ENJOY A FESTIVE BREAK THIS WINTER
Christmas and New Year is undoubtedly the most magical time of the year for most of us, with beautiful lights, decorated trees, the scent of mulled wine and a soundtrack of Christmas carols, it’s a time for family, friends and loved ones to come together. What better way to embrace the festive season and to get in the mood, than a festive getaway? You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to places in Europe that will help get you into the spirit of Christmas and New Year… here we share with you some great ideas!
SOAK IT ALL UP ON A RIVER CRUISE
Why visit one city when you can explore and discover a new destination each day? A festive river cruise on the Rhine and/or Danube gives you the chance to call into a number of cities on route, getting a glimpse into their individual characters and charm – and most importantly, stroll through their many magical Christmas markets.
One of our favourite stops is Vienna; the quaint square transforms itself on the lead up to Christmas with stalls selling hot punch and beautiful tree decorations, and not to mention the gorgeous aroma of baked goodies – it’s like they are calling your name! The City Hall square is a spectacle worth seeing too – warming drinks, carousels and craft workshops for the kids are all waiting, plus the trees surrounding the City Hall park are beautifully decorated in a sea of lights, - how romantic!
Another hotspot in Vienna is the cultural market at Schönbrunn Palace. As well as selling the usual arts and crafts, festive decorations and yummy goodies, you’ll find a repertoire of Christmas concerts here, which sets the mood nicely.
There are plenty of other worthy cities along the Rhine and Danube: Budapest, Melk, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Cologne, Amsterdam…and more! Each with something different that’ll add to your experience.
And even better, when you’re onboard the fun continues. Most river cruises include all of your meals – and sometimes the drinks too. Not only that, the ships are small and intimate, meaning an expert staff member will never be far away. River cruises also offer excursions, giving you the choice to join a tour each day and benefit from insider knowledge or set off on your own exploration.
FESTIVE RIVER CRUISING WITH SCENIC
Everything’s included on a festive river cruise with Scenic; all meals, complimentary beverages, Scenic Free choice activities and even butler service, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be looked after on and off board. Ask instore for this year’s itineraries and availability.
TAKE A UNIQUE TOUR TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR
A destination that perhaps doesn’t spring immediately for yuletide is Transylvania. With a rich history, forested landscapes, medieval villages and ancient monasteries the scenery is just out of this world – which is why we think a tour here over New Year is just the ticket!
As well as just catching the Christmas markets, we recommend you take time out to explore the area and immerse yourself in the local culture too. The medieval citadel of Sighisoara, where Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Count Dracula was born is a must!It’s ancient facade dates back to the 13th century, with towers and bastions which help keep its medieval charm. Plus, join a tour and you’ll be lucky enough to try the local brandies in the town’s wine cellars.
What we love about this part of the world is the colourful and cheerful celebrations over New Year. With a mix of pre-Christian rituals, folklore, costumes and theatrical dances showcasing the passion and excitement the locals have for this time of year. We think, there’s no better way than getting stuck in by spending New Year’s Eve in a traditional village or by attending the New Year events organised for the occasion.
NEW YEAR TOURS WITH TRAVELSPHERE
Travelsphere has a range of incredible tours available that visit unique and lesser known destinations, including Transylvania. Plus, your flights, touring, transfers, some meals and an expert tour guide will accompany you – so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy your trip.
There’s skiing and snowboarding, husky sledding to santa, seeing the Northern Lights, festive city breaks by road, rail and air, mountain retreats and for those who do not like the cold – the Caribbean, Australasia or the Arab Emirates – it’s a little weird seeing a Christmas tree in 30 degrees but each to their own! If you wish to escape in the coming Winter months, Baldwins Travel can help you, just give us a call or pop in to your local branch for more inspiration.