If the thought of stuffing the turkey, making the Christmas pudding, cleaning the house or hosting your spouse’s relatives makes you sigh, it’s time to think of a plan B. Why not spend a different holiday season and book a vacation your whole family will never forget, enjoying the lights and sights, the magic atmosphere and the luxury of sitting into a ready-made table for a plentiful meal?
Chasing the Scandi Spirit Of Christmas
Scandinavian capitals offer something special for every member of the family, from relaxation to excitement, festive markets to spectacular light shows, gingerbread villages to snow castles. Choose your favourite attraction, book your ticket and start dreaming of a white family Christmas.
Lucia, bearer of light in Stockholm
In Sweden, the Christmas season begins with St. Lucia Day, December 13th. An ancient mythological figure, Lucia can be traced back both to Saint Lucy of Syracuse, an Italian martyr who died in 304, as well as to the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. Bearer of light into darkness, Lucia presents herself in a long, white gown and a crown of candles on her head singing hymns of light. Often, an entire group of girls are dressed up as Lucia and the celebration includes choir singing, saffron buns and glögg (mulled wine)! You can listen to the Lucia choirs sing in the Stockholm Cathedral starting on December 7th until December 13th.
Stockholm Christmas Lights
Stockholm’s 2019 Christmas lights are switched on from November 16 until January 13. One million LED-lights in different colours forming enchanting shapes are placed in more than 40 streets, buildings and squares of the Swedish capital. A Christmassy atmosphere is guaranteed for both young and old, with Christmas songs playing at the background. There are also guided walking tours in English – The Walk of Lights – that start off in Kungsträdgården, the central garden of the city. You can purchase your tickets in advance here.
Ice skating in Copenhagen
The Danish capital, Copenhagen, also offers wonderful attractions to families visiting the city at Christmas time. Every year, Frederiksberg Runddel inside Frederiksberg Garden is transformed into a big, snow-white ice rink around December 8th. This allows families to have fun on the ice throughout the winter season. Admission to the rink is free of charge and everyone is welcome. If you have your own skates, you can use the rink around the clock. During the day, you can rent a pair of skates and you can even have your own skates sharpened for a small fee.
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
The Tivoli Gardens are also something not to be missed while in Copenhagen. The traditional Christmas market, the numerous restaurants, and thrilling rides of the amusement park offer something for every visitor, no matter what their age. The amusement park is located close to the City Hall, near the Copenhagen Central Station. It was founded in 1843 and has become a true national treasure. The scenery is beautiful with exotic architecture, historic buildings, and lush gardens. At Christmas time, thousands of coloured lights create a fairy tale atmosphere that is completely unique.
Christmas Market at Spikesuppa, Oslo
The Spikesuppa Christmas market is located right in the middle of Oslo and offers Christmas joy and magic for the whole family. The beautifully decorated market stalls sell festive delicacies and a varied selection of arts and crafts. You can even meet Santa Claus while strolling along the market. There are workshops for children, Christmas-themed entertainment for all ages and you can even take a ride in the market’s Ferris wheel.
Pepperkakebyen in Bergen, Norway
Christmas without fragrant, sugar-coated gingerbread cookies is hard to imagine in any Scandinavian country. In Norway, these cookies are called ‘pepperkaker’ and they usually come in the form of women, men, angels, reindeer, hearts, stars, bells – and even houses and castles. Every year since 1991, kindergarteners, schoolchildren, local businesses, and thousands of other volunteers have participated in the construction of Pepperkakebyen in Bergen. At this cookie-filled village, you’ll find everything from tiny homes to local landmarks, trains, cars, boats and international signature buildings. Pepperkakebyen in Bergen is open to the public from mid-November until the end of December. The profits from the entrance fees are donated to a relief agency that works primarily with children in need.
Santa’s village at Rovaniemi, Finland
If you’d like to offer a truly memorable Christmas to your little ones, take them to Santa’s Village at the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland. At Rovaniemi, since 1992, Santa Claus with a real Santa look receives visitors every day of the year to enhance the well-being of children and to increase the kindness of grown-ups, as well as to spread the message of love and goodwill and the Christmas spirit across the globe. You and your family can join Santa’s elves in their magical world, sit in on a lesson in the Elf school, taste gingerbread cookies in Mrs. Gingerbread’s kitchen, take a fun ride on the Magic Train, feel the crispy winter in Ice Princess Ice Gallery, send Christmas cards from Santa’s Post Office & enjoy the Magical Christmas Show on stage. And most importantly, you will all meet Santa himself. It will be an experience your children will never forget!
Snow castle in Kemi, Finland
Since 1996, an incredible Snow Castle has been built every year, using only snow and ice made of seawater as the building materials. Within the snowy walls, you can find shining white pathways that lead you to fairytale-like sceneries with gorgeous, unique snow sculptures that decorate the walls of the castle. You can visit the castle during the day, spend the night at the Snow Hotel or have an icy meal at the Lumihiutale Seaview Restaurant. Enjoy an unforgettable drink in handmade ice glasses! The 2020 SnowCastle will be open between January 18 and April 15.
If you’d like to book your Scandinavian Christmas, check out these websites that offer tours and travel packages: