Best Cities to Spend Traditional Christmas

People are starting to come upwith more and more extraordinary destinations to spend Christmas.Barbados, Maldives and Morocco have been on the standard list for awhile now. Well, there’s no accounting for tastes, they say. But ifyou’re dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones you usedto know, ”wherethe treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells inthe snow”, consider the following cities.  

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague‘s OldTown is fabulous at any time of year, but Christmas transforms itinto an unearthly performance of light, colors and scents. Every yearthe Staroměstské náměstí(Central Square) turnsinto a bustling stage for hand-made puppets, wooden toys, childrendancing in traditional costumes and visitors who eagerly become partof this magical performance. Whatever the weather, the marketsthroughout the Old Town are always open, crowded and buzzing with energy. Butit’s more about a special a atmosphere than pure shopping. A shot ofBecherovka(traditional spicy liquor), a bite of Trdelník(cinnamon sugar pastry) and you’re all set for one of the bestChristmas experiences one can imagine.

Christmas market on Old Town Square in Prague
Christmas market, Old Town Square in Prague. By Rich pick
A morning walk
A morning walk. By Edgar Barany

Quebec City, Canada

Christmasin Quebec City means home cooking, traditions passed on fromgeneration to generation, and a lot of merrymaking. Plus it’s sounbelievably beautiful. Narrow streets lined with tiny, sparklingfirs, buildings dusted with snow, music and live street theater exudeOld World charm captured in a winter fairy tale. At the famous Marchede Noel (Christmasmarket), both recreational and shopping conscious visitors willfind a myriad of treats for themselves, from hand-crafted toys,hand-knitted winter accessories and ceramics to maple products,liquors and traditional baked goods.

Champlain Street in Québec City
Champlain Street in Quebec City. By pfala
A calèche

A calèche. By Imapix

Vienna, Austria

If there’s one city in Europe thatcombines sophisticated elegance with cozy warmth, it must be Viennaduring Christmas time. On the one hand, there’s the splendidSchönbrunnPalace, lavish City Hall building and numerous classicalconcerts to give the holiday some pathos, and on the other, there’sthe reputation for one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, withbeautifully decorated wooden stalls lining market squares,hand-crafted gifts, impossibly good apfel strudel, cheer-inducingGlühwein, and a lot ofsingalong fun.

Christkindlmarkt in Vienna

Christkindlmarkt in Vienna. By -12°C

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations. By seandalai

Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi has all the makings of atruly magical Christmas:heaps of snow, Christmastrees decorated with sparkling lights, reindeer walking past yourwindow, Christmascarols, nativity scenes, and the outstanding beauty of Lapland, withthe awe-inducing Aurora Borealis to lit your way to the manger. It’sexactly what you remember from the fireside tales told in yourchildhood days. And hey, that’s where Santa has his residence. Christmas in the Arctic Circle? You bet!

A trip to Luosto
A trip to Luosto. Leo Cheung
Rudolf?
Rudolf? By roomman

Cologne, Germany

Celebrate Christmas in Cologne, where the extravaganza of culture, gastronomy, traditions and history flares up every December, backdropped by the mighty cathedral, the Kölner Dom. Streets are flooded with lights, music, puppet theaters and holiday cheer, with the magic of Christmas best captured in the legendary Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). After all, what’s Christmas without goodies? Stuff on traditional sweet delicacies and wash them down with aromatic mulled wine to warm your frostbitten limbs. Then watch artisans at work, take a ride on the merry-go-round and go skating on Heumarkt. Great fun guaranteed. 2 million visitors a year cannot be wrong.

Christmas market in Cologne

Christmas market in Cologne. By kölnerweihnachtsmarkt

Ice skating in Cologne's Heumarkt
Ice skating in Cologne’s Heumarkt

New York, USA

Christmasin NewYork is much more than just holiday shopping spreeand strolls in the blizzard. The city is amazing in itself at anygiven time of year, but this festive season is all about iconicsights and the feeling of togetherness that they generate in thecrowd. The giant RockefellerCenter Christmas Tree,Macy’s window display, fabulous decorations on SixthAvenue, skiing in Central Park – they may all be cliché, butthere’s something about them that makes the horrendously huge city acozy place with a family-like feel to it. If New York is normallycalled
a city that never sleeps, then what name could possiblydescribe it in the Christmas season?

Snowing in New York
Snowing in New York. By Keith Barlow
Radio City Music Hall during Christmas season
Radio City Music Hall during Christmas season. By Gary Burke.
Central Park
Central Park. By Edzone

Bruges, Belgium

It’s easy to combine Christmascelebrations with sightseeing in Bruges. Wandering through themedieval town, Belgium’s undeniable crown jewel, with its historicbuildings, picturesque canals, winding streets and charming bridgesis a treat in and of itself. Add to it Belgian chocolate and a wholeflurry of special events that take place at this time of year,including the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, and you’ve gotChristmas to remember for a lifetime.

Restaurants with Christmas lights at
Restaurants with Christmas lights at “Grote Markt” Square. By Bruno Misseeuw
White Christmas at sunset
White Christmas at sunset. By gbatistini

Wherever you land this year, don’t forget to spread some serious dose of love! Merry Christmas.



Comments

  1. Last time i was celebrate my Christmas in Albany, that was a great experience to celebrate .I like the way of celebrating in Albany that suggested to me visitalbany.

  2. Beautiful pics! I would take any one of those places.
    Best to all! Clair your not the only lonely soul. Keep the spirit!
    NY this year, I’m thinking Quebec City next year.

  3. nice pictures…but it really don’t matter what place you are….its with whom you celebrate christmas with that truly counts….cheers! to all the lonesome souls like me this holiday season…

  4. Thats Not a true One of Most cosy and Beautiful Christmas market is in Bratislava.Slovak Republic ,there u can faind a original Slovak Gifts and i. Prag u faind a russian Gifts which is total redicolous .

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