeping four from 700. (
    6. ^ Eurocamp online (
    7. ^ Arena Camps (
    8. ^ Eurocamp (
    9. ^ Le Chateau de Chanteloupe (
    10. ^ Brittany Ferries (
    11. ^ Venue Holidays online (
    12. ^ Canvas Holidays (
    13. ^ Siblu Villages (
    14. ^ Brittany Ferries (