Some of us are counting down the days until the Christmas spirit hits and it’s finally time to open those long-awaited presents. The thought of Christmas eve alone gets many of us excited for the festivities as early as April.
Who wouldn’t be thrilled to watch the lights turn on, stroll through the Christmas market, and drink a steaming cup of hot mulled wine?
Some people choose to spend Christmas around the tree, hanging up decorations and creating the perfect festive masterpiece. But some of us prefer to pick out our Christmas holiday destinations months ahead of time so that we can spend the season abroad.
If the latter sounds like you, then this is the article for you. We are sharing the best Christmas holiday destinations to spend the festive season. So whether you want to enjoy some winter sun or are simply looking for a change of scenery, we’ve got you covered.
What are the best places to go on holiday at Christmas?
Some of the best places to go on holiday to celebrate the Christmas season are Vienna, Cape Town, Reykjavík, Venice, Moscow, Dubai, London, Prague, Rome, Hong Kong Gdańsk and Strasbourg.
From touring the lovely festive Christmas markets in Europe to going on a beach holiday where the Christmas trees look a little more exotic, we’re confident that one of these destinations will be perfect for you.
So let’s explore each of these locations a little further to help you choose where to spend Christmas this year.
Vienna makes for a classic winter getaway in Europe. It’s grandly festive, with Christmas lights virtually everywhere during the Christmas season. It’s ideal for fantastic family holidays as well as group vacations over the Christmas period.
You will love Vienna’s Christmas markets, of which the Viennese Christmas Market at City Hall is the star. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the Vienna Boys Choir performing in the holiday season.
Vienna sometimes feels like it’s straight out of a fairy tale at Christmas. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in Santa Claus’ village when you’re in the midst of its pop-up markets. And these are just the reasons you should visit Vienna in the winter. The heritage alone is worth seeing at any point in the year.
A few degrees warmer than Europe in winter, Cape Town is one of the hottest Christmas destinations you’ll want to tick off in your lifetime. It’s summer there, so you should pack your swimwear and get ready to dive into the ocean.
Cape Town keeps up the Christmas spirit through its many Christmas markets, and you’ll even find regally decorated Christmas trees in the South African holiday destination.
If the Christmas decorations aren’t enough to get you into the holiday cheer, penguins should. They might not be Rudolph, but the 2,000 to 3,000 African penguins at Boulders Beach will be sure to put a festive smile on your face. What’s better than combining summer leisure with the Christmas spirit?
In Iceland, you can expect to celebrate Christmas and learn about the local culture while taking in the vibrant city. It is perfect for families or friends, as everyone will feel magical in this Christmas holiday destination.
Icelandic folklore believes that the festive cheer is brought by the 13 Yule Lads, who are a group of holiday trolls! They’ll roam the streets of Reykjavík to the delight of the locals and tourists. The Yule Lads are the local equivalent to Santa Claus, and they make a Christmas holiday a lot of fun.
As you roam the streets of Reykjavík, you’ll be enchanted by the many Christmas lights that glisten in the city. Long nights will bring about a certain romance to the place. The Northern Lights themselves will shine over you when the time is just right. So, Reykjavík’s charm and beauty make it a great Christmas holiday destination.
Whilst we are talking about charm and beauty, Venice is a graceful, historic city worth visiting at Christmas. It’s worth seeing all year round, for that matter. But visiting it out of season has many perks. Venice makes for the perfect destination if you want to swap out overcrowded markets for the old town winter wonderland.
The Venice Christmas market hosts tourists from all around the world in the historic piazza near Palazzo Grassi. You can get festive by exploring all the local hidden gems, from neighborhood restaurants to stands with crafted gift ideas for your loved ones.
In Venice, you’ll find superb hotels and an ice skating rink worth your while. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to activities. More importantly, the views will take your breath away. Remember to check out the Floating City which is one of the best Christmas destinations during the Christmas season.
There’s no better place to have a mulled wine than in Moscow, partly because you’ll need the heat. Yet the cold air isn’t the only thing that’ll take your breath away. The capital’s gorgeous Byzantine-style architecture is one to steal the show.
You’ll love a stroll through the open-air Izmailovsky Market after visiting the famous Red Square Christmas market. Both will leave your bags full of souvenirs. Not to mention they’ll give you memories to last a lifetime. You can enjoy locals’ street food, freshly made with their own produce.
The craftspeople of Moscow will also delight you with genuine Russian craftwork that you’ll want to bring back to your family. What about a little tipple? You can pick up a bottle of Russian vodka for home (and one for yourself) as soon as you land in the Christmas market. Moscow’s gorgeous urban landscape and Christmas fairs will leave you wanting more in the coming year.
If you want to do Christmas in style, Dubai is the ideal destination for a getaway far from your day-to-day. Who says you have to have a white winter? Sandy hills and green palm trees can be even better when you want to relax come Christmas time.
The Santa Run adds some humour to any Christmas holiday in Dubai and is an event that you mustn’t miss. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the old Christmas lights tradition, Dubai has got you covered. There are Christmas tree light festivals everywhere, including in the Irish Village.
Nothing is quite as festive as the malls’ festive enclaves. And, for shopping lovers, don’t forget Dubai’s Christmas markets. You can pick up some Christmassy drinks and handmade souvenirs right before you make your way to the beach. After all, Dubai is one of the best Christmas destinations for those ready to tan.
If you’re keen on a Christmas city break, then London might be the perfect location. There’s something unspoken about the magic of landing in the heart of the United Kingdom. It’s the perfect place for a solo trip, family holiday, romantic getaway, whatever you fancy.
London’s many pubs and restaurants will make for quirky days out in winter. But, once the bells ring and the Christmas lights go on, the city turns into a winter wonderland.
London’s many Georgian townhouses will equally add to the old-town charm of the townscape. There are many Christmas markets worth seeing, too, including the annual Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Regardless of the ones you choose to visit, mulled wine and local street food are a must-try. As well as a beer in one of the many local pubs. London makes for a genuinely charming Christmas holiday destination.
Snowy, magical, and beautiful, Prague is one of Europe’s staple Christmas holiday destinations for people worldwide. Its Christmas markets are open throughout the whole month of December, for starters. You’ll always find its streets busy come wintertime.
The Old Town and Wenceslas squares host these Christmas markets very close to each other. You can easily do a market crawl on a tour of the city’s gorgeous Gothic-style buildings. They’ll make the whole experience all the more delightful.
If you’re a fan of mulled wine, you must try the Czech Svařák. Its citrus notes will delight your taste buds as you prepare to dig into local pastries and the city’s staple roast ham. Prague castle is a sight worth seeing, too, so make sure you send a Christmas card with it back home once you go.
Rome is a wonder to see at Christmas, for it brings everyone together. Its sacred Pantheon hosts the midnight mass and creates a unique atmosphere on Christmas eve. Many people from all over the world gather here to celebrate every year.
You can hear beautiful Christian psalms coming from the Pantheon at midnight on the 24th of December, even if you’re sat outside. A truly soul-stirring experience, the Pantheon of Rome makes for a great Christmas destination.
In addition to its sacred traditions, Rome brings on the festive cheer at Christmas time too. The famous Piazza Navona Christmas market starts in early December. It welcomes visitors with treats, local crafts, and gift ideas for the whole family. Rome is a place you won’t want to miss if you like to travel for Christmas.
Hong Kong offers a Christmas experience like no other. Well, it’s often compared to that of New York. This Christmas holiday destination boasts colours, spectacles, and lights. You’ll find some of the best hotels in the world in Hong Kong.
The urban Christmas will delight you with the Symphony of Lights every night at 8. This evening neon show promises to impress. It’s projected over more than 40 skyscrapers and reflects in the waterfront.
If you’re dazzled by the lights, the next step is diving into one of their Christmas markets, attending a concert, or going to Santa Con. Yes, they host a Santa Con. Hong Kong makes for a strikingly fantastic Christmas destination.
In Poland, Gdańsk looks taken out of a fantasy land full of snow, colour, and magic. It’s not as popular as your typical European Christmas destinations, but that’s an advantage if you decide to visit. The port city casts a spell over any visitor who crosses its grounds.
If you’re lucky enough, the water will freeze under a bed of snow to make Gdańsk look like a feature in a giant snow globe. Its Christmas fair lasts throughout December. So for the whole month, you can enjoy little attractions that add up to a wonderful experience.
You can ride the two-floor Gdańsk carousel, enjoy a locally brewed beer, and encounter a speaking elk on an ordinary day in Gdańsk. Some other great attractions include a mystical speaking elk and some advent windows. If you’re feeling adventurous, the sleight ride flight simulator will top off your wander in this outstanding Christmas destination.
In Strasbourg, France, you can find the country’s oldest Christmas market, which has been running for over 450 years. Strasbourg is the ideal destination for those who love Christmas markets. There are 12 in total, so there’s room to explore them for a few days.
The Christmas lights reflect off the river and old Gothic buildings for the ultimate romantic getaway. Strasbourg Cathedral also plays a part in the gorgeous townscape of Strasbourg. It makes an intriguing find for tourists passionate about history. Although it was built entirely in the Middle Ages it still stands strong today.
Strasbourg’s Market is full of delicious treats and drinks to enjoy while you tour them all. You must make sure to try the King of Alsatian delicacies, foie gras. It’s a delectable French tradition you won’t want to miss. There are many reasons you’ll love Strasbourg, which is why it’s such a popular Christmas holiday destination.
We hope this article has helped you better understand what the world has in store for you this Christmas. Whether you’re adventurous and unconventional or prefer a traditional Christmas experience, you’ll find the right holiday destination.