Snow is falling all around, well at least in the Arctic. Dog-sled, snowmobile, horse-riding and reindeer-sled excursions are on offer in Swedish Lapland and northern Norway. You can spend the night on ice at the ICEHOTEL and the Kirkenes Snow Hotel, stay at the locally-owned Camp Ripan or book the romantic Lyngen Lodge. We have offered winter holidays to these regions for almost a decade and our destination experts have visited, stayed at and experienced all the offerings of the region. On 13 December the Saint of Light (Lucia) is celebrated. Where possible we always recommend that visitors to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo travel over this period in order to join a Lucia concert - a touching and heartwarming experience.
If you are looking for traditional Christmas decorations and gifts and love the sights, sounds and aromas that herald the start of the festive season, treat yourself to a city break to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Sweden has a long tradition of having the most magical of Christmas markets. In Stockholm, Kungsträdgården is right in the heart of the city with a wonderful outdoor skating rink. Gothenburg’s Liseberg is Sweden’s biggest amusement park and the market is massive and one of the most popular in the country. Malmö’s legendary museum complex is a wonderful place to visit and at Christmas, it really pulls out all the stops and offers plenty of stalls selling food, ornaments and plenty of traditional handicrafts.
Combining Mediterranean flavours and German traditions, Italy lights up the Christmas season with some of the most interesting Christmas markets on offer in Europe. Verona hosts a Nuremberg market in the central Piazza dei Signori. Christmas fairs take place in various piazzas in Venice and on the island of Murano you will find the 'Christmas of Glass' with hand-crafted baubles and a spectacular glasswork regatta. The Christmas market in Florence is inspired by the tradition of the German city of Heidelberg with wooden huts and stalls selling Italian and German delicacies, handicrafts and decorations and in Milan the market and other seasonal activities takes place in the Giardini Indro Montanelli, along with a popular skaing rink.
Head to Lisbon where you’ll be able to shop your way into the festive spirit in a very Portuguese way. As well as the popular Christmas Market in Campo Pequeno there are concerts taking place in churches around the whole city. With a mandatory presence in every household during this season, “Bolo-rei” (“king-cake” in English) is one of the traditional desserts in Lisbon and is a must during your visit this month.