It might not be as cold here as it is in the rest of Europe, but the Christmas vibes are present nonetheless. These holiday events in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal are absolute must-attends.
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | MAIN PHOTO: THREE KINGS. © ADJUNTAMENT BARCELONA
Strasbourg Christmas Market. Photo © Atout France – Jean Isenmann
Strasbourg Christmas market
Until 30 December, Strasbourg, France
With its picturesque buildings and cosy, cobbled streets, Strasbourg spreads the Christmas vibes all year round. During the last days of the year, they step up their game and cover their city in twinkle lights, pine trees and mulled wine stalls. Discover the amazing food and goods up for grabs at the fair while listening to a jolly soundtrack of festive carols and atmospheric chit-chat.
Christmas in the land of the châteaux
7 December – 5 January, Pays de Loire, France
To celebrate Christmas like a royal, you must head to the Pays de Loire region. This area (famous for its many castles) annually hosts a Christmas extravaganza amidst the walls of their nicest chateaux. Winter tales, light, music, sweet indulgence… every palace hosts a different festive event in its fairy-tale setting.
New Year’s Eve. Photo © Visit Madeira
Gubbio Christmas Tree
7 December – 12 January, Gubbio, Italy
The Guinness Book of World Records calls it the biggest Christmas tree in the world, and how could it not be, with a height of 650 and width of 350 metres?! Obviously, the village of Gubbio does not have a real tree of that size in its town. Instead, they create one with coloured lights on the mountain’s slope. It takes a total of 8,5 kilometres of electric wire but the result enchants not only the village, but the entire valley, too.
New Year’s Eve
31 December, Madeira, Portugal
For six years, Madeira adorned the The Guinness Book of World Records as the place with the ‘greatest fireworks show in the world’. And rightfully so. The spectacle – which you can spot at the break of the new year – is mesmerising. The sparks in the air, the reflections in the ocean and the cruises floating through it, guaranteeing the best seats to view them from, turn a Madeira New Year’s Eve into a bucket-list-worthy event.
Three Kings. Photo © Adjuntament Barcelona
Three Kings parade
5 January, Barcelona, Spain
With the arrival of the Three Kings on Epiphany, the holiday season is officially over. As a final highlight, the three holy men and their magical entourage roam the streets of Barcelona in an exciting cavalcade that warms up the hearts of all ages on the evening of 5 January. The day after, they bring presents to all the good kids in the city and beyond.