One of our favourite times of the year draws by. When we begin to dream about the coziness of the winter holidays. The warm cup of hot chocolate or tea, the fluffy snow raining outside, our favourite Christmas songs and movies playing everywhere (I’m looking at you, Home Alone marathoners) and the overall festive spirit. No matter how old I get, I still carry with me that passion I had when I was a kid. And that is to always create a magical atmosphere and festivity for me and the people I love.
Some prefer to experience the holidays from the comfort of their homes. Staying with their family, visiting relatives or friends, staying by the dinner table at Christmas Eve and opening presents under the tree in the morning. While others tend to move around, travel to different places, visit various cultures and celebrating the birth of Christ in a fashion different to that of home’s.
As a person who always looks for an excuse to pack my bags, I tend to be that type. While I do enjoy the comfort of my home and not having to spend a tremendous amount of money from time to time, there is something magical about traveling abroad for Christmas and New Year. The excitement when December rolls in. The last few days of work or university before thе vacation. Planning what to see and do when we arrive. Having to get up early morning to leave for the airport. And of course – the vacation itself. But the wait for the thing itself is almost half the fun for me.
I seemed to have carried myself… have in mind that vacations during the holiday season can be pricey as hell. So here comes our ,,planning” tip from our previous article on Cheap Traveling. Anyways, here are some of my top pics of Christmas destinations for a joyful holiday cheer!
Yes, beautiful Vienna! This is one of my top picks Christmas destinations and recommendations for every winter holiday. As if being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe was not enough, Vienna goes to a whole new level of awesome in December. With it’s beautiful baroque architecture, combined with lush Christmas decorations (and snow) this is truly a magical place to spend your vacation.
From markets with fairytale-like little wooden cabins such as Belvedere Palace Christmas Market , to gala orchestral nights, such as the one in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, performing music from world-renowned composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and others. And of course, not to forget – The New Year’s Concert , performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker. A grandeur concert that is a must see. The tickets can be very pricey and run out quite fast, so you need to book almost an year in advance.
New York, USA
We can’t talk Christmas destinations without mentioning the city that never sleeps. Even if you’re not the type of person, who has much Christmas spirit, visiting this metropolitan city in December will surely change your view. ,,The Big Apple” is an outright Holiday Heist with so many different activities you can do.
You can go Ice skating in Central Park and Bryant Park. Or visit Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square , with its long tradition dating back to 1902. It’s great if you’re traveling with kids (but not limited to kids only), because they’ll get to dive into the full Santa Claus experience. From magical pine trees and cabins, to photos with Santa himself!
And of course – shopping! You could attend one (or all) of the numerous winter market villages, like the one in Bryant Park, where you could buy all sorts of wintry, Christmassy goodies you can find.
And last but surely not least – visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree display. It is one of the most famous attractions for tourists throughout the whole Holiday season. It’s lit in a special ceremony on the 28th of November and lasts until the 7th of January. If you happen to be there early in the season, you could try to visit the ceremony, but keep in mind that the crowd is enormous!
London, United Kingdom
Yes! Beautiful, magical, jolly old London. That has been the top of my go-to Christmas destinations bucket list. While I am not from those who describe it as a gray, foggy, rainy and depressing place throughout the year. That’s pure ,,bollocks”. London is one of the best traveling destinations year-round and is loved by hundreds of millions. Myself included. And it gets its humble share of sunshine and nice weather. But if you are among those, who have any doubts for the negative traits i mentioned, then you’ll be surprised what London is on Christmas! Anything but depressing.
Like New York and Vienna, there is a bomb of things you can do. If not more.
Winter Wonderland is exactly what is sounds. It’s a large faire full of attractions that is set in the beautiful Hyde Park. From ice skating, to roller-coaster rides and circuses, you, your friends, spouse or kids will have a jolly good time you won’t forget.
Same goes for Winterville and Christmas at Kew. Both marvelous places. And let’s not forget the Christmas in Leicester Square where you can go shopping and drink a nice cup of hot chocolate.
If you’re staying for New Year, then it’s an absolute MUST to attend the grand, spectacular London New Year countdown and fireworks show!
Of course, where better to celebrate Christmas than in the home of Santa Claus (or Father Christmas) himself! Stashed in the northern-most part of Finland, lays the beautiful region of Lapland. This is probably the most enjoyable of Christmas destinations to spend your winter holiday. The fairy tale-like place has something for everyone!
For children, it’s probably the most exciting they could experience. Because they get to see it all – Santa, his hard-working elves, their workshop and post office, where all children’s Christmas card wishes arrive.
But this jewel is far from being for kids only. We, adults can dive into all sorts of fun activities. If you’re a nature person, the enchanting northern landscape will amaze you. You can enjoy sleigh rides with reindeers through the coniferous forests, go skiing, snowmobiling or just exploring. There you could also observe the enigmatic Aurora Borealis (a.k.a the Northern Lights).
One of the places you could stay in, is marvelous Rovaniemi, Lapland’s cosmopolitan city. There you’ll find large international brands, shops and the usual comforts of the big city. As well as restaurants with delicious local and foreign cuisine. Oh, and did I mention how beautiful it looks during Holiday season? Go and see for yourself!
Stashed between Quebec City and Canada’s capital, Ottawa, lays magnificent Montreal. One of the most picturesque cities of Canada and the whole of North America. This cosmopolitan city has plenty of Christmas parades and traditions to offer. Did I mention you’re almost guaranteed to have a white Christmas here? Well, that’s about right!
Also, you’ll never feel bored here at Holiday time. There are plenty of outdoor activities you can do. Such as: skiing, sledding and snowshoeing and much more. You could also attend one (or all) of the Christmas parades that are held every year. There are day-time and even night-time parades, like the one on Plaza St Hubert.
In addition, the Museum of Fine Arts offers rich selection of concerts and performances dedicated to Christmas between November 22nd and December 20th. And guess what – they’re all free for you to enjoy!
If you haven’t dived into the Spirit of Christmas, visiting Montreal’s city center will surely blast you with festivity. The beautiful Christmas lights and decorations on the city’s amazing architecture will leave you astonished.
Mmm, just talking about it, I could already feel the smell of freshly baked ginger bread and juicy bratwursts in the air. That’s Nuremberg. And to be precise – the NUREMBERG CHRISTKINDLESMARKT.
It’s a centuries-old tradition in this picturesque German town to hold the event of the Nuremberg Christmas market. Visiting it, you will dive into pure history. It is a true delight for your senses. From the famous small Nuremberg sausages to the 600-year old recipe of mouth-watering ginger bread. They are also known as ,,Lebkuchen”.
You could take a tour on the stagecoach with horses and a coachman for a stroll around the market. You’ll be listening to christmas songs and plays by the coachman himself, as you relax enjoy the Holiday festivity around you.
But you are not limited to that area. There’s plenty more to see and do. Next to the market lays another one – NUREMBERG’S CHRISTMAS MARKET OF SISTER CITIES. The city is well known since the Middle Ages for it’s international fairs and markets. At the Market of Sister Cities you’ll find souvenirs from all around the corners of the world.
Don’t forget to meet with the Christkind. A famous patron of the market, who visits every Holiday, accepting wishes and taking pictures with kids and adults alike.
And after a long browsing, you can always relax with a cup of mulled wine to warm your soul, as you observe the beautiful and rich Christmas decorations everywhere around you.
Dublin is one of the most popular choices for travels in Europe. It’s beautiful streets, parks and the friendly locals sure contribute to that. It also possesses a special kind of vibe during Christmas time that gets into the hearts of the people visiting it.
This jewel of a capital is compact in size, which is great for those who want to see and experience a lot. Despite its size, it’s packed to the neck with Christmas markets, shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, historical houses and theaters. So get ready for quite the walking and shopping!
One of the key attractions is the Temple Bar Christmas market. It’s a great place to buy all kinds of souvenirs, Holiday and non-Holiday alike. It holds all sorts of musical and choral events in December. And don’t forget the Temple Bar Food Market. There, local farmers and food producers gather to sell their yummy organic goods. From mouth-watering cheese, to bread and poultry.
Speaking of food, From Dec 6th to 20th, families, couples and friends can go to Phoenix Park’s Farmleigh House. The beautifully decorated Edwardian house hosts it’s own food market and also offers storytelling for kids! It’s an amazing place to get into the Christmas spirit!
In addition, on the 6th of Dec, visitors can take advantage of the free entry to the National Museum of Ireland. All that and much more in beautiful Dublin awaits you!
Those were out top pics for the best Christmas destinations for you, your friends and family! Here are a few honorable mentions, that are also worth visiting:
Prague, the Czech Republic
There you have it, dear Christmas travelers! We hope our list is to your liking and we’d like to hear from you.
What do you think of our top pics? What other Christmas destinations you would add to it?
Write us a comment!
Until next time,
OwlKnow wishes you a jolly WInter Holiday!