Another year rolls on and yet another Christmas is upon us. The happiest time of the year is filled with family traditions, great food and a whole lot of adult beverages to make the party that much more jolly. While sitting by the fire is quite cozy, us adventure junkies here at Rad can’t get enough of epic festivals around the globe even if it’s Christmas Day! Let’s take a look at the world’s best Christmas Festivals to put you in the holiday spirit.
Every December Hyde Park lights up into an extravagant holiday festival filled with festive decorations and plenty of shopping. Over two million people from around the world come to the Winter Wonderland entertainment park where Santa Claus, an ice rink and scrumptious holiday food awaits. Top that off with a 200-foot high observation wheel, two roller coasters and multiple circuses for a Christmas celebration that just can’t be beat!
Dates: Nov 22 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Location: Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom
Each European city has their own style of celebrating the world’s most popular holiday, but none seem to be as unique as Hungary’s Budapest Christmas Fair. The famous Vorosmarty Square transforms into one of the most scenic Christmas venues in the world. Wooden cottage stalls line the festival grounds selling exquisite holiday gifts and festive foods. Grab a honey cookie, a mulled wine and take a stroll down the Hungarian blocks where tradition fills the air.
Dates: November 9 – December 31, 2018
Location: Vorosmarty Square, Budapest, Hungary
Tired of the cold winter weather but still love Christmas celebration? Look no further than the spectacular Winterfest Boat Parade in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Take in the beauty of two-foot mega-yachts decked out in Christmas lights as they effortlessly float along the Intracoastal Waterway. Make sure to get there early to secure a spot at one of the many bars or restaurants nearby for the best view.
Dates: December 15, 2018
Location: Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Home to Europe’s oldest Christmas market, Strasbourg holiday roots date back to 1570. With over 300 local stalls selling holiday decorations and presents, its easy to fall in love with the French Christmas spirit. If you appreciate a big ol’ Christmas tree, make sure to head to Place Kleber where you will find one of the most epic trees in the world. The Great Christmas Tree dwarfs every other man made attempt including New York’s Rockefeller Center tree.
Dates: Nov 23 – Dec 30, 2018
Location: Grande Ile, Strasbourg, France
Although it may not be as popular as other Western European markets, Poland’s rendition of Christmas festivities packs a real punch. Krakow’s snow-clad main square lights up with beautiful lights and buzzing crowd. It is mainly known for being a year-round Christmas shopping experience that sells some of the best antiques and unique chatskis around.
Dates: December 10 – 15, 2018
Location: The Rynek, Market Square, Old Town, Krakow, Poland
Quite possibly one of the most popular places to spend Christmas on the planet, Berlin’s out-of-this world Christmas markets are unrivaled. Out of the dozens around the city, be sure to head to Gendarmenmarkt where awe-inspiring architecture, delicious German cuisine and first-rate shopping awaits. Craft tents sell unique paintings and wood carvings completing this ultimate Christmas gem.
Dates: November 26 – December 31, 2018
Location: City center, Berlin, Germany
Love Santa? Go to Finland. But make sure to really dress for extreme arctic whether as temperatures can drop to zero. Nonetheless this annual Santa Claus Village is done right with a magical touch of Christmas lights, food and festive drinks. Fun attractions include Santa Claus’ Main Post Office where a large variety of Christmas related items can be purchased. Enjoy the beautiful Northern Lights caused by Earth’s magnetic field in Finland’s Arctic Garden.
Dates: November 17 – December 31, 2018
Location: Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Ireland’s capital is home to plenty of history and things to do throughout the year. For nearly two weeks, enjoy an Irish Christmas-themed party at their world famous market in Dublin. Alcohol, specifically whisky, is of no shortage as you can imagine. Make sure to take an extra shot if you are thinking about taking a morning swim on Christmas Day in the Forty Foot sea-water pool with the rest of the locals.
Dates: December 25, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Escape the winter cold and head down to Puerto Rico for San Juan’s buzzing holiday fun. Catholic churches across the city put on beautiful mass ceremonies igniting dozens of carolers to migrate along the streets in unicine. Partake in spit-roasted pig during the enormous traditional feast in the city center on Christmas Day. The party lives on until Three Kings Day on January 6, so overstaying your welcome isn’t a problem.
Dates: December 15, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Location: Downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico
For the 25th year in a row, Pine Mountain, Georgia is home to one of America’s most epic light displays. The Callaway Gardens has very little light pollution which magnifying each Christmas light bulb. Take a ride on the Jolly Trolley with a full narration during your journey at Fantasy in Lights and don’t forget to stop at the Christmas Village shop for holiday trinkets and a picture with Santa Claus!
Dates: November 16, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Location: Callaway Resort and Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia , USA
Feature image credit: Budapest ChristmasLast updated on Nov 22, 2018
Rad's top 10 action sports, adventure events and music festivals in 2019 and 2020