Where is the best place to celebrate Christmas?

1. BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK

With today’s emphasis on present grabbing and overindulging, it’s hard to deny that the real meaning of Christmas often seems forgotten. For a refresher, nothing compares to a pilgrimage to Jesus’ birthplace. The energy on Manger Square and in the Old City on Christmas Eve could light a forest of Christmas trees. The place to be as the clock strikes 12 is St Catherine’s Church, for the Midnight Mass service.

2. SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE, FINLAND

When too much Santa is never enough, rug up and head north to Finland’s Arctic Circle. The jolly man in the red suit is this neighborhood’s most famous resident, and round these parts they milk him for all he’s worth. Still, the deep wintertime snow and reindeer-dotted forests go a long way toward off setting the touristy atmosphere, though there’s an amusement park called Santa Park not far from the village. You’ll need deep pockets, but you’d have to be pretty Grinch-like to leave without a smile.

3. NEW YORK CITY, USA

Surely you know what Christmas in the Big Apple looks like, thanks to countless movies: Christmas lights, cheesy muzak, preferably a light dusting of snow. The world’s tallest Christmas tree is lit at the Rockefeller Center in early December. Ice skating below it is a must for wintertime visitors, as is checking out the window displays in New York’s largest department stores. Finish with a New York Ballet performance of “The Nutcracker” for a Christmas straight out of central casting.

4. BONDI BEACH, AUSTRALIA

Hit the beach to talk turkey with fellow travellers. Bondi is the antithesis of northern-hemisphere Christmas cliches: sun, sand and surf replace snow and fairy lights. Come 25 December the beach acts as a magnet for backpackers a long way from home, who celebrate alongside other “Christmas orphans.” Bands and DJs rock the Pavilion, everyone checks out everyone else, and a festive atmosphere prevails. Items you may not normally take to Christmas dinner: swimsuit, sunscreen, sunhat.

5. MIDNIGHT MASS, THE VATICAN, ITALY

You can rest assured that the spiritual heart of Catholicism knows how to do Christmas. The Eternal City is magical at any time of year, but December has an extra frisson, with roasted chestnuts sold on every corner and the city awash with presepi (nativity scenes) – check them out on St Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, and in the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the Capitoline Hill. It’s the Vatican that pulls the most pilgrims. Midnight Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve, or at noon on Christmas Day, is an affair to remember.

6. DUBLIN, IRELAND

With a cracking sense of humor, the staunchly Catholic Irish have a few novel ways to honor Christmas. The most eyebrow-raising is a morning swim on the 25th at the Forty-Foot sea-water pool. In the lead-up to the big day there’s life aplenty on Dublin’s streets and the craic flows. There’s the 12 Days of Christmas Market at the Docklands, cheesy pantos, Christmas lights, ice skating, and markets and seasonal cheer in Temple Bar. Don’t miss carols at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

7. NUREMBERG, GERMANY

If present buying makes you think of heaving department stores, maybe you should experience the magical Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market), in Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt. Here, 180 stalls proffer toys, trinkets, candles, gingerbread and sweets to shoppers warmed by sizzling bratwurst and mulled wine. Visit after dark, when the colored lights create a fairy-tale spectacle. Christmas shopping never looked this enchanting.

8. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

All those famed chocolate-box attractions — mountains, snow, cobbled streets — make Switzerland extra-appealing come Christmas. Zurich wins our vote for its oodles of Christmas markets (don’t miss the one inside the train station), guided Christmas-themed city strolls, and the enchanting all-singing Christmas tree that comes alive on Werdmuhleplatz. On a tiered triangular stage covered in assorted greenery and fairy lights, a choir of local youngsters sweetly delivers Christmas carols.

9. TOKYO, JAPAN

Christmas in Tokyo is a fairy-lit, religion-free sight to behold. Traditionally, celebrating the New Year is more important in Japan than Christmas, but this is what happens when non-Christians embrace Christmas, and with gusto: spectacularly over-the-top decorations and lights. While the lead-up is dazzling, Christmas Day itself is a fizzer as it’s not a holiday. Christmas Eve is the big deal, resembling Valentine’s Day in activity — a night for couples and romance. Feasting Japanese-style involves fried chicken followed by sponge cake topped with cream and strawberries.

10. SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

A small island with a big personality, Puerto Rico serves up a sunny Christmas with a salsa beat and a side dish of spit-roasted pig. Festivities last from early December to Three Kings Day on 6 January. From mid-December churches conduct dawn masses rich with Christmas carols, while exuberant roving groups of carolers travel from house to house and make merry. The big feast is held on Christmas Eve, followed by Midnight Mass. For season-setting decorations, head to City Hall on the Plaza de Armas and the fairy-lit promenade Paseo de la Princesa.

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Find the best Christmas Markets in Europe and the UK

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not make the most of the festive season by enjoying a short break to one of Europe and the UK’s famous Christmas Markets? Choose from German Christmas Markets, York Christmas Markets, Christmas River Cruises and many more.

Let us help you choose your perfect Christmas Market break, and enjoy the magical atmosphere of the most incredible markets in 2017.

 

About Christmas Markets

 

Get into the festive spirit this Christmas and join us on one of our European Christmas market breaks. From mulled wine to unique gifts and tasty local delicacies, it really is the season to be jolly. Enjoy historical German Christmas markets as we head to iconic destinations such as the city of Cologne and the mighty capital, Berlin.

Take in Austria and its seasonal offerings in Salzburg and Innsbruck, or spend time in picturesque Prague, one of Europe’s most popular cities. Alternatively, stay in the UK and enjoy the delightful York Christmas Markets and Christkindlmarkt in Leeds, or relax on our Christmas river cruises docking to visit many magical markets.

Whether you’re looking for a short trip, a long weekend or slowing down and making a holiday of it, there’s something for everyone amongst our fantastic selection of Christmas market holidays. X really does mark the spot with these exciting x-mas deals.

 

 

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Cologne Christmas Markets

The Cologne Christmas markets typically open the last Monday before advent. There is a range of markets to be found throughout the city, each with their own unique feel, but Cologne Cathedral in particular provides a breath-taking backdrop to the festivities. A towering 25 metre Christmas tree, live bands and a traditional carousel all add to the festive fun.
Cologne Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & where:
Cathedral X-Mas Market – 27 Nov to 23 Dec 2017
Harbour Christmas Market – 24 Nov to 23 Dec 2017
Angel’s Christmas Market – 27 Nov to 23 Dec 2017
Village Of St. Nicholas – 27 Nov to 23 Dec 2017
Old Market Christmas – 27 Nov to 23 Dec 2017

 

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Brussels Christmas Markets

The illuminated Grand Place in Brussels offers a dramatic backdrop to your Christmas shopping experience. Traditional attractions include an ice skating rink on Place de la Monnaie, an iconic Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and even an Ice Monster! Brussels’ Winter Wonders certainly keeps people entertained, and with handicrafts from all around Europe, it’s certainly not just the centre for European politics!
Brussels Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & where:
Brussels Winter Wonders – 24 Nov to 31 Dec 2017

 

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Bruges Christmas Markets

With a mixture of splendid medieval architecture, atmospheric cobbled squares and winding canals, Bruges offers a magnificent setting for its Christmas market. Expect lavish amounts of Belgian chocolate, waffles and gluhwein on offer. And not to worry, you can work off any over-indulgence at the prettiest ice-rink in the world, beneath the bell tower of Grote Markt Square.
Bruges Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & where:
The Market Square and on Simon Stevinplein (Ice Rink) – 24 Nov 2017 to 1 Jan 2018

 

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Amsterdam Christmas Markets

During Christmas in Amsterdam, the Museum Square turns into a festive lover’s haven. The surrounding canals are lit up, the large pond is transformed into a spectacular ice rink and there are countless stalls to browse through. The Amsterdam Light Festival kicks off on 1st December and visitors can expect magnificent light displays, adding to the spirit of Christmas which is perfectly encapsulated in this stunning city.
Amsterdam Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & Where: 
Christmas Village at Museum Square (Museumplein) – Dec 17 to Dec 30 2017

 

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Christmas Markets Vienna

Take in the grandeur of the Austrian capital in December and it’s impossible not to be overcome by the Christmas spirit, where the smell of gluhwein, sausage and nutmeg lingers in the air. Carols can be heard at many of the markets but the most dazzling performances can be heard at the Christmas Market at Rathauspark and the magnificent City Hall.

Vienna Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & Where: 
Viennese Christmas Market in front of City Hall – 11 Nov to 26 Dec 2017
Christmas Village Belvedere Palace – 24 Nov to 26 Dec 2017
Christmas Village Maria-Theresien Platz – 22 Nov to 26 Dec 2017
Christmas Village Former General Hospital – 17 Nov to 23 Dec 2017
Christmas and New Year’s market at Schönbrunn Palace – 18 Nov 2017 to 1 Jan 2018

 

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Christmas Markets in Prague

A short 10 minute stroll from each other, the two main Christmas markets in Prague are set in the city’s grandest squares. Feast on smoky barbecued sausages (Kolbása), sugar coated pastry (Trdelní­k) or dripping hunks of roasted ham. The traditional wooden stalls hold an array of trinkets to take home, such as Czech crystal figurines, wooden toys and brightly painted puppets.
Prague Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & Where: 
Old Town Square – 2 Dec 2017 to 6 Jan 2018
Wenceslas Square – 2 Dec 2017 to 6 Jan 2018

 

 

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Christmas Markets in Budapest

With all Budapest Christmas markets within walking distance of each other, featuring hundreds wooden stalls offering traditional Christmas fare, it’s a shopper’s paradise. A giant advent calendar, live music, food and drink are all part of the festive offerings. Wrap up warm, as snowfall is a possibility in Budapest during winter months, adding to a truly winter wonderland experience.
Budapest Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
When & Where: 
Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival – Mid-Nov 2017 to 1 Jan 2018
Date of the Advent Festival on Szt. István Square – 26 Nov 2017 to 2 Jan 2018
Advent Festival in Városháza Park – Mid-Nov to 30 Dec 2017
Óbuda’s Main Square – 24 Nov to 17 Dec 2017

 

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Christmas Markets in Berlin

Berlin is home to about 60 Christmas markets each year and is one of the most popular cities to visit during the festive season. Fill your tummy with tasty Germanic treats such as Lebkuchen, Baumkuchen and Stollen and your suitcase with beautifully hand-crafted gifts and crafts. You’ll be spoilt for choice!
Berlin Christmas Markets - Book today with Click&Go
 

When & Where:
Berliner Weihnachtszeit – 27 Nov to 29 Dec 2017
Domäne Dahlem Advent Market – 25 Nov to 17 Dec 2017
Nostalgic Christmas Market Opernpalais – 27 Nov to 26 Dec 2017
WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt – 27 Nov to 31 Dec 2017
Christmas Market at Späth’sche Baumschule – 2 Dec to 17 Dec 2017

 

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