5 Real-Life Christmas Villages To Visit Across The Globe That'll Make You Believe In Fairy Tales

by Alexa Mellardo

When we were young, many of us grew up reading the holiday classics, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Nutcracker on Christmas eve. After setting up a generous helping of cookies and milk by the fire for Santa (and several carrots for Rudolph, of course), our heads hit the pillow and we curled up in bed. Visions of sugar-plums and beautifully-wrapped presents under the tree truly danced in our heads as we dreamt this magical night away. I don’t know about you, but I longed to be the Sugar Plum Fairy and live out the festive dream forever, in real life (in a sparkly tutu, obviously). If you were in the same boat as me, these real-life Christmas villages to visit will make you believe in fairy tales.

This holiday season, if your wanderlust is calling, you should most definitely listen to it in the name of the Christmas spirit. From festive markets spotlighting seasonal treats, carolers serenading passersby on quaint street corners, white lights glistening everywhere you look, and fun holiday activities, these destinations looked like they popped up straight out of a storybook. Grab your main girlfriends, and get planning ASAP, because the holiday cheer and mulled wine await!

The Viennese Christmas Market In Vienna, Austria
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What better to kick off the holiday spirit than jetting off to Vienna to explore the magical Viennese Christmas market that takes over the magnificent square right in front of City Hall? International Christmas carolers, candle and Christmas cookie making, crafts, and delicious seasonal foods await. The festivities take place between Nov. 17 through Dec. 26, so round up your girlfriends ASAP and get planning this spectacular spirit of the holiday.

Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market In Florence, Italy
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This particular Christmas market in Firenze is one of the many festive gems you'll find in the exquisite city throughout the season. Craft and food vendors fill the space with grandeur. Don't forget to warm up with some mulled wine, and pick out the most perfect wood carved Christmas ornament to hang on your tree back in the States. The market lasts from around Nov. 28 through Dec. 17. (Christmas market dates are confirmed closer to the time.)

The streets and piazzas in Florence are decked out in beautiful lights, ribbons, and ornaments, so get ready for some incredible photo ops. A grand Christmas tree is set up right in the heart of the city, next to The 3 di Santa Maria del Fiore, and it's truly a sight you don't want to miss. Buon Natale!

Santa Claus Village In Lapland, Finland
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OK, any city that has its own Santa Claus Village knows where it's at for Christmas. For real though, this Santa Claus in Finland hangs here in the Northern Arctic circle all year long, because he's a busy AF dude prepping for Christmas, of course.

Visit a snowmobile park, in addition to Santa's reindeer and husky farm. Most especially, don't forget to head over to Snowman World, which features an igloo hotel, a fun carousel sled, Rovaniemi’s longest slide and more. Hit up the ice bar for drinks, and toast to the perfect holiday for those with wanderlust.

Strasbourg Christmas Market In Alsace, France

The Strasbourg Christmas market is iconic for being a tradition since 1570. It is said to be filled with many sweets and fun adventure. Church bells ringing in Christmas spirit, and delicious seasonal aromas fill the air. Don't forget to try the mulled wine and pancakes, because your tastebuds will be feeling the FOMO vibes for sure if you don't.

This market goes on from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24. Eat, drink, and be very merry, because 'tis the season, after all.

Denver Christkindl Market In Denver, CO
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With a variety of live music and dancing, this festive market will definitely keep you on your toes. The beautiful backdrop of Denver is sure to give you all of the holiday feels. Embracing the popular German traditions, this market will have Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies), Marzipanbrot (marzipan bread), Stollen (German cheese bread), Rostbratwuerste (sausages grilled with charcoal), Gluehwein (a spiced wine that’s served hot), and so much more to #bless your tastebuds.

Make sure your wallets are close to full if you want to do some Christmas shopping, because this market is filled with crystal ware, pottery, ornaments, and many more goodies. The market will go from Nov. 17 through Dec. 23.