Busy cobblestone street with old country style buildings decorated with Christmas lights.
Colmar is known as "Little Venice" due to the waterways that wind through the streets.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Eat, Drink & Be Merry in These 5 European Christmas Destinations

Colmar, France

The 13th century town of Colmar is gorgeous at any time of year, but its Medieval architecture becomes even more enchanting when it is lit up with Christmas lights. It is known as “Little Venice” due to the waterways that wind through the streets.

There are five Christmas markets that are linked together by the labyrinth of narrow streets lined with half-timbered houses. Each of the markets is unique, offering wonderful treats from local artisans. You can also enjoy guided historical tours of the city, wine tastings, traditional toy exhibitions and much more.

Sometimes the Christmas markets in the smaller towns can be more enjoyable, as they are less crowded and more traditional. You’ll be able to enjoy a quieter and more peaceful Christmas experience and learn a lot more about the local culture.

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Mill carved out of iceYou'll be amazed by the beautiful sculptures created by artists during the Ice Sculpture Festival.Photo Credit: ijssculptuur

Hasselt, Belgium

Hasselt is a beautiful town in Belgium, famous for it’s annual Ice Sculpture Festival. It takes place from the second half of November to the middle of January. During the celebration the streets will be filled with complex and impressively detailed sculptures carved entirely of ice. The creations are carved by 40 different artists and together they use about 300 tonnes of ice.

Walking through and marveling at the sculptures is a truly unforgettable winter wonderland experience. When you get cold (the sculptures are held in a tent kept at -5° Celsius) you can warm yourself up with a mug of delicious Belgian hot chocolate.

Hasselt is also known for being the unofficial gin capital of Belgium, so while you are there you can enjoy some high quality gin to warm you up inside. Visit the National Gin Museum, which is located within a beautifully restored and still operating 19th century distillery.

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