Unique and magical Christmas markets to explore this year

Christmas lovers searching for festive magic and beautiful markets this winter are being told exactly where to find them.

From the ‘Grinchmas’ wonderland in Orlando to the tradition of Los Reyes Magos in Tenerife and Europe’s biggest underground market in the Netherlands, these Christmas events and celebrations are must-visits this season.

One of the best ways to celebrate at this time of year is to browse the Christmas markets and join in with the festive traditions different countries have to offer.

Whether it is in the sun or snow, on top of a mountain or underground, Christmas markets come in all different sizes and traditions - but they all give those magical festive feelings to those that visit, wherever they are in the world.

Orlando, Florida

Fans of the classic Christmas film, The Grinch, travel to Universal Studios in Orlando this year to experience the magic of the ‘Grinchmas’ wonderland.

The life-size characters and extravagant displays transform the Seuss Landing at Universal Park into the ultimate Grinchmas experience, topped off with a live stage show, Christmas lights, and food stalls.

Dresden, Germany

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is the longest-running Christmas market in the world and one of the largest, attracting millions of visitors each year - a definite must-see for all Christmas lovers.

With more than 200 stands Striezelmarkt features traditional foods, drinks, and lots of handmade crafts. This famous Christmas market also hosts fairground rides and a giant wooden Advent calendar in the heart of the festive city.

Union Square, New York

Christmas in New York is a guaranteed exciting and beautifully festive trip - and no visit to the Big Apple in December is complete without heading to the Christmas market at Union Square.

The market has loads of food stalls as well as souvenirs and gifts to get in the festive spirit. And for true New York fans, the massive Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree is just a short distance away, and visitors can ice skate on the rink below after warming up with a hot chocolate from the market.

The Three Kings Parade (Los Reyes Magos ), Tenerife

On January 5 every year, Tenerife celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men. The tradition goes that Los Reyes Magos bring sweets and small gifts for Spanish children overnight, and during the day families enjoy a festive feast together.

The parade is a wonderful festive tradition with camels, floats, dancers and local bands and market stalls.

Santa Claus Village, Finland

One of the most famous Christmas destinations is the Santa Claus Village in Lapland, Finland, the home of Santa. The village draws thousands of visitors every Christmas, who can meet Santa, his elves, and his reindeer.

Santa Claus Village is also home to a large Christmas market featuring lots of traditional Finnish foods and crafts, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a reindeer ride or dog sledding. The classic Christmas village is also a great place to try and see the Northern Lights, which really adds to the festive magic.

Valkenburg, Netherlands

Valkenburg is home to the biggest underground Christmas market in Europe. This unique festive experience is in the heart of the city’s famous caves which are turned into an extraordinary underground winter wonderland during Christmas time.

The caves are filled with captivating lights and decorations, market stalls from local vendors, life-size nativity sculptures, and Christmas trees hidden away in the caves settled under the Valkenburg castle ruins.

Mount Pilatus, Switzerland

The Christmas market on top of Mount Pilatus is officially the highest in Europe. At over 2,000 metres visitors must ride up on the world’s steepest cogway railway to experience the Swiss Christmas magic.

The mountaintop Christmas market is set among the beautiful panoramic views and sells traditional gifts, handmade presents and tasty treats and is decked out in festive ornaments and lights.


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