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Holiday Joy: The 8 Best Places to Travel for Christmas

The holiday season is approaching, and with it comes the desire to find the perfect destination to immerse oneself in the enchantment of Christmas. Whether you dream of a snowy wonderland, a historical city adorned with lights, or a tropical escape, there’s a destination that suits every festive desire. In this blog post, we’ll explore eight of the best places to travel to on Christmas, each offering a unique blend of traditions, festivities, and breathtaking landscapes.

Key Takeaways

  • For those yearning for a true winter wonderland, Lapland, located in the northernmost part of Finland, is the ultimate Christmas destination
  • For a Christmas experience that’s as unique as it is magical, Reykjavik, Iceland, offers a blend of tradition and natural wonders
  • For a journey into the heart of German Christmas traditions, Nuremberg stands out with its world-renowned Christkindlesmarkt

Lapland, Finland: A Winter Wonderland

lapland finland

For those yearning for a true winter wonderland, Lapland, located in the northernmost part of Finland, is the ultimate Christmas destination. Famous as the official hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi welcomes visitors with its magical Santa Claus Village. Here, you can meet Santa himself, cross the magical Arctic Circle, and revel in the beauty of the snow-covered landscapes.

Lapland’s winter activities extend beyond meeting Santa. From exhilarating husky sleigh rides and reindeer safaris to chasing the mesmerizing Northern Lights, there’s no shortage of adventures. The cozy log cabins and the possibility of experiencing a white Christmas make Lapland a dreamy destination for those seeking an authentic winter holiday.

Reykjavik, Iceland: Christmas in the Land of Ice and Fire

The Sun Voyager, Sólfar in Icelandic, is a sculpture in Reykjavik, a popular attraction in the capital city.

For a Christmas experience that’s as unique as it is magical, Reykjavik, Iceland, offers a blend of tradition and natural wonders. Embrace the Icelandic concept of “Jólabókaflóð,” or the Christmas Book Flood, where books are exchanged and enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Explore the city’s Christmas markets, offering handmade Icelandic crafts and delicious local treats.

Beyond the city, the otherworldly landscapes of geysers, waterfalls, and the Blue Lagoon take on a special charm in the winter. With the possibility of witnessing the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis dancing across the night sky, Reykjavik provides a Christmas experience that combines cultural richness with the awe-inspiring beauty of nature.

Strasbourg, France: Capital of Christmas Markets

If your idea of a perfect Christmas involves wandering through charming markets adorned with festive lights, Strasbourg, France, is a must-visit destination. As the self-proclaimed “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg boasts one of the oldest and most enchanting Christmas markets in Europe. The market dates back to 1570 and features over 300 stalls spread across the city center.

The city’s medieval architecture and cobblestone streets add to the fairy-tale ambiance. Visitors can indulge in traditional Alsatian treats, shop for handmade crafts, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The grand Christmas tree at Place Kléber and the stunning Cathedral of Notre-Dame illuminated with festive lights create a picturesque backdrop for your holiday memories.

New York City, USA: The Big Apple's Christmas Extravaganza

christmas in new york rockefeller center

For a Christmas experience filled with glitz, glamour, and iconic traditions, look no further than New York City. The Big Apple transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland during the holiday season, with highlights such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Witnessing the massive tree adorned with thousands of lights is a quintessential New York Christmas moment.

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, exploring the holiday window displays on Fifth Avenue, and attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes are just a few of the festive activities awaiting visitors. Central Park covered in snow and the magical holiday decorations adorning the city create a magical atmosphere that truly captures the spirit of Christmas.

Sydney, Australia: Christmas Down Under

sydney opera house australia

For those seeking a Christmas experience under the southern hemisphere’s sun, Sydney, Australia, offers a unique celebration that embraces the warmth of summer. Sydney’s iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, become illuminated with dazzling Christmas lights, creating a stunning backdrop for festive activities.

Sydney’s Christmas traditions include carol concerts in parks, beachside barbecues, and the famous Carols by Candlelight event in the Royal Botanic Garden. Bondi Beach comes alive with festive spirit as locals and visitors alike celebrate Christmas in a laid-back, outdoor setting. Experience the fusion of Australian beach culture with the joy of the holiday season in this vibrant city.

Quebec City, Canada: Old-World Charm in a Winter Wonderland

moose canada

Step into a storybook Christmas in Quebec City, where cobblestone streets and historic architecture create a picturesque setting for holiday festivities. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, transforms into a Christmas village with charming wooden stalls offering artisanal crafts, local delicacies, and festive decorations.

Wander through the German Christmas Market, enjoy a sleigh ride through the Plains of Abraham, and marvel at the stunning Montmorency Falls illuminated with festive lights. Quebec City’s French-inspired Christmas traditions, including Réveillon feasts and outdoor concerts, make it a magical destination for those seeking a blend of Old-World charm and winter wonder.

Nuremberg, Germany: Christkindlesmarkt and Time-Honored Traditions

nuremberg germany christmas

For a journey into the heart of German Christmas traditions, Nuremberg stands out with its world-renowned Christkindlesmarkt. Dating back to the 16th century, this market exudes a timeless charm with its red-and-white-striped stalls, where artisans showcase their craftsmanship and offer seasonal delights.

Indulge in Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread cookies, savor traditional bratwurst sausages, and take a stroll through the Children’s Christmas Market, where young performers showcase their talents. The city’s medieval architecture, highlighted by the Imperial Castle, provides a fairy-tale backdrop to the festive celebrations, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages.

Kyoto, Japan: Tranquil Elegance and Illuminated Temples

kyoto japan christmas

Escape the traditional Western Christmas and immerse yourself in the tranquil elegance of Kyoto, Japan. While Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan, Kyoto’s unique celebration combines the magic of the season with the beauty of illuminated temples and serene gardens. The city’s historical temples, such as Kiyomizu-dera and Fushimi Inari Shrine, are adorned with enchanting light displays.

Kyoto’s winter illuminations, known as “Hanatouro,” transform the city into a mesmerizing wonderland. Stroll along the Philosopher’s Path, lined with cherry trees and illuminated lanterns, and experience the peaceful ambiance of a Kyoto Christmas. Embrace the cultural richness of Japan during the holiday season, where tradition meets tranquility.

Final Word

Whether you prefer the snowy landscapes of Lapland, the historical charm of Strasbourg, the bustling excitement of New York City, the unique traditions of Reykjavik, the sunny festivities of Sydney, the old-world charm of Quebec City, the time-honored traditions of Nuremberg, or the tranquil elegance of Kyoto, each destination offers a distinct and unforgettable Christmas experience. As you plan your holiday travels, consider these eight enchanting places that promise to make your Christmas celebration truly magical. Embrace the joy of the season and create memories that will last a lifetime in these delightful Christmas destinations.