Here are the top 17 holiday destinations for 2023.
Do you want to experience a traditional Christmas by meeting Santa Claus in Lapland or by shopping at a genuine German market, or would you rather soak up some winter sun in a tropical location like Maui or the Caribbean? If you're looking for some holiday plans, here are a few possibilities to consider.
First impression: a reindeer carriage in Finnish Lapland (Getty Images).
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Visitors in search of the holiday spirit will find it in abundance in Iceland. During this time of year, the streets come alive with the bustle of visitors making their way through the many Christmas markets that dot the city. Wild lava fields and craggy mountains will be covered in snow, creating a true winter wonderland. When the mercury drops below zero, there's no better time than now to warm up with a refreshing dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Drive yourself up into the mountains at night to see the dancing northern lights, and don't miss out on other seasonal activities like hiking close to the Snaefellsjokull glacier.
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Holiday on the Rhine is best spent sipping local wine as you watch steep vineyards and ancient castles float by. Visiting the beautiful Rhineland cities of Cologne, Koblenz, and Bonn on a cruise is a relaxing way to celebrate the holidays. Amidst the glimmering lights, Yuletide lovers mingle in quaint Christmas markets to the sounds of ice-skaters, holiday carolers, and the bustle of holiday shoppers.
Cruise the Rhine and see the sights!
European countries with the best Christmas marketsIn this photo from the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market in Berlin (courtesy of Alamy), the snow queen is seen welcoming guests.
Germany goes all out for the Christmas season, with plenty of mulled wine and twinkling lights to be found at the country's renowned Christmas markets. Berlin's cool factor extends to its massive fairground, where a visit to the Alexanderplatz show will immediately put you in the holiday mood. For a more remote Christmas celebration, history buffs could travel to Colditz, a opulent ancient castle that was anything but festive during the war years. It's likely to snow, as December temperatures frequently drop into the single digits, with an average of -1 degrees Celsius.
Explore the German Christmas Markets*.
Top Attractions in BerlinBridgetown, the capital of Barbados, decorated with Christmas trees (Getty Images).
Traveling to the Caribbean during the holiday season is like visiting Christmas heaven. The most peaceful time to visit Barbados, a popular Caribbean destination, is between the middle of September and the middle of December, when hotel prices drop by up to a third and the air-kissing, winter-sun-seeking regulars haven't yet jetted in. Rain is possible, but it rarely lasts, and the temperature is still a comfortable 27 degrees Celsius. Go East, to the Wild Unlike the bustling beach resorts on the west and south coasts, the Atlantic side of the island is a whirlwind of dramatic shores (especially around the little town of Bathsheba), rolling surf, flapping coconut palms, and topsy-turvy hills. Get out of the city and enjoy the tranquility of Bay Tavern in Martin's Bay, a popular "lime" (informal hangout) where Bajans gather on Thursday afternoons to shoot the breeze and get to know one another.
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Attractions, Restaurants, and Other Experiences in Barbados(Getty Images) Courchevel
Courchevel, France 5
Russian oligarch excess, for which Courchevel became a byword, has passed. And yet, that hasn't stopped it from being a magnet for the world's affluent. The most opulent ski resorts feature wide, beginner-friendly runs alongside Michelin-starred dining and five-star lodging. Among the social elite, the period between Christmas and New Year's Eve is the most exciting. Picture glitzy champagne bars and picture-perfect smiles against the backdrop of a jagged mountain range.
Courchevel at New Year's is expensive, but you can save money by staying in a self-catering apartment in the town's convenient Forum neighborhood. If you want to avoid embarrassing yourself outside of the main slopeside bars, you should take some lessons from New Generation Ski School (around £200 for five lessons). And the partying need not begin on December 31.
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The Top French Ski AreasImage of Muscat courtesy of Getty Images
The 6th: Muscat, Oman
Take a red-eye flight after Christmas dinner and arrive in Muscat in time for breakfast. The beach is only a 15-minute ride from the terminal, so don't waste any time. The Chedi* is great for families because of its family pool and kid-friendly menu. Have Teenaged Offspring Five hours outside of Muscat, on the sandy south coast, behind the Al Hajar Mountains, is where you'll find Six Senses Zighy Bay*. It's a stylish option for families with older children who want to spend the day adventuring outdoors, relaxing at the spa, and then going out to a fancy restaurant.
Marina Bandar al Rowhda offers traditional dhow boat trips where children can enjoy gawking at rare marine life and you can easily take a cab to Muscat from here, so it's not just a beach destination. Teens can enjoy the Bedouin atmosphere of the Arabian desert, go stargazing and camel riding in Wahiba Sands, and create interesting TikTok videos in the turquoise oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid. Travel around Muscat with a local driver (for around $100 if booked through your hotel) and smell the frankincense at the Mutrah Souq. The magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque can be found close by and is open to the public on most days, where you can hear the call to prayer reverberate off its minarets.
Travel to Muscat* and See What You Miss Out On.Edinburgh's Christmas market (Getty Images).
Seventhly, the Scottish capital of Edinburgh
There's more to Edinburgh in the winter than just Hogmanay revelry and gingerbread markets. There are still plenty of things to do despite the weather, such as visiting one of the city's many world-class museums or indulging in one of the many delicious restaurants, and the chilly North Sea winds provide the perfect excuse to retreat indoors to a cozy bar for a heartwarming dram of Scotch.
Early December is a great time to visit because the city is quiet and the Christmas markets are open. Visit the Scottish National Gallery to ponder winter scenes, bar hop beneath the twinkling lights of George Street, and ride the panoramic big wheel above Princes Street. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden at night to enjoy some hot apple cider while taking in the holiday lights.
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The Top Attractions in EdinburghDecorations for the holiday season in Salzburg, Austria (Alamy).
Eighth, Salzburg, Austria
Enjoy the blatant sentimentality, because this is your ideal holiday break from reality. Salzburg, the city of Mozart and The Sound of Music, is a staunchly traditional, chocolate-box city surrounded by snow-capped peaks that will envelop you in comfort with its elaborate baroque architecture. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, sample beers in underground vaults, and hunt for a pair of lederhosen. To warm up The obvious solution is to ascend each and every mountain.
Start off your exploration of Salzburg with a stroll down Getreidegasse, the city's ritzy shopping street where Renaissance-era buildings with five stories stand as a protective barrier against the snow and cold. If you wander through its low-lit arched passages, you might come across Balkan Grill Walter, a kiosk that has been selling Balkan beef sausages since 1950. Next, relax with a glass of prosecco at Seppo's wine bar or mingle with the locals at the secret Sternbräu beer garden.
Enjoy vacations in Salzburg*.Saariselka, in Finnish Lapland, in the winter (Alamy)
No. 9: Lapland, Finland
Northern resorts like Levi, Yllas, and Saariselka offer the real deal and a plethora of other winter pursuits, such as snowmobiling, skiing, and reindeer rides. Twenty minutes is all it takes to get from Levi to the airport, so even tired kids can rest easy on the trip there. Santa's Village is a cluster of quaint log cabins dotting the snowy forest here. Children can have a one-on-one chat with Santa Claus, decorate gingerbread men with Mrs. Claus, make holiday decorations, and attend Elf school to learn Finnish phrases like "Hyvaa Joulua" (Happy Christmas). There is a refreshing lack of souvenir shops, as the emphasis is on genuine holiday cheer.
However, you shouldn't visit Lapland before it starts snowing, as the region is a total joke if there is no snow. Plan your trip for the second or third weekend of December for a sure snowfall. Avoid the 24-hour round-trips; your child will be so exhausted and irritable that you will question why you bothered. A minimum of four nights is recommended, and even then, you might want to extend your stay. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sun disappears, and the sky takes on a spooky green and pink hue.
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Superior Lapland Accommodations
The Top Activities in LaplandNew York City's Rockefeller Center (Alamy).
USA, New York, No. 10
In popular culture, especially movies, this city represents the holiday season. Experience the magic of Macy's (Miracle on 34th Street), the Plaza Hotel (Home Alone 2), and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (Elf) for yourself. Although the likelihood of snowfall is lower than in permanently white films, it is still possible given the chilling lows of -10 °C. During the holiday season, New York City stores put on spectacular window displays that are donated to charity. Beginning with the glitz of Fifth Avenue's Bergdorf Goodman, stroll past Tiffany & Co. and into Saks Fifth Avenue. The next stop should be at Rockefeller Center to admire the tree while sipping mulled wine. Bryant Park becomes a Winter Village for the holiday season, with shops selling inexpensive goods like scarves and soaps made by local artisans. The ice rink is open for free use as well.
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New York on the cheap: a guideLeaving for Tenerife's waves in the dead of winter (Alamy)
A. Tenerife, No. 11
Visit here if you'd like to brighten up your Christmas with some sunshine in the dead of winter. TenerifeTenerife has been impacted by tourism, to be sure, but the island is much bigger than the crowded resorts. Beyond, there is pristine beauty, such as seaside towns and secluded coves, charming colonial settlements, a rainforest covered in lichen, and breathtaking gorges. And it was all happening in the shadow of a volcano that was over 200,000 years old.
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Stunning Tenerife villas at the top of the listRegensburg, Germany's famous Christmas market (Photo: Getty Images).
12 Locations along the Danube
One of Europe's most impressive waterways, the Danube winds through beautiful cities like Budapest, Bratislava, and Regensburg, making it an ideal destination for a holiday river cruise. Holiday revelers traveling through the heart of Europe can stop at thriving Christmas markets adorned with lights and cheer. Where will you find your favorite mulled wine and grilled sausage this holiday season?
Embark on cruises along the Danube*.(Getty Images) Devotees of Hinduism take a dip in the Ganges.
THIRTEEN. The Ganges in India
Celebrate Christmas in style on a cruise down India's holiest river, where the warmth of the winter sun complements the holiday spirit. Misty early mornings unveil ancient temples and small boats bumping along the water, devotees by the edge; the wake-up call of bustling bazaars; the solemn fortresses of Jaipur and Varanasi; this is the journey you will find on these cruises.
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Some of India's Finest Tourist Attractions(Alamy) Tourists taking pictures at Marrakesh's Jemaa el-Fnaa square.
Moroccan city of Marrakesh is number 14 on the list.
Snow on the Atlas Mountains from around the middle of November through April demonstrates how bitterly cold it can be at night in Morocco, which has inspired the local saying "a cold country with a hot sun." In addition to the clear blue sky and warm sunshine, you can also go swimming. Get those cheap flights to Marrakesh booked, but don't forget to layer up and book a hotel with heat. The cheapest times to visit are July and August, but only if you can stand temperatures in the high 40s C.
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What to do in Marrakesh if you only have a few daysPhotograph of Mauritius' Le Morne Beach from Alamy.
15 - Mauritius
In Mauritius, the beginning of the holiday season is signaled not by the decorating of fir trees but by the blossoming of Flame trees. These red as Santa's suit trees bloom from the end of November into the beginning of December. Within a short time after, holiday displays appear in storefront windows and hotel lobbies all over the island. Hotels in popular tourist destinations such as Grand Baie and Flic-en-Flac host Christmas Eve and Day gala dinners and brunches with alcoholic beverages.
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The Top Mauritius HotelsView of the sun setting over the Maldives, courtesy of Getty Images.
Spot No. 16: Maldives
Swap the typical Christmas colors of red and green for a landscape that's a hundred million shades of blue. Take a flight to the capital, Male, and from there, a seaplane to a secluded island resort like Medhufushi. Spend the season in a private villa on stilts over the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, where you can relax in a Jacuzzi after a day of snorkeling or sailing. Some Maldives hotels even have special Christmas dinner menus. If you pass on the sprouts, however, you can feast on fresh lobster, oysters, and grouper while sipping on a bottle of bubbly.
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The Maldives' Top AccommodationsHoliday cheer at Plaza Singapura (Alamy)
The 17th, Singapore
Singapore's holiday celebrations are amped up this year. When nearly four kilometers of Christmas lights are turned on in the Orchard Road shopping district in the middle of November, the celebrations can officially begin. Restaurants then roll out their seasonal menus, and the Gardens by the Bay transform into Christmas Wonderland. An extravagant countdown and fireworks party at Marina Bay is the highlight of the holiday season. Stay at a beach hotel like Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island if you're concerned about everything feeling a little too joyous and bright. It's an oasis in the midst of the party glitz, what with its infinity pools, 30-acre gardens, and views of the South China Sea.
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Soar me to the top
This is how Santa can make his worldwide gift delivery in a single night. 02:06, Saturday 07/01/2023
Despite the fact that flying to see Santa Claus (and maybe some reindeer) has become a Concorde-based Finnish tradition, his [ ] Christmas Eve night flight requires intensive planning and execution. Based on our Santa-scientific knowledge, this is how he flies The image is by Eric
Dover Thrift Editions' Gulliver's Travels 00:06, Saturday 07/01/2023
Prose satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), widely regarded as the best in English, wrote to Alexander Pope that he wrote this masterpiece to "vex the world rather than divert it."
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