From old-time favorites like Vienna and Strasbourg to the Middle East and Australia, Musement takes a look at 17 cities around the world to get into the Christmas spirit.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…not always ‘everywhere you go’, however. We’ll admit that certain cities celebrate the Christmas season more festively than others. If Santa Claus had enough downtime for a Christmas vacation, he would most likely choose one of these destinations to feel at home. Get into the Christmas spirit by surrounding yourself with Christmas cookies, markets, art, crafts, multicolored lights and Christmas cheer in one of these 16 cities.
The architecture of Krakow recalls illustrated mythical storybooks that conjure up thoughts of kings, queens, and dragons. The Polish city’s magical atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for a Christmas holiday. With its fascinating history and lively cultural events, Krakow exemplifies the Christmas spirit. Take a walk through the splendidly decorated city, refuel at a milk bar or attend a lively Christmas concert.
Bundle up and head to Montreal where you’ll find one of the most heartwarming city-wide celebrations. Stroll around La Place Nordique at Place Jacques-Cartier where you can sip and sample many seasonal delights while shopping for unique gifts. Take care to check out the beloved “ugly Christmas tree” and don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at one of these amazing bakeries.
Florence will take your breath away any time of the year…Christmas, however, is particularly special. Lights and decorations adorn the streets while nativity scenes and artisan markets are seemingly everywhere. This Christmas season head to Florence to couple all of this with panettone, cappuccino, world-renowned museums, Renaissance art, architecture, and delicious Tuscan cuisine. It will feel like a dream come true!
This picturesque French city has perfected the art of the Christmas spirit over the centuries, as its Christmas market–one of the most endearing in Europe–was one of the continent’s first, dating back to 1570. With beautiful architecture, tasty mulled wine and a Christmas market designed like Santa’s village in the North Pole, Strasbourg is a dreamy winter wonderland.
The elegant Austrian capital is a delight. From the grand architecture to the distinct café culture, the city’s imperial era is evident all around, a perfect backdrop for the Christmas markets, the aroma of wurstel, gorgeous lights and outdoor skating rinks. Eat, drink and be merry in Vienna this holiday season.
6. New York
For exciting live entertainment, superb Christmas shopping and a multitude of delicious eats and delightful shops, there’s nothing quite like Christmas in New York. Watch the iconic Rockettes kick their legs to the sky during the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, or just take a stroll through the magical ‘city that never sleeps.’
Although Christmas Down Under means a reprieve from the cold, it doesn’t mean that Sydney lacks any holiday charm. A gorgeous tree lights up Martin Place, and as part of Carols in the City, a new choir performs here daily from last November through Christmas Eve. Shop on Pitt Street which takes on the moniker Boulevard of Lights over the holidays.
Philadelphia boasts festive events all winter long such as the BlueCross RiverRink Winterfest, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show and the Christmas Village. Also, an authentic Philly Cheesesteak is one heck of a winter comfort food. Christmas in Philly will leave you aglow with Christmas cheer…and not just because it’s cold outside.
Amsterdam at Christmas is a testament to how much the Dutch love getting into the holiday spirit. The romantic city of canals is aglow with illuminations thanks to the annual Amsterdam Lights Festival (November 28 to January 19). At Ice Village Amsterdam, you and your family can skate against the backdrop of the Rijksmuseum. The village is complete with Christmas markets, delicious Dutch food, drinks and live entertainment for a well-rounded holiday experience.
10. Hong Kong
While beautiful any time of the year, Christmas–even though it’s not an official Chinese holiday–is one of the best time to visit Hong Kong. From the Winterfest illuminations to both Vienna- and Italian-inspired Christmas markets to special performances to a waterfront amusement park, the festivities will no doubt get you in a Christmas state of mind.
The Eternal City is an epic destination for Christmas. See famous sites like St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and Colosseum all accented and adorned with Christmas décor. Take a walk through the city to see firsthand how the Romans celebrate Christmas, because, well, when in Rome!
The magic and allure of traveling to London for Christmas are felt around the world, and with good reason as London never disappoints as Christmas ale, lights, markets, and Harry Potter-like feasts are music to one’s ear. Explore the city by bike and stop at the many Christmas-themed locales such as Hyde Park’s luminous Winter Wonderland.
Just because you’re in the middle of the desert doesn’t mean you have to miss out on typical yuletide signatures like snow, skiing, Santa Claus and entertainment. Dubai has it all! Read more about Christmas in Dubai here.
This seafaring capital resembles Santa’s village at Christmas with its tall colorful buildings, lighting decor, and friendly Swedish locals. Being on top of the world gives Stockholm a wonderful dusting of snow. Sometimes the Northern Lights are visible which can make the city’s Christmas atmosphere even more ethereal.
Budapest is spectacular both in the fall and winter! The River Danube offers stunning views of the gothic Parliament building while many holiday festivities are underway. Shop at the market in St. Stephen’s Square, enjoy a slow and romantic Christmas dinner cruise with live music or check out the Hungarian thermal baths that serve as a relaxing treat during the winter season.
During the holidays, the jingling of bells fills Prague with atmospheric bliss and Christmas magic with it markets, winter activities, and both cozy and luxurious cafes. Walk the streets of this iconic city or stay for New Year festivities in the historic Old Town and be part of more spirited celebrations.
Think Belgian beer, chocolate-and-strawberry-topped waffles, cheese, meatballs and fries! Sometimes all you need to get into the Christmas spirit is some delicious food and great company, and Brussels is in no short supply. Plus, it has all the normal dressings of a Christmas village such as a one-and-a-half mile Winter Wonderland and Christmas Market, outdoor ice rink and Ferris wheel that offers a gorgeous view of the city.