Christmas is one of the most world widely celebrated breaks of the year, and no matter what age we are, most of us cannot help but be touched by a little bit of that Christmas magic and excitement, and with such a variety of magical Christmas holidays on offer we can help you make your Christmas the most memorable yet!
Lapland is an enchanting winter wonderland, located deep inside the arctic circle and covered in a blanket of pure white snow from December through to April.
With the resorts of Luosto, Levi, Olos, Pyhä, Ylläs, and Saariselkä this is a place where the whole family can enjoy skiing, have adventures on a snowmobile, reindeer or husky dog safari through the snowy wilderness, see the magnificent northern lights and even search for Santa….this is a place where all your Christmas dreams can come true!
Contact us now to book your magical Lapland holiday and really bring Christmas alive this year!
What better way to get into the festive spirit than to visit one of the magical Christmas Markets?
Throughout the months of November and December Christmas Markets have been held in many beautiful European cities for hundreds of years and today they are even more popular than ever.
This tradition sees old market squares transform into magical winter wonderlands, with elegant Christmas trees decorated with colourful lanterns and the wonderful festive smells of roasted chestnuts, stollen cakes, spicy gingerbread and hot gluwein coming from enchanting wooden stalls, offering an array of hand crafted local gifts and decorations. This is a truly magical experience, not to be missed.
A brief look at Christmas Market destinations….
Berlin – this is the capital city of the German Christmas markets. Hosting sixty markets located on large boulevards and squares, small side streets and even in some of the museums – all enhanced by wonderful aromas of grilled sausages, baked apples and roasted chestnuts.
Munich – A daily alpine Christmas concert played from the balcony of the town hall completes this wonderful atmosphere, comprising of delightful stalls of various sizes and themes that fill the square in front of the New City Hall and overflow into two parallel streets all the way to Karlsplatz. Offering a wide range of Bavarian Christmas gifts including glassware from the Bavarian forest.
Dusseldorf – The markets, with their individual themes are placed in different locations throughout this city. There is a huge outdoor ice-skating rink providing fun for all the family and all sorts of Christmas gifts being sold in the ‘gingerbread houses’. A stroll along the world famous Konigsellee is a must, displaying thousands of brilliant lights that illuminate the giant chestnut trees lining the boulevard.
Cologne – There are six different Christmas markets in Cologne, which is Located on the banks of the Rhine. However, the most is impressive market is set against the stunning backdrop of the striking Cathedral. An enormous Christmas tree overlooks attractive wooden pavilions, selling a range of beautiful gifts.
Hamburg – Set in the square just outside Hamburg’s Town Hall – this Christmas Market is hosted by Roncalli’s Circus. Circus artists dispense warming glasses of mulled wine, whilst you browse the many colourful stalls that are laden with hand-crafted Christmas decorations, pottery, woodcarvings, silversmiths, gingerbread and “prinsen” cookies. To complete this magical atmosphere, every day at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm, Santa Claus flies his sleigh up to the sky above the roofs of the Christmas market cottages.
Dresden – Traditionally called Striezelmarkt, it is Germany’s oldest Christmas Market with a very long history dating back to 1434. Located in the historical city centre on Altmarkt Square, this is treasure trove for real traditional hand made crafts, including pottery, printed textile products, smoking figures, Christmas pyramids, gingerbread, filigree lace products, blown glass tree decorations and Dresden’s traditional ‘Pflaumentoffel’ – a chimney-sweep figure made of dried prunes. Vistors can also watch the carvers, glass-blowers and bakers in action at the crafts market.
Nuremburg – Set to the backdrop of Nuremburg’s old town, this world famous Christmas market has a remarkable atmosphere. The market is opened each year by the Christmas Angel, or “Christkind”, in a ceremony that dates back over 400 hundred years. Soak up the medieval charm and the aroma of sweet roasted almonds, gingerbread, Nuremberg sausages and glühwein. There is also a children’s market (“Kinderweihnacht”), which has an old-fashioned carousel, Ferris wheel and steam train. The Nativity scene trail runs between the two markets.
Lille – Known as Marches de Noel, Lille hosts one of France’s largest Christmas markets. This month long market is held in Place Rihour. There are more than 80 chalets with beautiful gift ideas, nativity figurines, Christmas decorations and festive food, and you can also find arts and crafts from Russia, Poland, and Québec, as well as products from Native America.
Paris – The romance and beauty of this fantastic city coupled with the magic festivities make Paris a truly spectacular setting for these Christmas markets. The largest Paris Christmas market stretches from the Champs-Elysées around to the Place de la Concorde. See the atmospheric Christmas market at La Défense near the Grand Arche and at Montparnasse Tower you will find a quaint market which specialises in regional French delicacies. Don’t miss a visit to the beautiful Place des Abbesses Christmas market, which is nestled in the heart of the charming Montmartre neighbourhood.
Brussels – Held at the Grand Place and Place St Catherine’s, these Christmas markets have an abundance of activities to suit both adults and children. The open-air ice-rink can accommodate up to 300 skaters at any one time and you can ride on the Ferris wheel or roundabouts. Pretty little stalls, representing gingerbread houses, line the streets selling Christmas goodies and gastronomic delights – such as sweets, sausages, tartiflette, mulled wine, fois gras or smoking chocolate.
Bruges – This Medieval City provides a wonderful setting at Christmas, with its picturesque canals and cobbled streets illuminated by the many stalls selling their Christmas wares. Should you wish to stray beyond the stalls there are fairground rides, horse and cart rides and an outdoor ice rink. Take some time to relax in one of the many bars and sample some of the local beers or pay a visit to the Snow and Ice-sculpting festival, but be sure to take home some of Bruges beautifully packed speciality chocolates.
Antwerp – Grote Markt (Market Square) hosts this Christmas market with more than 100 stalls all lit up with pretty lights and decorations and packed with Christmas decorations, stocking fillers and local food. Ice-skating can be enjoyed by all ages in the open-air ice-rink (there is a separate area especially for little ones to skate), and be sure to see the fireworks by the river Scheldt.
Ghent – In this beautiful city, with its pretty waterfront and Gothic architecture, the Christmas markets are held at Sint-Baafsplein. A large array of wooden huts sell various decorations, food and gifts whilst visitors are serenaded, by a choir singing carols.
Vienna – Throughout the streets of Vienna, you can find small huts on every corner, selling an abundance of traditional handmade gifts, mulled wine, candied fruits, cotton candy and roasted chestnuts. In Vienna’s city hall you can see choirs from Austria, several European countries and the U.S. performing at the International Advent Caroling.
Salzburg – Set in the enchanting Cathedral square, traditional stalls sell handicrafts, fine baked goods, aromatic tree ornaments and various other goods for the Christmas season. Salzburg’s Christmas market is a feast for all the senses with the delicious scent of mulled wine wafting around the stalls. You can also catch performances by traditional Salzburg choirs and children’s school groups, which lure crowds of visitors year after year, or maybe take a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the old city.
Copenhagen – Thousands of twinkling Christmas lights fill the wonderland of Tivoli (Europe’s oldest amusement park), hosting over 80 different stalls selling an array of Danish decorations, gifts, mulled wine and Danish foods. You can visit the open-air stage and watch concerts and pantomimes, or maybe spend the evening ice-skating on the parks’ frozen lake.
AND THERE’S MORE……
The above cities are just a few of the more popular Christmas market destinations, but there are many more cities on offer, including some closer to home, for example; – Basel and the Black Forest; Budapest; Dublin; Edinburgh; Gothenburg; Frankfurt; Helsinki; Jersey; Krakow; London; Prague; Rome; Stockholm; Tallin and so many more…
For more information on Christmas Markets, please Contact us