Discover the Ultimate Christmas Escapes: Uncovering the Best Destinations for the Holidays
Are you ready to embark on a magical journey through the best destinations for Christmas? Get ready to explore enchanting islands, snowy wonderlands, and vibrant cities that will fill your holiday season with joy and wonder. From the breathtaking beauty of Iceland and the tropical paradise of the Maldives to the festive streets of Edinburgh and the cozy charm of Finnish Lapland, this article will guide you to the most captivating places to celebrate the holiday season. So, grab a cup of hot cocoa and let's begin this unforgettable Christmas adventure!
Iceland is an ideal holiday destination for those seeking the Christmas spirit. The festive season in Iceland is filled with lively Christmas markets, where wooden booths are filled with delicious food, drinks, and gifts. The markets are adorned with beautiful Christmas trees, creating a magical winter wonderland. The landscape is also breathtaking, with wild lava fields and snowy mountains. If you need to warm up, take a dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Be sure to take a self-drive tour into the mountains to catch a glimpse of the northern lights and consider trekking near the Snaefellsjokull glacier.
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If you want to add some winter sun to your Christmas, Tenerife is the place to be. While tourism has impacted the island, the majority of Tenerife remains unspoilt. Discover seaside villages, colonial towns, rainforests, and ravishing ravines. All of this is set against the backdrop of a 200,000-year-old volcano.
The Christmas market in Regensburg (Getty Images)
Singapore takes Christmas celebrations to the next level. Festivities begin in mid-November, with the lighting of almost four kilometers of Christmas lights in the Orchard Road shopping area. Restaurants start offering festive menus, and Christmas Wonderland opens at Gardens by the Bay. The highlight is the extravagant countdown and fireworks party at Marina Bay. If you prefer a more relaxing experience, stay at a beach hotel like Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island. With its infinity pools, expansive gardens, and views of the South China Sea, it provides a sanctuary amidst the festive excitement.
Trade the traditional red and green Christmas colors for a landscape of countless shades of blue. Fly to the capital, Male, and then take a seaplane to a private island resort like Medhufushi. Stay in a villa suspended above the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and enjoy activities like snorkeling and day-sailing. Many hotels in the Maldives offer special Christmas menus that include fresh seafood like lobster and oysters, along with sparkling drinks.
Christmas decorations at Plaza Singapura (Alamy)
The start of the festive season in Mauritius is marked by the blossoming of Flame trees, which turn the island red in late November and early December. Shortly after, hotels and shops decorate their lobbies and windows with festive displays. Food plays a central role in Mauritian Christmas celebrations, and beach resorts like Grand Baie and Flic-en-Flac offer gala dinners and festive brunches. Enjoy the delicious food and cocktails while soaking up the stunning views.
Sunset in the Maldives (Getty Images)
Morocco is known for its "cold country with a hot sun." While the Atlas Mountains may be covered in snow from mid-November to April, the days are generally sunny and warm enough to enjoy the pool. If you're planning to visit Marrakesh during this time, bring layers and choose accommodations with heating. July and August are even more budget-friendly, but be prepared for high temperatures in the 40s.
Le Morne Beach on Mauritius (Alamy)
Germany is famous for its vibrant Christmas markets, where you can enjoy mulled wine and admire the festive lights. Berlin, in particular, offers a huge funfair and a special show at Alexanderplatz to get you in the holiday spirit. If you're interested in history, consider spending Christmas at the historic Colditz Castle. Keep in mind that temperatures can drop below freezing, so be prepared for snow and chilly weather.
Christmas trees in Bridgetown, capital of Barbados (Getty Images)
For an authentic winter experience, head to Finnish Lapland. Explore smaller resorts like Levi, Yllas, or Saariselka, where you can enjoy activities such as snowmobiling, skiing, and reindeer rides. Santa's village is located in the wilderness, surrounded by beautiful snow-laden pine trees. Kids can participate in fun activities like decorating gingerbread cookies and attending Elf school. It's a wholesome and magical way to celebrate Christmas.
But be sure to visit Lapland when there is snow, usually from the second or third weekend in December. The days are short and it can be very cold, but the snowy landscape is worth it.
The Rockefeller Centre in New York City (Alamy)
Experience the enchanting charm of Salzburg, Austria during the festive season. This picturesque city is adorned with stunning baroque architecture and surrounded by majestic snow-covered peaks. Known as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg offers a traditional and idyllic Christmas experience. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets of the charming Old Town, explore the cozy beer cellars, and shop for authentic lederhosen. And of course, don't miss the opportunity to conquer the mountains and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Begin your Salzburg adventure by wandering along the narrow and atmospheric Getreidegasse, a famous shopping alley lined with beautiful Renaissance houses. Within this maze-like alley, you might stumble upon Balkan Grill Walter, a kiosk that has been selling Balkan beef sausages since 1950. Afterward, indulge in some prosecco at Seppo's intimate wine bar or join the lively atmosphere in the hidden Sternbräu beer garden.
Find exciting holidays to Salzburg here.
Edinburgh is a captivating destination during the winter season, offering more than just gingerbread-scented markets and lively Hogmanay parties. Despite the grey skies, you'll discover warm and welcoming world-class museums, restaurants, and the opportunity to escape the icy North Sea winds in cozy watering holes, enjoying a soul-warming Scotch.
For the best deals and a relatively peaceful experience, visit Edinburgh in early December when the Christmas markets are open. Take a ride on the panoramic big wheel above Princes Street, explore the enchanting George Street adorned with fairy lights, and visit the Scottish National Gallery to appreciate winter scenes. Once the sun sets, head to the Royal Botanic Garden to sip spiced cider and marvel at its mesmerizing Christmas illuminations.
Escape to Muscat, Oman with just an overnight flight after your Christmas lunch. Upon waking up, you'll find yourself only 15 minutes away from the beautiful beach, ready to embrace the sunshine and clear blue waters. Families with small children can opt for The Chedi, a luxurious hotel with a kids' menu and a family pool. For those with older kids seeking more adventure, Six Senses Zighy Bay, hidden behind the Al Hajar Mountains, offers a five-hour drive away from Muscat. This chic resort is perfect for hiking, snorkeling, and indulging in the spa, followed by a glamorous dinner.
Apart from the beaches, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy in Muscat. Take a traditional dhow boat trip from Marina Bandar al Rowhda, allowing the little ones to marvel at rare marine life. Experience the authentic Bedouin ambiance of the Arabian desert by stargazing and camel-riding at Wahiba Sands. And don't miss the opportunity to visit the turquoise-hued Wadi Bani Khalid oasis, a perfect spot for captivating TikTok content. Explore Muscat and its surroundings by hiring a local driver and take a day trip to discover the fragrance-filled Mutrah Souq and the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Discover holidays to Muscat here.
Leave behind the Russian excess and discover the luxurious and sophisticated atmosphere of Courchevel, France. This world-renowned ski resort combines wide and easy ski slopes with Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels, promising an unforgettable experience. The period between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve is particularly vibrant, with champagne bars and glamorous social gatherings against the backdrop of the stunning mountain ridge.
To make the most of your trip to Courchevel, consider booking a central self-catering apartment in the Forum to save on costs. You can also brush up on your skiing skills with the help of the New Generation Ski School. Don't wait until December 31 to start celebrating; immerse yourself in the festive spirit from the moment you arrive.
Indulge in the ultimate Caribbean Christmas experience in Barbados, the epitome of relaxation and luxury. The period between mid-September and mid-December is the perfect time to visit, as hotel prices drop and the crowds have yet to arrive. Although there might be the occasional rain shower, the temperature remains a pleasant 27C. Explore the wild and untouched east coast of the island, where dramatic shores, rolling surf, and swaying coconut palms create a mesmerizing landscape far from the bustling beach resorts found on the west and south coasts. Drive over to Martin's Bay and experience the tranquility at Bay Tavern, a popular hangout spot for locals to unwind and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.
Whether you're in search of enchanting winter wonderlands or sun-drenched beaches, these best destinations for Christmas offer something for every kind of traveler. Explore the frozen landscapes of Icelandic glaciers or bask in the warm embrace of Tenerife's golden sands. Discover the vibrant cultures in Singapore or immerse yourself in the exquisite luxury of The Maldives. Indulge in the crystal-clear waters of Mauritius or immerse yourself in the allure of Marrakesh's bustling souks. Experience the magical Christmas markets of Germany or witness the ethereal beauty of Finnish Lapland. Get lost in the fairy-tale charm of Salzburg or be captivated by the mesmerizing festivities in Edinburgh. Escape to the exotic paradise of Muscat or indulge in the world-class skiing in Courchevel. And for those seeking a tropical Christmas, the sunny shores of Barbados beckon. With these top destinations to choose from, the most wonderful time of the year promises to be truly unforgettable.
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