• Festivities These are the cities with the most spectacular Christmas lights in Europe

  • Ranking These are the 10 most beautiful towns in Europe (and one is Spanish)

The hustle and bustle of the festivities is back in these fairytale cities that these days decorate themselves to present their warmest and friendliest faces.

Its cultural life and its environment do not detract either.


HELSINKI (FINLAND)

The tradition began in 1949 when the inhabitants of Helsinki illuminated the main artery of their city,

Aleksanterinkatu,

as a gesture of hope after the dark years of war.

Today, the Finnish capital offers a Christmas flow that assaults all five senses.

The postcard is made up of the infinite

candles that flicker in the windows

of shops, cafes and private homes.

Also the daily visits of San Nicolás and the nostalgic carousel.

And, of course, the variety, quality and design of the stalls that occupy the Market Square and the old Flower Market, home to the iconic and beloved statue of Havis Amanda.

The Finnish capital.JUSSI HELLSTEN

More than a hundred artists, artisans and vendors participate in the festival this Christmas with an emphasis on sustainability.

From jams, mustards and other seasonal delicacies to natural cosmetics and jewelry, woolen socks and hats ... the

mall is

going to be labeled "handmade."

All washed down with the must-have

glögi

, the Finnish mulled wine that some modern mixologists now transform into novel cocktails.

When:

from November 27 to December 22.

More information at www.visitfinland.com/es

Basel (switzerland)

The Christmas market in this city on the Rhine occupies the squares of Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz and is considered one of the largest and most beautiful in Switzerland.

What's more, this 2021 has been chosen as

the best market in Europe

, according to the European Best Destinations platform.

Here it is time to try a glass of Glühwein (red or white) and start exploring.

In the heart of the old town, merchants and artisans offer their products in 130 rustic wooden huts.

Delights abound for the palate, from waffles to the authentic

Basel

läckerli

(a type of gingerbread), the typical

Swiss

raclette

or the traditional grilled sausages.

The Swiss city of Basel.JAN GEERK

You have to look at each post because some are true works of art.

One example is the Kulpa Weihnachtskugeln stall, which emulates a gigantic gift wrap and sells a nearly endless assortment of hand-painted Christmas baubles.

By the way, these days, the

Beyeler Foundation

hosts a dazzling Goya exhibition.

When:

From November 25 to December 23.

More information at www.myswitzerland.com

GENGENBACH (Germany)

Tim Burton chose this medieval city in the Black Forest to shoot scenes for

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

For magic, help yourself to two cups in Gengenbach.

Much of its Christmas hook is the

fault

of the City Council itself, which for several decades has transformed its 24 windows into

the largest Advent calendar in

the world.

Before the pandemic, more than 100,000 visitors came to this corner of the southeast of the country to join the delicious ritual of opening the windows of the 18th century building and see what surprises they held.

In the past they have been decorated with works by artists such as Marc Chagall and Andy Warhol.

Gengenbach Town Hall.JORG SCHONER

And next to the calendar, there is a display of stalls at the Christmas market against a backdrop that could not be more photogenic:

labyrinth of alleys

, colored half-timbered houses, medieval towers ... even a 'stone knight' who receives at the fountain in the market square.

When:

from November 30 to December 23.

More information at www.germany.travel/es


Trondheim (NORWAY)

It is not perhaps the first Norwegian city that comes to mind, although Trondheim is the oldest city in the country and the end of a most important pilgrimage route in northern Europe: the Nidaros Cathedral, built on the

tomb of Saint Olav

, It is the equivalent of our Santiago de Compostela.

Let's add to this data the fact that it is a student city, the first destination for bicycles in the country and one of its gastronomic meccas.

Ah, winter is the ideal time to see the

Northern Lights

.

Norway's Trondheim.OYVIND BLOMSTERENG

After this introductory cocktail, it must be said that the Trondheim Christmas market is held in the city center.

Adding to the brilliance of the décor is the wonderful

blue winter light

and the option of taking a horse ride or sledding.

Opened in 2003, with only five stalls, today the market consists of more than 90 exhibitors and about a hundred cultural events.

When:

from December 1 to 19.

More information at www.visitnorway.es/



TOULOUSE (FRANCE)

Since the end of November, the Pink City has experienced an invasion of lights and flavors.

Smell of mulled wine, chocolate, melted cheese and spices in the

Capitole

, the Town Hall square that turns into a great flea market with endless gourmet temptations.

Other essential corners (Place Wilson, Place Saint-Georges, Place Esquirol ...) are filled with garlands and Christmas trees.

There is no lack of Santa's house or merry-go-round on La Rue d'Alsace-Lorraine and the façade of the Hôtel-Dieu becomes a spectacular

laser

mapping

that projects impressive luminous choreographies on the banks of the Garonne.

When:

from November 26 to December 26 |

www.toulouse-tourisme.com

The Capitole square in Toulouse.P.

NIN

Although if we talk about radiance we must talk about the

Festival des Lanternes

(until February 1),

a

light show

with up to 2,500 giant light fixtures wrapped in silk.

The appointment is outdoors, in the Ritouret de Blagnac Park.


Funchal (Madeira, portugal)

The capital of Madeira, the lush Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic, is a somewhat more exotic Christmas alternative but also with a long tradition.

Funchal, made on a human scale and therefore perfect for walking, displays the booths of its beautiful market on the central

Arriaga avenue

.

Now, what truly distinguishes this charming Madeiran city is its layout in the form of an amphitheater.

Madeira's capital SHUTTERSTOCK

Every Christmas, all of Funchal turns into a great nativity scene illuminated with

thousands of light bulbs in its streets

as if they were rivers that flow into the sea.

In this scenario, it is not surprising that on the night of the 31st the fireworks have garnered global fame.

What's more, since 2006 they have been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the

largest fireworks display in

the world.

When:

from December 1 to January 9.

More information at www.visitmadeira.pt/es-es

BRNO (CZECH REPUBLIC)

The South Moravian metropolis is one of the

most beautiful

secret jewels

in the heart of Europe.

Located one hour from Austria and another from Slovakia, Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic.

And although he has had the difficult task of competing with the brilliance of Prague, when we talk about Christmas both draw an idyllic picture.

Before wandering through its cobbled streets, its

Art Nouveau houses

and the Gothic spiers that stand out on the horizon, his thing is to get hold of a hot punch or a honey liqueur.

Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic.PAVEL GABZYL

Once warm, head to Námestí Svobody (Liberty Square), a meeting place for foreigners and locals during the festivities.

There are stalls of

popular crafts, sweets and other

typical

delicacies

of the season.

The first illuminated Christmas tree in the country was erected in this square, back in 1924. Other interesting markets are those of Zelný trh (Col Market) or Moravské námstí (Morava square).

Music accompanies all of them.

Not surprisingly, Brno is one of the Creative Cities of Music, a Unesco recognition of its musical heritage and offering.

When:

from November 26 to December 23.

More information at www.visitczechrepublic.com/es-ES

Edinburgh (UK)

The City of Festivals, as the vibrant capital of Scotland is known, has a Christmas version, it would be less, that is celebrated next to Princess Street, the commercial street par excellence, in addition to the place with the

best views of the old city

and Edinburgh Castle.

There the market is set up with countless ideas to fill your sock or lose yourself aimlessly among garlands, angel sharks and luminous stars.

Possibility of meeting the same Santa Claus is also in the West Princes Street Gardens, with a maze of Christmas trees included.

The Ferris wheel in Scotland's capital VISIT BRITAIN

The Nativity Scene, installed in St. Andrew Square, is not lacking either.

And if you need to warm up, there is nothing like practicing some ice skating at the George Street rink.

The only thing left would be the classic Ferris wheel ride to see the city from the air.

The Forth 1 Big Wheel offers

the best bird's eye view of this medieval city.

Although if you need a little more adrenaline, the Star Flyer, one of those attractions with flying chairs that spin at breakneck speed, promises a memorable time.

When:

from November 20 to January 4.

More information at www.visitbritain.com/es/es


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