‘Tis the Holiday Season!

Holiday festivities not to miss in Europe

If you’re heading to Europe this holiday season be sure to check out these authentic festivities.  Beyond this short list, there are Christmas markets galore throughout Europe, perfect for gift shopping and tasting local specialties.

  • Santa’s Workshop in Finland: Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland in Finland, located at the northern Arctic Circle. And yes, it’s Santa’s hometown!  Find the perfect Christmas atmosphere here, especially for children, complete with reindeer, Santa’s workshop and the magical Northern Lights. Open to visitors year round, it’s a comfortable 1.5 hour train ride through the countryside of Lapland from Kemi to Rovaniemi.
  • Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival in Bruges, Belgium: This years’ Around the World theme features wonders of the world, including 74 monuments, 30 countries and 30 artists.  Be sure to stop at the Ice Bar on your way out! Visit until January 16, 2011, right in front of the Central Railway station in Bruges.
  • Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral in Germany: Of seven Christmas markets throughout the city, the one located in front of Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive.  Marvel at the biggest Christmas tree around, enjoy free outdoor Christmas concerts, warm up with spiced mulled wine and check out the artists and goodies for great gifts. Visit now through December 23, 2010 and you can also see these popular Cologne Christmas markets: on the Alter Markt, on the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz.
  • ‘Hogmanay’ New Year’s Eve in Scotland: You can look forward to a huge party if you plan on spending New Year’s Eve in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has Europe’s largest Hogmanay celebration, complete with live music, Torchlight Procession, and a spectacular firework display that lights up the sky behind the castle.  Did we mention Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival lasts four days?!

Visit as many markets and festivities as you like, while getting around with a Eurail Pass or InterRail Pass in Europe and a BritRail Pass in the UK.

Happy Holidays!

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