Christmas is one of the best times to travel, discover new destinations and enjoy new linguistic adventures. TANDEM International cities are a wealth of opportunities, places you will be inspired by the spirit of Christmas just walking the streets, enjoying the Christmas lightings, or visiting Christmas markets, perfect for the special Christmas gifts you want to purchase.
Christmas in Germany
If we talk about Christmas in Germany we can not forget its fabulous Christmas markets, where artisans show all they can do with their hands and you can find exquisite sweets.
From the Spandau Christmas market, the largest in the city, to the Gendarmenmarkt, through the Opera Palace Christmas market or the Domäne Dahlem Christmas market, in Berlin, you will find a wide variety of Christmas selections, both traditional and more contemporary.
The city of Bremen looks its best at Christmas. The famous Christmas market at the Town Hall and the statue of Roland, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are among the best in Germany, both for their historical settings and atmosphere as well as for the variety of stalls and their decorations. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bremen’s popular promenade is home to the historic “Schlachte-Zauber” winter and maritime market.
The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of the most important and well known in Germany. Its elaborate Christmas decorations and huge Christmas tree invite strolling through its nearly 200 stalls and sample typical sweets such as Bethmännchen. Completing this idealist Christmas atmosphere are musical performances, Advent concerts and other complementary activities including the visit of Santa Claus.
In the vicinity of Marienplatz, Munich hosts one of the country’s oldest and largest Christmas markets, maintaining the traditional Bavarian spirit. Here you can find a multitude of handmade items and have a Glühwein, hot wine with spices. The centerpiece tree of almost 30 meters tall and is highly decorated with more than 2,500 lights. Be sure to also visit the magical Christmas village Weihnachtsdorf in the Residenz and the medieval market on the Wittelsbacherplatz.
Christmas in Bielefeld has the charm of wooden stalls with Christmas lights and offers alternatives for all ages. From the “Haus vom Nikolaus” (Santa Claus’ house), to the sophisticated red houses on the Jahnplatz and its luminous pyramid reminiscent of a starry sky, to the Süsterplatz Christmas market with live music. Bielefeld offers many options, a perfect combination of gifts, crafts, gastronomy, concerts and storytelling that collectively evoke the spirit of Christmas.
The city of Cologne invites us to be carried away by the magic of numerous Christmas markets that annually attract millions of tourists from all over the world. The most famous are the Cathedral, the Old Town, the Angel’s Market (Neumarkt), and the Port’s or Rudolfplatz’s; but there are many others throughout the city with alternative Christmas markets.
Although less well known, the Göttingen Christmas market recreates a very unique Christmas atmosphere in the market square (Marktplatz), around the old medieval town hall, next to the Gänseliesel fountain and St. Johannis church. Here you will find Christmas decorations, toys, clothes, and jewelry, as well as a varied gastronomic and culinary offerings and a full program of cultural activities. The nostalgic one cannot miss a trip on the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round.
In Hamburg, you will find more than 30 Christmas markets where you can drink hot wine and munch on roasted chestnuts. One of the most important and beautiful Markets is in the City of Hamburg. Here you will find handmade toys, glassware, and jewelry. Santa Claus is also frequently seen flying his sleigh over the market.
Christmas in France
In addition to its capital, Paris, France has other interesting destinations in which you can fully enjoy Christmas. Two TANDEM International cities such as Montpellier and Toulouse are perfect for ng what French Christmas is like and taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a language trip to France at this time of year.
The Winter Festival of Montpellier, Les Hivernales, is held every year on the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle during the month of December. The most important event of the winter in Montpellier that visits the city of Christmas. In this Christmas market, in addition to the stalls of more than a hundred artisans and local merchants, we can also participate in concerts and activities for children or skating.
In addition to Christmas markets throughout the city, Toulouse is illuminated by Christmas and comes alive with parades, music and images. A visit to the Christmas village of Place du Capitole is essential, where you can buy handicrafts or enjoy a slice of aligo, and to the Jules-Guesde, with original, quality and ethical gift ideas. The creative markets of Place des Carmes, Saint-Pierre, de l’Estrapade, d’Empalot or Place Bories and the village of Santa Claus are also excellent Christmas plans.
Christmas in Italy
In countries such as Germany and France where the most traditional Christmas activity is the Christmas market, in the case of Italy the seasonal options are much more varied and include shopping plans in street markets, special lighting, nativity scenes, and Christmas concerts.
Rome offers a complete program of Christmas activities for all ages and tastes. Lighting is inspired by cartoon characters for Via dei Condotti; the sand-carved birth of Piazza San Pietro and its large Christmas tree; the traditional international exhibition of “100 cribs” in the Vatican, and the Christmas markets of Piazza Navona and Piazza Mazzini. Additional selections include the Christmas village at the music park, the magical Christmas in the Parioli, the Christmas talents of Piazza Primoli, ice skating rinks, and the Pandorino or Chocolate Christmas Festivals and the Vatican Christmas Concert are other options for the Roman Christmas.
Lights, music, shopping, gastronomy, art and much more. This is what Christmas is like in Milan, where once again the Duomo will host the traditional Christmas market with traditional Christmas products and crafts, including children’s activities, solidarity projects and a giant Panettone, Italian Christmas candy, in the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. In addition to the musical calendar of Advent in the Duomo, there is also a free traditional Christmas Concert in the Cathedral and, according to Milanese tradition, the great Christmas tree of the Duomo at Val di Sole in Trentino, and the illumination of the streets of Fara, Galvani and Torre Galfa.
Christmas comes loaded with Christmas markets in Florence, such as the Weihnachtsmarkt, a German Christmas market that takes place each year in Piazza Santa Croce and brings the aromas and flavors of Christmas. Throughout December in the villages around Florence, there are other markets for Christmas decorations, small antiques, typical handicrafts, and food products, often accompanied by events and shows complementary to the Christmas stalls.
“Venice’s “Le Città in Festa – Natale 2018” brings together more than 300 events and performances to celebrate Christmas. Included are four skating rinks for children and adults, musical performances and charity concerts, animation shows, the International Baroque Music Festival dedicated to the 340th anniversary of the birth of Antonio Vivaldi, the 5th edition of the Santa Claus Race and Christmas markets specializing in Venetian glass.
The Christmas market in Trieste begins with the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the square of San Antonio. There you can find gifts, handicrafts, Italian food and wine specialties, and typical treats of Central Europe from Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, Finland, and even Russia. It also has two ice-skating rinks and several handcrafted cribs, one of them carved in ice.
Christmas in Spain
In Spain, there is a Christmas of contrasts, where Spanish traditions and those of each territory are mixed with others acquired from Europe or the United States.
Christmas in Madrid offers a complete program of Christmas activities. Christmas lightings, the Plaza Mayor Christmas Fair, the Community of Madrid Crafts Fair and the Nativity Scene Route are some of the most traditional Christmas events. Also interesting is the International Christmas Fair of Cultures. But if there is a traditional custom, that is the ‘Zambombada’, a parade that aims to keep alive one of Spain’s Christmas instruments par excellence: the ‘zambomba’.
The little stands of the Christmas market in the Bib-Rambla square, a crib route, exquisite sweets made by the Mojas convents in Granada, light and sound shows, concerts and seasonal performances are some of the Christmas options in Granada.
In the San Sebastian Christmas program, Basque traditions such as the Olentzero, a popular, local character who gives gifts to Basque Country children, are harmonized with more contemporary offerings such as the charitable ‘Gastropote’ or a nativity scene with figures one meter high. There are also Christmas markets, concerts, and Christmas shows.
The Santa Llúcia Fair in Ciutat Vella is Barcelona’s most important Christmas event. A spectacular Christmas lighting, a Christmas Concert, the Sagrada Familia Fair and several cribs in key points near the city center complete a program of holiday activities.
Christmas in Chile and Peru
While in the northern hemisphere there is a winter Christmas, in the southern hemisphere the summer sun shines. Weather conditions do not prevent children and adults from receiving gifts and celebrating Christmas in style.
The Plaza de Armas is one of the most emblematic places of Christmas in Santiago de Chile. It is a space decorated with lights and where a traditional tree is installed every year.
Santurantikuy, a Christmas fair held in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas since the 16th century, is one of the most remarkable traditions of Cusquenian Christmas. In it, you can get figures of saints for the crib, and also grass and moss to decorate the nativity as well as other non-religious craft objects.
A Christmas visit to any of TANDEM International destinations will help you make contact with other languages and schedule your next language trip to take a German, French, Italian or Spanish course in our schools.