December’s here and the magic of Christmas-time is upon us! The imminent arrival of Santa, carols hanging in the air, a feast roasting in the oven, the joy of indulging with family and friends are some of the things that many of us are fortunate enough to look forward to. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the festive season and myriad Yuletide traditions can be found across the world.
While the big day is just around the corner, there’s still time to dig out your passport, pack a bag and head abroad to spend your winter break partaking in the merriment of the season and experiencing how others celebrate Christmas
The Flexicover Teams pick some ‘urban wonderlands’ you might consider visiting this Noël!
Quite aside from the famous landmarks, it’s also where you can experience a traditional Roman Catholic Christmas, starting with the quintessential Midnight Mass held right in the Pantheon. On the 25th itself, cross over into the Vatican City and head to St. Peter’s Square, with its huge Christmas tree, to hear the Pope deliver his Christmas Day ‘Urbi et Orbi’ speech at noon. You don't need tickets but you will be part of a massive crowd, so plan accordingly. Other festive treats include the famous Piazza Navona, with its fun street performers, and the Ice Park Christmas Village in the Parco Tor di Quinto for the best of local fare.
New York, USA
During Christmas, New York City dons its most extravagant decorations, making it one of the most sparkling cities in the world. It’s the perfect destination to do all your Christmas shopping, with Fifth Avenue being home to the Big Apple’s flagship department stores. Even if you’re not a shopping fan, you can still enjoy their amazing winter wonderland window displays. Take in the festive vibe with a day at Central Park, to enjoy its large ice skating rink and horse-drawn carriage rides. The giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza is another picture perfect spot. And if you’ve still got energy after all that, head to Broadway to catch a show!
If you'd rather escape tinselled towns full of commercial Christmas fare, then the city of Seville might be your perfect Yuletide holiday destination. The city offers a beautifully traditional Christmas (Navidad in Spanish). Here you can take in music concerts (Conciertos Navideños) in the stunning surroundings of Seville Cathedral, see depictions of classic Nativity scenes dotted across the city (some life-sized with real actors) and visit bounteous Christmas markets situated in the Plaza Nueva and the Feria del Belen. Celebrations here tend to be somewhat more low-key but last for longer, offering a serene Christmas experience up to 6th January.
Prague, Czech Republic
Alternatively escape to the gorgeously Gothic city capital of the Czech Republic, which plays host to a variety of beautiful Christmas markets. While the main markets are held in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, there are several smaller ones dotted across the city too. Charming wooden huts offer handmade goods and a multitude of traditional local produce, such as large hams roasting on spits, barbequed sausages (klobása) and fresh Czech pastries all washed down with a local beer or hot mulled wine. Plus in the Old Town Square, along with a huge Christmas tree, enjoy the large nativity scene and stable with live animals.
Quebec City, Canada
One for the New Year perhaps – head across the Atlantic to the Quebec Winter Carnival. With an average annual snowfall of 4m, the Quebecois capital is a perfect destination for spending time in a real winter wonderland. The Carnaval de Québec (29th January - 14th February 2016) is a fabulous time to visit; an action-packed event (the largest of its kind in the world) offering a huge array of sights and things to do. These include snow sculptures, winter sports, an awe-inspiring night parade and traditional regional activities such as canoe and dogsled races. And all this is held against the gorgeous frozen backdrop of the Plains of Abraham.
If you are heading away this Christmas or for the New Year we at Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.