Searching for the best places to travel for Christmas? Here are twelve enchanting places to travel to during the festive season. Get ready to be dazzled by these incredible Christmas destinations!
The festive season transforms the world into a wonderland of twinkling lights, joyous carols, and heartwarming traditions. As the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread fills the air and snowflakes paint landscapes white, the wanderlust in many of us awakens, urging us to explore and experience the magic of Christmas in different corners of the globe.
Envision strolling through the snow-laden streets of Salzburg, where European charm meets festive spirit. Or perhaps, basking in the warm glow of festivities in Mauritius, where the air is filled with vibrant music and the promise of a sun-kissed Christmas. From the Northern Lights illuminating the skies of Reykjavík to the age-old Christkindlmarkts of Vienna, every destination offers a unique story.
For those seeking the quintessential white Christmas, there are destinations that seem plucked straight from holiday postcards. But for adventurers looking for a twist, there are hot Christmas vacation spots that offer a blend of tradition and tropical charm. Families, couples, sun-seekers, or snow-lovers, there’s a place for everyone.
So, if you’ve ever pondered where to go for a Christmas vacation, this guide is your treasure map. Dive in, explore, and let the spirit of the season guide your next holiday adventure. Ready to embark on a festive journey? Let the wonders of Christmas captivate your heart. Here are 12 of the best places to travel for Christmas.
Ready to embark on a yuletide adventure? As hinted at earlier, the world is adorned with destinations that sparkle extra bright during the Christmas season. Whether it’s a winter wonderland just a sleigh ride away or a sun-kissed beach where you can swap snow for sand, there’s a festive spot waiting for every holiday enthusiast. Prepare to discover the must-visit Christmas vacation spots around the globe.
Are you keen to explore the twinkling lights of a snowy European square? Or perhaps you’re drawn to the tropical allure of a beachside Christmas barbecue? From traditional markets to serene beach retreats, these Christmas destinations offer a plethora of experiences for all tastes and budgets. Here are the top places to travel for Christmas you absolutely must add to your holiday wishlist!
In the heart of Belgium, Bruges is like stepping into a Christmas card come to life. With its medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and canals reflecting twinkling lights, this city is a dream destination in Belgium for couples seeking a romantic Christmas getaway.
As the festive season approaches, Bruges transforms into a winter wonderland. The main square, Markt, becomes the epicenter of celebrations, hosting one of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Europe. Picture this: wooden chalets selling handcrafted gifts for Christmas, the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the air, and the gentle hum of carolers setting the mood.
A leisurely boat ride along the canals offers a unique perspective of the city’s festive decorations. The historic Belfry Tower, adorned with lights, provides a panoramic view of the city’s winter magic. And what’s a trip to Bruges without indulging in Belgian chocolates? Many chocolatiers craft special Christmas-themed treats, perfect for sharing with a loved one.
While Bruges is undeniably romantic, making it an ideal Christmas destination for couples, families can also find joy in the city’s festive offerings. The ice-skating rink at the Markt is a hit with kids, and horse-drawn carriage rides offer a magical family experience.
Bruges truly embodies one of the best Christmas vacation destinations. Its blend of romance and family-friendly festivities ensures that every visitor, whether young or old, leaves with a heart full of joy and a pocketful of cherished memories. And as the snow gently blankets the city, know that Bruges will always welcome you back for another magical Christmas.
Swapping the frosty cobblestones of Bruges for the soft sands of Tulum, this Mexican paradise offers a Christmas experience like no other. As winter’s chill grips much of the world, Tulum basks in balmy temperatures. This makes it one of the best places to travel for Christmas for sun-seekers.
Imagine celebrating the festive season with your toes buried in the sand, the gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea lapping at your feet. Tulum’s pristine beaches become the perfect backdrop for a sun-drenched Christmas, where palm trees don twinkling lights and beach bars serve holiday cocktails with a tropical twist.
For couples, a sunset stroll along the beach or a candlelit dinner under the stars creates unforgettable Christmas memories. Families, on the other hand, can revel in a host of activities, from snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters to exploring the ancient Mayan ruins. With so many unique Christmas Day activities, a getaway in Tulum is guaranteed to leave all visitors with lasting memories!
Ending the day with a beach bonfire, singing carols to the strumming of a guitar, Tulum redefines the traditional Christmas setting. It’s a reminder that while snow and cold have their charm, there’s something undeniably special about celebrating the holidays under a warm sun and clear blue skies.
Leaving the sun-kissed shores of Tulum behind, we find ourselves in the heart of Europe, where the hills come alive with the sound of music. Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, offers a blend of traditional festivities and musical heritage. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful places to travel for Christmas.
The city’s historic center is adorned with festive lights, turning its baroque architecture into a shimmering spectacle. The renowned Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz is a sensory delight, with stalls offering handcrafted ornaments, spiced mulled wine, and the sweet aroma of freshly baked pastries.
Christmas in Salzburg is incomplete without attending one of the many concerts held in historic venues across the city. From Mozart’s compositions to classic Christmas carols, the melodies resonate with the festive spirit, creating an atmosphere that’s both enchanting and nostalgic.
For families, the Hohensalzburg Fortress offers panoramic views of the snow-covered city and the Alps beyond. Children can also delight in puppet shows retelling Christmas tales, while couples can enjoy a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the countryside.
If you’ve ever fancied caroling in the streets where Mozart once roamed or simply sipping hot cocoa to a live orchestra, Salzburg’s your festive playground. Come for the history, stay for the holiday fun! And in addition to Salzburg, there are many other pretty places in Austria to enjoy Christmastime, including Vienna and Innsbruck!
While Japan might not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of Christmassy places to go, Tokyo offers a festive experience that’s both dazzling and distinct.
As December rolls in, Tokyo transforms into a luminous wonderland. Intricate light displays deck out the city’s famous neighborhoods, from Shibuya to Shinjuku. These displays turn the urban landscape into a radiant tapestry of colors. The Starlight Garden at Tokyo Midtown is a must-visit, where thousands of LED lights create a mesmerizing cosmic display.
Tokyo’s unique take on Christmas includes themed cafes where you can enjoy festive treats with a Japanese twist. Think matcha-flavored Christmas cakes and yuletide bento boxes! And for those seeking a white Christmas, Tokyo occasionally gets a dusting of snow. This adds a magical touch to its bustling streets.
Families can revel in the joyous atmosphere at Tokyo Disneyland, which goes all out with its Christmas celebrations. Meanwhile, couples can enjoy a romantic boat ride along the Sumida River, taking in the illuminated cityscape.
Travelers seeking a break from the city’s hustle and bustle should consider a day trip to Mt. Fuji. Just a short journey from Tokyo, this iconic mountain, often capped with snow during the festive season. This provides a picturesque backdrop for holiday photos and a tranquil setting for reflection.
In Tokyo, the blend of tradition and modernity creates a Christmas vibe that’s both familiar and refreshingly new. If you’re up for a festive adventure with a side of sushi, Tokyo’s undoubtedly one of the most unique places to travel for Christmas.
It’s time to head Down Under to a place where Christmas meets summer: Sydney. If you’ve ever wondered about hot Christmas vacation spots, Sydney stands out as a sun-soaked celebration of the festive season.
December in Sydney means beach days, barbecues, and a unique take on Christmas traditions. Bondi Beach becomes a hub of festive activity. Sunbathers don Santa hats, and surfers ride waves with boards decked out in tinsel. The iconic Sydney Harbour, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as its crown jewels, hosts a spectacular fireworks display, lighting up the summer night sky.
The city’s streets are alive with the sound of carolers singing familiar tunes with an Aussie twist. And for a touch of traditional winter charm, the Darling Harbour area sets up an ice-skating rink, allowing visitors to glide on ice under the warm Australian sun.
Families can enjoy the Taronga Zoo’s special Christmas events, where even the kangaroos seem to join in the festive spirit. Couples, on the other hand, can opt for a romantic sunset cruise along the harbor. They can take in the city’s landmarks adorned in festive lights.
In Sydney, Christmas is a sunlit celebration of joy, warmth, and togetherness. Fancy swapping snowmen for sandcastles? Sydney’s your perfect Christmas vacation spot.
In the realm of the best places to travel for Christmas, New York City undoubtedly claims a top spot. The Big Apple, with its skyscrapers reaching for the stars, becomes a shimmering spectacle as the festive season rolls in.
Central Park, often blanketed in snow, offers a picturesque setting for ice skating. The city’s skyline provides a breathtaking backdrop, showcasing why this is among the great places to go for Christmas in the US. The iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, adorned with thousands of lights, also draws visitors from all corners of the globe. As you stroll down Fifth Avenue, window displays from world-renowned department stores come alive with festive scenes, each more enchanting than the last.
For families, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the legendary Rockettes, is one of the best things to do in NYC at Christmas. The joy and wonder on children’s faces as they watch the performance is a sight to behold. Couples can enjoy a romantic carriage ride through Central Park or take in a Broadway show, many of which have special Christmas performances.
The city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the historic streets of Harlem to the bustling avenues of Manhattan, each offer their unique take on Christmas celebrations. Street vendors sell roasted chestnuts, choirs sing carols, and the scent of pine from Christmas tree stands fills the air.
In New York City, Christmas isn’t just a season – it’s an experience! From impromptu carolers in subway stations to Santa-clad joggers in Central Park, the city serves up festive surprises at every corner. Get ready for a Christmas adventure with a side of New York cheesecake! Is this one of the good places to go for Christmas? 100%!
When cobblestone streets echo with the melodies of age-old carols and ancient castles are illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights, you know you’re in Prague during Christmas. Often dubbed the “City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague’s Gothic and Baroque architecture gets a festive makeover. Truly, it’s one of the best places to go for Christmas.
The Old Town Square becomes a hive of activity, hosting Prague’s most famous Christmas market. Wooden huts overflow with handcrafted gifts, traditional Czech Christmas crafts, and mouth-watering treats like trdelník (a kind of sugar-coated pastry). And let’s not forget the massive Christmas tree that’s shipped in from the Czech mountains!
Prague’s Christmas charm extends beyond its markets. The Vltava River reflects the city’s festive lights. It offers an incredible view, especially from the iconic Charles Bridge. For the romantics, a nighttime stroll on this bridge, with the Prague Castle in the backdrop, feels like a scene straight out of a fairy tale.
Families can enjoy puppet shows that retell classic Christmas stories. Couples might find a cozy café to sip on svařák (hot mulled wine) and watch the world go by.
Christmas in Prague feels like a delightful dance between the past and the present. Between sips of svařák and bites of trdelník, you might just find yourself joining a group of carolers or making a snow angel in the shadow of a centuries-old cathedral. Prepare to be amazed by one of the good places to vacation for Christmas!
Venturing to the land of fire and ice, Reykjavik offers a Christmas experience that’s as magical as it is unique. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, this Icelandic capital becomes one of the best places to travel for Christmas, especially for those chasing the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights.
The heart of Reykjavik pulses with festive energy, as colorful houses become canvases for twinkling lights and joyful decorations. A short drive away, the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður beckons with its traditional Icelandic crafts, tempting treats, and the playful antics of the thirteen Yule Lads, Iceland’s own brand of Christmas elves.
Beyond the city’s festive charm lies a world of natural wonders waiting to be explored. Picture yourself immersed in the warmth of the geothermal Blue Lagoon, with the cold air kissing your face and snowflakes playing in your hair. Or venture into the vast Icelandic landscapes, where the Aurora Borealis paints the night sky in mesmerizing colors. This experience offers a spectacle that words can hardly capture.
Children will be thrilled with the magic of the Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park. Here, they can meet native Icelandic animals and enjoy festive activities during the holiday season. Meanwhile, couples can find solace in a secluded cabin. They’ll have nothing but a crackling fireplace and the vast expanse of the starlit sky for company.
Reykjavik is all about mixing the chill of winter with the warmth of festive cheer. Prepare to chase the Northern Lights, make friends with Icelandic animals, and maybe have a snowball fight or two. Reykjavik’s got your Christmas adventure sorted.
If there’s one place that screams “Christmas,” it’s Lapland. Nestled in the northernmost part of Finland, this winter wonderland is often touted as Santa Claus’s official hometown. And honestly, who are we to argue?
Mornings in Lapland comprise waking up in a cozy log cabin, with snow gently falling outside and the promise of a day filled with festive fun. First stop? Santa Claus Village, of course! Send a postcard from Santa’s official post office, and if you’ve been nice (not naughty), you might just bump into the big man himself.
Lapland offers more than just Santa encounters. Hop on a sled pulled by eager huskies or join a reindeer safari. Yes, Rudolph and his pals are real, and they’re ready to show you around their snowy playground.
Perhaps one of the coolest things to do for Christmas for couples is to spend a night in a glass igloo. Gaze up at the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed and toast to the magic of the season. Families, meanwhile, can dive into snowball fights, build snowmen, and warm up with cups of hot cocoa.
In Lapland, every snowflake feels like a sprinkle of Christmas magic. Ready for a festive adventure in one of the best Christmas vacation destinations? Lapland’s got your ticket to ride – sleigh bells included!
Trade in frosty mornings for sun-kissed beaches and let the gentle waves of the Indian Ocean be your Christmas carol. Welcome to Mauritius, where the festive season is wrapped in a warm tropical embrace. This makes it a dreamy (and hot!) place to spend Christmas.
Picture this: Palm trees adorned with twinkling lights, their reflections dancing on the azure waters. Beach resorts offer festive feasts with a Mauritian twist, blending traditional Christmas flavors with the island’s rich culinary heritage. How about some roasted turkey followed by a slice of tropical fruit cake infused with local rum?
The island’s vibrant culture shines even brighter during the festive season. Local markets are a riot of colors, with stalls selling handcrafted gifts, from intricate seashell ornaments to vibrant textiles. As you explore, the air is filled with the melodies of Séga tunes, the island’s traditional music, giving Christmas classics a rhythmic twist.
Adventure seekers can explore the coral reefs. They can dive into an underwater world that seems to sparkle just a bit more during the festive season.Families can embark on catamaran cruises, spotting playful dolphins. Meanwhile, couples might find a secluded beach spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a Christmas-themed cocktail.
Offering sun-kissed beaches, vibrant culture, and the gentle lullaby of the ocean, it’s no wonder Mauritius ranks among the best places to travel for Christmas. Ready to swap snowflakes for seashells? Mauritius awaits with open arms and island magic!
In the heart of Alsace, France, Strasbourg dons its festive best come December, earning its title as the “Christmas Capital of Europe.” With its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and the scent of mulled wine wafting through the air, Strasbourg feels like a page right out of a Christmas storybook.
The city’s Christmas market, Christkindelsmärik, is one of the oldest and most famous in Europe. Established in 1570, it sprawls across the city center, with stalls offering everything from handcrafted ornaments to Alsatian delicacies. As you wander, be sure to try the bredele, traditional Christmas biscuits that come in a myriad of flavors.
The towering Strasbourg Cathedral becomes even more enchanting during the festive season. Illuminated in festive colors, the cathedral hosts an incredible nativity scene, drawing visitors from near and far.
For a touch of romance, couples can take a boat ride along the Ill River, the city lights reflecting on the water creating a magical ambiance. Families, meanwhile, will delight in the Christmas tales and legends shared by local storytellers. This activity makes the festive lore come alive.
Strasbourg is where age-old traditions meet festive merriment. Without a doubt, it’s one of the places to go for Christmas in Europe if you’re seeking that authentic Yuletide charm. Pull on your coziest scarf, grab a cup of vin chaud, and let Strasbourg’s Christmas magic envelop you. It’s a must-see in Alsace for Christmas lovers, hands down.
As our festive journey around the world comes to a close, we’ve saved the most enchanting for last. Welcome to Vienna, where Christmas isn’t just a season. It’s a grand celebration that fills every corner of the city with unparalleled magic and joy.
The Austrian capital transforms into a winter wonderland. Streets are lined with stalls that make up the renowned Viennese Christmas markets. The Rathausplatz market, set against the backdrop of the city’s grand Town Hall, is a sight to behold. Here, you can indulge in roasted chestnuts, sip on spicy glühwein, and shop for unique handcrafted gifts.
What truly sets Vienna apart is its rich musical heritage. Christmas concerts are held throughout the city, from grand opera houses to intimate churches, filling the air with melodies from Mozart, Strauss, and other legendary composers.
Families can marvel at the intricate window displays of the city’s historic department stores, each telling a different festive tale. If you’re looking for things to do in Vienna as a couple, a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow-covered streets feels like a journey back in time. It’s complete with the jingle of bells and the soft glow of lanterns.
Vienna is the epitome of Christmas elegance and tradition. This makes it the crown jewel of our list and one of the best Christmas vacation destinations. We’ve journeyed near and far, but in Vienna, we find the heart and soul of the festive season. Here’s to ending our list with a bang. This is in a city where every snowflake whispers tales of Christmases past and present. It’s no wonder that this city is among the top places to travel during Christmas.
Are you looking for more content about the best places to visit for Christmas? Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Christmassy vacation spots.
The best place for a Christmas vacation truly depends on what you’re seeking. For a traditional winter wonderland experience, destinations like Lapland in Finland or Strasbourg in France offer snowy landscapes, festive markets, and age-old traditions. However, if you’re looking to escape the cold and bask in the sun, places like Mauritius or Sydney in Australia provide a unique Christmas experience with beachside celebrations and warm temperatures.
Many travelers find Vienna, Austria, to be exceptionally enchanting during Christmas. The city’s baroque architecture, grand palaces, and historic streets are adorned with twinkling lights. The renowned Viennese Christmas markets add to its charm. The blend of music, history, and festive spirit makes Vienna a top contender for the most beautiful place at Christmas.
Seeking warmth without breaking the bank? Southeast Asian destinations like Bali, Indonesia, or Phuket, Thailand, are excellent choices for a Christmas vacation. These places offer tropical temperatures, beautiful beaches, and a range of affordable accommodations. Plus, the unique blend of local traditions with festive celebrations offers a fresh take on Christmas.
Strasbourg, France, often claims this title as the “Christmas Capital of Europe.” Its historic Christmas market, Christkindelsmärik, dates back to 1570, and the entire city is draped in festive decor. The blend of tradition, festive foods, and the spirit of joy that fills the air makes Strasbourg a top contender for the most Christmassy place in the world.
What is the #1 best Christmas town?
One town that frequently tops lists for its Christmas charm and festivities is Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town that seems to have sprung straight out of a fairy tale. During the Christmas season, the town transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, snow-covered rooftops, and the famous Reiterlesmarkt (Christmas market). The market dates back to the 15th century and offers traditional German crafts, foods, and drinks. The town’s Christmas Museum is also a popular attraction, showcasing Christmas traditions from around the world. The cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and festive decorations make Rothenburg ob der Tauber a top destination for those seeking an authentic and enchanting Christmas experience.
Christmas is celebrated in different ways across the globe. In Sweden, there’s the Festival of Saint Lucia, where young girls don crowns of candles. In Japan, it’s become a quirky modern tradition to eat KFC on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, in Iceland, the Yule Lads, 13 mischievous trolls, bring gifts to children in the 13 days leading up to Christmas.
Lapland, Finland, is a dream come true for kids. Often considered Santa Claus’s official hometown, children can meet Santa, play with reindeer, and even attend elf school. Other destinations like Orlando, Florida, with its theme parks, offer grand Christmas parades, festive shows, and a plethora of holiday-themed activities.
Where is the prettiest place to go for Christmas?
Choosing the prettiest place for Christmas is subjective and depends on personal preferences. However, here are some destinations around the world renowned for their festive charm and beauty during the holiday season:
- Strasbourg, France: Often referred to as the “Capital of Christmas.” Strasbourg hosts one of the oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. The city is adorned with lights, and its half-timbered houses add to the fairy-tale ambiance.
- Vienna, Austria: The city’s historic buildings and squares are illuminated with festive lights, and its Christmas markets. I especially love the one in front of the City Hall (Rathaus).
- Nuremberg, Germany: The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world. The city’s medieval architecture truly provides a perfect backdrop.
- Lapland, Finland: Often considered the home of Santa Claus. This Arctic wonderland offers snowy landscapes, reindeer rides, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
- Quebec City, Canada: The cobblestone streets of Old Quebec are transformed into a winter wonderland, with the city’s French heritage adding a unique charm to the festive celebrations.
- Prague, Czech Republic: The city’s Gothic and Baroque architecture, combined with its Christmas markets, especially in the Old Town Square, create a magical atmosphere.
- Reykjavik, Iceland: With its snowy landscapes, geothermal pools, and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights, Reykjavik offers a unique Christmas experience.
For couples, a romantic escape to Bruges, Belgium, or Prague, Czech Republic, offers intimate moments amidst cobbled streets, historic architecture, and serene canal rides. Both cities are illuminated beautifully during the festive season, providing a perfect backdrop for romantic strolls, cozy dinners, and memorable moments.
What is the most popular travel destination for Christmas?
The most popular travel destination for Christmas varies based on regional preferences, travel trends, and individual tastes. However, some destinations consistently rank high on the list of favorite spots for Christmas holidays due to their festive atmospheres, unique traditions, or winter attractions. Here are some of the most popular travel destinations for Christmas:
- New York City, USA: The city becomes a festive wonderland with the iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, holiday window displays along Fifth Avenue, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes.
- Lapland, Finland: Often considered the “home of Santa Claus.” It offers a magical Arctic experience with reindeer rides, snow-covered landscapes, and the chance to witness the Northern Lights.
- Strasbourg, France: Known as the “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg hosts one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets.
- Vienna, Austria: The city’s historic squares are transformed into enchanting Christmas markets. The festive lights and decorations add to the holiday spirit.
- Prague, Czech Republic: The Christmas markets, especially in the Old Town Square, combined with the city’s historic architecture, create a fairy-tale-like atmosphere.
- Nuremberg, Germany: The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is a world-famous Christmas market. It attracts visitors with its festive ambiance and traditional German holiday treats.
From the snowy streets of Europe to the sunny beaches of the Southern Hemisphere, the world is brimming with Christmas vacation spots that bring the magic of Christmas to life. Whether you’re seeking a traditional Yuletide experience, a tropical twist on the festive season, or simply a new adventure, there’s a corner of the world waiting to share its unique Christmas spirit with you.
As we’ve journeyed through these best places to travel for Christmas, one thing becomes clear: the essence of the holiday season is universal. It’s found in the laughter of children, the melodies of carols echoing through the streets, the warmth of shared meals, and the joy of giving.
Wherever you choose to hang your stockings or set up your Christmas tree, remember that the true magic of Christmas lies in the moments we share, the memories we create, and the love we spread. Here’s to festive adventures, new discoveries, and a world filled with holiday cheer!