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Doha, Qatar

Best Places to Visit in Qatar for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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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 Qatar for Christmas cheer.

As the festive season approaches, expats and digital nomads in Qatar may be looking for places to soak up the holiday spirit. While Qatar itself may not be known for traditional Christmas celebrations, there are plenty of destinations around the world that come alive in December with holiday markets, festive lights, and joyous events. Here are some of the best places to visit to get into the Christmas spirit.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is often hailed as the "Capital of Christmas," and for good reason. The city's Christmas market, Christkindelsmärik, is one of the oldest and most famous in Europe, dating back to 1570. The market is spread across several squares in the city center, with the towering Christmas tree at Place Kléber being a magnificent centerpiece. Visitors can browse through hundreds of stalls selling traditional Alsatian Christmas decorations, handcrafted gifts, and seasonal treats like bredele biscuits and vin chaud (mulled wine). The festive atmosphere is enhanced by the beautiful half-timbered houses adorned with lights and decorations. The market typically runs from late November to December 24th.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the local gingerbread, known as pain d'épices, and the warm, spiced mulled wine that's perfect for chilly evenings.

Nuremberg, Germany

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is a must-visit for anyone seeking a traditional German Christmas experience. This world-renowned market attracts millions of visitors each year with its unique blend of history, culture, and festive cheer. The market's highlight is the Nuremberg Angel, or Christkind, who opens the market with a prologue recited from the balcony of the Church of Our Lady. The market, which usually starts on the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24th, offers a variety of goods, including the famous Nuremberg Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Zwetschgenmännle (figurines made of prunes), and Glühwein (mulled wine).

We Recommend: Be sure to taste the original Nuremberg Bratwurst, a small, spiced sausage that's a local delicacy, and pair it with a mug of hot Glühwein.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, with its Christmas markets, or Christkindlmarkt, taking center stage. The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall is particularly enchanting, with its ice-skating rink, traditional handicrafts, and an array of sweet and savory treats. The market usually runs from mid-November until Christmas. The city's elegant architecture provides a stunning backdrop for the twinkling lights and decorations, making it a picturesque destination for holiday revelers.

We Recommend: Indulge in a Sachertorte, a rich chocolate cake that's a Viennese specialty, or warm up with a cup of Weihnachtspunsch, a traditional Christmas punch.

London's Chelsea Neighborhood

London is a city that knows how to celebrate Christmas, and the Chelsea neighborhood is no exception. The stylish streets are lit up with festive lights, and the shop windows boast creative holiday displays. The Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend, usually held in early December, is a great time to find unique gifts while enjoying the seasonal ambiance. Don't miss the chance to visit the famous King's Road for a mix of high-end boutiques and cozy cafes, all decked out in their holiday best.

We Recommend: Stop by one of the local bakeries for a mince pie, a traditional British Christmas treat filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh's Christmas is a six-week festival that brings holiday joy to this historic city. The festivities include a Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens, offering a wide range of seasonal items and delicious food. The market is known for its Scottish specialties, as well as international crafts and gifts. The city's stunning Christmas lights and the backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle make for a magical holiday experience. The festival usually starts in late November and runs until early January.

We Recommend: Try a hot toddy, a warming drink made with whisky, honey, and spices, to keep you cozy while you explore the market.

New York City's Little Italy

Little Italy in NYC is a vibrant neighborhood that embraces the holiday spirit with its festive decorations and lights. Mulberry Street, in particular, is a hub of activity with restaurants and shops offering holiday specials. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition that many local restaurants participate in, serving up a variety of seafood dishes. The neighborhood's close proximity to other NYC holiday attractions, like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the holiday window displays on Fifth Avenue, makes it a perfect spot for those looking to immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit.

We Recommend: Enjoy a slice of authentic Italian panettone, a sweet bread loaf that's a holiday staple, or savor a cannoli from one of the neighborhood's famed pastry shops.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen's Christmas markets are a highlight of the holiday season, with the Tivoli Gardens' Christmas Market being a standout. The historic amusement park is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of lights, a Christmas village, and traditional Danish yuletide decorations. Visitors can enjoy seasonal treats like æbleskiver (pancake balls) and gløgg (Danish mulled wine), as well as shop for unique gifts and crafts. The market typically runs from mid-November to the end of December.

We Recommend: Don't leave without trying the Danish Christmas specialty, risalamande, a creamy rice pudding with almonds and cherry sauce.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague's Christmas markets are a festive feast for the senses, with the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square markets being the most famous. The markets usually start in late November and continue until the first week of January, offering visitors a traditional Bohemian Christmas experience. The sound of Christmas carols fills the air, while the scent of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and trdelník (a rolled pastry) tempts the taste buds. The Gothic and Baroque architecture of Prague provides a storybook setting for the holiday season.

We Recommend: Sample trdelník, a delicious pastry coated with sugar and cinnamon, often filled with ice cream or chocolate.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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