Five family friendly European Christmas festivals

DSC_0325 I really got the travel bug this year. Now my kids are older, but while Christmas is still full of magic, here are six places I would love to travel to as a family at Christmas. Don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for all the amazing present buying opportunities.

Christkindlesmarkt Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Southern Germany. 

nuremberg christmas market

Okay, this is more of a precursor to Christmas, but I would love to wander among the scents of mulled wine, gingerbread and roasted almonds. Around the corner is Nuremberg Children’s Christmas complete with an incredible two tier carousel with reindeer and Father Christmas sleighs.  Santa Claus, stalls that let children join in with craft activities and there is even a post office! To add to the magic, angels visit and give the children free rides on the carousel.

Via S Gregorio Armeno, Naples, Italy

DSC_0300 We discovered this in October as part of our Carnival Cruise. Our family guide book of Italy suggested there were two main things for families to do in Naples, visit Christmas street, aka as Via S Gregorio Armeno, and eat Pizza. We did both, and both were incredible.

Naples is a lively, jostling, bustling city, it has an edginess about it, so keep your kids and your wits about you. But in this street the pace slows right down. The whole narrow cobbled street is packed with tiny motorised scenes that come to life, nativity scenes you can populate with tiny animals and the trademark red wooden chilli tree decorations threaded with red ribbon, and lots of Pinocchios.

St Lucia, Sweden.

Ornaments in a Swedish home

Ornaments in a Swedish home by anaulin, on Flickr

My parents bought a lot of decorations back from holidays in Scandinavia, so Sweden always makes me think of Christmas festivals. On December 13th Sweden has the festival of St Lucia.

St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated by girls dressing in a white dress with a red sash round their waist and a crown of candles on their head. Small children use electric candles but from about 12 years old, real candles are used. There’s also saffrom bread with rasins, known as ‘Lussekatts’, for breakfast.

Lapland, Finland. The home of Father Christmas

I think every family would like to make a pilgrimage here, this to me is the real Mr FC and the ultimate of the Christmas festivals for family.

Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village by timo_w2s, on Flickr

Northern Lights. Iceland

Northern lights

Northern lights by Moyan_Brenn, on Flickr

I love Iceland, I have some amazing friends there. One day I will take the kids to meet them, to see geysers, climb around volcanoes, to lounge in the Blue Lagoon, to fly across glaciers in pursuit of nature’s ultimate Christmas festival, the Northern Lights.

The last one isn’t European, but…

New York

New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange by Atomische * Tom Giebel, on Flickr

I would wait until mine are a lot older, but I would love them to see Christmas festivals on a whole different scale. Look at the size of those baubles!

So many places, so many more I could have listed. Where would you like to go at Christmas? Which Christmas festivals do you like the sound of?

While you take a break, let gatwick parking take the hassle out of short stay parking. At only 2-5 minutes from the terminals it makes travelling with children and getting to your destination easier and quicker.

Collaborative post.

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