Non-traditional Christmas market destinations popular this December according to Kiwi.com
29 November 2021 – Despite the fact that the situation related to the pandemic is accelerating in some European areas, where traditional Christmas markets are usually most popular, there are alternative destinations that have their own take on the Christmas market experience. Destinations such as United Arab Emirates, Spain, Portugal, and France might not come first to mind when talking about Christmas markets, but they are an excellent alternative and, what Kiwi.com data shows, solid competitors to the traditionally popular Christmas market destinations.
One of the most visited places in the Middle East is Dubai, which is sought by tourists from all over the world. This year, Dubai made it to the top 30 travel destinations globally for the month of December, Kiwi.com data shows. The city organizes a Christmas market during the holidays, which takes place in the desert. The program of the Bab Al Shams winter festival is very rich and offers, among others, carols singing, live music, a 40-meter long Christmas tree and over 50 stalls with local specialties. It is worth mentioning that in December the temperature in Dubai reaches 27 degrees Celsius – and for those who crave warmth and sun, this means full relaxation under palm trees by the pool or the coast.
Those who do not want to travel far, but still want to experience Christmas markets abroad, have the opportunity to visit non-traditional Christmas markets in Spain. For example, La Fira de Santa Llúcia is a street Christmas market in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. This year the market will take place for the 235th time – the earliest record of the market dates to 1786. A special feature of the fair is that more than 140 of the 170 stalls sell exclusively Christmas goods such as mangers, figurines, baubles, and wreaths. There are also more than 25 stands selling souvenirs such as textile accessories, ceramics, jewelry, and leather goods. This year’s fair will feature more than 20 illuminated Christmas trees, a children’s program, and a range of Christmas-related activities and performances. This December, Kiwi.com data shows that Barcelona is ranked as one of the top destinations globally.
If you want to avoid the cold, gray winters, Portugal presents the perfect alternative with warmer weather and all kinds of festive attractions. The Christmas holidays in Portugal are important to the locals who view Christmas as a special time to spend with family and friends. The center of Christmas celebrations in Portugal is Lisbon, which offers its visitors several opportunities to experience the Christmas atmosphere. For example, Wonderland Lisboa is undoubtedly one of the main Christmas attractions, which take place at Eduardo VII Park during the month of December. This attraction includes not only a traditional market but also an ice skating rink, Santa’s village, a Ferris wheel, and plenty more so it’s a perfect place for children and their parents. Another great place to visit is the Campo Pequeno Christmas Market which is usually held during the first few days of December. This place offers over 140 vendors selling handmade crafts and designer gifts all produced in Portugal. The wide selection makes it the ideal place to start your Christmas shopping. Kiwi.com data shows that Lisbon is gaining popularity, and this December it ranks above Barcelona in popularity.
Travelers can also experience the non-traditional Christmas atmosphere in the capital of France. Christmas markets can be found all over Paris, from Les halles, Notre-Dame to Les Tuileries, as well as the impressive Christmas Village at La Defense. These markets made up of wooden chalets create a warm and magical Christmassy atmosphere and are the perfect place to pick up Christmas decorations, festive objects, regional produce, and crafts. For example, the Notre-Dame Christmas market at Square Viviani is a cheerful market that offers the usual mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. Occasional appearances by musicians add even more atmosphere to the festivities. The vibe here is always elegant, relaxed, and focused on the holiday spirit. Visitors to Paris should also not miss La Magie de Noel in Tuileries Garden Louvre which is situated next to the former Champs-Élysées Christmas Market. It’s half Christmas-themed carnival, half Christmas market – and it is also easily the most popular, attracting millions of visitors each holiday season. Visitors can enjoy a huge Ferris wheel, more than a dozen other carnival rides such as bumper cars and “fun house” amusements, an ice skating rink including a separate section for young children, a Champagne bar, steaming copper vats of traditional onion soup, and hot mulled wine. Among the aforementioned destinations, Paris is the most popular for travelers in December, as the most booked globally, Kiwi.com data shows.
Due to the current situation, Kiwi.com recommends all travelers check official sources for the most up-to-date Covid-19 measures and announcements for the destination they want to travel to.
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Kiwi.com is a leading travel tech company headquartered in the Czech Republic, employing over 1,000 people worldwide. Kiwi.com’s innovative Virtual Interlining algorithm allows users to combine flights across legacy and low-cost airlines into one single itinerary. Kiwi.com performs 2 billion price checks per day across 95% of global flight content enabling customers to find better route options and prices other search engines can’t see. Fifty million searches are carried out every day on Kiwi.com’s website and over 25,000 seats are sold daily.
Carol Barnes, Head of Global Communications, Kiwi.com