Seasonal ideas

Christmas Shopping in Europe

From shopping malls to specialist boutiques and Christmas markets, discover our guide to the best places for Christmas shopping in Europe.

Be inspired by some of Europe’s most beautiful cities with your Christmas shopping this year. You’re sure to find unique gifts unlike anything else under the tree.

Christmas shopping in Europe

As tradition dictates, ‘it is better to give than to receive’ and nothing could be truer when it comes to Christmas. However, despite all the wonderful decorations and traditions, the festive season is not without its stresses, and Christmas shopping can be a chief one for many people.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe anytime in the run-up to December 25th, you’ll be perfectly placed to start your Christmas shopping. Take a look at some of our favourite cities for Christmas shopping in Europe for a little inspiration.

It’s not just about the Christmas markets

Europe is renowned for having some of the most magical Christmas markets, which are worth visiting if you have the time. However, there are plenty more shopping opportunities available, aside from what the Christmas markets have to offer.

Best Christmas shopping destinations in France

With a gala of lights, seasonal traditions and decorations, Christmas shopping in France is an experience you will remember. Many of the French cities are filled with fabulous Christmas markets, and in the city centres, the pre- Christmas period is the busiest time of the year.


The romantic 'City of Lights', Paris will steal your heart, particularly at Christmas.

The drive from Calais to Paris is approximately three hours and 15 minutes, so even with the shorter days, you’ll be able to maximise your shopping time. For something truly decadent, in terms of the shopping experience as well as the merchandise, head for the luxurious Galeries Lafayette. If you're in the market for something a little quirkier, though, head to the famous Colette boutique, or simply wander the streets of Le Marais or the Latin Quarter.

Christmas tree at Galleries Lafayette, Paris with purple baubles and a silver star beneath a glass dome


Known as the jewel of the north, Christmas time in Lille is something else.

Old Lille has hundreds of unique boutiques lining the narrow, cobblestone streets, along with plenty of high-end luxury stores. Lille also has numerous antique shops and an incredible second-hand book market in the Vielle Bourse both of which are perfect for finding those unexpected gifts which you instantly know are perfect.

Plus, as the drive from Calais is just over an hour you’ll get plenty of shopping opportunities for your journey, which makes it a great option for a shorter pre-Christmas break.


The closest area to the LeShuttle terminal, Calais has everything you need for a Christmas shopping break. The town centre and districts are filled with festive lights to get you in the Christmas spirit.

For a truly authentic gift, the town has plenty of shops that stock delicious cheese (local, regional and further afield) and the incredibly intricate Calais lace. Rue Royal and Boulevard Lafayette are both great shopping streets that are filled with boutiques and trendy stores.


Although the drive from Calais to Lyon is slightly longer than some other French cities, at around 7 hours it’s well worth the journey. The UNESCO-listed city hosts an incredible festival of lights during December and in terms of the shopping, there’s plenty to get stuck in to.

From small boutiques to major brands in malls or around the vibrant Rue de la République, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re looking for something to please culinary specialists, Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse is a great place to start.


In December, Bordeaux is transformed into a winter wonderland and festooned with fairy lights, garlands.

Renowned for its style, Bordeaux is home to many department stores, luxury brands, jewellers and concept stores. The famous rue Sainte-Catherine (the longest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe) is filled with a wide variety of shops and luxury boutiques. Equally, Rue Porte Dijeaux is filled with concept stores and the perfect place to discover some really individual gifts.

Don’t forget your tax-free shopping

UK residents are now eligible to shop tax free in the European Union and can save on VAT for a variety of goods including cosmetics, jewellery, technology, and food and drink items.

For more information, our tax-free shopping guide has everything you need to know.

Christmas shopping in Belgium

With its stunning medieval towns, historic city centres and wonderful Christmas markets, Belgium is another destination that will leave your wallet considerably lighter but your heart filled with cheer after a few days spent sightseeing and Christmas shopping.


Only an hour and a half from Calais, Bruges is not only home to an iconic Christmas market, but also some fantastic shopping opportunities.

For the chocolate lovers in your life, Bruges has around fifty chocolate shops for you to browse to your hearts (and theirs) content. Equally, if you want to treat yourself to a little something, Bruges Christmas shop, De Witte Pelikaan, is the perfect place for discovering special decorations.


In the run-up to December 25th, Ghent’s city centre receives a true Christmas makeover. Most of the shops are beautifully decorated by their owners and are a sight to behold.

Less than two hours from Calais, Ghent is filled with trinket shops stocking items from Belgium designers. Ghent also has the largest pedestrian shopping area in Belgium, which mixes authentic boutiques alongside more well-known clothing stores. When shopping in Ghent the key is to follow your nose, as no matter which way you turn, there’s something special around every corner.


A two-hour drive from Calais, Brussels is the city to find distinctive gifts this Christmas. Aside from the unmissable Christmas market, the beautifully decorated shops themselves also hold plenty of treasures.

For luxury brands and Belgium designers, try Avenue Louise or for something chic and stylish visit Rue Antoine Dansaert. If you want to beat the crowds, Passage du Nord is a popular spot with locals. Here you will find a six-floor building decked with incredible architecture and plenty of chocolate and luxury good stores inside.

Christmas decorations in glazed shopping arcade in Brussels

Christmas shopping in the Netherlands

Welcome the Dutch winter with a Christmas shopping trip in the Netherlands. With beautifully lit streets, gorgeous shop fronts and plenty of Christmas markets, Christmas time in the Netherlands is unforgettable.


Approximately 4 hours from Calais, its cosy cafes and bridges covered with lights make the fairytale atmosphere of Amsterdam come to life.

Jordaan is filled with independent boutiques and the picturesque Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) are home to a great selection of gift shops, jewellers and vintage stores all of which carry gifts featuring the distinctive Dutch design. For more, Dutch and international designers, head to heritage store De Bijenkorf which also houses some beautiful in-store instillations.

Den Bosch

Three and a half hours from Calais,  Den Bosch is another great city to start your Christmas shopping.

Any bookworm will be thrilled with a gift from Stripboekwinkel Silvester bookstore, which caters for a wide range of tastes. Equally, a walk down the main shopping street  Hinthamerstraat will give you the chance to check out a variety of shops and boutiques, while the streets of Kolperstraat and Verwersstraa are filled with exclusive brand stores.

The Hague

The Royal Christmas Fair is always a highlight for anyone visiting The Hague at Christmas time.

Less than four hours from Calais, The Hague has plenty of shopping opportunities available. If you’re looking for fashion-focused boutiques, the Denneweg and Frederikstraat have a blend of haute couture, boutiques and high-end stores all of which will suit any style. If you fancy a wander and a browse, the Hofkwartier quarter has plenty of different shops for you to explore.

Christmas lights reflecting off canal with shops and houses either side of the bank at night in Amsterdam

Further afield

If you have time to explore a little further afield, Europe has plenty of astounding cities for Christmas shopping on offer, all of which will give you the chance to find distinctive gifts for your friends and family or yourself.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is known for having some of the best markets and specialist boutiques in Europe. During your visit, try to dedicate a couple of hours to simply wander the streets of the Innere Stadt, with charming little lanes and squares lined with shops selling all manner of beautiful gift ideas, from chocolate to fine porcelain.

Munich, Germany

Around a 10-hour drive from Calais, Munich is filled with festive cheer throughout December.

Across Germany and Europe, Munich is a major attraction for shopping. The area around Gärtnerplatz is popular with young designers, so you might be able to pick up an original creation. The city centres arcades, like the Fünf Höf, also present a mixture of exclusive shops and galleries.

A young couple walking on the street and checking the storefront with Christmas decoration

Lisbon, Portugal

Although the nineteen-hour drive to Lisbon is long, the shopping and atmosphere are worth it, especially for the Wonderland Lisboa. The city mixes independent shops with international designer stores, and the LxFactory is a great place to start looking for unique presents. Another great spot is Embaixada, a high-end concept store located in a converted palace.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Twelve and a half hours from Calais, Copenhagen is a genuine Christmas city and one not to be missed when it comes to shopping.

Running parallel to the main shopping street Købmagergade, Pilestræde is a Christmas shopping paradise. Filled with fashionable shops and diverse styles, there’s plenty of different options for you to browse including interior shops to independent boutiques with new designers.

Milan, Italy

Slightly further afield, but worth the long drive, is the beautiful city of Milan.

If you're in the market for some luxury goods, then there is nowhere better to indulge than Milan's Quadrilatero Della Moda where you're sure to find just the thing to spoil that special someone. If you're looking for more artisan or unusual gifts, a trawl around the shops of the Brera district is guaranteed to uncover some real gems. Il Salvagente, Milan's most popular outlet store is also a great spot for a bargain.

Explore Europe’s best Christmas shopping destinations with LeShuttle


With LeShuttle, the vibrant cities and bustling boutiques are a matter of moments away. It takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel from Folkestone to Calais, and with services running up to four times an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it couldn't be more convenient. Just make sure there's enough room in the car for all the presents you're going to buy.

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Explore Europe’s best Christmas shopping destinations with LeShuttle

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