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European cities "open" Christmas Eve and Day

European cities "open" Christmas Eve and Day

Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 02:24 AM
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European cities "open" Christmas Eve and Day

This forum is starting to get a lot of questions about where to dine and where to go on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day--city by city. I'm wondering if there are others like me on this board who often plan a Christmas trip for ourselves and our kids at this time of year such that each year we start searching for the next year's destination and find ourselves asking the same question. I'm hoping we can get responses on a single thread that might be useful to many for several years as a kind of starter when planning a holiday.

To get started I've looked at some of the threads up this year and can report from them and my own experience as follows:

Paris--will have Asian restaurants open as well as some of the larger, chain Brasseries which generally never close, like Pied de Cochon and Bofinger.

Madrid--will also have Asian restaurants open but will offer more choices of upscale and moderate restaurants, though for the traditional Christmas dinner which is served Christmas Eve starting around 10 p.m. prices will be very high, starting around $100 per person.

Geneva--we were able to obtain a reservation at a nice Asian restaurant for Christmas Eve and at our hotel restaurant (fondue and cheese specialties) for Christmas Day.

If this works and we can get a lot of response about a lot of places, I'd like to try to do the same thing for New Years Eve and Day. So, please, enlighten us with your knowledge and experience in finding Christmas Eve and Day dining and activities in the European cities you've visited/live in. Thanks.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 03:10 AM
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In the Netherlands most restaurants are open on Chritmas Eve and both Christmas Days (yes we do have two Christmas Days here; conveniently called first and second Christmas Day, very easy if you want to visit both parents and in-laws!).

Most restaurants are on reservation only these days especially Christmas Eve and first Christmas Day) and mostly serve some special Christmas menu or buffet.

Second Christmas Day is becoming more and more a day for shopping. Most normal stores will remain closed, but especially furniture/kitchen/bathroom stores will open their doors.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 03:19 AM
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Also most museums are open over Christmas in Amsterdam, and probably in other big cities too, though I don't know that for certain.
Trains run a Sunday schedule.
I wouldn't be surprised if some Albert Heijns aren't open on 26th in Amsterdam.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 03:47 AM
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Copenhagen: Virtually all shops are closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the 26th. Things will likely be closed on the 27th, too, as it is a Sunday this year, but I believe that shops can technically open on this day. Florists will be open most days, as well as 7-Eleven-type places, I would think. Might be a few of the smaller grocery stores (like Døgn Netto) that open on Christmas Eve or the 26th.

For restaurants, most will be open on Christmas Eve and the 26th. There also should be a handful of restaurants open on Christmas day, try the ethnic haunts in Vesterbro, hotels, and maybe some of the touristy places along Nyhavn. Not promising much, though.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 03:50 AM
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Gosh that poor poster looking for things to do in Copenhagen is pretty much out of luck.

Thanks folks for your contributions. Let's hear from the Italian contingent--and everyone else.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 04:09 AM
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Istanbul?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 04:15 AM
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Moscow or St. Petersburg will be wide open on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 since Russian Christmas is on Jan. 7.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2009, 05:21 AM
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I think you can assume that any restaurant that has a special Christmas Eve or Day dinner will have fairly high prices, and that isn't just in Madrid. It's the same way in Paris.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Just to add to the Amsterdam info - there will be a parade of boats, including "antique" boats, through the canals on Christmas Eve. It is based on a similar parade that takes place in Florida apparently.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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That would be the Ft. Lauderdale (and even older, Pompano Beach) Christmas boat parade. A really big deal here, but held on the weekend before Christmas rather than Christmas Eve.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Thanks Julie. It is the first time they are doing it in Amsterdam so it will be interesting to see how successful it is here.
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 01:47 AM
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In the UK most things are completely closed on Christmas day. Very few restaurants open, although the exception would be the hotels offering Christmas deals.

Boxing Day has become a shopping day- start of the sales- and I think that would hold true even on a Sunday.

Most public attractions will be closed both days as well, although Pantomimes and other special Christmas events would be the exception
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 03:51 AM
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Most places in Basel will be closed, although some shops in the train station complex will be open.

The only restaurants likely to be opened are at full service hotels and a few having special Christmas Eve and day lunch/dinner special meals. Reservations would be strongly recommended. Basel doesn't have a lot of Asian restaurants (and far fewer good ones), so I wouldn't count on those as a meal option.

In a limited number of German/Swiss/Austrian communities, the Christmas markets will be open, so I guess you could stroll those and have a Christmas lunch/dinner of brat and gluhwein. However, AFAIK, they all close early on Christmas Eve.
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 03:58 AM
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I agree with Sheila about the UK. Everything is closed after 7-8pm Christmas eve (including lots of pubs) and London is virtually shut down Christmas Day. No transit, not even buses so you need to walk or pay ££££ for a taxi. Boxing Day is shopping and I believe transit runs on the Sunday/Holiday schedule.
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 04:11 AM
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If you are planning for 2010 then you should know that because Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a weekend that the 27th and 28th in England (not sure about the other 3 countries) will also be public holidays so some things will still not be functioning fully. I would say generally in London the shopping really starts on 27th, Scotland of course doesn't take the 26th so seriously because they have longer holidays at New Year. In hard times the shops can persuade their staff to work through the holidays.
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 04:13 AM
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In Dresden most restaurants are open. Younger folks tend to go out on Christmas Eve, thus even many clubs/discos are open. Restaurant prices are pretty normal; even special menus are not particularly expensive.

Christmas Markets are open until 2 pm. Ditto shops/groceries. Also some museums.
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Old Dec 6th, 2009, 04:27 AM
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Great info we're getting here. Thanks for all the additions. I think I'll see what we can learn about New Year's Eve and Day by starting another similar thread.
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