Program 468: European Christmas

Release Date: 12-24-2016


Friends from Madrid, Rome, London, and Lisbon tell us how they celebrate the yuletide holidays. We'll also hear about small-town festivities in Holland, Austria, Northern Ireland, and Bulgaria.


  • Federico Garcia Barroso, tour guide based in Madrid, Spain 
  • Susannah Peruccini, tour guide based in Rome, Italy
  • Tom Hooper and Gillian Chadwick, certified guides based in London  
  • Cristina Duarte, tour guide based in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Lyuba Boyanin, the late founder of Lyuba Tours in Sofia, Bulgaria 
  • Elisabeth van Heist, Dutch-born tour guide, based in Paris
  • Stephen McPhilemy, tour guide from Ireland
  • Call-out to Gabi Koch, at her family-owned Hotel Maximilian in Reutte, Austria

Related Links

  • Rick Steves' "European Christmas" TV special airs on many public TV stations this time of year.  You can also view it on our website.
  • Slate magazine talks about the tradition of La Befana, the benevolent "Christmas Witch" in Italy.
  • has a photo of this year's Christmas tree from Norway in Trafalgar Square.
  • The Kashkaval Tourist blog describes some of the unusual Bulgarian customs and traditions for the Christmas season.
  • Jazz singer Spider Saloff provided us with a verse from the original lyrics to "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, from her album "Cool Yule."

Program Extras

Remembering Lyuba - As part of our tribute to the late Lyuba Boyanin, from Sofia, Bulgaria, we have a little more from her 2008 interview with Rick about the traditions you'll find in Bulgaria at Christmas. In the extra, she explains how Bulgarian boys choirs sing good wishes from house to house on Christmas Eve. (runs 2:18)