There’s something unmistakably enchanting about Europe during the cold winter months, when the air is crisp, the light is low and evenings are spent warming up next to a cosy fire. The atmosphere is undeniably festive and despite having to wrap up in layer upon layer of clothing; wandering through streets lined with seasonal window displays conjures up a feeling that cannot be experienced in any other part of the world at this special time of year.
Magical Winter Wonderlands
Visiting any one of Europe’s Christmas markets is a joy and we’ll share a few of our favourites, all of which have their own unique charm. Trafalgar Travel Director, Colette Engstrom, says that the moment her guests set sight upon the entrance to Vienna’s festive wonderland they experience, “the wow factor”; bowled over by its magnificence visible through unbelievably bright illuminations, an enormous tree bejewelled with baubles and beautiful Viennese buildings that surround this hub of activity. Stroll through seasonal stalls filled with handmade crafts, sample sweet treats laced with cinnamon and hug a mug of hot chocolate as you breathe in a truly magical atmosphere.
Of course, visiting the birthplace of the Christmas Market is a must and we take you to one of Germany’s best-loved; the Christkindlemarkt in Munich. Reflecting the traditions of a region steeped in history, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by an enormous amount of food. Take a break in the beer garden and feast upon bratwurst served with sauerkraut and sample kartoffelpuffer, a fried potato pancake accompanied by a tart but sweet apple sauce, for a true taste of German cuisine.
Experience authentic Christmas Markets of Austria, Germany and Switzerland with Trafalgar
A Festive Light Display
Away from bustling Christmas markets, there is also another side of the European continent that should not be missed; its wondrous wintry landscapes. Iceland is a destination that perfectly depicts the season’s beauty and it is also where you can spot the incredible natural wonder, Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights.
There could be a million ways to describe the phenomena that are the Northern Lights but there is one feeling that seems to be shared by all who witness its wondrous beauty and that is, emotional. Whether they stir up a sense of excitement, make you shed a tear or simply leave you breathless, there is one thing that is guaranteed; they are truly unforgettable. As green, white and sometimes pink lights dance across the sky, witness one of Mother Nature’s most dazzling displays.
Stand in awe on Trafalgar’s Northern Lights of Iceland incl. the Blue Lagoon trip
Words by Samia El-Balawi