Everyone loves a good Christmas market. Pictures: Supplied.
Everyone loves a good Christmas market. Pictures: Supplied.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Pictures: Supplied.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Pictures: Supplied.
Thinking of planning your December holiday? Well there are many destinations in Europe that can make your festive season a magical one. With age-old traditions, rich history and magical scenery that reflects wondrous illustrations found within the pages of a storybook; uncover the magnificence of Europe during the enchanting seasons of Autumn, Winter and Spring.
Stroll through cobbled streets among medieval buildings while shimmering lights from festive decorations reflect upon snow-dusted grounds. Meander through Christmas markets while the smell of gingerbread fills the air and marvel at authentic crafts created by talented artisans. Feel the true essence of Europe’s spirited celebrations.
Experience a burst of energy as Europe wakes from its winter slumber and enters new phase full of the fresh scents, sights and sounds of springtime. Admire the beauty of blossoming boulevards, savour the flavours of delicious produce from the very first farmer’s markets of the season and stare in awe at the assortment of flourishing flowers in all the blooming glory.
Travel company Trafalgar points out some festive season traditions you can immerse yourself in: 

Italy
Did you know that the Christmas tradition of displaying a Nativity Scene originated in Italy?  The nativity scene with figurines of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, farm animals and crib is put up on the 8th of December with the addition of baby Jesus only on the eve of the 24th.

Russia
The dominant religion in Russia is Russian Orthodox and as they use the old Julian calendar Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on 7 January. Before ‘glasnost’ under the strict Soviet era Christmas was barely celebrated at all but the Advent has always been observed. So if you would like to enjoy a really long Festive Season, Russia is the place to be as it starts on 28 November and continues all the way through to January.

Great Britain
The United Kingdom is responsible for making the decorating of trees a universally Christmassy thing to do. Christmas trees originate from Germany and the tradition was brought to the UK by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert.

Spain
In Spain in Christmas Eve it is the ‘done thing’ to attend Midnight Mass. This is followed by large groups of people walking through the streets carrying torches, playing musical instruments and keeping everyone awake. Christmas Eve is considered the ‘good night’ and not meant for sleeping.

Iceland 
New Years’ Eve is one of the most important nights of the year in Iceland and there are several magical traditions that are supposed to happen on it. Icelanders says that cows are meant to be able to talk, seals take on human form, the dead rise from their graves, and the Elves move house. Interesting…

Germany
Advent calendars feature extensively in Germany’s Christmas celebrations with several different types brought into use. Apart from the well-known cards with little flaps to open this country also likes to make advent calendars out of a wreath of Fir branches decorated with 24 boxes or bags.