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Top Cities to Visit During Christmas Time

A memorable way to build magical memories with family & friends.

Best Cities to Spend the Holidays:

Vienna, Austria

A must-see Christmas destination, with beautiful markets full of delcious and unique foods, hand-made trinkets, and the vibrancy of this fun & alive city.

What to do?

  1. Visit Christmas Markets: Explore the famous markets like the Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz or the market at Schönbrunn Palace. These markets offer crafts, gifts, delicious food, and drinks like Glühwein (mulled wine).

  2. Attend Classical Concerts: Vienna is known for its classical music, and during Christmas, there are many special concerts featuring choirs, orchestras, and soloists performing seasonal music.

  3. Ice Skating: Enjoy ice skating at various locations like the Rathausplatz ice rink or the Ice Dream in front of the City Hall.

  4. Try Seasonal Treats: Indulge in traditional Austrian Christmas treats like gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, and Maroni (sweet chestnuts). Don't miss out on trying Austrian Christmas desserts like Vanillekipferl and Lebkuchen.

  5. Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride: Experience the city's charm with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the beautifully lit streets.

  6. Visit Museums and Palaces: Some museums and palaces, like the Belvedere Palace, might have special Christmas exhibitions or events.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is another enchanting European city during Christmas time.

What to do?

  1. Visit Christmas Markets: Explore the iconic Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These markets offer handmade crafts, traditional Czech food, mulled wine (Svarene Vino), and a festive atmosphere.

  2. Attend Concerts and Performances: Prague hosts various concerts and performances during the holiday season, including classical concerts in churches and theaters.

  3. Cruise on the Vltava River: Experience a different perspective of the city by taking a festive cruise on the Vltava River. Some cruises offer dinner and entertainment.

  4. Visit Churches: Explore Prague's stunning churches, including St. Vitus Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady before Týn, where you might find special Christmas concerts or services.

  5. Ice Skating: Enjoy ice skating at various rinks around the city, such as the one at Ovocný trh or Na Františku.

  6. Buy Unique Gifts: Shop for unique gifts and souvenirs at the markets or in the smaller boutique shops around Prague.

  7. Experience the Astronomical Clock: Witness the hourly show at the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, which includes figurines of the Apostles moving and a ringing bell.

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, with its picturesque setting and rich cultural heritage, becomes even more charming during the Christmas season.

What to do?

  1. Visit Christmas Markets: Explore the traditional Christkindlmarkt in the historic Old Town (Altstadt) at Domplatz and Residenzplatz. Indulge in local crafts, seasonal treats like roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

  2. Attend Concerts and Performances: Salzburg, known for its musical heritage, hosts special Advent concerts in churches and halls, featuring choirs, orchestras, and soloists performing classical and Christmas music.

  3. Explore Fortress Hohensalzburg: Take a funicular up to the fortress and enjoy panoramic views of the city. During Christmas, the fortress often hosts special events, concerts, and exhibitions.

  4. Try Local Delicacies: Sample traditional Austrian Christmas delicacies such as Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls), and Glühwein (mulled wine).

  5. Visit Churches and Cathedrals: Explore Salzburg's stunning churches, including the Salzburg Cathedral and the Collegiate Church, which often have special Christmas decorations and concerts.

  6. Take a Sound of Music Tour: While not specifically Christmas-themed, exploring locations from the beloved movie "The Sound of Music" can be a delightful experience in Salzburg.

  7. Take a Winter Walk: Enjoy a scenic stroll along the Salzach River or through Mirabell Gardens, which might be dusted with snow, adding to the festive ambiance.

  8. Participate in Workshops: Some places offer workshops where you can create your own Christmas ornaments or traditional handicrafts.

Athens, Greece

Athens during Christmas offers a unique blend of traditions, history, and festive celebrations. Athens might not have the same wintry feel as some European cities, but its unique blend of history, culture, and festive spirit during Christmas offers a memorable experience.

What to do?

  1. Explore Syntagma Square: This central square hosts a majestic Christmas tree and is beautifully decorated. Witness the lighting ceremony and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

  2. Visit Christmas Markets: Explore various markets around the city, such as the one in Syntagma Square or Monastiraki, offering gifts, decorations, and local treats.

  3. Experience Greek Cuisine: Indulge in traditional Greek Christmas dishes like baklava, melomakarona (honey cookies), and kourabiedes (almond cookies). Many restaurants offer special holiday menus.

  4. Attend Concerts and Performances: Enjoy Christmas concerts, theatrical performances, and choir recitals held in venues like the Megaron Concert Hall or historic theaters around the city.

  5. Visit Monastiraki and Plaka: These neighborhoods are charming year-round but become even more enchanting during Christmas with their festive decorations and bustling atmosphere.

  6. See the Athens Christmas Factory: This is often set up in Technopolis Gazi and offers various activities, shows, and entertainment for families.

  7. Enjoy Views from Lycabettus Hill: Take in panoramic views of Athens, especially at sunset, and admire the city lights and Christmas decorations from above.

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City during Christmas is a vibrant and lively experience, blending traditions, celebrations, and cultural events.

What to do?

  1. Zócalo Decorations: Visit the main square, Zócalo, to see the grand Christmas tree, nativity scenes (nacimientos), and festive decorations adorning the square and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

  2. Posadas: Experience traditional Mexican Posadas, processions reenacting Joseph and Mary's search for shelter, often accompanied by singing, piñatas, and festive foods. Some neighborhoods host public Posadas.

  3. Floating Gardens of Xochimilco: Take a colorful boat ride through the canals of Xochimilco, where you might find boats decorated for Christmas and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

  4. Mercado de Navidad: Explore Christmas markets around the city, such as the Mercado de Navidad at the Monument to the Revolution, offering crafts, food, and seasonal goods.

  5. Bell-Ringing at Churches: Witness the bell-ringing and lighting of candles during the Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass) at various churches, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

  6. Visit Chapultepec Park: Enjoy the park's festive decorations, visit the Chapultepec Castle, and take a walk through the park, which might feature holiday-themed events.

  7. Explore Coyoacán: Visit this charming neighborhood, known for its colorful streets and historical landmarks like Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul. During Christmas, it's beautifully decorated.

Bethlehem, Palestine

Bethlehem is the heart of the Christmas story and a deeply significant way to experience the story, history and power of the holiday.

What to do?

  1. Visit the Church of the Nativity: Explore the Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest churches in the world. It marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus and features the Grotto of the Nativity.

  2. Manger Square: Experience the festive atmosphere in Manger Square, where the Church of the Nativity is located. Witness the lighting of the Christmas tree and enjoy various events and performances.

  3. Join Christmas Eve Celebrations: Attend Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, where the atmosphere is incredibly special and holds deep significance for Christians worldwide.

  4. Explore Old City Bethlehem: Wander through the narrow streets of the Old City, visit local markets, and admire the decorations and nativity scenes displayed by local residents.

  5. Shepherd's Field: Visit the Shepherd's Field, where the shepherds are said to have received the angelic announcement of Jesus' birth. It's a serene place with chapels and beautiful views.

  6. Nativity Museum: Explore the Nativity Museum, which offers insights into the history and significance of the birth of Jesus through artifacts and exhibits.

  7. While you're in the area it is only fitting to take a tour of Israel following the Footsteps of Jesus and the Old Testament stories.

No matter where you spend the holidays, alongside family and friends is the joy of the season!

We'd love to help your family, friends, church, organization or school plan a unique and unforgettable way to spend the holidays next year. Check out our tours page for more information on visiting Greece, Austria, Prague and Israel or create your own custom tour with us!


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