It’s no exaggeration to say that practically every European city and town carries on its own traditional end-of-the-year holiday festivities, many of which have been occurring for centuries.
Although the process and the criteria for the selection this year had to be adjusted to account for Covid-19 measures and circumstances according to each country, here is a list of carefully-chosen destinations where it will be possible to enjoy the magic of Christmas while still following strict health and sanitary rules.
Madeira Islands, Portugal
Awarded the title of Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is second on the list of favorite destination for winter holidays in Europe, with its family atmosphere, magical illuminations, traditional and artisanal products and delicious local delicacies.
To date, Estonia has recorded 18 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most affected European countries. Hospitals have never been overcrowded and the virus has done much less harm than elsewhere in Europe.
Vienna, third on the list of safest places to visit for the Christmas holidays, has also been recognized as one of the safest destinations in Europe. By reacting quickly to the pandemia and by taking a series of sanitary measures, Austria was up to 10 times less affected than other European countries. The number of serious cases of Covid-19 has remained far below the capacity of Austrian hospitals.
During the winter, Vienna has a multitude of Christmas market all around the city to suit every taste for family, food lovers, whether sustainable, vegan or terribly romantic. From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares are transformed into magical spaces full of the Christmas atmosphere.
Prague, Czech Republic
With 15 times fewer severe cases of Covid-19 per million inhabitants than the most affected countries in Europe, the Czech Republic has made it to the list of the safest destinations for this winter holiday.
Recognized as one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, the Prague Christmas market will also be one of the safest this year.
Set in the heart of the city is a traditional Czech marketplace wherein dozens of wooden stalls merchants offer typical Christmas goods and items such as traditional Czech blown glass balls, products made of glass pearls or straw, hand-embroidered tablecloths, wooden toys, biscuit cutters and many other traditional Czech products. Both young and adult gourmets can enjoy typical Czech Christmas biscuits, hot roasted chestnuts, gingerbread and typical Czech grilled sausages.
Poland is one of the European countries least affected by the coronavirus, along with Portugal and Greece. There are up to 13 times less deaths linked to Covid-19 per million inhabitants in Poland than in the most affected countries of Western Europe. No hospital has ever been overloaded and Poland has more hospital beds per inhabitant than the Netherlands or Switzerland.
Warsaw, the capital, with a historic center that has been declared a Unesco World Heritage, impresses with its resilience, respect for history and contemporary style. Its history is that of a people capable of facing any situation, of recovering and moving forward.
Warsaw will have two main, safe Christmas markets thanks to measures taken by local officials such as dispensed hydroalcoholic gel, signposted routes to ensure social distancing in the market and contactless payments.