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As the festive season gets going in Sweden, its picture perfect cities, towns and villages start to glow against the snowy landscape. For a truly magical Christmas straight out of the pages of a story book, Sweden is the obvious choice.

Enjoy the invigorating winter chill, wrap up warm and enjoy all the outside activities and events on offer across Sweden. Go for a skate on one of the many ice rinks, and then while away a pleasant few hours browsing amongst the wonderfully atmospheric main Christmas markets that are held in Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm, or visit one of the smaller but no less charming markets in one of the more outlying villages.

Put the roses back into your cheeks with a serving of delicious mulled wine and check out the multitude of quintessentially Swedish crafts and Christmas decorations. The Christmas markets are the perfect place to sample some traditional Swedish cuisine too - try the reindeer meat and smoked sausage, or treat yourself to some wonderful festive candies.

For a truly delightful experience plan your visit to coincide with St Lucia’s Day - 13th December. On this day you will be treated to the sight of a wonderful procession (that date back 400 years) featuring the ‘Queen of Light’ - St. Lucia. In her honour, a huge number of young women and girls move silently through the streets holding aloft candles as the revered saint’s ‘maidens’, dressed in white robes with flowers in their hair - man eerie and unforgettable sight. Children too, process through the streets, dressed as elves, gingerbread men and starngossar, distributing saffron buns and singing sweetly. This is surely one of the most magical festive experiences in the world.

From mid-November right up until Christmas, it is possible to sample a julbord (traditional Swedish buffet) at most restaurants across Sweden.

These buffets encompass a huge range of the finest Swedish delicacies - from pate, meatballs and gravlax to pickled herrings. In Sweden the main Christmas celebration takes place on Christmas Eve - and it is on this day that you will find the most impressive julbords on offer.

If you are travelling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the wonderful Christmas World. Situation deep in central Sweden in the town of Dalarna, here you can experience the magic of Santa’s workshop, meet the reindeer and visit the great man in person! This is a Santa experience on a whole other scale, and one that young children will never forget.

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