Home » All I Want for Christmas is… a Trip to the Mediterranean!

All I Want for Christmas is… a Trip to the Mediterranean!

by Travelive Team

Get ready to sprinkle some holiday enchantment into your life! It’s that time of the year when Europe transforms into a sparkling wonderland of Christmas cheer. From twinkling markets and dazzling light shows to enchanting festivals and cheerful tunes, Europe is the ultimate playground for celebrating the holiday season. Discover captivating destinations that promise a Christmas and New Year celebration filled with wonder and joy.

1. The 3-time European Christmas Market Champion

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, has nailed the holiday spirit! From December 2nd to January 7th, the entire city becomes a winter playground. Zagreb’s Advent season is a total feast for your senses. Imagine festive stalls and Christmas lights in the central Ban Jelačić Square, food tastings and live concerts at the romantic Zrinjevac Park, and the cozy scent of mulled wine filling the air. For a whole month, Zagreb turns into a magical Christmas village with music ensembles at the Octogon, Christmas concerts from balconies, and ice skating at the Ice Park, offering activities for everyone.

2. Split, Dubrovnik for a New Year’s Music Extravaganza

Croatia knows how to throw a New Year’s bash! Whether in Split or Dubrovnik, the Croatians go wild with festivities as the main squares light up some of the biggest names in the country’s music scene. This year, the Dubrovnik Winter Festival which celebrates its 10th anniversary, promises the great Bosnian-Serbian vocalist, Zdravko Čolić. The best part? Entry is free! Fireworks, lively crowds, and a magical countdown to midnight surround the festivities that keep going till the wee hours, making Croatian New Year’s Eve an unforgettable celebration.

3. Milan, A Stylish Christmas Soiree

Milan, Italy’s fashion mecca, knows how to make the festive season fabulous. The shopping spree enhances the Milanese holiday experience as the Christmas Markets are packed with unique gifts and handmade crafts. Enjoy live concerts sipping a glass of Prosecco and savor a slice of Panettone, the classic Italian Christmas cake, as you stroll around Piazza del Duomo. A walk to the bohème Navigli district, where the grand canal is adorned with shimmering little lights along its way, is a must if you wish to experience the romantic side of the city.

4. Traditional Christmas in Verona

Verona, the city of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, brings its romantic charm to Christmas. Smell the warmth of roasted chestnuts and savor the aromas of spiced, vin brulé (mulled wine) that fill the air as you wander the Christmas Markets. Twirl on the ice at the ice rink that usually pops up in Piazza delle Erbe and taste Verona’s traditional Christmas cake, the Pandoro, and its delicious custard-filled or topped-with-chocolate variations. If you want to avoid the crowded days, Verona has special events happening before and after the holidays. Santa Lucia – the Veronese version of Santa Clause – brings presents to children riding her donkey, Gastaldo. On Saint Lucy’s Day – the 13th of December – a traditional market pops up in Piazza Brà filled with local sweets like baci di Giulietta (Juliet’s kisses) and handcrafted toys. If you happen to stay in Verona on January 6th, don’t miss the celebration of Epiphany with the burning of la Befana, a pre-roman tradition to banish the old witch and welcome good fortune.

5. Belated Christmas in Spain

Could not get away during the regular Christmas holidays? Then Spain is your solution as its main traditional festivities have been celebrated in January since the Middle Ages. On the 5th, you can see Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, or the parade of the Three Wise Kings, a representation of the 3 wise men who delivered gifts to newborn Jesus and are now the ones carrying gifts for children in Spanish tradition. The next day, Spain celebrated the Epiphany with a traditional baked sweet filled with whipped cream, the Roscón de Reyes.

6. Athens’ Tastes to Remember

Athens wears her winter clothes and welcomes the holiday season with an array of traditional and contemporary events. The city that truly never sleeps, gets decked out with Christmas lights and decorations, while cafes and restaurants are updated with a festive menu, Christmas markets in central squares spread the holiday spirit, the art scene is very active premiering new productions, and the bustling nightlife flourishes after the customary family gatherings. However, Greek delicacies steal the show always, with sweets and sour recipes that celebrate these special days. Snow rarely makes its appearance in the Greek capital, but the famous almond Kourabié cookie with a light texture that melts in your mouth, veiled with snow-like powdered sugar offers you winter in a bowl. Melomakarono – the opposing Christmas patisserie team – is a walnut and cinnamon soft cookie dipped in honey with a unique taste. Winter is usually very mild in Greece, nevertheless, Greek cuisine has an option for every scenario. In the case of a white Christmas, the traditional chestnut soup will spread waves of warmth through your body. And if chestnut does not succeed, dust yourself up and try again with a cup of Oinomelo, a wine with honey beverage – the Greek version of mulled wine. Stay through New Year in Greece and celebrate your new beginnings with a slice of Vasilopita, a moisty white cake with citrus hues, and you may be the lucky one whose slice contains the Flouri, a golden coin that symbolizes good fortune.

Embark on a Mediterranean Christmas adventure and experience first-hand diverse local holiday traditions, wander through sparkling markets, and embrace the warm, joyous spirit that unites the world during this magical season. Whether you find yourself celebrating in the historical cities of Croatia, shopping in the stylish markets of Italy, partying in the vibrant streets of Greece, or indulging in the peculiar traditions of Spain, you’re in for a Christmas and New Year’s celebration like no other. The Mediterranean sure knows how to turn winter’s chill into a warm and whimsical season of wonder and delight!

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