Jason Matthews: Trade and Marketing Account Executive, UK, Ireland and Nordic for Tourism and Events Queensland writes about his ideal European Christmas Bucket list:-
My European Christmas Bucket list
Having only moved to the UK 10 months ago this will be the first Christmas I’ve celebrated in the northern hemisphere. Coming from Australia, the concept of a cold Christmas huddled around the fireplace, with the possibility of snow seems far removed from the seafood barbeques on the beach under the beaming Aussie sun. Having a serious case of wanderlust I didn’t want to miss out on all that Europe offers during the holiday season, so I’ve put together a list of five places for a special Christmas abroad –
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche plays backdrop to what’s often named as the Christmas market of all Christmas markets (and there’s a lot – Berlin has around 50 alone scattered across the city!). Claiming to have “the right present for everyone!” this market is Berlin’s largest and seems to be the place where you’ll find that elusive last gift idea on your Christmas shopping list.
Credit: Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt
Thirty minutes outside of the Scandinavian capital is the oldest recorded Swedish town – Sigtuna. Here Christmas is all about tradition, underneath Steninge castle you’ll find traditional Swedish food like reindeer meat and smoked sausage which can be washed down with a variety of Christmas drinks (called “glogg” in Swedish).
A Christmas in Brussels is like entering into Santa’s very own amusement park – it’s fun for everyone with an ice rink, a ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, concerts, marching bands even a sound and light show at the historic Grand Place! Definitely a great Christmas getaway destination if you’re looking for lots to do over your Christmas break!
In Austria, they make the most of their White Christmases with a very “cool” Christmas tradition of pulling out the skis for a Christmas Day in the snow. Alpbach decorates its slopes in fairy lights, the hot tubs are overflowing and carols echo from village church. Join Santa on the slopes for a great way to burn off that turkey and Christmas pudding!
Perhaps the coldest climate of all the Christmas getaway options, the Iceland locals are sure to greet you with a warm welcome. In Iceland it’s tradition to give warm clothing as a gift in December to ward off the frightening Christmas Cat who gobbles up anyone not equipped for the cold and wintery weather. So pack well and remember lots of winter woollies!
With so much to do and see each Christmas in Europe, missing out on surfing Santas and sun burned Boxing days doesn’t seem so bad at all!