Europe is such a magical place to spend the holiday season. With renowned Christmas markets, enchanting snowy streets and quaint downtowns, it's basically like stepping into a festive fairytale.

Luckily, you don't need to spend all your savings on a plane ticket in order to experience a little taste of Europe this holiday season. Ontario has several magical destinations that will make you feel like you've stepped into another country.

You can stroll through twinkling Christmas villages, visit themed markets brimming with goods and enjoy dazzling events that will have you forgetting you're in Canada.

If you're looking for some European vibes this Christmas, here are nine destinations to visit in Ontario.


Address: Stratford, ON

Why You Need To Go: Not only will its name transport you to England, but the atmosphere of this city will also whisk you away to another land.

Stratford is known for its quaint downtown and local shops, and this Christmas season it will look like "a holiday movie."

With twinkling store windows, snowy streets and endless holiday shopping opportunities, this city is a charming spot for a festive getaway.

You can take a trip along the Christmas Trail and visit the dazzling Lights on Stratford event which will illuminate the city and parks.

Visit Stratford website

Friday Harbour Christmas Market

Price: Free admission

When: Select dates from November 24 to December 30, 2023

Address: 3999 Friday Dr., Innisfil, ON

Why You Need To Go: You don't need to hop on a plane in order to experience a European Christmas market. Friday Harbour's promenade is turning into a quaint European-style market complete with decor, vendors and more.

You can shop for stocking stuffers at quaint chalet cabins, enjoy live entertainment, and snap a photo by the dazzling 40-foot Christmas tree.

There will be food and festive beverages available in warming lounges so you can enjoy the winter wonderland without getting too cold.

Friday Harbour website


Address: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Why You Need To Go: Niagara-on-the-Lake is the place to be if you're looking for European vibes and it offers a special kind of magic come Christmas time.

The enchanting Main Street is wrapped in garland and festive decor and you'll feel like you're in a Hallmark movie as you wander past sparkling windows doors adorned with wreaths.

You can explore an "authentic Christmas village" and take part in events like a Candlelight Stroll, outdoor skating rink, Christmas parade, and festive high tea.

Niagara-on-the-Lake website

Niemi's Christmas Land

Price: $19.99 per adult

When: November 17 to December 23, 2023

Address: 18463 Ontario 48, East Gwillimbury, ON

Why You Need To Go: This Scandinavian Christmas market near Toronto will give you a little taste of Europe this holiday season.

The festive event features a market brimming with goodies from Christmas trees and wreaths to cards and handmade soaps.

You can hop aboard the Polar Express and ride through a twinkling winter wonderland while listening to the Christmas Story.

The experience is complete with glowing trails, bonfires, and more festive fun.

Niemi's Family Farm website


Address: Kingston, ON

Why You Need To Go: The city of Kingston looks like a European postcard come Christmastime. The Victorian homes are sprinkled with snow and colourful lights and the historic downtown comes alive with festive magic.

From glistening ice rinks to horse-drawn carriages and cozy cafes brimming with holiday drinks, this city is a magical place for a winter getaway.

You can hop aboard a vintage trolley for a Christmas Light Tour, visit one of the quaint Christmas markets, explore the illuminated downtown and more.

There's also the Santa Claus Parade which travels through the downtown core and fills the city with cheer.

Visit Kingston website

Distillery Winter Village

Price: Free to $30 per person

When: Opening November 16, 2023

Address: Distillery District, Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: The Distillery Winter Village is a quintessential holiday experience. The historic Distillery District already looks like a little slice of Europe and it becomes even more magical when filled with dazzling lights and holiday decor.

You can shop for goods at the vendor cabins, sip boozy Christmas drinks, explore the new Candy Cane Forest, visit Santa, and see the Village's tallest tree yet.

Distillery Winter Village website

St. Jacobs Sparkles

Price: Free

When: Select dates from November 16 to 26, 2023

Address: St. Jacobs, ON

Why You Need To Go: This little town is hosting its annual St. Jacob's Sparkles event and you can imagine you're walking through a little European Christmas village.

The shopping event features endless twinkling lights, mulled wine, a hot chocolate bar, carollers and more. You can shop at the many boutiques and eateries for some unique Christmas gifts and maybe a few treats for yourself.

Santa will also be making an appearance at the event so you'll want to make sure you end up on the nice list!

St. Jacobs Sparkles website

Alight at Night

Price: $17 + per adult

When: Select nights from December 1, 2023 to January 6, 2024

Address: 13740 County Rd. 2, Morrisburg, ON

Why You Need To Go: This enchanting lights festival will whisk you back in time. Alight at Night is returning for the 2023 season and it will transform the Upper Canada Village into a glowing Christmas Land.

You can wander along illuminated pathways and enjoy the views of the twinkling buildings. There are horse-drawn carriages available if you want to add some extra magic to your experience.

Alight at Night website

Blue Mountain Village

Price: Free

When: November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024

Address: 156 Jozo Weider Blvd., Blue Mountain Village, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can get into the Christmas spirit at this majestic event. Holiday Magic at Blue features a snow-covered village, illuminated trail and more festive magic.

From Christmas shopping at the many stores to tobogganing through glistening forests and indulging in sweet treats, you'll feel like an elf in no time.

The 1-kilometre Holiday Light Trail has one million lights, massive displays and magical interactive installations to enjoy.

Blue Mountain Village website

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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