While traditions are an important part of the holiday season, this year, expand your horizons and learn how other cultures celebrate the holidays. Witnessing traditions from around the globe — from Christmas markets to holiday decorations — will bring a festive atmosphere to any trip. It’s also a perfect excuse to spend quality time with family and friends.
Many people love to travel during the holidays for one simple reason: extravagant decorations. One of the best cities for holiday decorations is London. Expect holly, mistletoe, and Christmas trees across the city, especially in places like beautiful Trafalgar Square. Experience a more intimate side of the city by choosing a London B&B for your accommodation.
Prague, Czech Republic
Travel to Prague during the holidays to experience one of the city’s oldest and most beloved traditions: the Christmas markets. The main squares of the city are home to these atmospheric, outdoor markets selling everything from handmade arts and crafts to spicy mulled wine. These markets are also known for their hot, delicious street food. Expect choral performances and a big Christmas tree in the Old Town Square as well. Make your visit especially festive with a stay at a seasonally decorated Prague bed and breakfast.
If you’re seeking Christmas romance, plan a trip to Paris. This gorgeous city becomes even more cheerful with holiday decorations and charming Christmas markets. Visitors can nibble on gingerbread while picking up gifts for family and friends back home, including everything from French delicacies (like cheese and sausage) to handmade toys and crafts. Finish your holiday-themed trip with an ice-skating excursion at Trocadero. Experience the local side of the City of Love by choosing a Paris bed and breakfast in a quiet neighborhood.
Leave it to the Irish to create one of the most festive atmospheres in Europe leading up to Christmas. On Dublin’s main, central strip, Grafton Street, street performers sing holiday carols and groups gather for photos around the big Christmas trees and twinkling lights. The cold weather is ideal for squeezing into a historic pub for a pint of Guinness while Christmas music plays in the background. Get to know how the locals celebrate by choosing an intimate city center bed and breakfast in Dublin.
Madrid is home to some of the most impressive light displays on the continent. Escape the stress of the holidays for a relaxed trip to Madrid, where you can fill your days browsing the Christmas Market in Plaza Mayor, checking out the famous nativity scenes at local churches, and ice skating at Retiro Park. Madrid is also a fabulous place to do some Christmas shopping at well-decorated department stores like El Corte Ingles. Witness even more local traditions by staying in a central bed and breakfast.
Back at home, it can be so easy to get wrapped up in the stress of the holidays. Escape this year with a trip abroad to experience how others make the season bright.
Updated by Emily Starbuck Crone