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Christmas and New Year Festivities in Europe

Dec 18, 2015
Category: Europe, General

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you’re lucky enough to escape to warmer climes or are looking for a reason to jet off this winter then we’ve got a treat in store for you. From giant sand sculptured nativity scenes to bottles of bubbly and partying into the small hours we’re going to take you on a journey through the festive season.

We’ve selected some of our favourite locations across Europe for you to explore with a festive twist. So buckle up the sleigh ride and set your sights on the New Year!

Gran Canaria

The South-West of the island is a favourite hot-spot for holidaymakers looking for some Winter Sun and with the abundance of resorts, namely the Anfi Beach Club and Holiday Club Playa Amadores, there’s no shortage of resorts to choose from.

Christmas at the Beach

sand sculpture

Take a stroll through the magnificent sand sculptured nativity scene in Las Palmas

Welcome to the World’s largest sand sculptured Nativity Scene, so large you can actually walk through it! This free event features 7 Nativity scenes and a wonderful Canarian landscape to explore under starlight on the North end of Las Canteras beach. As you’re in Las Palmas why not take a stroll admiring the illuminated palm trees and delightful decorations that bring this capital city to life.

Christmas Tree Trails

Christmas in the sunshine can feel a little strange at first so breathe life into your festivities with a stroll through a living Christmas Tree Forest, nestled at the heart of this UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve! All that fresh air should awaken a hunger in you and what better way to satisfy this than with Christmas treats of sweet almond turrón at the many markets popping up all over the South Coast.

Firework Frenzy

If you’re staying for New Year the festivities continue! Share in the Spanish tradition of eating a grape for every chime of the countdown with the locals as you welcome in the New Year. Cap it all off in style upon one of the South Coast’s beautiful beaches and marvel at the burst of colour filling the sky from the local firework displays.

Costa Del Sol

Explore the alluring Christmas Markets filled with wonderful local crafts and delicious treats or take blissful strolls along the famous Nikki Beach adjacent to Marriott Marbella Beach Resort.

Nativity Scene Tour

nativity scene

Malaga features more than 20 wonderful nativity scenes for you to explore throughout the city.

Grab a guide and take a tour through the City to explore over 20 different nativity scenes found throughout Malaga. Most visited of all is the City Council’s Nativity Scene whilst stepping inside Malaga’s 300 year-old Cathedral is another wonderful display. Be sure to visit La Mosca’s magnificent scene, which at 15 metres long, is a masterpiece all on its own, definitely worth a visit.

Taste the Festivities

Spanish Christmas brings out some of the best in local cuisine that you must try! Remember to leave Heart-shaped Mantecados (butter cookies) and Polvorones (almond cookies) by the chimney for Santa Claus or all you’ll be getting is coal! If you’re staying in Torremolinos be sure to explore the exhibition of convent sweets baked by nuns across the South coast of Spain, whilst those with less of a sweet tooth may enjoy Pestiños (olive oil pastries), a simple local delicacy.

New Year’s Eve

Kick start your celebrations in the town square by joining the many locals whom countdown to the New Year by eating a grape for the 12 chimes at midnight, it’s supposed to bring you luck. Parties will be springing up all over the Costa Del Sol from the glamour of Marbella to the family-fun in Benalmadena so be prepared for a long night of singing, dancing and celebrating.

The Algarve

Start your festive celebrations with some Algarvian flare! It all begins on December 8th with the Festival of “The Lady of our Conception” filling the streets with candle-lit processions, floats of colourfully decorated fisherman’s boats and sparkling palm trees.

Christmas Treats

Bacalhau (salted cod fish) is a traditional dish many across the Algarve indulge upon during the festive season; make sure you try it out! Indulge your taste buds with Fatias Douradas (cinnamon) and Filhós (sugar), very traditional Christmas cakes enjoyed all over the Algarve. Served at most homes during the festivities is Bolo Rei (Kings Cake) which is a delicious mix of nuts, raisins and crystallised fruit served on a round-shaped cake.

New Year on The Algarve

Albufeira and Portimao are renowned for their New Year celebrations and draw in crowds from all over the country, both of which are just a short drive from the Four Seasons Vilamoura. If you’re staying in Albufeira join the thousands of revellers on Fisherman’s Beach (Praia dos Pescadores) for a world-famous night to remember, with live music, fireworks and partying long into the night! Portimão doesn’t disappoint either with dancing on the river front and fireworks celebrating the start of a New Year.

Madeira

red fireworks

Admire the Largest New Years Eve Firework Show in the World from Madeira’s Capital city Funchal this New Year.

Madeira celebrates the Christmas spirit with colourful floral displays throughout the island. A whole host of top-class resorts are dotted along the South Coast, most notably the Pestana Grand Hotel and Royal Savoy Resort, enjoying front row seats to the enormous firework show in Funchal!

Funchal Market Night

Step into the annual celebrations at Funchal’s Market Night (Mercado dos Lavradores) joining with locals to raise the festive spirit, dancing and singing carols through the night! Wander through the stalls of local flowers, sweets and traditional Christmas drinks as music fills your ears and warm, festive smells fill the air.

Grand Fireworks Display

From land, sea or air Madeira’s annual fireworks display is a spectacular sight to behold. The largest display in the World entertains spectators with huge spirals and colourful displays that welcome in the New Year. Party into the night with the locals in Funchal, many bars will remain open, and raise a glass to the start of a new year.

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