The new year is a magical time of year, and if you’ve been dreaming of spending that time in postcard-worthy towns in the world that seem straight out of the pages of a children’s story, these destinations offer the opportunity. From far-flung European destinations to mountain towns in the United States.
We’ve Found the Most Magical Towns in the World
The capital city of Vienna, Austria
Vienna offers the chance to celebrate a classic, delicious Christmas with the smell of gluhwein in the air, glittering decorations covering the royal architecture, and three outdoor Christkindlmarkts.
Guests can choose from a wide variety of handicrafts and decorations, as well as delicious appetizers and excellent spiced wines. Of course, concerts by the Vienna Boys’ Choir are also a must during the holidays, and this is a great time to explore the city’s other top attractions.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is famous for its magnificent Gothic architecture and unique folk traditions, and Christmas here is unlike any other city on earth.
From popular Christmas markets with beautifully decorated wooden shacks filled with festive treats, including handmade gifts and decorations, to fabulous delicacies like grilled ham skewers and trdelnik, a traditional pastry topped with hot sugar.
In the Old Town Square, you’ll find stables with goats, donkeys, and sheep set around a traditional nativity scene, as well as lots of Christmas lights and music.
A top Christmas destination in Europe, Strasbourg features a range of Christmas-themed villages that transform the city into a fabulous haven of holiday venues and delightful dining.
At the Ferme du Village d’Alsace, guests can enjoy prunes, apricots, and other variations inspired by a feast of fresh foie gras from the farm.
Once in the nearby village of Bredle, you’ll find the traditional Christmas cookies of the same name and an almost endless line of Alsatian mulled wine. The city’s Christmas program is filled with concerts and all kinds of cultural events.
Rovaniemi – Lapland, Finland
Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland is probably the best place in the world to celebrate Christmas. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Finns say it’s more likely to be Santa’s house than the North Pole.
What better place to meet a cheerful old man than in a cold winter wonderland with deep snow and pine forests? Here kids can bake cookies with Mrs. Claus and even enroll in goblin school.
Other highlights at this time of year include dog skiing, deep, pristine skiing, and viewing the Northern Lights. If you want a particularly chilling experience, stay at the Arctic Snow Hotel,
It’s built entirely of ice, though it’s equipped with a hot tub and sauna to compensate for the freezing temperatures.
Vermont is one of the best magical places among towns in the United States and is also known in the world to celebrate Christmas and one of the prettiest towns in New England, with the ground usually covered with at least a light dusting of snow and the scent of the trees.
In historic Woodstock, the town really makes the holiday a reality with Wassail Weekend, a pre-Christmas festival with traditions of 19th-century Nordic culture.
It includes a parade featuring more than 50 horses and Horsemen dressed in holiday costumes and period clothing, as well as carriage rides and sleigh rides, and 19th-century Christmas celebrations at the Billings Farm & Museum.
Visitors also enjoy a hearty feast of sails, and all the local shops, with their beautiful holiday displays, stay open late during the festival.
One of the best places in Germany to celebrate Christmas, the Nuremberg Christmas Market attracts more than two million visitors a year with 200 vendors displaying incredible wares.
And, you won’t find imitation, mass-produced plastic ornaments, and other items – the market council here takes it very seriously to ensure that only traditional handcrafted toys and supplies for New holidays are on sale.
As you stroll around, you’ll enjoy the enchanting aroma of pickled wine along with gingerbread, sausage, and toasted sweet almonds, all in an unforgettable old town festive atmosphere, and decorated splendor at Christmas.
Children and the young at heart will love the toy museum as well as the beautiful two-story Ferris wheel based on the old original – complete with reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.
Estonia’s capital is known for its great Christmas spirit, with its snow-covered medieval Old Town and after-dark lanterns illuminating its cobbled streets.
The world’s first Christmas tree was erected here in 1441 – and today Tallinn’s holiday traditions still include the legendary tree in Town Hall Square.
The famous tree is surrounded by small huts selling their wares and you’ll also find some craft experts at work as well as snow sculptures, Estonian food, drink, and a mini zoo.
The international Christmas market, outdoor skating rink, and the elaborate Estonian Open Air Museum Christmas Village are also the mainstays of the festive season.
Medieval Bruges is beautiful year-round, but it really comes to life in winter with Winter Glow. From late November to early January, the city transforms into a winter wonderland with cozy Christmas villages occupying three of the town’s squares, light trails, ice skating rinks, and decorations throughout the city.
Cologne has a particularly irresistible Christmas atmosphere with its beautiful buildings, decorations, and holiday markets in the city center.
In fact, you’ll find eight different Christmas markets on both sides of the Rhine, including the largest located in the square in front of Cologne’s iconic cathedral, the Kolner Dam.
Visitors can enjoy a cup of hot gluhwein, a spicy liqueur sure to warm even the deepest cold, as well as stroll through the markets, each offering something a little different as well as a variety of gifts, holiday decorations, and treats.