The world’s most festive cities

19 Dec 2016
It might be the grand, Gothic architecture that does it or maybe it’s the chipper Christmas crowds. For whatever reason, some cities are just effortlessly festive. From markets next to airport lounges that you can visit on an airport layover, to the sets of your favorite Christmas movies, here we do a rundown of the most festive cities.

New York, USA

Christmas is all about magic, and New York City is the setting for some of the most magical and heartwarming scenes in film. From classics like Miracle on 34th Street to newer cult favorites like Elf, New York City has been a consistently spectacular setting in Christmas movies. The magnificently gigantic tree and ice rink at Rockefeller Center, festive lights and multitude of Santa's villages add to the Christmas cheer. That's without mentioning the world-class Christmas shopping.


Vienna, Austria

The capital of Austria is a city made for Christmas. The wealth of glorious gothic architecture is a fitting backdrop to the collection of Christmas markets that pop up around the city. The Christkindlmarkt is one of the world's best.

Austria’s festive cuisine has become the standard for Christmas markets around the world — expect endless spicy bratwurst and sweet mulled wine by the gallon. Local specialties include lebkuchen, glühwein and hot waffles. The abundance of classical music concerts at this time of year helps you get into the Christmas mood.

London, England

Returning to the theme of Christmas movies, few modern films capture the spirit of Christmas as well as Love Actually. The cast may be packed with A-list actors, but the real star is the city of London.

England's capital outdoes itself when it comes to decorations, with the lights on Oxford Street and displays at Harrods and Fortnum & Mason being among the most impressive in the world. Ice rinks also pop up all over the city, often set in front of grand buildings like the Tower of London and Somerset House. The finishing touch is the variety of festive performances in the West End. From comedic pantomimes to classics like The Nutcracker, the city caters to all Christmas tastes.


Munich, Germany

Just because you're only in town on an airport layover doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the fun. The German city of Munich is so dedicated to celebrating Christmas that it even boasts a huge Christmas market right at the airport.

The open-air market is decorated with hundreds of real trees and houses some 50 stalls. With temperatures in Central Europe often dropping down below freezing during the holidays, you'd be forgiven for seeking refuge in the airport lounges to enjoy your mulled wine.