We haven’t seen snow in most parts of England for years. If you’re not feeling that festive vibe, then why not spend the holiday this season at one of the most magical Christmas towns the globe has to offer?
Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Possibly the most well-known place to celebrate Christmas, (and maybe quite possibly the best), Rovaniemi is argued to be a much more likely place to spot Santa than the North Pole like the carols suggest. Kids will love taking a trip to this winter wonderland -chock-a-block with pine forests and head-height snow drifts- to bake sweet treats with Mrs Claus and enrol themselves in Elf school. Adults will enjoy the seasonal husky sledging, the reindeer safari, and deep snow tobogganing, whilst the whole family will jump at the opportunity to view the Northern Lights. If you need somewhere to stay and you’re feeling brave, the Arctic Snow Hotel (constructed totally from ice) – may be the way to go.
It’s not hard to see why Nuremburg’s Christmas market draws in crowds of over two million each year, with 200 selected vendors putting on awe inspiring displays for the chance to win the Most Beautiful Staff Design Award. This Christmas Market is the authentic shopping experience, with strictly no mass produced plastic gifts – the Market Council is exclusive in ensuring that the goods available to buy are traditional and handmade only. Germany’s favourite Christmas treats like sausage and gingerbread are available to taste – or you can take a trip to the beloved Toy Museum and the old carousel, made complete with sleighs and reindeer.
Based in the Town Hall Square, the traditional Riga Christmas Market is the perfect place for young ones, featuring a variety of child-centred events such as pony rides, a horse drawn carriage, the ever popular wooden carousel, and the “cat house” with cats from the local shelter. People of all ages will love to do a spot of Christmas shopping, with all manner of locally crafted gifts available, from wooden candlesticks, to Latvian honey and handmade socks. You’ll even get the chance to learn about important Latvian traditions like stitch craft, holiday cooking, and log dragging.
Prague, Czech Republic
Famous for its unique folk traditions and stately gothic architecture, Prague comes alive at Christmas when it hosts its well-known festive markets. These markets are made up of fantastically decorated huts filled to the brim with seasonal delights, featuring everything from delicate ornaments to traditional delicacies such as roasted meats and trdelnik – pastry coated in hot sugar. The Old Town Square is decked out in a beautiful nativity scene, complete with goats, donkeys, lights and music.
Known for its cheery Christmas spirit, did you know that the first Christmas tree was erected in this medieval town? Today, Tallin is still a wonderful place to be this time of year, with lantern-lit cobblestone streets and huts selling wares around the legendary tree. You’ll get the chance to see handicraft professionals practising their craft, and impressive snow sculptures, along with the opportunity to sample Estonian culinary delights and visit the mini zoo.
If any of these Christmas Towns sound good to you, then Gable End is a great place to start your journey, with safe car parking and a good nights rest before your flight