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Embark on a Christmas adventure in Europe with P&O Ferries

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It’s almost here – the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, we’re referring to Christmas! And what better way to immerse yourself in the festive magic than by exploring a Christmas market? Rooted in centuries-old traditions, these magnificent events pop up all over the world during the holiday season, transforming towns and cities into winter wonderlands, offering an enchanting escape for locals and visitors alike.

While the Christmas markets here in the UK are lovely, our neighbours in Europe – particularly France, Belgium and The Netherlands – truly shine in hosting these celebrations. This December, you can experience them for yourself and travel to your destination in style and comfort with P&O Ferries.


On the Dover to Calais ferry route, P&O passengers can unwind and rejuvenate in the all-inclusive Club Lounge and explore fantastic on-board facilities such as the World Duty Free store, which features all the latest Christmas deals and offers, with the opportunity to save up to 50% on high street prices. What’s more, thanks to the Pet Lounge, there’s even the option to bring your furry friend along with you on your travels.

Current promotions include a 10% discount on your trip if you travel with a motorhome or caravan by December 14th, 2023, or a complimentary case of wine (six bottles), collectable from the Calais Wine Superstore, with a day trip starting at just £39, valid for travel with a car or high car and up to 9 passengers.


There’s also a fantastic Short Break offer for Dover to Calais (3 or 5 Day Short Break). This offer is available on all Dover to Calais short break bookings travelled up to 14th December 2023.

3 Day Breaks are only from £99 if booked by 11 December 2023 while 5 Day Breaks are from £129 when booked by 9th December 2023.

So, if you're contemplating a winter getaway, here is some inspiration for day trips and short breaks from the P&O Ferries team, featuring all the best Christmas markets and festive events…


Discover the magical Christmas atmosphere of France

France's timeless charm, culinary prowess and festive spirit make it an idyllic winter destination. At Christmas, the French capital is a dazzling spectacle. The iconic Eiffel Tower sparkles against the night sky and Champs-Élysées transforms into a radiant avenue of twinkling decorations. Shopping will be an experience like no other, with iconic department stores adorning stand-out Christmas window displays and decorations. Check out the exhibits at Orsay Museum or Centre Pompidou or treat yourself to a fancy wine and cheese lunch in a private mansion!

As far as Christmas markets go, Lille puts on a fantastic show. From November to the end of December, Place Rihour transforms – enticing aromas of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts fill the air and the lights shimmer in all their glory.


With 90 chalets offering gifts and beautiful Christmas decorations, with a focus on artisan craftsmanship, along with pony rides for the kids, concerts and much more, Lille Christmas Market is the perfect place to soak up the magical festive atmosphere.

Le Touquet Christmas Market, which comes to Le Touquet-Paris Plage every winter, is another excellent choice, and it’s only an hour’s drive from the Calais ferry port. Shop a diverse range of artisan crafts and gourmet specialities, all sold from quaint wooden Alpine-style chalets, and enjoy festive treats such as roast chestnuts, crêpes and waffles while you browse, as well as traditional carol-singing and beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Completing this fantastic family-friendly market experience are two ice-skating rinks, horse-drawn carriage rides, an Enchanted Forest, festively-themed shows, a traditional carousel and storytelling. During your visit, make sure to swing by Le Touquet’s famous eclectic Art Deco villas too!


Immerse yourself in Belgium’s winter wonders

Belgium is renowned for its Christmas markets, with many of its towns and cities coming alive with twinkling lights, charming stalls and seasonal treats during November, December and January.

Visiting Brussels at Christmas is like stepping into a winter fairy tale. The Grand Place, adorned with an extravagant Christmas tree, is a sight to behold, and the Brussels Christmas Market, known as Winter Wonders, offers a symphony of lights, flavours and festive cheer. Try local delicacies such as waffles and frites, stroll through the stalls and buy handcrafted gifts, and see the iconic Atomium and streets like Rue des Bouchers dazzle with decorations.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Bruges is perfect. From 24th November, this small historic city hosts its winter festival, known as Winter Glow, drawing visitors from far and wide. Christmas markets, namely at Grote Markt and Simon Stevinplein, are integrated into the festival. Expect light installations and a myriad of winter activities, along with an ice-skating rink, cosy winter bars, food stalls and much more.

Liège Christmas market is the largest in Belgium, housing 200 seasonal chalets, along with all the festive family fun you could imagine – from sledge runs and ice skating to delicious artisan food, mulled wine and illuminations. Meanwhile, in the heart of Ghent, more than 150 wooden huts spread out from Sint-Baafsplein, along the Botermarkt and Klein Turkije to the end of the Korenmarkt. Here, the whole neighbourhood gets out its Christmas decorations, and there’s plenty of family fun, including the famous Ferris wheel.


Marvel at The Netherlands’ festive treasures

Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ capital, is worth visiting any time of the year. While tourists flock to the city during the spring for the iconic tulip season blooms, winters are equally as special. Amsterdam Light Festival takes place from 30th November 2023 until 21st January

2024. This open-air light exhibition transforms the canals into a unique canvas for light art, and of course, there are various markets and events to discover too!

If you’re not feeling the big city vibe, check out Valkenburg, a small town located in the South Limburg part of Holland. Its Royal Christmas Fair (7th – 23rd December) is the biggest Christmas market in the country. Taking place in the historic centre of The Hague, the eighth edition of the event promises to be even more festive, atmospheric and colourful than ever before, with dozens of Christmas houses, thousands of LED lights, atmospheric fires, mulled wine and an almost daily visit from Santa Clause himself.


Last and certainly not least is the Magical Maastricht Christmas Market, nestled in the heart of the charming city of Maastricht, which unfolds against the backdrop of historic architecture and cobblestone streets. With over 200 stalls, it offers a diverse array of festive delights, from handcrafted gifts and ornaments to seasonal treats. Families can enjoy the Ferris wheel and ice rink, while live performances and entertainment enhance the holiday spirit!

To find out more about travelling with P&O Ferries and to book your crossing this winter, visit www.poferries.com.

Terms and conditions

Short break offer from £99

This offer is available on all Dover to Calais short break bookings travelled up to 14th December. 3-Day Breaks from £99 and 5-Day Breaks from £129 when booked by 11th December for 3 day, and 9th December for 5 day. Excludes long breaks, 2 and 4-day returns, day trips, foot passengers, bicycles, vehicles designed for commercial use, minibuses, motorhomes, caravans or vehicles towing a caravan or trailer. P&O Ferries reserves the right to amend or withdraw all elements of the promotion without prior notice. Subject to Promotional Conditions and P&O Ferries' Terms of Business, both available online at www.poferries.com.

Free wine with a day trip from £39

Offer applies only to a day trip on standard tickets from Dover to Calais made by 28th November, for travel up to 30th November 2023. Promotion excludes foot passengers, bicycles and vehicles designed for commercial use (including vans). Promotion code valid against new bookings only and can only be redeemed at time of booking. Promo code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts. Bookings are subject to restricted space, sailings and dates. P&O Ferries reserves the right to amend or withdraw all elements of the promotion without prior notice. Subject to Promotional Conditions and P&O Ferries’ Terms of Business, both available online at www.poferries.com.

10% off caravans and motorhomes

Offer is valid for single and standard returns made by December 13th for travel up to December 14th 2023. Bookings are subject to restricted space, sailings and dates. Excludes cars (without a caravan), high cars, motorcycles, motorcycle combinations, minibuses, vans, trailers, foot passengers and bicycles, as well as short breaks, 2 days and day trips. Subject to limited availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. P&O Ferries reserves the right to amend or withdraw all elements of the promotion without prior notice. Subject to Promotional Conditions and P&O Ferries’ Terms of Business, both available online at www.poferries.com.

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