Travel experts have researched Christmas markets and festivities around the globe. Check out these unusual takes on holiday celebrations.
1. Leiden, The Netherlands, The Markets on Water: On top of the city’s oldest canal is where you’ll find boats filled with almost 100 stalls selling food, drinks and handmade gifts. There is even a floating ice rink and regular stage performances. Just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam, Leiden’s market on water is one of the most unique Christmas activities to visit.
2. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore – Candy Cane Christmas Tree: It attracts millions of visitors each year to visit the Christmas displays. Magnificent light sculptures cover the park and an ice cave home to impressive floral ice sculptures. But one of the most popular attractions at the gardens during the festive period is the so-called candy cane Christmas tree, decorated in red and white poinsettia flowers.
3. Toronto, Canada – Life-size Gingerbread House: Those in Toronto know Christmas is coming when the city’s gingerbread house is put up at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Consisting of almost 9,000 gingerbread bricks, you can actually walk through the two-story gingerbread display and fight the temptation to have a nibble on the walls.
4. NYC, USA – Winter Village Igloos: The Bank of America Winter Village is one of the most jam-packed Christmas markets in the world. With a 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink free to use, over 170 glasshouse market stalls to explore, the opportunity to try out iceless curling and best of all, cozy igloo for private hire to truly feel like a winter wonderland experience served with gourmet food and drinks
5. Valkenburg, The Netherlands – Underground Cave Markets: Valkenburg is home to Europe’s largest underground Christmas market. The caves are underneath the city’s castle ruins and are filled with festive market stalls, spectacular decorations, life-size nativity sculptures and Christmas trees.
6. California, USA – A Victorian Christmas: Although more of a common sight in Britain, a Victorian Christmas has made its way to the west coast of America. The Dickens Fair offers visitors a step back in time with theaters, pubs, shops, stalls and music halls, as well as regular entertainment shows acting out Dickens’ stories.
7. Bariloche, Argentina – The ‘Little Switzerland’ in South America: The city of Bariloche is tucked away in the Andes and has been called the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Argentina. Wooden huts, ski resorts, bar cabins and chocolate shops adorn the streets to make this South American city feel like a snowy European destination.
8. Bondi Beach, Australia – Christmas in the Sun: A Christmas in summertime is not what a usual festive image is, but for Australians, Christmas in the sun is the norm. Visiting the Bondi Beach Christmas markets is a completely different festive experience for many of us. With shorts instead of coats and flip-flops instead of gloves, the market stalls line the seafront selling food, drinks and handcrafted gifts.
9. Edinburgh, Scotland – The Street of Light: With the backdrop of a 900-year-old castle, the ‘Street of Light’ is a kaleidoscope of festive lights and lasers, one of the best light shows in the world.
10. York, England – The Ghosts of Christmas Past Tour: York is often named the most haunted city in the world—and for Christmas visitors to the city, a festive ghost tour is a must-do. The walking ghost tour takes two hours and tells many haunted December stories along the way.
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