10 magical festive destinations

30. 11. 2022

In the holiday season, cities all over the world sparkle with countless festive lights, while Christmas markets are filled with the delicious aromas of baked goods and hot drinks. If you’d like to wander through beautifully decorated city streets and squares and visit a lively Christmas fair, then check out our list of 10 magical festive destinations which can be reached from our airport at affordable prices.

Hamburg – Christmas Capital of Europe

Hamburg, also known as the “German door to the world”, is a city in north Germany famous for having the largest port in the country. It has also been dubbed the Christmas Capital of Europe in the holiday season, owing to the more than 20 themed Christmas fairs that draw up to six million visitors a year. In addition to the well-visited fairs that feature various culinary offerings, crafts, shows, concerts, all imaginable gifts and, of course, mulled wine, there is also a dedicated fair for canine friends, fairy-tale Christmas boats with entertainment for children and adults, and an LGBT fair.

Warsaw – Christmas with a modern feel

The aroma of festive gingerbread biscuits and hot chocolate – this is Warsaw at Christmas time, the Polish capital that strikes a very happy balance between the traditional and modern. Attractive hipster bars and restaurants and a large choice of fringe-culture activities are what makes the city modern. On the other hand, the charming old town centre with the famous Castle Square where a Christmas tree rises high into the sky, decorated with millions of lights and famed as one of the prettiest in Europe. Warsaw is said to have an outstanding Christmas atmosphere.

Copenhagen – “hygge”, “gløgg” and lit kayaks

“Hygge” is a word often used by the Danes to describe the joys of Christmas time. Hard to translate with a single word, it could be paraphrased as “the cosiness of living”. It is about spending time with friends over a good meal, drinking “gløgg” (a spicy version of mulled wine), decorating the Christmas tree and keeping warm at a fireplace and having fun in Tivoli Gardens. These turn into a winter fairy-tale that should not be missed when visiting Copenhagen at this time of year, one filled with entertainment and fun. If you happen to be in Copenhagen on the 13th of December, go to see the traditional kayak parade. In this spectacular scene illuminated kayaks move through Copenhagen’s river canals while the rowers sing Christmas songs. 

Barcelona – romance and the cheeky Caganer

Forget the snowflakes, mulled wine and grilled sausages. Lose your gloves, hats and winter coats. Barcelona is in a class of its own, known as the most romantic Christmas capital in Europe. The clear blue skies are particularly inviting in December, and the spring-like temperature bring even more visitors into the colourful streets. As you see the city’s sights you’re certain to come across two unique Christmas traditions that reflect the mischievous sense of humour in Barcelona. One of them is Tio de Nadal – a laughing Christmas character with a red hat and a log for a body, standing on four wooden legs. The other naughty fellow is El Caganer – a cheeky boy who brings an irreverent sense of humour to the traditional nativity scene.

Paris - cheese, chocolate and timeless elegance

The festive December atmosphere in Paris is characterised by French chic and world-class cuisie, which features heese, chocolate, roasted chestnuts, excellent mulled wine and even Advent calendars! The always glamorous European capital wears a lovely luminous costume for tne New Year, which attracts crowds of excited travellers. Paris is also famous for the traditional "Swiss" stalls - charming little wooden huts that give off the warming aromas of French delicacies. The buche de Noel (Christmas log) and galette des rios (King's cake) are two traditional esserts that you have to try. You'll recognise the latter by the characteristic paper crown on top of the celebrated pudding.

Zürich – fairy-tale tram, circus and delicious fondue

Zürich is a subalpine Swiss town that offers picturesque hillsides for skiing, sledding and other kinds of fun in the snow. Then when the night falls and the ski lifts come to a halt, the town’s festive lighting comes on. Some locals describe the Christmas season in Zürich as “the spectacle”. Zürich is known chiefly for its fine culinary offerings. Its streets are lined with picturesque Christmas fairs, with the rich smell of fondue wafting from charming huts. A romantic blanket of snow completes the magic. In December, visitors can enjoy at least three unique features: the traditional candle craft workshops in Bürkliplatz, the Märlitram fairy-tale tram, in which Santa takes children for a spin around the city while telling Christmas stories, and the Conelli Christmas circus, one of the best known of its kind. 

Helsinki – icy experiences and saunas

Helsinki is the capital of Finland, the land of saunas and Santa. A visit to this city guarantees an adventure at the very heart of the Christmas experience, which can be spiced up by popping into one of Iceland’s famed traditional saunas. Get cosy around a nice fire at one of the holiday fairs and indulge in some sweet treats and beverages flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and honey. It’s also said that no visitor to Helsinki should miss the charming Cafe Regatta – a small red wooden house on the seafront which is home to tradition and comfort. It’s definitely a place you’ll find hard to leave. Adventurous types can venture out to tour a frozen archipelago that promises a memorable experience, or visit the village of Rovaniemi, where Santa lives. Alternatively, a two-hour ferry ride will take you to festive Talin, the capital city of neighbouring Estonia.

London – a city of entertainment and film heroes

Another metropolis that is famous for its exceptional Christmas atmosphere. If anyone, it’s Londoners and the English in general who take the holiday season very seriously. It’s a reason to celebrate almost everywhere – in the many pubs, department stores and most of all in each of the central squares, which together provide all the festival atmosphere you can handle. From the incredible illumination to the street artists and vast choice of culinary delicacies. London is a capital that also has plenty to offer to fans of cult movies, cartoons or series. Enjoy a VR experience in the magical world of Alice in Wonderland. Fans of Peaky Blinders will have the opportunity to conquer London. Those who prefer Harry Potter can climb aboard the train for Hogwarts and witness the adventures of his son, Albus. There is also an experience to please fans of Frozen.

New York – the sparkling Big Apple

If you’re filled with Christmas excitement and crave thousands of opportunities for seasonal activities and endless entertainment, New York is the city for you. Waves of spectacular lighting flood the city, delighting visitors with experiences that can only be found in the Big Apple. The city has it all, from dance spectacles, a great number of vibrant squares and a mass rally of bar-hopping Santas, to the largest and sweetest gingerbread village. And don’t forget to see the most famous Christmas tree in the world which, since 1951, has symbolised the holiday season in New York. The Rockefeller Christmas tree stands more than 20 metres high and typically weighs from 10 to 15 tons. It’s decorated with a string of lights eight kilometres long and topped by the magnificent Swarowski star glittering at the peak, with three million crystals.

Dubai – where winter and summer coexist

Dubai is a booming city where people from over 200 different countries form in a single community. So many cultures in one place can only mean one thing – a diverse and fascinating holiday experience. In a city where summer rules in December, you can nevertheless find a number of winter sports. The incredible mix of cultures has made Dubai a highly popular destination, especially in festive December. In addition to gorgeously decorated squares and stores you can enjoy a range of breath-taking performances, spectacular views of the illuminated city and, of course, the excellent cuisine. For a perfect experience, take a stroll in your shorts through Dubai’s festively decorated Miracle Garden, which dazzles any visitor with its collection of more than 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. Another leading attraction in Dubai are the magnificent fireworks that can be watched from many viewing points across the city.