The Most Festive Destinations for Holiday Celebrations

Get out of the country and into the holiday spirit!

There’s holiday cheer all over the globe, and sometimes it’s worth traveling to get a little more festive! Whether you prefer to travel for shopping, cultural experiences, holiday light shows, or to indulge in the food, these festive destinations won’t disappoint. 

You won’t find a taller Christmas tree anywhere else in Europe!

Europe’s Tallest Christmas Tree, Lisbon

There are so many impressive structures to see in Lisbon, like the famous Belem tower or the São Jorge castle. But that’s not all!

Located in the beautiful Eduardo VII Park, Lisbon is home to Europe’s largest Christmas tree. It’s almost 250 feet tall! It’s artificial, but that just means there’s no shortage of lighting designs that can be displayed across its 15,000+ bulbs!

The official lighting is usually accompanied by live music and fireworks, so there’s no better way to kick off the holiday.

Israel gets creative with menorah lightings!

Menorah Lighting, Israel

It’s almost the time of year for lighting menorahs to celebrate Chanukah, and unsurprisingly, Israel has some major festivities. The bustling port city Tel Aviv is known to pull out all the stops and has even featured an interactive “selfie menorah” that showcases visitors’ uploaded pictures for everyone to see.

Just outside of Tel Aviv, a torch relay begins that travels some 20 miles to Jerusalem to light the giant menorah and kick off the eight days of festivities that are packed with lights, stories, and plenty of fried food, like latkes and jelly donuts!

St. Petersburg is packed with scenic bridges over its many waterways.

The Nutcracker, St. Petersburg, Russia  

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably heard (and hummed) the work of the great Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Don’t think so? He’s famous for composing music for the ballets Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, but is best known for The Nutcracker!

In St. Petersburg, you can head to the famous, ornate Mariinsky Theatre (now in its 239th season!) and catch this Christmas classic right where it originated. There’s more to see of course, like the quintessential Russian domes of the Church of The Resurrection of Christ, and the long red carpet going up the Winter Palace’s staircase, which will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

The Hamburg Town Hall and Christmas Market are quite the sight at night.

Christmas Markets, Germany and Scandinavia

Cobblestone streets, lights strung across town squares, vendors selling artisan crafts, and hot chocolate… Who doesn’t want to bundle up and take a stroll through that?

Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, often in historic city centers and squares. Right in front of the town hall in Hamburg Germany, you’ll find all the holiday cheer and one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list!

A lot of booths sell different goods, but many are designed with the cozy, peaked wood roofs of Bavaria. The decorations and lights of the markets make for a perfect romantic stroll! And if you need to warm up, grab some mulled wine—Prost!

From Oslo to Copenhagen, Scandinavia is magical around the holidays.

Scandinavia is also a magical place to visit this time of year. After all, it is where Frozen is based. While the holiday markets are similar to those in Germany, there are plenty of unique items to score and sample, like the uber-warm Norwegian sweaters and tasty cured meats in Oslo, Norway.

Copenhagen, Denmark pulls out all the stops with real log cabins and reindeer in the markets. And you’ve got to try the spicy, sweet drink called “glogg” while walking along the picturesque waterfront.

Gothenburg, Sweden hosts its market inside an amusement park, where you can enjoy traditional Swedish food, like meatballs and mashed potatoes, and even take a glide on the ice skating rink!