‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to embrace the holiday spirit than by exploring the most enchanting Christmas towns in the world? Picture snow-covered streets adorned with twinkling lights, the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, and the joyful sounds of carolers filling the air. Whether you’re seeking a European winter wonderland or a North American holiday haven, these Christmas towns are sure to fill your heart with festive cheer.
European Christmas Towns
Let’s kick off our journey in Europe, where the tradition of Christmas markets has thrived for centuries.
In Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town frozen in time, comes alive with its Reiterlesmarkt, one of the most picturesque Christmas markets in the world. The timber-framed houses adorned with twinkling lights and the scent of mulled wine create an unforgettable experience.
What else can you do in this beautiful town?
- Think about joining a guided tour to learn about the town’s history and holiday traditions.
- Sip on local holiday drinks and feast on traditional food at the Christmas market.
- Don’t forget to pick up a handcrafted ornament as a memento of your time in Rothenburg.
Strasbourg, France: Known as the “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg is a festive paradise. Its Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. Stroll through the illuminated streets and savor Alsatian specialties.
Here are some of the activities you can do while in Strasbourg:
- Sample mouthwatering foie gras, a French delicacy.
- Try “bredele,” Alsatian Christmas cookies in various flavors.
- Sip on vin chaud (mulled wine) to keep warm in the winter chill.
North American Christmas Towns
Heading across the pond, North America boasts its own collection of Christmas towns that embrace the holiday season like no other.
Nestled in the Cascades, Leavenworth in Washington, USA transforms into a Bavarian-inspired Christmas village for everyone to marvel at. The town’s streets come alive with colorful lights, holiday music, and a Nutcracker Museum, making you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie set.
And while you’re here, don’t forget to:
- Attend the Lighting Festival, where thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the town.
- Visit the Christmas Store and stock up on unique decorations.
- Savor a hearty Bavarian meal while listening to live holiday music.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, then list Woodstock, Vermont as your destination. This New England town offers idyllic scenes of snow-covered streets, colorfully lit storefronts and avenues, horse-drawn carriage rides, and historic inns. Don’t miss out on The Woodstock Inn and Resort and the most photographed covered bridge in town.
In Woodstock, Vermont, USA:
- Savor maple syrup-covered pancakes for a sweet breakfast treat.
- Warm up with a cup of hot apple cider while exploring the town.
- Don’t miss out on a slice of homemade pumpkin pie.
Unique Christmas Towns
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Check these towns and experience a trip you’ll remember for a long time.
If you find yourself in the Arctic Circle, take a trip to Rovaniemi, Finland and visit Santa Claus himself in Santa Claus Village. Enjoy a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride through beautiful snowy landscapes for a magical and memorable Christmas experience you won’t find anywhere else.
In Rovaniemi, Finland:
- Meet Santa Claus in his charming cottage and get a photo to remember.
- Experience the thrill of a husky sled ride through the snowy wilderness.
- Chase the Northern Lights for a breathtaking natural light show.
- Culinary Delights
Find the true meaning of Christmas in the town where it all began, Bethlehem in Palestine. Make sure to visit the Manger Square that shows a captivating Nativity scene, as well as the Church of the Nativity. Both places warmly welcome pilgrims from around the globe.
In Bethlehem, Palestine:
- Taste the local “maqluba,” a traditional dish of rice, meat, and vegetables.
- Sip on aromatic Arabic coffee while enjoying Middle Eastern sweets.
- Share in the festive spirit with local residents, who welcome visitors with open arms.
Finding the perfect place to stay during your Christmas town visit is essential for an unforgettable experience.
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers cozy guesthouses and historic inns.
- Leavenworth features charming Bavarian-style hotels and lodges.
- Rovaniemi provides unique accommodations like glass igloos for Northern Lights viewing.
- Strasbourg boasts a range of hotels, from boutique to luxury, in the heart of the city.
- Woodstock offers quaint bed and breakfasts and cozy inns.
- Bethlehem provides a variety of accommodations, including guesthouses and boutique hotels.
Planning Your Visit
Ready to embark on your magical Christmas town adventure? Here are a few tips that’s sure to make your trip easier:
- Take note of the opening dates and times of the different Christmas markets and attractions you want to visit in advance.
- Dress in layers so you can stay cozy and warm during chilly days, and peel off a layer when the weather gets a bit warmer.
- Always pack comfortable walking shoes for exploring the towns.
- Seasoned travelers know that booking accommodations in advance, especially during peak holiday season is a must. Savings galore!
- Bring a camera to capture every amazing moment of your holiday.
We hope that as you discover these beautiful and charming Christmas towns around the world, you’ll also feel the joy and magic of the season. Happy holidays and safe travels!