The Austrian capital is an absolutely magical destination at Christmas time. The whole city is decorated and all it takes is a little imagination to imagine yourself being propelled into Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Leaving the mythical Vienna Opera, reach the Rathaus, the town hall in front of which stands a gigantic Christmas tree and a colorful Christmas market. It is of course impossible to leave the city without having tasted a Viennese chocolate at Demel, an institution.
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In Rome, the start of the nativity celebrations is given on December 8 with the Immaculate Conception. The city lives intensely to the rhythm of Christmas and the main axes of the city are richly decorated according to a theme that changes each year. The many churches in the city house original nativity scenes, but the most extraordinary is undoubtedly that of Saint Peter’s Basilica. After a slice of panettone, the luckiest (and patient!) will head to St. Peter’s Square on December 25 for Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi blessing.
From the beginning of December, the English capital is adorned with its finest attire. The streets light up and the stores compete in inventiveness to create window displays, each more extraordinary than the next. After a visit to Harrods and a stop to admire the giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, make yourself comfortable in a tea room to enjoy a scone or a cinnamon cake. And get ready to go back to France with the song Last Christmas of Wham in the head…
Strasbourg is not designated as the capital of Christmas for nothing! Fancy a traditional Christmas where the smell of mulled wine mingles with that of gingerbread? Then the Alsatian city is made for you. Its incredible Christmas market, the Christkindelsmärik, is the oldest in France and Strasbourg is transformed every year to welcome visitors from all over the world. Cover up well and walk the illuminated streets of the city. After a stop to admire the large Christmas tree in Place Kléber, take a few minutes in front of the majestic facade of the historic Christian pastry shop. To end the day gently, we recommend a river boat excursion to the sound of Christmas tales.
Krakow is a city full of charm, with immense cultural wealth. Proud of its past, it adorns itself, like many cities in Eastern Europe, with a very special aura during the holidays. Romantic and elegant, Warsaw lives Christmas to the rhythm of the Catholic tradition and there are many nativity scenes all over the city. There’s even a Polish nativity scene competition every week in the Old Town Market Square, where there’s also a huge Christmas market. Remember to cover yourself well and take good shoes, the mercury frequently drops below zero.
Rovaniemi is none other than the birthplace of Santa Claus. Get ready for an extraordinary trip to the land of the Northern Lights where you will even have the possibility of sleeping in an ice hotel! Reindeer or dog sledding, a visit to Santa Claus’ village and also tasting makkara, a traditional snack made from grilled sausages, Rovaniemi is an ideal destination for a family trip at Christmas.
Anyone who has seen Bruges dreams of going back! With its canals, its small gardens and its gentle way of life, the Belgian city has it all. During the holidays, it feels like being transported to the past and Bruges takes on the appearance of a Christmas village. Between the various Christmas markets, the ice rink on the Markt square but also the inimitable ice sculpture festival, the weekend promises to be busy!
Experiencing Christmas in Copenhagen is a magical experience. If the night falls early, from 4:30 p.m., the city shines in all its brilliance as soon as the sun hides. It’s very simple, almost all the buildings in the city are illuminated. We advise you to alternate historical visits and strolls in the streets because it quickly gets very cold, and especially wet. Copenhagen appeals to both museum-loving adults and children who marvel at the famous vintage Tivoli amusement park specially decorated for Christmas.
Venice is beautiful in all seasons but at Christmas time the Italian city is magical. Saint Mark’s Square shines with a thousand lights and the facades of the hotels overlooking the Grand Canal are richly decorated. A notable advantage of discovering Venice at this time of year is that there are fewer tourists there than in summer or during carnival. And if you are lucky, you could admire the most beautiful city in the world under the snow. Absolutely unforgettable!
To celebrate Christmas, the people of Madrid are putting on a big spread and magic is taking over the city. The opportunity to rediscover the Spanish capital in a different way, which for several weeks lives to the rhythm of Christmas with its Christmas markets, its decorations, but also its Navilus, the Christmas bus that offers tours of the city. Young and old also eagerly await one of the city’s greatest traditions, the Cortylandia: automatons, decorations and illuminations take over the façade of the El Corte Inglés shopping center with small shows every 15 minutes.
Read also :
⋙ Christmas: our destinations for parties in the sun
⋙ Our destinations for Christmas holidays in France
⋙ Deconfinement: in which countries will we be able to travel from December 15?