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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Antigua & Barbuda for Christmas Cheer
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Best Places to Visit in Antigua & Barbuda for Christmas Cheer

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Antigua & Barbuda for Christmas cheer.

As the festive season approaches, expats and digital nomads in Antigua & Barbuda may be seeking that special holiday cheer. While the Caribbean might not offer the traditional snowy Christmas, the islands are filled with their own unique and vibrant celebrations. From bustling markets to festive parades, there are plenty of places to visit in December to get into the holiday spirit. Here are some of the top destinations around the world known for their Christmas festivities, perfect for those looking to indulge in the season's joy.

St. John's, Antigua

St. John's, the capital city of Antigua, comes alive during the holiday season with its festive decorations and lights adorning the streets. The city hosts a variety of Christmas events, including carol singing and holiday markets. The annual St. John's Christmas Market is a must-visit, where you can find local crafts, festive foods, and unique gifts. The market usually takes place in mid-December and is a great spot to experience Antiguan holiday traditions.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the traditional Antiguan black pineapple, known for being especially sweet, which can often be found at the Christmas market. It's a refreshing treat amidst the holiday shopping.

English Harbour, Antigua

English Harbour, known for its rich history and stunning marina, transforms into a yuletide haven in December. The Nelson's Dockyard Christmas Festival is an event that brings together locals and visitors with live music, food stalls, and a convivial atmosphere. The festival typically occurs in late December and is a perfect blend of Antiguan culture and Christmas cheer.

We Recommend: Be sure to enjoy the local rum punch, a staple at the festival, and a great way to warm up during the cool Caribbean nights.

London's Chelsea Neighborhood

London's Chelsea neighborhood is renowned for its high-end boutiques and beautiful residential streets, which become even more enchanting during the Christmas season. The area is adorned with sophisticated Christmas lights and decorations. The Chelsea Christmas Shopping Event, usually held in early December, offers late-night shopping experiences, festive treats, and often, live music.

We Recommend: Take a stroll down King's Road for some of the most impressive Christmas displays and pop into artisanal bakeries for a mince pie or a slice of Christmas cake.

Little Italy in NYC

Little Italy in New York City is a slice of Italian culture and during the holidays, it's a slice of Italian Christmas as well. The neighborhood is known for its festive lights and decorations, especially along Mulberry Street. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an event that takes place in many of the local restaurants, offering a taste of the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner throughout December.

We Recommend: Indulge in some cannoli or pignoli cookies from one of the local Italian bakeries, which are sure to be filled with holiday flavors.

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg is home to one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in the world, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. Held in the city's main square, the market is a winter wonderland with over 180 wooden stalls selling traditional German crafts, foods, and holiday items. The market starts at the end of November and runs until Christmas Eve.

We Recommend: Try the Nuremberg Lebkuchen, a gingerbread-like treat that is synonymous with the market and a beloved holiday delicacy.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, known as the "Capital of Christmas," hosts a spectacular Christmas market that dates back to 1570. The Strasbourg Christkindelsmärik is set against the backdrop of the city's Gothic cathedral and features hundreds of stalls. The market usually begins in late November and continues through December, offering a mix of French and German holiday traditions.

We Recommend: Sample the vin chaud (mulled wine) and bretzels (pretzels), which are local favorites at the market.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is magical during the Christmas season, with its elegant architecture providing the perfect setting for its festive markets. The Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall is particularly famous, starting in mid-November and running until Christmas. Visitors can enjoy the sound of international choirs singing carols and browse through the myriad of stalls selling everything from ornaments to Austrian pastries.

We Recommend: Don't leave without trying the Weihnachtspunsch, a traditional Christmas punch that will keep you warm as you explore the market.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague's Christmas markets are a key part of the city's festive atmosphere, with the main ones located at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. The markets usually start in early December and last until the first week of January. They are filled with beautifully decorated stalls selling Czech handicrafts, holiday treats, and hot food.

We Recommend: Taste the trdelník, a traditional Czech pastry that's rolled in sugar and can be filled with various toppings, a perfect sweet treat for the holiday season.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik may be cold in December, but the holiday spirit is warm and inviting. The city's Christmas markets offer Icelandic Christmas goods and sometimes feature appearances by the Yule Lads, Iceland's version of Santa Claus. The markets typically start in late November and are a great place to find unique Icelandic Christmas gifts.

We Recommend: Try the traditional Icelandic Christmas drink, jólabland, a mixture of orange soda and malt beer, which is a festive favorite.

Whether you're in the Caribbean or venturing to Europe's famous Christmas markets, there's no shortage of places to visit in December for expats and digital nomads looking to get into the holiday spirit. Each destination offers its own unique take on the festive season, ensuring a memorable experience filled with local traditions, delicious treats, and a whole lot of cheer.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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