Prague, Czech Republic – Couples Christmas Markets
Two of the most popular Christmas Markets in Prague are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Both markets are just five minutes’ walk from each other, creating a magnificent festive atmosphere around the city centre. In both markets you’ll find the usual traditional sweet treats, like Trdelník, a hot sugar coated pastry, lots of local beers, such as the famous Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar, and warm drinks including the infamous Glühwein. If you’re hungry, there’s plenty to feast on from large spit roasted hogs to tasty BBQs sausages. The Prague Christmas market includes lots of stalls selling cute handicrafts and decorations and real animals in the crib scene. Opening times: 30 November 2013 – 12 January 2014. The Prague Christmas markets are open daily, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Number 7 Use your boot to get a man. Single women in the Czech Republic throw a shoe over their shoulder while standing with their back to the front door. Not to knock someone out and nurse them back to help (haven’t we all thought of that?) but if the shoe lands pointing to the door, it is said the lucky lady will be married within a year.
Number 6 Add a spider to your tree. In the Ukraine it’s tradition to hide a spider and its web somewhere in amongst the decorations on the tree. Whoever finds it is said to be blessed with good luck for the year to come.
Christmas Spider under creative commons by @ jdhancock
Number 5 Hide your broom. In Norway it’s thought the barrier between evil spirits and ghosts is at its thinnest on Christmas Eve, so naturally enough the ladies of the house go mad hiding their brooms, while the husbands go out with their shotgun to try to warn off any overly-motivated spirits.
Number 3 get your skates on in Caracas, you’ll need them. In Venezuela’s capital city it’s tradition to rollerskate your way to early morning church services. The streets are even blocked off to allow worshippers get to their destination safely.
Rollerskates under creative commons by @ Jovanlaar
Number 2 Santa’s evil twin in Austria At Christmas all across Austria, where a demon creature comes to life to punish children. This guy is Santa’s bad half and we promise he’d scare anyone! The Krampus is let loose on the streets to frighten and beat children into better behaviour.
The number 1 has to be Catalonia’s poo log. Caga Tio, the smiley Yule log is seen throughout the region – if you’re in Barcelona you can’t miss it. A hollow log is set by the fire from Dec 8th and fed every night and covered with a little blanket to keep him warm. On Christmas Eve the log is beaten with a stick and a cheerful song orders him to poop.
Tired of stuffing turkeys and wearing novelty knitted jumpers on Christmas day? What if you could be lying under a palm tree or smoking a cigar in Havana instead? Make this Christmas unique with our list of the best alternative Christmas holiday ideas:
Head to the Caribbean island of Cuba for a Christmas in the sun. Here, you can sip rum cocktails on the beach, salsa dance your way into the early hours of the morning or even hire a 1950s Cadillac and spend your Christmas touring the main sites of Havana, Varadero and Jardines del Rey.
Spend a Caribbean in Grenada, enjoying the special food and drink that the island’s locals concentrate on at this time on year. Think black fruit cake (baked and soaked from October, with port wine and local Clarke’s Court white rum), ham, rice and green pigeon peas, macaroni pie, baked stuff turkey; and locally made sorrel, ginger beer and the Clarke’s Court white, dark, or red rum.
Spend Christmas underwater with a diving trip to Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Lying at the tip of the south Sinai Peninsula, the Ras Mohammed National Park offers some of the best diving in the world and is within easy reach of Sharm El Sheikh.
Instead of spending Christmas drinks and New Year incredibly hungover, why not instead opt for a rejuvenating yoga fortnight on Palolem Beach in Goa? The Bhakti Kutir retreat offers daily meditation and yoga classes as well as nutrition lectures, boat trips and visits to local markets. On Christmas Day, they hold a trip to a nearby fort, an evening barbecue and sunset yoga practice.
A Sunny Christmas in Grand Cayman
If you’re in search of sunny days and balmy nights around Christmas, head to the Cayman Islands. Forget wrapping up warm and spend Christmas in a bikini on one of the Islands’ famous beaches.
A Snowy Christmas in Val D’Isere
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Val D’Isere’s high altitude makes it a definite bet for a white Christmas in the snow. Why not stay in Le Fornet, a pretty little village on the edge of the resort. Close to a cable car, you have almost instant access to the slopes, while the resort centre is only a short (free) bus ride away.