Holidays are around the corner. Love, laughter, beauty and festivity are already in the air. Thus, there is no better time to plan your annual long vacation than during the twelve Christmas days, which include the New Year’s celebrations all around the world. As Norman Vincent Peale says, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Below we will mention the 10 best countries to visit on Christmas and the best traditions and things to do there.
If you are planning your vacation make sure to take all COVID-19 safety measures. Also, it is advisable to check the country’s updated regulations regarding receiving visitors from different places around the world. ConnollyCove wishes safe travels to everyone during these exceptional times.
10 Best Countries to Visit on Christmas
The first country that comes to mind when thinking about Christmas holidays is France. They organize one of the best attractive markets in the world. Also their Christmas celebrations and traditions are magical. Some of the cities you might think about spending your holiday in are:
Paris is often described as the “city of light”. As Michael Simkins states, “Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.” And there is no better time to visit this magical city than during Christmas. Festivities and Christmas decorations prevails around the streets and houses. It also has the best Christmas market in town.
One of the best Christmas markets in the city is the “Magic of Christmas” which is organized next to the Louver. During the period of the market, visitors enjoy multiple activities, delicious food amid marvelous Christmas decorations. It is not only a market but also a city carnival. You can visit it anytime from late November to the beginning of January each year. And since you are in Paris, do not want to miss the New Year’s count down by the Eiffel tower.
It is one of the most populated areas in France. It is famous for its Mediterranean climate and natural setting. Nice is called “Nice la Belle” which is translated as “Nice the beautiful”. And there is no better time to visit the beautiful city than during Christmas. Whether you choose to take lunch by the beach or take a tour around the old city, you will definitely enjoy your time. And if you like doing activities more adventures, you can hike in the Nice Alps.
The city also has an excellent Christmas market to buy all the souvenirs you want. It is opened daily in the Jardin de Albert 1er from December to the beginning of January. Activities organized during the market period are enjoyable for both adults and children. Visitors also indulge in the deliciously offered food.
If you cannot decide whether to visit Germany or France during your vacation, visiting the French Strasbourg is your answer. It is a French city that lies on the eastern border of France with Germany. Thus, it combines both cultures essences. Besides, the oldest market to be organized during these holy times in France was in Strasbourg in 1570. Therefore the city is called the “capital of Christmas”. Starting from the end of November till the beginning of January, Christmas decorations occupy the streets of the city. There are also many exceptional Christmas markets that should be on your list when staying in Strasbourg.
A place of history, culture, nature and traditions, Greece is the best destination to visit. In Greece you get away from the freezing weather and enjoy a little sunshine during the winter season. Official Christmas celebrations in Greece last for 14 days. There are many places to visit during the Christmas time in Greece which include:
Athens is an ancient city that is all about traditions. Though the weather is a bit cold to visit it in December, it will be a chance for you to enjoy the city away from the seasonal crowd. In Athens, streets and houses are decorated with Christmas trees and decorations. Also traditional food is prepared on the table in houses and restaurants. And if you are forward looking to buying Christmas gifts, Athens offers many bazaars and markets all around the city.
If you are looking for a quitter and less crowded place to spend your Christmas vacation, then Rhodes should be on your list. Rhodes is equipped with many cultural, natural and archeological sites to visit. It is a great place to visit that will serve all tastes and desires whether relaxation or adventure based.
In Christmas the three windmills in Mandraki Harbor are decorates with light. Also decorations run around the town in different areas. Though Rhodes does not have a traditional Christmas market, it is a great place to enjoy the festivities of this time of the year away from Europe’s crowd and freezing weather.
Heraklion is the capital of Crete Island. It is known for its museums, archeological sites and its beach. Though it is mostly visited in summer, Heraklion city hosts one of the most important Christmas markets in Greece called “Heraklion Christmas Market”. It is where you can shop for Christmas gifts, ice skate, enjoy Christmas music and Cretan food. The market is usually organized from the beginning of December till the beginning of January. There are also other Christmas decorations found all around the city.
Christmas celebrations in Italy begin on the 8th of December and ends on the 6th of January. Italians are all about traditions and extended celebrations. Wherever you are in Italy, you will enjoy the festive season.
It is where the spirit of the past and the festivities of the present collide to create a magical symphony. In Rome you get to meet the Pope in person and receive his blessings as part of the city’s traditions during the midnight mass on this blessful eve. You can also buy the perfect gifts from Rome’s markets and enjoy the delicious Italian food. Walking in the city and viewing the extended Christmas light throughout its ancient exteriors adds a sense of beauty to the overall atmosphere. Do not miss listening to classic Christmas carols in Rome’s Auditorium.
What is more charming than visiting the “city of canals” during Christmas? Venice is usually a city mostly crowded in summer. Therefore, visiting it in Christmas would be a escape from the crowd. Visitors are offered the chance to enjoy the ancient parts of the city and its museum without the hustle and bustle of summer. The city offers many small Christmas markets where you can buy the desired gifts. You can also enjoy the Christmas decorations spread all over the streets of the city and its canals.
Spending the holiday in Florence is a unique experience. Visitors can enjoy walking tours amid the city’s Christmas lights. The streets are a perfect place to take your annual Christmas photo. Adding to that, the city’s Christmas markets will serve all tastes and budgets. You can shop for all the gifts you wish for. And of course, do not forget to try the exceptional food and Christmas treats in the city’s restaurants.
Visiting an ancient country with ancient traditions like England will definitely leave a positive mark to your holiday. Some of the British traditions include listening to the queen’s speech, hanging out with family on Christmas day eating turkey and hanging out stockings on Christmas Eve.
It is an important feast that is often celebrated in many forms of English art as well. For instance, George Eliot describes in the Mill on the Floss novel,“Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.”
Some of the cities you might want to visit during your Christmas vacation in England include:
The capital of England is also the capital of English art and creative activities. During the vacation you can do a wide range of activities from shopping at Christmas markets, participating in night tours, or attending Christmas shows. One place you have to put on your bucket list is visiting Hogwarts by booking Warner Bros studio tour. You will get to live Harry Potter’s Christmas atmosphere within the forbidden forest and the Hogwarts castle decorations. And don’t forget to taste London’s festive food made specially for the occasion.
York is one of the cathedral cities in England. It was originally founded by the Romans as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior. York cathedral is commonly known as York Minister. It is considered one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe.
Having this ancient and religious importance, Christmas in York is an exceptional occasion. There are various activities one could join that would adhere to everyone’s interest whether with family or friends. Visitors could join a walking tour in the city to discover the city’s traditions and explore its ancient streets amid Christmas decorations. Also, you might want to join the famous York Christmas Market, St Nicholas Fair. It is where you can shop for all the gifts you wish to buy. And also enjoy lounging with family and friends in the Thor’s Tipi.
Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in the capital of ancient England? Do you wish to experience the luxurious life of the country? Winchester is the answer, specially during the Christmas period. It is another cathedral city. Winchester’s Cathedral Christmas market is considered one of the best in Europe. Its festivities that begin from mid-November till the New Year shall not be missed. It is a winter authentic get away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Netherlands is the country of nature, art and authentic architecture. It is enjoyable to just walk in the streets of the country among the contemporary street art. One of the best cities to visit there is Amsterdam. It is known for its canal and its famous museums. In Amsterdam tourists can visit the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, and Anne Frank’s house.
During Christmas, Amsterdam’s beauty is enhanced by the festive decorations all over the city. It will be a perfect tranquil vacation and for a better price than visiting the city in the summer. You can also visit the city’s organized markets where you can enjoy plenty of activities, good food and buy amazing gifts.
To know more about places to visit in Netherlands and things to do, check our latest article where you will be introduced to the best places to visit and all that you need to know about Netherlands.
Germany is a country with an ancient history that would be exceptional for any tourist to visit. It is characterized by its diverse landscape that ranges from forests and mountains to rivers and beaches. There are plenty of activities to do in Germany specially during Christmas.
One of the best places to visit in Germany during these vacation times is its capital, Berlin. The city offers a variety of Christmas markets that you would not want to miss. You can also keep an eye on the events organized over the days of the vacation. And do not forget to enjoy the exceptional German cuisine.
Spain is another country with long history. It is home to various cathedrals, natural landscapes and diverse museums. There are various cities to visit in Spain but one of the best is its Capital Barcelona.
There is no better way to describe Barcelona than what Miguel de Cervantes said, ‘Barcelona, a fountain of courtesy, the shelter of strangers, hospice to the poor, land of the valiant, avenger of the offended, reciprocator of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty.’
If you are looking forward to getting away from the snowy weather of Christmas to a place where your vacation will be unforgettable, Barcelona will be one of your best destinations. It has several Christmas markets with the festive decorations of the season. Make sure to visit the oldest traditional market in Barcelona, the market of Santa Llucia.
Portugal is country with prominent ancient history as it is one of the oldest nation states in Europe and on the Iberian Peninsula. It used to be one of the most important and powerful economic, political and military country in the 15th and 16th century. Today, it is highly ranked as a peaceful developed country with advanced economy and high living standards. Therefore, visiting Portugal during the festive holidays will be an unforgettable travel memory.
Portugal is blessed with a unique weather where the highest temperature in December reaches 15°C during day time and 8°C at night. Though its Christmas markets are not widely famous as in other countries in Europe, the Christmas traditions in the country are impressive. One of which is called presépios; which is nativity scenes examples spread all around in the country. Some nativity scenes are put live where people dress up as characters from a Christmas story.
Christmas takes place in Portugal on the eve of 24th December. The traditional setting of families includes laying out shoes for Baby Jesus. In addition, they gather to eat Portuguese Christmas food which include: Consoada, Bacalhau, and sweet pastries. And also families attend midnight masses.
Some of the cities you want to visit on your tour in Portugal are: Lisbon, Madeira, and Alentejo. There are some Christmas markets organized there. Also, you manage to get in touch with Portugal’s ancient history.
It is an unconventional place to visit during Christmas but it will give you a new and different experience than the European countries. Brazil is considered the sixth largest country by the sea. It has several attractions to visit that range from natural to historical landmarks.
Christmas traditions in Brazil are highly influenced by the Portuguese traditions since it used to belong to Portugal till the 19th century. It is a unique country during this time of the year, as the weather is hot and sunny that you can celebrate the occasion on the beach. Decorations are widely spread all over the country. You can enjoy shopping, food and good warm weather.
Brazil is highly affordable specially for visitors using USD or Euro currency. Therefore, if you are planning to spend your vacation on a budget, Brazil will be a perfect destination for you.
Moving away from Europe to Asia, there is no better place to visit than Singapore. It is an island city state that is located in maritime Southeast Asia. It has the 2nd largest population density in the world. Therefore, it is a multicultural place that encompasses people from different ethnic and cultural back grounds respectfully and harmoniously.
There are many attractions in Singapore. You can visit several gardens, parks, natural setting, the zoo, and art and historical museums. Singapore offers one of the best tourist destinations in the world.
During Christmas, the quality of Singapore’s preparation is incomparable. The holiday in the city is a combination of festivities, good food, shopping markets and decorations. You should save extra dollars to visit the Orchard Road, which is one of the most luxuries shopping destinations in the world.
Singapore is rated one of the most expensive cities to live in. However, you could manage to spend your vacation there on less budget. To be able to choose cheaper flight tickets to Singapore, make sure to plan your visit at least four weeks in advance. Also try to choose local airline which is usually less in prices.
There are also cheaper accommodation options but you will need to use public transportation to reach your specified destination. Though the transportation network is well established in Singapore, it is relatively crowded. One of the best public transportation in Singapore is the MRT. It is affordable and reliable in the city in spite of being highly crowded.