40 fairy-tale European towns to visit this Christmas
Posted on 20/12/2017 322 shares


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Instead of bringing the Christmas fairy tale to you, this year it's time to seek out your own one.

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  • Rovaniemi, Finland
    Rovaniemi, Finland

    Where better to enjoy a Christmas adventure than Lapland? Rovaniemi is the capital of the region and, most importantly, the official home of Santa Claus - 'his Buckingham Palace' if you will. With over 10,000 students, it's not simply a great place to take children but one where all manner of fun abounds. And if you're seeking the spectacular, Rovaniemi is also a great spot to take in the Aurora Borealis. Who needs twinkling Christmas lights when nature will do it for you?

    © alexeysmirnov/123RF
  • Hallstatt, Austria
    Hallstatt, Austria

    The scenery surrounding this Alpine village - the imposing Dachstein mountains and the serene lake Hallsätter See - are matched only by the chocolate box beauty of the town itself. Like something out of a snowglobe, this picturesque village with its baroque architecture will have you wishing you'd brought that extra floppy disc to store those holiday snaps of heaven.

    © kotangens/123RF
  • Bryggen, Norway
    Bryggen, Norway

    Set among seven hills and seven fjords is Norway's second largest city, Bergen. Whilst its setting could be enough to make this list in its own right, the old harbor district of Bryggen is a place of great authentic intrigue and unparalleled charm. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995, the buildings - although damaged by a number of fires - have been rebuilt to forge a link to the city's trading future dating back to the 12th century. When the colorful houses reflect off Vagen Harbour, you will swoon.

    © tan4ikk/123RF
  • Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
    Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic

    Its spectacular castle is just the cherry on top of the fairytale cake that is Ceský Krumlov. The small city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic has enjoyed a miraculous revival after the communist era threatened to leave it derelict and despairing. Careful restoration has seen ancient building transformed into tasteful locations fit for modern life. The old town was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, and it is no wonder it has become the second busiest tourist spot in the country.

    © yasonya/123RF
  • Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
    Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

    In the bleak midwinter that sends sheets of white snow down onto Greenland, there is one town whose charm radiates a cosiness that could not encapsulate the Christmas spirit more. Ittoqqortoormiit (spelling the word is Mississippi x 1000) has a stunning colourfulness about both architecture and atmosphere. With a population of around 450, you can almost guarantee everyone will be friendly.

    © Adrian Wojcik/123RF

Christmas is coming. Forget Trump. Forget Brexit. The most magical time of the year is almost upon us. Each December, in the weeks leading up to our annual brussel sprout genocide, we spend our time garnishing our homes with dustings of the fantastical. Conifers join us inside as living rooms become greenhouses; a tinsel relish gives these trees a touch of razzmatazz; elaborate Christmas light displays adorn front gardens, adding a warmth to those cold winter evenings while simultaneously also often lowering the value of real estate in the local area. Then, on the day itself, a trillionaire pensioner delivers presents to every house on Earth, taking a bite out of a mince pie at each, presumably contracting diabetes in the process. Christmas, unlike any other time of the year, is irresistibly magical.

This year, however, rather than bringing tinsel, bourbels and make-believe magic to your homes, why not seek out a real-life fairy tale? This list features capital cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, chocolate box houses, tiny shipping ports and spectacular ancient infrastructure. Where it is varied in content, it is consistent in one thing. These 40 magical places come straight from the realm of fairy-tale dreams.

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