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Five festive escapes to experience in 2019

Beautiful winter cityscape of Florence with Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore on the background, as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo. Italy.
Beautiful winter cityscape of Florence with Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore on the background, as seen from Piazzale Michelangelo. Italy.

Experiencing the festive season in other countries gives a real insight into their culture and it’s a great way to make your Christmas memorable or start the new year with a bang.

Check out our five festive escapes to experience in 2019.

1. Christmas in Lake Garda

The lead-up to Christmas is a truly magical time in Northern Italy; although Lake Garda is regarded as a summer destination, it can still be enjoyed during the festive season.

Lake Garda is the perfect holiday for those looking to unwind and relax by the lake and escape the usual madness of Christmas. From Lake Garda you can also take an excursion to Venice and Verona, which will look even more spectacular in winter.

2. Kraków Christmas markets

Kraków in December almost guarantees a white Christmas, so wrap up warm and head to the glittering Christmas Markets where stallholders sell a variety of crafts, foods and Christmas decorations.

As the former capital, the city has a history encompassing more than a thousand years and a walking tour is a pleasant way to explore the magical city of Kraków. Highlights include St. Mary's Church, the Wawel Cathedral with the giant 13 tonne Sigismund Bell in its bell tower, and the Royal Tombs, the final resting place of 13 Polish kings.

3. Vienna Christmas markets

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Vienna is rich with history and many notable people have lived in the capital, including Mozart, Beethoven, Freud and Leon Trotsky. Vienna is a beautiful city with fantastic architecture, and it has a wonderful Christmas atmosphere in late November and December. The Christmas Markets in Vienna dates back to the Middle Ages and are located throughout the city, such as Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace. Sample wonderful Austrian culinary delights, enjoy a drink or a sweet treat in one of the many coffee houses in Vienna.

4. Prague Christmas markets

You will be charmed by the storybook city of Prague. The capital of the Czech Republic is a magical city full of charming bridges, cathedrals, gold tipped towers and church spires.

Admire the impressive Baroque architecture while walking across the famous Charles Bridge to Old Town Square. This bridge showcases some of Prague’s exquisitely crafted statues and towers, while the Old Town is home to the most beautiful clock tower in Eastern Europe with its extraordinary Astronomical clock.

A winter wonderland awaits where visitors can soak up the festive atmosphere, browse the Prague Christmas markets at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square and enjoy Christmas carols, hearty food and drink.

Take a walking tour of the city and have plenty of time to discover the ‘city of a hundred spires’ for yourself.

5. New Year in Tuscany

Continue the Christmas festivities and celebrate the New Year with a trip to Tuscany.

The region of Tuscany has so much to offer - beautiful landscapes, incredible art, rich culture, amazing cuisine and of course its famous wine! Try a treatment at one of the renowned thermal spa establishments or visit the picturesque old town of Montecatini. You can also enjoy a guided tour of the historical cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa.

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