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Prague

Prague
CGE2010/SHUTTERSTOCK

No doubt “Good King Wenceslas” will be running through your head as you wander through the holiday market of Prague‘s Wenceslas Square, named for the real Bohemian king of Christmas carol fame. But the city has even more to recommend it as a Christmas destination—it’s alive with seasonal arts and culture exhibits, nativity scenes at churches, and more Christmas markets at the Old Town Square and Prague Castle. Plus, Prague is so well-preserved, a walk through the Gothic and Baroque architecture of the Old Town will make you feel as if you’ve gone back in time. Advent in Prague (December 1 to 23) is the only time you can see a uniformed lamp-lighter using an old-fashioned burning wick to light the gas lamps on the historic Charles Bridge.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Get your “hygge” on in the cosy Christmas city of Copenhagen. Hygge is a Danish concept embracing warm, snugly feelings that you get by curling up on the couch with loved ones, a fire, a cup of tea, a thick blanket, and a classic holiday movie. But you can also experience hygge outside among the twinkling lights of the Tivoli Gardens, with a mug of hot glogg in the quaint Nyhavn district, and at the city’s many Christmas markets.

Here are some Christmas brainteasers the whole family can enjoy.

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, Austria
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Salzburg is a city of music, as it’s the hometown of Mozart—not to mention The Sound of Music‘s Von Trapp family. Expect to hear lots of the unique Austrian folk tradition of Advent Singing. Visit the “Advent Magic” of Hellbrunn Palace, where the courtyard is transformed with 10,000 red Christmas balls and lights strewn among the fountains and grottoes. For the scarier side of the season, be on the lookout for the folk figures of Krampus and Perchten, who are said to frighten away the dark spirits of winter.

Searching for non-traditional ways to decorate this year? Try these cool Christmas tree idea alternatives.

London

London
ALEXEY FEDORENKO/SHUTTERSTOCK

There’s a reason we associate Christmas with Victorian London, and that reason is Charles Dickens’ iconic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. Today, Christmas in London is a mix of modern merriment and old-time tradition to melt any Scrooge’s heart. Take in the magnificent lights along the Oxford Street shopping district and the South Bank‘s riverside walk; go ice skating in Somerset House’s 18th-century courtyard rink; hear carols at the Royal Albert Hall, and enjoy the festivities of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.

 

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France
MARINADA/SHUTTERSTOCK

The “capital of Christmas” is well named—Strasbourg‘s historic Christmas market established in 1570 is the oldest in France and one of the oldest in Europe. Located in the Alsace region, the city looks like a storybook at holiday time, with the central square of Place Kléber illuminated with thousands of lights and the city’s Great Christmas Tree. Ramble along glittering canals lined by half-timbered houses in Strasbourg’s Petite France district. In addition to the main market, have a “greener” Christmas with the alternative OFF Market, which focuses on mindful consumption, recycled offerings, and organic treats.

Speaking of treats, here are some easy and delicious Christmas cookie recipes you’ll want to make every year.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland
LEONID ANDRONOV/SHUTTERSTOCK

Holiday activities abound in the Swiss city of Zurich. The huge Christmas tree in the train station is hung with Swarovski crystals, twelve thousand lights illuminate the main downtown street of Bahnhofstrasse, and five ice-skating rinks are spread throughout the city. Choirs serenade Christmas market shoppers from the 80-person Singing Christmas Tree. There’s even a Christmas circus on an island in the Limmat River, and candle-making on Bürkliplatz at the banks of Lake Zurich.

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Valkenburg, The Netherlands

Valkenburg, The Netherlands
HANS WRANG/SHUTTERSTOCK

Lots of cities have Christmas markets—but how many have one in a cave? Valkenburg‘s Velvet Cave hosts the annual more-than-just-a-market subterranean destination: Visit it for seasonal murals and sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, and cozy food and drink spots. Above the cave (actually a labyrinth of passageways) are the ruins of the 11th century Valkenburg Castle. As if one underground market wasn’t enough, other caves throughout the city offer them as well.

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Source: RD.com

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team