1/8 ● TravelAwaits
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Like a time-stood-still fairy tale city.
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There are shops selling the loveliest local arts and crafts, with those little big-nosed gnomes, also called tomte or tonttu, which originate from Norse folklore, making the cutest addition to your mantlepiece back home.
Now add snow, add cafes and restaurants with large open fires and serving either mulled wine, or glöggi, and decadent hot chocolate, add an ice rink set against a row of colorful old houses, and people warmly dressed simply enjoying being out at the market square filled with stalls during the Christmas season, and you have the perfect winter atmosphere
a no-brainer because it is the Christmas setting personified.
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Not one shop window or street is without twinkling lights, window decorations, or market stalls. You can barely take it all in, there is so much to see.
if you only get to visit once, make it December, and take in Christmas in Strasbourg. It has to be seen to be believed. And don’t think that it is too much or tacky. Not at all. It is simply perfect.
This is definitely a case of first impressions made in the snow.
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While Stockholm is great in summer, with its people enjoying the light, warmth, and the chance to enjoy the water, I have always preferred it in the winter.
Maybe because the city is set up for winter, and knows how to make the most of it, while also offering creature comforts and making every place snuggly and warm?
If you are lucky enough to be there when fresh snow has fallen, head straight out to Drottningholm Palace which is particularly picturesque in the snow.
A northern winter winner delight!
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Walking around the old harbor, visiting the covered market, the arts and crafts huts alongside the harbor, and then turning into the wide Esplanade, the historic Kappeli restaurant — one side lovely café, another side very nice restaurant — stands there like a special Christmas decoration, and it does serve rather good food, too.
Finland is known as the land with 5.3 million people and 3.3 million saunas, and while the Finns love them year round, they are even better in winter. Book yourself in and get warm.
Every winter there are lots of ice rinks popping up in Paris...
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Not only is Paris more void of people in winter but also, it is possible to walk along the beautiful architecture without the leaves of the trees being in the way of appreciating the scene.
Once it snows properly, all the metros and buses go on reduced service, and no one heads out. You can have the entire Champ de Mars to yourself!
Every winter there are lots of ice rinks popping up in Paris, and whether you join in or not, try and go to the Grand Palais. The setting is wonderful, and it serves warm drinks as well as chilled champagne, and you can just watch others fall over.
Edinburgh pulls out all the stops especially over the New Year
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Edinburgh pulls out all the stops not just for Christmas, with the steep lanes up to the castle looking particularly lovely, but especially over the New Year.
This is the time to come and watch how the Scots party and celebrate Hogmanay. Come prepared and get a torch ready for the torchlight procession down the Royal Mile, and learn the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” which everybody bursts into at midnight.
On January 2, when the party is over and the hangover has abated, head to the Botanical Gardens for the last visiting time slots for the light trail. The lights are so pretty.
All of Hamburg gets on the ice when the two lakes freeze over
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Walking, skating, setting up sausage and mulled wine stands, and people basically picnicking on the ice.
Then there are the Christmas concerts, best enjoyed in the modern Elbphilharmonie with its great views, or the truly iconic Hamburg setting of the St. Michaelis Church, the “Michel” as locals call it.
Add to that the great Christmas markets, especially the one in front of the historic town hall, and you will get the idea why this city is just perfect in wintertime.
Head to Konditorei Lindtner in the Eppendorf neighborhood. This is a traditional old café that embodies the Germans’ famous love of cake.