Travelers looking for that perfect Christmas getaway could consider spending their Christmas in any of the beautiful countries of Europe. European Christmases are known to be among the best in the world and they offer tourists a wonderful atmosphere, beautifully decorated streets, the occasional Christmas tree, grand celebrations and pristine white lights. December 25th is quite revered in Europe and you can expect to wake up with the sound of church bells and the hustle bustle of families walking to their favorite churches. Consider visiting one of the local churches of Europe during Christmas – it is probably going to be one of the best experiences of your lifetime. Christmas traditions across Europe might be different, but that does not mean that they are not fun. Here are some of the best ways to spend your Christmas in Europe.
London, UK Those who prefer huge crowds and a modern Christmas atmosphere should simply hop over to London. The city is extremely popular for its beautiful productions and theatres such as The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, and The Snowman. What makes these shows unique is the fact they offer spectators with a fantastic blend of singing, dancing and humor along with beautiful fairy tale based themes. Those looking for something more traditional could always visit the English National Ballet. Talking about London, the festive spirit is not only limited to its productions and gala celebrations. You can also spend a lot of time checking out the beautiful Christmas decorations in the stores located on Regent Street and Oxford Street. The humongous Christmas tree which decorates Trafalgar Square each year is quite famous as well. A boat trip on the River Thames or an organized Christmas walk are other popular Christmas activities taking place in London. Remember to pre-plan your trips as you might also get access to lavish Christmas dinners in one of the beautiful castles located in the city.
Germany Any trip to Germany during the festive season can never be complete without visiting the Christmas Market. It’s an age old market which offers traditional foods and local produce. You can find beautifully carved wooden figures, colorful candles, and a variety of homemade wares that make the perfect Christmas gifts to take back home. The market is not just about buying products. You can also taste some of the local delicacies: spiced cakes, roasted almonds, mulled wine, and baked apples – right on the spot! These Christmas Markets are located all over the country with the one in Nuremberg being the most famous. Those looking for a traditional Christmas holiday could also visit one of the many villages in Germany which decorate themselves with white lights, display beautiful Christmas trees, and offer a magnificent holiday spirit.
Tuscany, Italy Christmas traditions across Europe are known to be extremely beautiful and unique. However, none of the cities or countries can beat the beauty of Christmas that Tuscany has to offer. Tuscany is an ideal place to spend a quiet Christmas with your families and loved ones where things like sprawling in front of the fires, drinking delicate Tuscan wines, sampling local treats, playing Christmas games and singing carols with the locals are extremely popular. You can also explore a new hilltop village every day where you can buy locally made handicrafts and small gifts. Remember to pack as light as possible while travelling to Tuscany as you are bound to fill up your suitcases with the mesmerizing goods and locally made artifacts found there. The adventurous types can also embark on hikes of the beautiful countryside where the earth crunches beneath your feet and Cypress trees line the pathways.
Spain Spain is popular as one of the most religions countries. If you plan to spend Christmas in Spain, be prepared to come across scenes from the “Nacimiento” (nativity). You might not find the jolly Santa Claus everywhere, but the Three Wise Men are always out there. The festive season in Spain starts on December 8 and go on till January 5, when the Three Wise Men finally take their leave after leaving gifts for the children. Christmas days are always spent eating enormous feasts and visiting the local churches. However, the Hogueras is one Christmas tradition that is worth mentioning. This tradition is mainly celebrated around the areas of Jaen and Granada and you can see locals jumping over bonfires as they believe that it helps them to protect themselves from illness and disease.
The Netherlands The Christmas excitements of the Netherlands revolve around Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet. This age old tradition begins around mid November and goes on till December 5 when the children receive loads of gifts. The fun and excitement begins when Sinterklaas arrives from Spain and his arrival is telecasted on TV. (Ask the locals and they can easily tell you when he is scheduled to visit their particular towns and villages.) What makes Sinterklaas so unique is that instead of the reindeer, he is said to arrive by boat down the main canals. However, he can also arrive by horses, trains or buses when canal services are not available. Sounds like a modern day Santa Claus! Well, no matter how he arrives, you can expect the region to erupt with loud music, contagious excitement, a range of candies and traditional songs.
Finland You really cannot get closer to Santa than Finland. Think about visiting one of the luxurious resorts of the Lapland regions which are known for their landscapes of snowy woods and frozen lakes. If you pre-book your holiday, you can choose the type of accommodation you’re interested in – from the isolated cabins to budget hotels to luxurious resorts. Once you’ve decided on your lodging, you need to start planning your itinerary and decide from a plethora of activities available. Some of the most popular things to do include husky sled rides, reindeer rides, safaris, dog sled rides, cross country skiing and sleigh rides. If adventure is not your cup of tea, you could always spend time taking in the astonishing beauty of the Northern Lights, enjoy your splendid natural surroundings and picnic with your loved ones amid lands that offer breathtaking vistas. Who knows, you might even start visiting in the legend of Santa after a tour of Finland!
What are your favorite Christmas traditions?