In an effort to avoid the hubbub and stress intrinsically connected to wintertime holiday events, more and more individuals and families are looking for an escape. We've put together our favorite cities where one can visit to enjoy holiday cheer and an immersive wintertime celebration away from the hustle and bustle of home.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and enjoy a solemn and historically rich tour of this great city, which has inextricable religious ties. Catholics can visit the Vatican and watch the Pope celebrate Christmas Day Mass, or attend the more intimate Midnight Mass at the Pantheon, one of the oldest buildings in this Holy City. Muslims, too, visit Rome for religious wintertime celebration, visiting the largest mosque in Europe. Rome during the holidays is a beautiful and meditative experience that keeps top of mind the true origins of religious holidays.
The Viennese White Christmas is a city-wide celebration with white lights and elegant chandeliers. Vienna hosts advent concerts with classic choir performances daily at Schönbrunn Palace and Mass celebrated in the center of the City at St. Stephen's Cathedral.
This Swedish river town is illuminated with lights all winter long, and wintertime classic foods include almonds and glogg. More than five million lights illuminate the buildings and 700 Christmas trees at Liseberg Amusement Park (the largest Scandinavian Christmas market), and the Lane of Light path to the harbor is illuminated as well.
Plaisirs d’Hiver in Brussels means centuries-old buildings bathed in dramatic colored lights, quite the opposite of Vienna’s white Christmas. 240 chalets serve Belgian waffles and cuberdon candies throughout the season.
Napapiiri in Lapland, Finland
Home to Santa Claus Village and Santa Park, this hub for European Christmas has real reindeer and nearby Rovaniemi has even more Christmas destinations.
Lovely any time of the year, the City of Lights must shine especially bright for Christmas, and it does. Lights illuminate the whole City, the Champs-Elysee and the Eiffel Tower. A makeshift ice rink is created under the pillars of the Eiffel Tower during the season where tourists and locals can skate under the glowing tower. Scrumptious sweet treats and other cuisine around the city add to the glamour of Paris in Christmas, where Papa Noel visits.
The holidays are a great time to explore a new city when it is at its finest, filled with holiday cheer and a variety of other offerings not available other times of the year.