It's Christmas time! And on Sunday the 25th, we will be celebrate this great Christian Holiday of the birth of Jesus Christ! If you have decided to make a trip during Holidays - Christmas is a good time to discover countries and join to people's celebrations!
We made our list of top 10 destinations which will be interesting to visit while traveling on Christmas days. Every country has its own traditions of celebrating along with a common style of decorations, because it is well known that on Xmas every city looks especially festively and attractive, like in a fairy tale!
1. Vienna, Austria
Vienna or cultural capital of Europe, wich is the second name of Vienna, cozy and comfortable, this city is just beautiful on Christmas days. It saves the traditions, full of folk and romantic events. The city is well decorated with Xmas lights and trees. The main Christmas Tree of Vienna is erected in front of the townhall. The famous Christmas markets, which are very popular in Austria and Germany, are another required part of the Holiday. The biggest one, "Christkindlmarkt", is open at Rathausplatz, between Rathaus (city hall) and Burgtheater, - a place with the aroma of freshly baked biscuits and freshly cut pine trees. Here you can buy any present or gift, handmade jobs, sweets and toys. Also, worth to visit the Christmas Market in front of the famous and beautiful Schonbrunn castle. "Gluhwein" (mulled wine) -is another famous Viennese attribute for the winter. Ice skating in front of the City Hall (Rathaus) on Rathausplatz will be unforgetable time spending for whole family. And, of course, visit St. Stephen's Cathedral at the heart of Vienna, in the Stephansplatz.
|Christmas market in Vienna (Rathaus Christkindlmarkt) | Christmas in Austria||photo by © wiki|
2. Paris, France
Paris - the city of romance, is especially beautiful during Christmas holidays. Just imagine, Elysian fields covered with thousands of lights, Triumphal Arch is shining with a special ilumination, and of course the Eiffel Tower, wearing with a holiday lights, is just beautiful ! Ice skating is open for free around all Paris with 4-5 euro charge for skates (free for kids). Disneyland Paris will be interesting for kids and their parents across December, with a Christmas programms and markets. Visiting Christmas market is a great winter stroll with a chance of get an interesting gifts which are handmade presents, traditional foodstuff, etc. Visit Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées - the biggest one in Paris, opened this year from November 11th till January the 2d 2012.
3. Athens, Greece
Christmas in Athens is a big set of festive events throughout all city. Hundreds of artists and volunteers made a Holiday season unforgetable, and especially magic for kids. Festivals continues for 30 days and evenings on the streets and squares of Athens, among them the central Syntagma, Kotzia and Klauthmonos squares. Singers and dancers, musicians and actors will made an event really colorfull! "At 3 main squares, in 17 neighborhoods and at 11 cultural centers, with 10 events and 700 artists for 30 days and 30 nights" - these are "Christmas in Athens", according to organizers.
Every festival is going to be different and aimed to represent the face of Athens - with a great thousand-year history, but modern and dinamic! Especially wonderfull looks, this Holiday time, a dozen of "natural" Xmas trees, which are gorgeous Orange trees and Mandarine trees - they looked fantastic!
4. New York, United States
In New York you will find everything you are looking for on Chrismas - place for your Xmas dinner, hundreds of events and performances, or shopping. Everyone saw in the photo or in the movie the Christmas tree of the city of big Apple. And it is one of the the most famous and beautiful Xmas trees, which is located in New York, in the Rockefeller Center Plaza, also known as the Capital of NYC Christmas. A fantastic but expensive skating, which is lying right under the Tree, is avaliable for $30 (21 + 9 rental). Much cheaper skating at the Central Park, about for $17. Another site which is interesting to see is the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden which is about 150 miniatures of NY landmarks. At Lincoln Center will be interesting to watch The Nutcracker in the performance of the New York City Ballet (November 25 - December 31, 2011.)
|Christmas Tree in New York, Rockefeller Center Plaza | Christmas in New York, US|
5. London, Great Britain
London is a perfect "Christmas city", with a lots of decorations, lights, Christmas trees, Christmas markets and ice rinks. Famous British traditions! Start your observation from the Trafalgar Square, and you will find there a beautiful Christmas Tree, which is a present from Norway, every year over 20 meters high and 50-60 years old. Ice skatings - is a tradition for London, they apper all over the city. We suggest to visit one, near London Eye, opened daily on December from 10am to 9pm; also, Ice skating at Somerset House - the most glamorous in London, set in the spectacular 18th century courtyard; and Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink on banks of the River Thames. Another Christmas tradition in London is the Nutcracker for over 50 years in the English National Ballet based at Markova House in South Kensington.
|London on Christmas (Trafalgar Square) | Christmas in London, UK||photo by © wiki|
6. Madrid, Spain
The capital of Spain is another place which will be interesting to visit on Christmas holidays. Madrid is beautifully decorated, with a set of Christmas markets and events for kids and adults. The holiday begins on December 15th, with a show in Plaza de Oriente (which is Metro Opera). Covered in Christmas lights the city invites to numerous Xmas markets, and the biggest one is in Plaza Mayor, which opened in late 20s of November. From December 5 until January the 8th throughout the city you can see and take part in the Nativity Scenes, or in Spanish - "Belenes". It is interesting to discover, and the biggest Belenes will be at the Centro de Turismo de Colon, also at The Basilica Pontificia de San Miguel, and at Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos in Moratalaz. Especially interesting will be to visit the Madrid Cathedral (Santa Maria la Real de La Almudena) near the royal palace. Decorated on a holidays themes, it is a perfect place to think of the birth of the Son of God. Also, go to ice skating at the The Buen Retiro Park - the biggest in Madrid, close to the Puerta de Alcala and not far from the Prado Museum. Beautiful and for royals only in the past, now Retiro park is public and it is a good place to rest and enjoy your vacation in Madrid!
7. Rome, Italy
If you're planning your trip on Christmas in Europe, write down to your list the capital of Italy. Rome is beautiful these holidays, with a lots of decorations and markets. A big Chrismas Tree is erected in saint Peter's Square every year, which is always a gift of some country to Pope's capital and whole Rome. And every year it is a huge, beautiful tree! This time, Ukraine has sent its Chrismas gift to Rome. The 82-foot spruce is decorated with about 2500 gold and silver balls, comes from the wild mountain forests in the west of Ukraine. Also worth to visit the famous square of Piazza Navona, where starting from December is placed a huge Christmas market. Any hand made and other gifts you will find here, with a lots of sweets and toys. Near the church of St. Angelo you will find nice ice skating - open daily from 10am and till midnight.
8. Kiev, Ukraine
These days the center of the Ukranian capital turns to the beautiful fairy tale place - with a colorfull ilumination everywhere, Christmas trees and ice rinks. Traveling in Kiev, you can see the biggest in Europe Cristmas Tree which is on the Independent Square, almost as big as the monument of Independence. Regardless that Christmas will be celebrates on January the 7th, starting from the early 10th of December the streets are full of decorations and Xmas lights (according to the Julian calendar the Churches of Ukraine, Russia, and another few countries, are celebrating religious Holidays for 2 weeks later). Traditions of celebrating Christmas in Ukraine goes to centuries ago, and they are full of dancing and folk music. Kreschatik -the main street of Kiev, is shining with the holidays lights, and it is free from cars for weekend from morning to 22.00. Also, there is a medium Christmas market on it. Nice ice rink is avaliable in the Besarabska square, at the Arena mall center. Numerous artists are performing on the holiday stage on the Independent square. Completing the atmosphere of Christmas - the holidays music wich is everywhere. Necessarily visit the Kiev Cathedral ( Kiev Cathedral of saint Vladimir) at the Vladimirska street, and the famous Saint Sophia Cathedral, which has celebrated this year, its 1000 (one thousand) year anniversary.
|Christmas Tree in Kiev (Independent Square) | Christmas in Ukraine||photo by © zn.ua|
9. Montreal, Canada
This canadian city, which is one of the most comfortable cities for living, has its own unique Christmas offers. The lighting of the main Christmas tree, on Place Ville-Marie, is the beggining of the holiday season in Montreal. The tree is artificial, with almost 20 meters in height and decorated with 13,000 lights. Christmas nativity scenes could be seen at St. Joseph's Oratory, which is a tradition since 1981. Interesting to see an annual Christmas parades - Parade de Noel Anjou and Santa Claus Parade (Defile du Pere Noel). Also, the Canadian Pacific Railways offers you to be a "passanger" on the special Christmas Train aka Holiday Train!
10. Sydney, Australia / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This position in our rating share already two cities - Rio de Janeiro and Sydney - both with a set of traditional celebrations and both has the summer during December.
Christmas without the snow is an exotic variant of celebration for most people. What snow? - there is the summer in Australia and Brazil! Summer and the Christmas time!
(Sydney) Some snow can be found, though,- it's Sydney stores dress up for Christmas with the white colors! Santa on the beach, seafood instead of traditional chicken - that is the Cristmas in Sydney! Despite of the warm weather, the streets are decorated nicely, with a traditional, for western world, Xmas lights and ilumination. Sydney's city gardens turns to the Xmas colors - a lot of red blooming flowers among the green leafs. Especially symbolic looks the giant Christmas Tree in the center of Sydney. And it isn't a palm or something - it is a traditional Christmas Tree with a hundreds of golden balls and a star on the top.
(Rio de Janeiro) This city attracts visitors for Christmas, even without the snow, simply because of its holiday spirit! The beautiful and the biggest in the world floating Christmas Tree is the place definitly worth to see. It placed at Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. Near, atop Corcovado mountain, "hovers in the air" the statue of Jesus Christ (Cristo Redentor), illuminated with a special Xmas lights. Of course it looks especially magically in the evening. To feel the spirit of the Chrismas in Rio - visit The Old Cathedral of Rio (Praca XV square), where nativity scenes are displayed. Also worth to visit The Candelaria Church and the modern-style (with an extraordinary architecture) Rio de Janeiro Cathedral.
Enjoy the Christmas time - wherever you are! On a trip to our top 10 destinations or traveling your country-home or just walking your city!
|Christmas Nativity Scenes | Top places to visit on Christmas||photo by © wiki|
Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!!!