Christmas in Europe
The Christmas holidays are a wonderful time of year no matter where you are. Families and friends come together, and old traditions are passed on through the generations. While Christmas at home is always lovely, the winter holidays are the perfect time to go explore the Christmas traditions of a different culture! For today’s blog, we’ve picked just a few of our favorite European cities to visit during the holiday season.
The birthplace of both Christmas markets and Christmas trees, Germany is the ideal destination for a holiday trip. The charming city of Nuremberg arguably has the most famous Christmas market in Germany. With over 180 stalls, The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is definitely the highlight of the season. Locals have worked to ensure that the market stays as traditional as possible, so while this market might not have a Ferris wheel or arcade games, it retains its traditional charm with classic treats like rostbratwurst, gingerbread and glühwein. The market also has a “sister market” area that features stalls with traditional holiday treats and crafts from around the world! For a break from the outdoor market, travelers can visit some of Nuremberg’s dozens of museums – including a Toy Museum! What better way to get in the mood for Christmas Day!
The small and stunning city of Prague is the perfect balance of cozy Christmas town and fascinating tourist destination. Smaller than many European capitals, Prague centers around four large Christmas markets during December, and offers plenty of hardy Czech foods to keep tourists warm! The center of the city – Old Square – is transformed into a magical Christmas market featuring the city’s official Christmas tree. However, for some more local and unique vendors, check out the market in Wenceslas Square just down the street. Tourists can also join a walking tour that visits each of the city’s large Christmas markets. In the evening, enjoy some warm and tasty Czech food such as Klobása sausages, svařák mulled wine, and flaky trdelnik pastries!
If a quiet holiday getaway sounds more appealing, a visit to the Scottish Highlands is in order. Travelers can stay at one of the many manors and castles that have been converted into beautiful hotels and resorts. In the stunning snow-covered hills of the Highlands, visitors can partake in activities like sled rides, hunts, winter walks, and even see the Northern Lights! In Scotland, Christmas day is celebrated with a large feast, but the true celebration in Scotland is for the New Year – called Hogmanay – where each city and town has a two-day celebration featuring festivals, fireworks, and ceilidh dancing! A trip to Scotland will give visitors a chance to truly relax and enjoy the company they are with while experiencing the beauty of the Highlands and the unique traditions of Scotland.
As one of the largest cities in Europe, London certainly doesn’t skimp on the holiday celebrations. The Christmas spirit is alive and well from the beginning of December through the New Year! The city itself is dressed for Christmas with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and decorations shimmering above the famous Oxford Street, Bond Street, Covent Gardens, Seven Dials and more! Visitors who enjoy holiday music can visit Trafalgar Square, where Christmas carols are sung around the world-famous Christmas tree. For some fun activities, travelers can play games and ride the Ferris wheel Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland or go ice skating at the beautiful rink set up in the courtyard of Somerset House. Even popular tourist destinations like the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio and Kensington Palace have special decorations and exhibits centered around the holiday season. With these events and many, many more, visitors are sure to fall in love with London at Christmas!