Five days before Christmas! Are you looking to spend your holiday anywhere else but home? Well, there are quite a few spectacular destinations you can choose from when it comes to this time of the year. Spending Christmas in a breathtaking location will not just make the winter holidays magical, but will also give you experiences you will never forget. If you haven’t made any plans for Christmas just yet or you are not sure where to go, here is a list with some of the best Christmas travel destinations I found online.
→ Trømso, in Norway
If you can’t imagine Christmas without a good quantity of snow, then you’ll have it if you decide to go to Norway. But snow is not the only reason you should visit Trømso for Christmas. Because it is located at the Arctic Circle, you will be able to enjoy the mesmerizing northern lights here in the evening, starting with 6 p.m. and until midnight, which will definitely make your Christmas vacation out of this world. It is true that daylight doesn’t last for too long here, as you’ll enjoy just a few hours that look more like twilight than daylight, but considering that you will be surrounded by the unique northern lights, good food, beautiful scenery, and dogsledding, it is definitely worth the effort. Do have in mind that there are just a few hotels in Trømso that are open during the Christmas holiday, so book your room as soon as possible if you want to be sure that you’re going to spend your holidays here.
→ Lapland, in Finland
Lapland is another great location if you like to enjoy plenty of snow and one of the most popular Christmas travel destinations. Home of Santa Claus. Kidding that was my childish imagination. Lapland is a magical place both for children and adults alike. You can go visit Santa Park and the Santa Claus Village, but you can also visit the area in a sled pulled by reindeers, go cross-country skiing if you’re the adventurous type, or enjoy a 4-hour cruise on an icebreaker. For a unique experience, do try some of the igloos in the area that are made out of thermal glass, found at Hotel Kakslauttanen, if you want to enjoy a spectacular show as night falls when the northern lights will dance on the sky.
→ Prague, in the Czech Republic
Prague must be visited especially if you love spectacular architecture, this amazing European city having a history that spans over 600 hundred years, time in which it developed while still preserving its majestic appearance. Considering that many beautiful cities in Europe got devastated by the wars, Prague is still intact, which means that you’ll be able to see breathtaking buildings here. And the city will look even more spectacular during the winter holidays, decorated with lights and white powdery snow. While you’re there, don’t forget to walk on the Nerudova Street, famous for its Gothic and Baroque architecture, and check out the holiday markets that are organized in the Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. And, in the evening, to visit one of the local brews are Prague is worldwide famous for its beer assortments.
→ Salzburg, in Austria
The city where the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and lived, a place where you will also find his memorial house, Salzburg is one of the most picturesque cities in Austria, due to its old city center. You will be able to find here a holiday market surrounded by Baroque buildings and subalpine views, in an intimate but festive atmosphere that will please you. It is also worth noting that Salzburg has one of the oldest inns in Europe still up and running, so you may want to visit it and serve dinner in an atmosphere that remained pretty much as it was centuries ago. The restaurant is called Stiftskeller St. Peter and can be found on the St Peter’s Abbey.
→ Provence, in France
The villages in this particular region of France transform like magic into places that seem cut from a fairytale, so if you’re looking for Christmas travel destinations that look different from what you are used to seeing then you need to try this one. The cobblestoned streets in Provence will make you feel like living in another world. They still house beautiful medieval churches here and there, which will fill the air with their melodic sounds, as people walk relaxed toward the market stalls specific for the winter season, where locals sell their goodies. Thus, if you want to taste the freshest and most delicious foie gras, you came to the right place. In case you want an authentic and unforgettable Christmas experience in Provence, forget about hotel rooms and go for renting an old farmhouse that was completely renovated, and spend your holidays in the unique atmosphere of the area. And, if you want to have an extremely special dinner for Christmas Eve, book your table at Bistrot Mogador, which can be found at Château d’Estoublon.
→ Edinburgh, in Scotland
Edinburgh is a charming city even without the Christmas atmosphere in the air, so imagine how it will look during the winter holidays. It is known for its local theater and arts culture, and for its beautiful buildings. During the holidays, a special light show is organized for the people in the city, including beautiful fireworks that make the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse look even more spectacular. Not to mention that, instead of carolers, you will hear the Scottish bagpipes singing “Amazing Grace”, which will certainly give you goosebumps. And for an unforgettable Christmas dinner, it may be worth to visit Witchery by the Castle, which has nothing to do with witches, but with amazing food prepared like nowhere else.
→ Castleton, in England
If your perfect Christmas holiday means peace, intimacy, and beautiful views, then you need to be in this English city during this time of the year. This is a rather small but picturesque village that is beautifully decorated with lit Christmas trees along its streets, which will make it look surreal. Also, caroling here is done in a very special manner, more precisely inside cave seals and at the light of candles, so it may worth taking the trip to Castleton to witness and be part of these special moments. But, staying at the Losehill House Hotel and Spa will allow you to have a comfortable vacation while enjoying the tranquil but special atmosphere of this gorgeous village. And do expect for the Christmas dinner to be quite lush, opening up with a champagne reception and containing numerous dishes, ending with a hot and cold buffet in the evening, in case you’ll have any room left for more food. So, Castleton is definitely an option for this year’s Christmas you seriously need to consider.
→ Hong Kong, in China
If you like the hustle and bustle of big cities, then you need to visit Hong Kong, as the winter holidays are celebrated at another level here. Every place in this city oozes Christmas through each and every corner, as imposing sky-scrapers are decorated with Christmas lights, shops have their fronts made out of wrapping paper, and Christmas songs playing everywhere you go. While there are many customers borrowed by the Chinese from the West, there are still many traditions that are still respected in China during this time of the year, so spending your winter holidays here will certainly allow you to have a one-of-a-kind experience.
→ San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico
If you are not a fan of snow and would like to spend your Christmas in a warmer place, try visiting Mexico, more precisely San Miguel and Allende. There are special theatrical processions happening in the city during this time of the year, together with live music, dancing in the city’s main square, and fireworks. So it is all about having a great time for Christmas in this Mexican town. You may want to visit one of the Spanish colonial mansions in San Miguel de Allende, Casa Sierra Nevada, which dates back to the 18th century. You will love to see how the rooms are decorated, its beautiful courtyard and gardens, and other gorgeous details that still haven’t changed from its glory days.
→ Taos, in New Mexico
There will hardly be any chances of snow and the weather rather pleasant in this city in New Mexico, due to the fact that it is located on a desert plain, which makes it one of the atypical Christmas travel destinations. But, the place becomes magical during Christmas, as there is a cultural mix in the area that makes the winter holidays unique and hard to forget. The Ledoux Street, a historical street in the city, is beautifully lightened with paper lanterns, there will be a reenactment of the Biblical scene in which Joseph and Mary were looking for shelter and in the square of Taos you will get to experience the American Indian celebration for Christmas Eve. And in case you enjoy skiing, do know that you can do so even though you just found out that it is a desert area, if you visit the Taos Ski Resort, which is just 18 miles away from the city.