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5 European-Style Destinations in California for Christmas and New Year Eve

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Wooden Christmas decoration hanging on fir tree

As the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve celebration approach, now is the perfect moment to plan your winter getaway. If you’re a fan of European-style destinations and happen to live in the USA, there’s no need to cross the Atlantic. I want to share with you 5 European-style destinations in California, where you can experience the magic of the season!

Carmel-by-the-Sea: A Taste of Bavaria

Tucked along the rugged coastline, Carmel-by-the-Sea transforms into a European-style Christmas village. Stroll along cobblestone streets lined with charming cottages adorned with twinkling lights. Visit the European-style Christmas market for handcrafted gifts and festive treats. Enjoy a carriage ride through the fairytale-like village, and don’t miss the annual tree lighting ceremony in Devendorf Park for a truly Bavarian-inspired holiday experience. Also you can take wine tasting and walking tour. Carmel by the sea is very beautiful town, picturesque and encourages to sketch.

Solvang: Danish Delights in the Golden State

Nestled in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang transports you straight to Denmark with its windmills, half-timbered buildings, and Danish pastries. During the holidays, the village comes alive with Christmas cheer.

Explore the Danish Christmas markets, enjoy æbleskiver (Danish pancakes), and take a stroll down the charming streets filled with holiday decorations. The Solvang Julefest Parade and the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony are must-see events. Explore hidden gems, lifestyle and history of Solvang in Food and Photo tour. Solvang is also a sketcher dream, so prepare your sketchbooks and stuff.

Truckee: Alpine Elegance in the Sierra Nevada

Experience a winter wonderland reminiscent of the Swiss Alps in Truckee. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, this charming town is blanketed in snow during the holidays. Explore the European-inspired shops, cozy up in alpine-style lodges, and take a sleigh ride through the snow-covered landscapes. The annual Torchlight Parade on the slopes of Northstar California Resort adds a touch of Swiss sophistication to your New Year’s Eve celebration.

If you love winter activities you also can book a Snowshoeing Guided tour .

Nevada City: Victorian Celebration

During the holidays, Nevada City comes alive with holiday lights, decorations, and various events. The Victorian Christmas celebration is a highlight, transforming the town into a magical winter wonderland with horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, and local vendors offering handmade crafts and seasonal treats. The Yuba River, located nearby, adds to the scenic beauty, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or simply taking in the winter landscapes. Nevada City’s cozy bed and breakfasts, historic inns, and welcoming community make it an appealing destination for those seeking a relaxed and festive holiday experience. I encourage you to take Walking Tour and learn more about Nevada City.

I must mention that Nevada city is a great spot to capture in your sketchbook.

Santa Barbara: Spanish Flair on the Riviera

Connect to the spirit of Spain in the lovely city of Santa Barbara. With its red-tiled roofs, white-washed buildings, and palm-lined streets, Santa Barbara exudes a Mediterranean charm. Explore the historic State Street, adorned with holiday lights, and visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara for a touch of old-world elegance. More about December events in Santa Barbara you can read at the official site.

Book a Catamaran Sunset cruise for romantic atmosphere.

These European-inspired destinations in California offer a delightful blend of old-world charm and West Coast magic. Whether you’re sipping hot cocoa in a Bavarian village or counting down to the New Year in Mediterranean style, let California be your European holiday escape.

Still want to plan your vacation in Europe? I recommend you to pay your attention to these 5 cities.

San Francisco Cruise Party
Sacramento Firework Cruise
San Diego Dinner Cruise

New Years Eve in California

San Francisco Cruise Party
Sacramento Firework Cruise
San Diego Dinner Cruise
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