It’s not too late to visit a Christmas Market in one of the places where they originated. Begin your festivities a little earlier this year and discover spectacular Christmas markets all over Europe. Search for hand-made gifts and trinkets. Weave through illuminated stalls and sip hot chocolate or mulled wine as you get into the Christmas spirit.
Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Krakow, Innsbruck, Zurich, Munich, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Frankfort, Reykjavik and Stockholm all have Christmas Markets until the end of this month. All of these cities have many other attractions. For example in Stockholm in the lanes of the old Town, there’s a living Advent calendar. Local people sing or recite poetry from their windows.
With flights from £44 return from Gatwick and hotel rates at low season, you will have plenty of pennies left for your Christmas shopping.
See the Northern Lights.
Norway, Sweden and Iceland all offer opportunities to see the Lights. Combine with dog mushing, husky sledding and snowmobiling for a real winter experience.
Narrow down your search to include Whale Watching in Norway or Ice Fishing in Iceland.
Or do it in style on a Hurtigruten cruise, stopping in the scenic towns such as Bergen, Tromso, Alesund and Trondheim.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Walking holidays are no longer confined to summer.
There is something magical about the still, quiet air on a wintry morning walk. The countryside becomes skeletal in its beauty. The branches are bare and the contours of the hills are fined down to their basic form.
Winter walking can be tailored to suit all abilities. From a gentle stroll around well-kept paths in resorts such as Tschuggen Grand in Switzerland—where the most taxing thing is deciding between a saddle of veal with braised tomatoes or grilled sole with mushroom lobster ragout for supper—to snowshoeing, where specially adapted shoes are put onto your footwear so you can walk in the snow. In Finland, this means sleeping in log cabins, complete with sauna and roaring fire. Nothing feels as satisfying as the hot soak in a bath after an icy ramble or tastes quite as good as the first sip of mulled wine following a snowy hike.