Many of Europe’s traditional Christmas markets and events have been cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic.
As travel restrictions have tightened and some countries have gone back into lockdown after detecting the Omicron variant, there are fewer chances to soak up the holiday spirit.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still places where you can get your fill of Christmas cheer.
Here are some of the most festive experiences still going ahead this year.
Wroclaw Christmas Markets, Poland
Although it might not be the first place you think of for traditional Christmas Markets, Wroclaw has plenty to offer festive visitors.
Taking place in four different locations across the city, this Christmas market has been happening since the 16th century and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Surrounded by interesting architecture and buildings painted in pastel shades, the main site at Rynek Square is like something out of a fairytale.
With stalls selling crafts, local food and drink, and delicacies from around the world, it’s the perfect place to get in the Christmas spirit.
Open until 21 December, there are no vaccination pass or test requirements and it is not mandatory to wear a mask outside. Find out more here.
If you are in the EU and are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test, then a trip to Finland is still possible. That means you could make a Christmas trip to Lapland.
The capital, Rovaniemi, is the official home of Santa Claus. The elves say his real home is somewhere in the mysterious “Ear Fell” but since it is only known to a certain secret few, the jolly bearded one has established an office in the city.
Santa Claus Village is technically open every day of the year and you can easily travel there via bus from the centre of Rovaniemi. Here, as well as meeting the man himself, you can go on husky and reindeer rides, snowmobile tours and even stay in an Igloo hotel.
But that isn’t all you can see in this magical Arctic region. Dark winter days mean a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights and the region’s beautiful natural surroundings.
Even if things do change, many tour operators are offering a full refund or for guests to rebook if the COVID-19 restrictions are updated and you can’t travel. Plan your visit here.
Legend has it that Europe’s first-ever public Christmas tree was put on display in Tallinn in 1441. And this medieval town’s festive spirit has carried through ever since.
The market is held in the Town Hall Square of the city where the Christmas tree is on display. Decorated with lights and ornaments, traditional Estonian seasonal foods such as black pudding and sour cabbage are for sale here. The market runs until the2 January, so there’s still plenty of time left to check it out.
There is also a diverse programme of Christmas events being held in the town square with rides and attractions for children too. Instead of a traditional train, this year a double-decker bus will take visitors around Tallinn’s old town.
Estonia is currently open to fully vaccinated travellers with no restrictions. You can read more about the country’s COVID-19 rules here.
Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona
This festival was once a one-day event to commemorate the feast of Santa Lucia on 13 December. It now stretches to cover a full three weeks with activities such as nativity scenes, festive storytelling and a pinata-style Christmas log known as the caga tio.
There is also the Christmas market with nearly 300 stalls outside of Barcelona Cathedral. Located on the Avinguda de la Catedral, it runs until 23 December, the day before Christmas Eve.
Masks are mandatory where it isn’t possible to maintain social distancing and the number of visitors could be limited at weekends when the market is busy. Find out more about the Fira de Santa Llúcia here.
_While many of these events are still open to those who live nearby, travel restrictions are changing rapidly and could still apply to visitors coming from outside of the country. You can keep up-to-date with where and how you can travel in Europe here. _