The Best Department Stores For Christmas Shopping in Europe
If you’re Eurailling around Europe in December, there are few activities as festive as Christmas shopping. There are endless markets over this time, but there’s something special about visiting an established shopping centre or department store that goes all out to draw you in. Even if you’re not planning to buy, a visit to one of these shopping centers and stores will fill you with Christmas spirit.
Harrods in London is a massive department store with legendary Christmas displays, perfect for christmas shopping. It covers a staggering five acres in the English capital, and it transforms according to the season. Christmas is without doubt one of the best times to visit. They open up a special department catering specifically to the event, and even if you’re not wealthy enough to splurge on the products it’s still worth a visit to witness the December spectacle.
How to get there by train: You can visit London on your Eurail Pass by taking the Eurostar train from continental Europe to King’s Cross St. Pancras. Once in London, the London Underground, not included on your Eurail Pass, will connect you to Knightsbridge, a short walk from Harrods.
Galeries Lafayette, Paris
This upmarket department store is one of the fanciest in the French capital. It recently turned over one billion euro in a single year. It features some of the world’s most exclusive brands and products, and the 10-story building is remarkable at any time of the year. A special charm descends on it over Christmas, however. A large tree sits in its centre, and lights, decorations and, music help set the festive mood for christmas shopping.
How to get there by train: Paris is a major rail hub in France, and there are regular trains there from throughout the country. Once in Paris, you can take the RER A to Paris Auber, a short walk from Galeries Lafayette.
De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s De Bijenkorf is one of Europe’s most enthralling destinations to visit around Christmas. The Dutch department store creates remarkable window displays each year. You can expect plenty of glitter, lights, traditional decorations, and modern installments. Even if you’re not in the market for the latest Jimmy Choos, there’s enough there to keep you captivated. There are also events leading up to Christmas if you’re there a few weeks too early, including the turning on of the lights and visits by Saint Nicholas.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Amsterdam from throughout the Netherlands. From Amsterdam Centraal, De Bijenkorf is a 10 minute walk away.
Selfridges is another famous London department store that pulls out all the stops for Christmas. Each year they open up a Christmas department that picks up momentum towards the holiday season. The theme and displays change each year and have people waiting in anticipation until the grand reveal. All displays feature a range of Christmas stories involving their various high-end products in fun and entertaining ways sure to light up your Instagram feed.
How to get there by train: You can visit London on your Eurail Pass by taking the Eurostar train from continental Europe to King’s Cross St. Pancras. Once in London, the London Underground, not included on your Eurail Pass, will connect you to Oxford Circus Underground, a short walk away from Selfridges.
Few countries do Christmas as well as Germany, and the KaDeWe department in Berlin store is no exception. There are more than 60,000 square meters of retail space in this shopping haven and its size alone makes it a store worth visiting at any time of the year. But come Christmas, they shift focus to all things festive. It’s the perfect destination to do a bit of window shopping, check the latest trends, and to soak up all that commercial Christmas spirit.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Berlin from throughout Germany. Once in the city, catch the U2 subway line to Wittenbergplatz.
It takes a lot to stand out in one of the world’s shopping capitals. But when it comes to Paris’s Printhemps, they set the standard for window displays and Christmas shopping. The store focuses on lifestyle, fashion and beauty, but come December, most flock there to peer through the glass and see what creative display they’ve come up with for the passersby. The displays are among the best in the world, and the Christmas stories they tell charm both the young and old.
How to get there by train: The window displays are in the Boulevard Haussmann store, which is easy to reach on Paris’s Line 9 metro.
December is a fantastic time to tour Europe by train. Not only do you have stunning winter scenery to view from the window of your train, but most towns and cities make an effort to spread some Christmas cheer. With many displays up for several weeks leading up to the 25th, you could always plan to visit them all with a Eurail Global Pass and compare them in person.
In a festive mood? You might also be interested in:
10 Of The Best Christmas Markets In Europe
6 Different Ways To Celebrate Christmas In Europe
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