Magical destinations for Christmas holidays abroad
Christmas is a special time of year for many families but with shops putting out their Christmas fare earlier and earlier it can seem like the magic is fading by the time the Advent calendars go up. To keep the Christmas magic alive and well a Christmas holiday abroad can be the perfect solution. If you want to see your children’s eyes really light up why not take them to one of these magical destinations.
Arguably the place to go for the best Christmas markets in Europe. Berlin certainly has a huge choice with about 60 Christmas markets appearing in the month leading up to the big day. You will quickly see that German people really know a thing or two about making the festive season special with each market offering something different to try and tempt you.
One of the most famous Berlin Christmas markets is the one held at the beautiful Charlottenburg Palace. Tradition is at the heart of this market with stalls laden under heaps of tinsel strings of baubles nativity figurines and traditional German Christmas fare including Stollen and Spritz biscuits. More than 200 stalls return here each year bringing the magic of Christmas to thousands of visitors young and old alike.
Paris, the city of love and romance, has only recently embraced Christmas markets but Parisian flair makes them rather special. The biggest market is held at La Defense where 350 stalls set up with a fantastic variety of Christmas arts and crafts. The smell of regional festive foods wraps the market with a feeling of warm nostalgia and the views from La Defense across the city make it even more special.
The Champs-Elysees Christmas market is another that should not be missed. This iconic boulevard is transformed by sensational Christmas lights and lines of wooden chalets selling all kinds of festive gifts and foods. The market itself is found between Rond Point and the Palace de la Concorde but the Christmas transformation continues along the boulevard as far as the Arc de Triomphe. It is a truly magical sight and there is a small fun fair for the kids as well.
As if this city wasn’t picture perfect already the arrival of the Christmas season simply highlights its charm and beauty. There are many Christmas markets around the city but the two main ones are held at the Old Town Square and the appropriately named Wenceslas Square. You will be surrounded by the sights smells and sounds of Christmas with brightly decked stalls selling everything from decorations to beautiful hand-crafted ceramics and winter clothes.
The festive foods available at both these markets are extensive and range from cuts from spit-roasted hams to Christmas biscuits and a traditional sweet brioche-like bread called vanocka. The Prague Christmas markets appear towards the end of November and continue into the New Year. Whilst they don’t compromise on the magic these markets can offer far better value for money than in some other European cities – so just remember to leave enough space in your luggage for all those Christmas purchases.