The Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in Europe
For some people, the only time they can get away and travel is over the winter holidays. Others want to enhance their Christmas celebration with an exotic or traditional location. Whatever your reason, spending Christmas in Europe can be a magical experience that will create memories to last a lifetime. Every city and every country do things a little bit differently, and deciding where to go can be a bit daunting. To get you started, here are just a few of our favorite places travel at Christmas time.
Home to famed author Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen is the perfect Christmas vacation destination if you’re looking for old world charm and classic whimsical celebrations. Treat the family to a performance at the Royal Theater by the Royal Danish Ballet, bring home souvenirs from the worlds largest collection of beer at the Carlsberg Brewery and meet Santa while ice skating on the Tivoli lake. Also, be sure to check out the decorated trees throughout the Tivoli Gardens.
The city of lights outshines itself at Christmas time. There simply isn’t any other place in the world to enjoy the holiday with as much style and elegance. Your holiday meal will be an experience to remember as well if you make sure to partake of classic French cuisine and special holiday dishes like chestnut stuffed turkey and Bûche de Noël.
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
If the hustle and bustle of the city life over Christmas is more stress than pleasure, getting away to someplace warm might be the best gift you can give yourself. Celebrating Christmas in Tenerife is a low key, relaxed affair. There is a focus on family and it is customary for everyone to gather for midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The little ones may miss traditional snow with their gifts in the morning, but a trip to the beach will no doubt make them forget.
This city boasts the largest Christmas Market in all of Europe. The Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz has everything you could ever want to find for gifts and edible delicacies. There are also fairground rides, decorations and festive concerts to lift your holiday spirits. Christmas is the biggest holiday in Austria and the locals throw their whole heart into the celebration.
If the holiday adventure you’re looking for focuses more on the true meaning of Christmas than on pretty lights and gifts, then a trip to the center of the Christian faith is destination for you. Every year Vatican City displays a beautiful nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square and the midnight mass inside Saint Peter's Basilica, given by the Pope, is shown on large screen TV for hundreds more in the square outside.
Wherever you decide to spend December 25th, remember that Christmas is about love, peace and family. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you bring those things with you, your Christmas holiday will be magical.
Photo credits: Tivoli Garden in December by smaedli/flickr; Lafayette by Metaphox/flickr; Nativity by Secret Tenerife/flickr; Rathaus Christkindlmarkt, Vienna by chad_k/flickr; Merry Christmas! Buon Natale! Frohe Weihnachten! by Jakob Montrasio/flickr
Author Francesca Santelli is a travel advisor who suggests cheapholidaysabroad.org, a site for everything from cyprus beach holidays to Canary Islands tenerife holiday deals.