Yuletide in Europe’s Cool Capitals


Vienna, above, lights up for Christmas and New Years

Originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com

From canal parades in Amsterdam to beautiful outdoor lightning installations in Vienna, Europe’s gay-friendly coolcaptial cities (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Valencia, Vienna, and Zurich) offer a tantalizing array of Christmas activities right through the new year.


  • Christmas Canal Parade (December 9, 2010-January 1, 2011)

A series of four major Christmas activities take place in and around Amsterdam canals and several important plazas throughout December. The highlight takes place on December 23, as a specatular, lit-up parade of boats sails from the Prinsengracht to the River Amstel. Information: WinterMagicAmsterdam.com.


  • Skating on the Scheldt (December 11)

Belgium is a very Catholic country. Though no longer very religious, they really love Christmas. This year Antwerp’s ice-skating rink will be located in Steenplein, overlooking the river Scheldt. Alongside the rink, visitors will find a Christmas market and food and beverage stands. The city counts no fewer than 107 nativity scenes. Information: Antwerpen.be.


  • Innocents Day and New Year’s Mascleta (December)

This artsy, design-oriented Spanish city has become a popular destination for LGBT travelers in recent years. Christmas season is a fun time to visit. On December 28 Innocents Saints Day, Valencia’s version of April Fool’s Days sees all sorts of pranks and hijinks such as fake/inventive newspaper headlines. The biggest New Years Masletá (an eplosive fireworks display) takes place in the Paseo de la Alameda. Information: TurisValencia.es.


  • Designer Lighting Design (Through December 23)

“Light-UP,” Vienna’s contemporary holiday light installations, feature designs ranging from perched clouds in the Volksoper district to an open-air ball room on Graben. Eco-conscious readers note: 70% of the designs use energy-saving LED technology. Information: CoolCapitals.com/Vienna.


  • Christmas Lighting at the Bahnhofstrasse (Through January 2, 2011)

Zurich also has a Christmas holliday light installation, known as “Lucy,” stretching along the world-famous Bahnhofstrasse. Lucy is turned on at 6pm every night through New Years. Information: Zuerich.com.

For more information about coolcapitals click here.

Published by edsalvato

Educator, marketing, communications and travel safety expert; LGBTQ Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show; public speaker; expert panel organizer and moderator

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