December is here, and with it the time for Christmas and cheer. Shop windows start shimmering with lights, the streets are full of people once again, the children can’t wait for Santa and the Three Wise Men to come, and many of us are really looking forward to this month to get away for some days and make the most of this special season. We leave you with 5 destinations for a fairytale Christmas:
1- Prague. Czech Republic
What could we say about Prague that has not already been told? Probably not a whole lot. But what we’d like to emphasize is that being one of the most beautiful cities in the world as well as one of the busiest ones, there is a special season in which Prague deserves a visit. And that season is Christmas. Sheltering ourselves from the cold of the city, and enjoying the lights and Christmas markets is a unique experience that will have us feeling as if in the streets of a true Christmas fairytale.
The city’s two main markets are located in the Old Town Square and at Wenceslas Square, two of the most touristic parts of the city.
There you’ll find many wooden stalls, lit by hundreds of multicolored lights, and selling traditional handicrafts, from candles, to wooden toys, artisanally made glass items, jewelry, old-fashioned puppets, traditional food products, and of course, the usual mulled wine with which to guard off the cold in the month of December.
It is also in this area of the city that you’ll find a giant Christmas tree and a nativity scene, welcoming the most looked forward to time of the year.
This year, the Prague Christmas markets will be open from November 28th through to January 1st.
2- Hallstatt. Austria
If there is a real-life fairytale town, without a doubt, that would have to be Hallstatt, Austria. No wonder it is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns by a lake.
And if to that we add the charm of the Christmas season, and snow-covered scenery, can anyone doubt this is one of those destinations where to have a fairytale Christmas?
Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Hallstatt; full of tradition and adorned with a Christmas market that starts on December 8th, and which gives the town’s square a fairytale-like air that you’ll never forget. Handicrafts and traditional local cuisine await you at this fairytale destination.
Imagine how stunning Hallstatt must be to have inspired the Chinese to create a replica of this amazing town.
Hallstatt is located on the shores of Lake Hallstätter, in the mountainous district of Salzkammergut. You can get there by train from Vienna or Salzburg, getting off at the Attnang-Puchheim station. Once there, you have to get on another train towards Obertraun, and get off at the stop after Bad Ischl. The Hallstatt train station is on the shore opposite the village, so you will then have to take a ferry to town. And though it could be said that getting there by public transport is no easy task, we promise you won’t regret doing it, especially when you see the breathtaking views from the ferry.
When traveling from Salzburg, you have the option of taking the bus, which will leave you at the Bad Ischl station within one hour, where you will have to then take the train to Hallstatt.
And if you are looking the most comfortable option, it is best to rent a car due to the freedom it affords. Hallstatt is about 280 kilometers away from Vienna, about a three and a half hour ride away. This option, although by far the easiest, is only ideal if you are traveling longer than 2 or 3 days, or if touring the country.
3- Bruges. Belgium
One of the most beautiful places in Belgium, Europe, and, why not say it, the world! Also known as the Venice of the North, in Bruges we find a town with an impressive historical district and many buildings of medieval origin that take us back to another time period.
But that’s not the only thing Bruges has got going for it, as it also boasts a network of canals that make it even more special; and more so at dusk, after most groups of visitors have left, and the town seems to stand alone under the moon, showing us its most beautiful side.
We can’t say it enough, going to Bruges and not spending the night is like not having been there at all. It’s well worth taking a few hours out of your planned itinerary to spend the night in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
And if Christmas is your chosen time of the year to go to Bruges, you have not chosen wrong! From November 20th, to January 3rd you’ll find that one of Belgium’s most popular Christmas markets blends into the decorations of Grote Mark, the town’s main square, with its beautifully lit bell tower.
Small wooden booths invite visitors to have a hot chocolate or a mulled wine to combat the cold that is so characteristic of this season, and to step right into a full-blown fairytale Christmas.
4- Tallinn. Estonia
It is said that Tallinn was the first city to put up a Christmas tree. Legend has it that many years ago, on the same square where the tree is now set up every Christmas, a young bachelor started singing and dancing around a tree in front of some young girls, and they all ended up setting the tree on fire. This gesture gave rise to the tradition of lighting up the Christmas tree at this time of the year.
Whether the legend is true or not, we can guarantee that Tallinn is a very special destination at this time of the year.
With its old town surrounded by beautiful walls, Tallinn is the perfect city to explore on foot, and even more so in December, when it lies under a cover of snow that effectively turns it into a fairytale city.
From November 20th to January 8th, in the Old Town Square where we find the Old Town Hall, we can find over 50 stands that form one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world, right next to a giant tree that towers over the whole square.
Dress warm and get ready to immerse yourself in a real fairytale.
And from stall to stall, and mulled wine to mulled wine, don’t forget to visit any of Tallinn’s many viewpoints, so you can get an even prettier view over this stunning fairytale city.
And these should be more than enough reasons to go to Tallinn and have a fairytale Christmas.
5- Midi-Pyrénées in France
This is one of the least known regions in France, and yet among the most spectacular. Going to Midi-Pyrénées in December is guarantee that you’ll have a fairytale Christmas.
Impressive small town such as Cordes-sur-Ciel, Conques, Rocamadour, or Saint-Cirq-Lapopie delight you with a unique backdrop where to enjoy one of the most beautiful times of the year in almost total solitude.
And if you want to make the most of the Christmas markets, head over to Albi, which does not disappoint. Immerse yourself and let yourself be tempted by some of their traditional products such as foie gras, preserves, small cakes, roasted chestnuts, or delicious mulled wine. And if shopping is more up your alley, don’t forget to lose yourself among the wide variety of local handicrafts.
The best way to get to Midi-Pyrénées is by car, be it your own or a rental if you have arrived in Toulouse by plane.
Find accommodation for a fairytale Christmas and make it a truly unique experience.