You love to travel on impulse, you need a little getaway, and you’re all for heading somewhere with a little chill in the air and shops piled high with festive goodies – but you have no idea where to go. This one’s for you.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Glittering lights, the cutest wooden houses decorated with pine branches, snow-covered trees creating that perfect Nordic Christmas atmosphere, and a market of 60 stalls selling festive treats – that is Tivoli Gardens this season in a nutshell. The historic garden is playing host to Christmas for the 26th time, featuring over 1,000 Christmas trees embellished with more than 70,000 festive baubles. Bonus: the festivities will continue all the way until January 5, 2020.
Germany boasts some of the best festive markets in Europe, with glühwein, steamy bratwurst, and gingerbread hearts on tap. We suggest doing a little market-hopping this year, starting with the famous Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, followed by Eisenach Christmas Market in the UNESCO World Heritage Wartburg Castle, Erfurt Christmas Market in the unspoilt medieval town of Erfurt, and Striezelmarkt – Germany’s oldest Christmas market – in Dresden.
Those looking for something a bit different should try the white Christmas at Sweden’s Icehotel, where festive ice sculpting and other events will take place on the frozen River Torne. Spend Christmas chasing the aurora, sledding with huskies, and joining a torchlight procession through Jukkasjärvi village for a traditional carol concert.
Belvedere Palace, Vienna
Calling all class acts. Enjoy elegant festivities in Vienna, where a Christmas village is set up in the grounds of the Belvedere Palace and it’s possible to ice skate at City Hall Park.
Budapest Christmas Market, Budapest
Budapest’s historic city center has been transformed into a magical kingdom, with more than 100 stalls selling a range of festive arts and crafts. There’s also a giant advent calendar currently erected on the facade of the Gerbeaud building. This is the stuff of fairy tales.