December is a time of celebration, a time of giving, of being with the family, a winter season when taking a vacation is something we long for. Here are six fantastic destinations that emulate the spirit of Christmas, and where Royal Holiday’s exclusive hotels welcome members for a joyous holiday stay.
Christmas in Prague is a magical season. The Prague Christmas markets are open daily at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Brightly decorated wooden huts sell traditional handicrafts, embroidered lace, wooden toys, ornaments, puppets, and more. Visitors can sample barbequed sausages, cakes and pastries, accompanied by a hot mulled wine or beer. The Christmas tree in Old Town Square set against Prague’s dark gothic skyline also makes a spectacular sight.
The Salzburg Christmas Market in the beautiful Cathedral Square is an experience for all of the senses: the delicate scent of mulled wine envelops the stalls, offering fine and fanciful, old and new items. After enjoying a glass of mulled wine or punch, you may see figures in white and gold robes with curly hair and feathered wings among the stands. It’s the “Christkind” and its angels, which are gentle beings that enchant visitors when they walk across Cathedral and Residence Square. Don’t forget to taste a Bratwurst sausage and a hot cup of (glühwein) wine.
Christmas in London is a lot of fun. Take a guided tour through the beautiful oaks trees and gardens at Syon Park, which are illuminated in a spectacular fashion. The Kew Gardens after dark reveal a walkway peppered with giant light sculptures, and a newly designed fire garden, scented with pine, frankincense and cedar. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London invites visitors to see Hogwarts in the Snow and learn all about how the Christmas scenes in the films were made. Trafalgar Square and the tree lighting ceremony led by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, a band and choir followed by the lighting of the tree, is something you should not miss.
The spectacular Christmas illuminations in Paris are an eagerly awaited event. The magical colors of the seasonal street decorations create a dazzling sight for visitors from all over the world. Luminous arches, multi-colored bulbs, incandescent flames and sparkling projections of lights deck out the avenues of the French capital in festive splendor. Christmas illuminations on Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées and Montaigne avenues, in Place Vendôme, the Montmartre district, Bercy Village and other places across the city make Paris more magical than ever! The facades of Parisian department stores: Printemps Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette, BHV, Le Bon Marché, are adorned with festive decorations. Shop windows put on a show featuring animated figures and magical decor in an interactive world; a source of wonder for both children and grown-ups.
Enjoy the timeless traditions of Christmas in the Big Apple! Ice skating in Central Park, watching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, seeing the Lighting Ceremony of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center: a 78-foot, 10-ton Norway spruce illuminated with over 45,000 LED lights, are just a few of the many thing you can do in NYC. Macy’s Santa Land, full of Christmas trees, elves, toy trains and snow-filled wonder is also a lot of fun. DO see a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Show: the lights are spectacular. Then take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park. Or take a peek at storefront Christmas window displays. Bergdorf’s Goodman displays are going all-out on Swarovski this year in honor of the crystal maker’s 120th anniversary. More than 7 million Swarovski were used to create the display.
Whether you’re travelling from the other side of the globe, Laeken, Neder or Haren, the Winter Wonders prove the perfect opportunity to discover Brussels. Christmas Markets at the Grand Place and St. Catherine’s Place are filled to the brim with activities, a skating rink, a Ferris wheel, a roundabout and an ice dinosaur monster; one of the highlights is the 240 wooden Christmas chalets opened during this time: the gingerbread house-looking stalls, twinkling with fairy lights and covered with ‘snow-top’ roofs, sell a variety of Christmas items, decorations, gifts and Christmas season foods.