Hello, Santa

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - GLOBAL CHRISTMAS -

HRIST­MAS can in­spire ex­treme re­ac­tions. Some peo­ple love ev­ery­thing about the fes­tive sea­son – tinsel on trees, feasts and food co­mas, baubles and bon­bons. Oth­ers go out of their way to avoid the fuss. Here are Christ­mas travel sug­ges­tions for both.

Christ­mas, with trim­mings

The good folk of Ro­vaniemi, the cap­i­tal of Fin­nish La­p­land and Santa Claus’s of­fi­cial home town, cel­e­brate Christ­mas ev­ery day. Fly 80 min­utes from Helsinki, then travel by car, rein­deer-drawn sleigh or snow­mo­bile to Santa Claus Vil­lage on the Arc­tic Cir­cle north of the city to meet Santa in his of­fice and send post­cards from the Santa Claus post of­fice.

At neigh­bour­ing Santa Claus Hol­i­day Vil­lage, a per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion cov­ers tra­di­tional and mod­ern Christ­mas cus­toms from Fin­land and around the world. Book a Santa Claus ac­com­mo­da­tion pack­age and St Nick will per­son­ally de­liver gifts to your cabin. From De­cem­ber 1 to Jan­uary 10, chil­dren in the ginger­bread club en­joy elf school, sled trips and bak­ing. Nearby Snow­man World is open un­til March 31. Stay in an igloo or ride the snowy slopes. Grown-ups who stay up late could also spot the north­ern lights be­tween late Au­gust and April. vis­itrovaniemi.fi, san­ta­clausvil­lage.info, san­ta­claushol­i­dayvil­lage.fi, snow­man­world.fi

Come all ye faith­ful

Make a pil­grim­age to the Vatican to hear Pope Fran­cis. On Christ­mas Eve, His Ho­li­ness de­liv­ers a pa­pal mass in St Peter’s Basil­ica, a Re­nais­sance master­piece and among the world’s largest churches. Tick­ets (free) are re­quired to at­tend the litur­gi­cal cel­e­bra­tion. On Christ­mas Day at noon, the Pope de­liv­ers his tra­di­tional Christ­mas mes­sage – the Urbi et Orbi bene­dic­tion – to the faith­ful gath­ered be­low in St Peter’s Square. Last year, he wished for peace in con­flict zones in­clud­ing Syria. w2.vatican.va

J Moun­tain to see the lights of Whistler un­til March 31. as­pen­cham­ber.org, wheeler­op­er­a­house.com, whistlerblackcomb.com

To mar­ket

In­hale the aroma of ginger­bread, lis­ten to car­ols sung with gusto and warm your hands around mugs of cin­na­mon-scented gluh­wein while in­spect­ing the il­lu­mi­nated stalls of a tra­di­tional Euro­pean Christ­mas mar­ket.

At Berlin’s Char­lot­ten­burg Palace, the mar­ket con­trasts against the im­pos­ing Baroque ar­chi­tec­ture. Buy tree dec­o­ra­tions or de­vour tra­di­tional sweets such as stollen (cake filled with dried fruit) and marzi­pan bread (un­til De­cem­ber 28).

Along the Rhine, the city of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.