What are some of the best cities to visit during Christmas? Let’s take a look.
The holidays are knocking at the door, and we are increasingly looking for a way to strengthen our Christmas spirit even in these difficult times. One way to satisfy our hunger for Christmas experiences is to indulge in travel. And what could be more inspiring than spending a few days in a city where Christmas is a cult? We at The Dope Lists tried to include only one city from a country, although there are several worthy candidates in some of them. Well, if you have the opportunity, you can take a Christmas tour.
The Old Vienna Christmas Bazaar is held every year. The lavish decoration combined with the incredible baroque architecture typical of the city and the snowflakes’ dance guarantee a unique atmosphere and an unforgettable memory. The bazaar is famous for its abundance of high-quality handicrafts and choirs singing Christmas carols. The organizers have also thought about the little ones looking forward to Christmas – they could learn to make cookies and candles. In addition, there is a Christmas village in the Belvedere Palace.
Prague, Czech Republic
Large and beautiful, the Christmas bazaars in the Czech capital start at the end of November. It is believed that the most beautiful one is located on the square in the Old Town. A huge Christmas tree illuminates the center of a series of tiny decorated wooden houses and stalls offering a variety of handicrafts and Czech specialties. To fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere, you must try the honey cakes with ginger, local sausage, hot punch, and spiced wine under the symphony of Christmas sounds of street musicians, choirs, and musical ensembles.
It may be less familiar to you as a destination, but the Canadian city definitely has something to show. However, let’s not forget the nature of Canada – imagine the thousands of pines, high frosted peaks, and plenty of snow. It looks like Christmas, doesn’t it?! The old part of Quebec is becoming a Christmas village, which provides a picturesque Christmas painting, rich decorations, and many places where you can buy holiday gifts and enjoy local delicacies. The city also offers a variety of winter sports and the unique atmosphere of the Quebec Winter Festival, filled with night parades, marches of fairy-tale characters, and different games and competitions.
New York, The USA
Watching Home Alone, there is no way you did not want to teleport to this metropolis. The marvelous decoration and the giant Christmas tree of Rockefeller Center are enough to make you dream. The ice rink and the two artificial lakes in Central Park, designed for skating and carriage racing, will surely leave an imprint in your mind. The Christmas show hosted by Radio City and the fabulously decorated Christmas shop windows on Fifth Avenue will melt your heart. You can also follow in the footsteps of Kevin McAllister to immerse yourself in his adventure, which has become the most recognizable Christmas classic.
The ranking would not be complete without this small Finnish town known as the headquarters of Christmas. Although legends from the early 19th century say that the North Pole is the Home of Santa Claus, Finns definitely do not think so. In Rovaniemi, special attention is paid to everything related to the holiday. The children make sweets with Santa’s wife, enroll in dwarf school, and take calligraphy courses. There are even open seasonal positions to work like a good old man’s dwarf. The zoo will meet you with polar bears and moose, and the science center will reveal the secret of the Northern Lights. Fans of extreme snowstorms can stay in the Arctic Snow Hotel, made entirely of snow and ice.
The German bazaar in Nuremberg, called Christkindlesmarkt, has been held since the middle of the 16th century. Every year, more than 2 million visitors enjoy the giant wooden Ferris wheel, the old-fashioned carousel, and the steam train. The 200 pre-selected vendors from the Nuremberg Christmas Bazaar Council compete for the Most Beautiful Stand Design award. Only handmade toys and sweets are sold, and care is taken not to offer mass-produced products. You can enjoy the specific spicy gingerbread in the company of mulled wine while the children visit the Toy Museum.
The Christmas bazaar in the French city dates back to 1570, and Strasbourg has accepted the title Capitale de Noël (Capital of Christmas). Around the center are scattered over 300 wooden houses, where you can buy all kinds of Christmas decorations. The city also hosts a Christmas fair with live music and street art. The selection of a Christmas tree begins in March. It is usually of impressive size, requiring the involvement of many people in transportation and decoration. Strasbourg awakens the Christmas spirit with the decorations and the numerous stands, which bring appetizing smells and delight to the senses and the diverse cultural program.
If you want to feel the spirit of Christmas to the bone by choosing a distant northern and cold destination, we offer you another option. The Swedish city is a realm of light, warmth, and color on dark Scandinavian nights, emitted by nearly 5 million light bulbs. The Christmas bazaar, named Jul pa Lisebergand, is the largest in Sweden. In addition to the typical winter attractions you can enjoy, the town also offers a palette of Swedish specialties, musical and theatrical performances, and a reindeer sleigh ride. The aroma of freshly baked cakes and mulled wine will undoubtedly keep you close to traditional shops, and we recommend you to try the Christmas sticks – polkagrisar.
Barcelona may seem too warm a city to bring you the spirit of Christmas. But let’s not forget that some people celebrate the holiday on the beach contemplating the sea. Although there is no snow and sub-zero temperatures, the Christmas spirit hovers in the air. Unlike most bazaars, those in Barcelona last until January 6. So if you are not fed up with the cozy holiday, the city can provide you with a few more days with a Christmas flavor. The sixth day of the new year is the Day of the Three Wise Men (Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar). On the evening of January 5, they dock at the port and are greeted with cannon salutes and fireworks, and the mayor hands them the keys to the city. That’s how the magic begins. There are parades on the streets, including memorable costumes, camels, elephants, and giraffes.
Spending Christmas in Switzerland is probably the dream of many people who imagine a cozy wooden hut located high in the Alps, a rocking chair by the window, where you can see the snow-covered pine trees, a fireplace, a good book, a glass of wine and Swiss chocolate. Most Swiss cities are captivated by the magic of Christmas. Still, the largest bazaar is in Basel, located on the border with France and Germany. The town is home to the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe, where about 200 stalls with various goods related to the biggest Christian holiday are lined up.
And did you dream? Don’t worry, we were tempted several times only while preparing the article. There is definitely a reason. Even if you have visited some of the cities at other times of the year, if you take a trip in December, you will certainly look at the particular town differently after you have allowed it to infect you with its specific Christmas magic. So do not waste time wondering, but plan your unforgettable Christmas adventure.
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