When you think of traveling at Christmas, you probably think of just visiting family that lives far and wide. But this year, why not shift the focus of your travels and visit some of the towns that exude complete magic at Christmas?
Not only will you experience a completely traditional Polish Christmas, you’ll get to visit Europe’s oldest and largest subterranean Christmas market. It’s set up in a series of caves that are located underneath the town. Along with the market, there are also sculptures and an 18th century chapel. If you love history, you’ll swoon over the mural drawings that date back to the Roman times. The market opens in mid-November, so if you can’t travel right around Christmas, you can start your Christmas shopping early. Bring the kids because the entire town is a veritable winter wonderland with Santa and his reindeer.
According to the website, Trips to Discover, over two million people visit Nuremberg every year for its unique and carefully planned Christmas displays. The beauty of this place is the participants don’t use fake or big-box decorations. The market council that oversees the displays is quite strict in ensuring that only traditional and handmade toys/goods are being sold. Indulge in local delicacies like mulled wine, sausages, and sweet roasted almonds. The Toy Museum has a two-tiered carousel that’s replicated after its older relatives and it’s resplendent with reindeer and Father Christmas sleighs.
North Pole, Alaska
With a name like the North Pole, would you expect anything other than a Christmas town? The small town of 2200 people is Christmas themed year round. You won’t find one day of the year where it isn’t decorated with Christmas. In December, they really up the ante with its yearly North Pole Christmas in Ice contest where ice sculptors travel from around the world to participate. Mail the kids in your family postcards from Santa’s official zip code to put a little extra magic in their Christmas.
New York City, New York
Whether you’re visiting NYC in the peak of summer or you’re anxious to see it in all of its snowy Christmas glory, there isn’t a bad time to visit. But Christmas seems to make this already magical town even more glorious. Ring in the season with a viewing of the Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center. You must see the Rockefeller Tree, but don’t forget to check out the tree under the arch at Washington Square Park. Head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for some good old fashioned sledding to wear the kids out. Head to Dyker Heights (still in Brooklyn) once the sun has set where the houses are covered from ground to roof with Christmas lights and elaborate decorations. As you head back into Manhattan, stop on Arthur Avenue for some of the city’s best pizza and a decadent cannoli from Madonia Brothers Bakery.
Christmas brings out the best in people, and it does the same for cities across the globe. If you’re in the mood for some of the best, then pack your bags!