17 Amazing Places to Spend Christmas Around the World
The holiday season means different things to different people, but for most of us, it’s about capturing the magic and spending time with family and friends. Celebrating Christmas in new locations only adds to the excitement, although selecting just one can feel impossible to narrow down! The following destinations all come highly recommended, particularly around this time of year.
THE WHITSUNDAYS, AUSTRALIA
If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, the idea of a warm Christmas is alien to most - we tend to associate this time of year with cold weather and snow. On the Whitsundays Islands, located just off the coast of Australia’s Queensland, you’ll find nothing of the sort, with only clear skies and sunshine in sight.
Australia is famed for its incredible beaches, but Whitehaven beach which can be found among the islands is perhaps universally acknowledged to be one of its most striking. While the islands are a popular destination to spend the Christmas period, there’s no risk of crowding if you explore on a yacht - the island is perfect for sailing trips. Just don’t miss Hamilton Island!
LOS CABOS, MEXICO
There’s contrast galore in Los Cabos, and lovers of a whole host of landscapes will revel in the sights in these Mexican towns. Los Cabos is made up of two towns, to be precise, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. You can find them linked by a corridor lined with luxurious resorts and plenty of world-class golf courses.
Among the ocean, desert and mountain terrain, you will find yourself surrounded by some of the world’s most notable people - the region is well and truly on the map. There are plenty of activities to be getting on with here, from water-sports to fine dining and exciting nightlife. Coming here at Christmas is a truly marvellous idea, as it’s dry year-round and so you can spend the entire time outdoors.
Renowned for being perhaps the United States of America’s most prestigious ski resort, Aspen over the holiday season is truly remarkable. If you’re dreaming of the warm toastiness of crackling fires after a long day on the slopes, Aspen is a destination to tick all of your boxes.
As with everywhere in the USA, Christmas is cause for a celebration. You will not be left disappointed by the dazzling downtown area, where vehicles simply aren’t allowed. Step back in time and appreciate the outdoors, family time and everything this fantastic location has to offer.
For a guaranteed white Christmas, the Rocky Mountains make for an ideal destination. Complete with breathtaking views, there’s nothing quite so cosy as overlooking the peaks sitting by the crackling fire with a hot chocolate on Christmas morning. As yet more snowflakes fall, it’s truly a heartwarming experience that will make you appreciate the place you’re in with the people you’re with.
The region’s Lake Louise is even more special at this time of year, and is the epitome of a winter wonderland. Be sure to venture out to see the stunning colours of the water and the fairytale atmosphere of its surrounds - complete with ornate decorations on the Christmas trues and a true festive spirit.
Iceland really is a must-visit destination, and Christmas is the ideal time to go there. The season brings even more enchantment than you could ever have imagined possible, and for the luckiest of visitors, there’s even the possibility of being blessed with the Northern Lights.
These natural illuminations may well steal the show, but the city has proven itself in recent years to be one of the best emerging Christmas destinations.
It should be no surprise that a country famed for its chocolates and diamonds is among the world’s most romantic, yet plenty of people seem to overlook its standing as a magical destination. While Brussels may be the obvious choice for visitors interested in its architecture and culture, Bruges is charming, quaint and quiet - making it ideal for those seeking the perfect place to enjoy the Christmas season.
Climbing to the top of the Belfry and looking out over the scenes below is an absolute must. From here, you can glance down at the Christmas markets and the ice rink in all of its glory and relish in how the town truly makes the season itself come alive.
London is one of those cities that genuinely, well and truly has it all. It is the ideal destination for all of the family, simply because you will never be stuck for things to do. The cold climate here makes for the perfect Christmas setting, and while it’s so often easy to get lost in the grey reality of the big city, during this period of the year, it really comes into its own. The people are friendlier, the lights are brighter and spirits are generally higher than at any other time.
Perhaps you could stroll through Knightsbridge or marvel at the window displays at Harrod’s, before popping in to finish the last of the Christmas shopping? Alternatively, a visit to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is that little bit different, and a rather fun way to spend an evening. And, of course, you cannot go wrong with a carol concert at the Royal Albert Hall. In among all of this, you cannot miss the Thames by night over Christmas, perhaps from the London Eye – but there’s simply too much to do!
A winter chill isn’t top of everyone’s Christmas list, and so for an escape from the dreariness of other parts of Europe, Nice is there to offer a nice contrast. In the capital of the French Riviera, you can enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate in a location with a reputation as a historic winter retreat
Particularly favoured by English aristocrats in the 18th century, the town has maintained some semblance of popularity. The city’s main seaside promenade is even named the “Promenade des Anglais”, after all of the English people whose presence made it the vibrant area that it is today. Visit coffee shops, museums, art galleries and even an Opera House to inject culture into your Christmas experience.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is a meaning behind Christmas for many individuals that extends far beyond the giving and receiving of presents and commercial concepts like Santa Claus. For many of the Christian faith, it is a time to remember and celebrate the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, being born.
For that very reason, Rome is still one of the most sought after Christmas destinations. The first Christmas Mass was held at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the earliest known nativity scene was created in the city around the year 1300. Today, you can take a pilgrimage to see a city where old meets new. Relish in the spiritual history and architecture of the city, while appreciating the newer Christmas traditions that have since been created.
With views of the snow-covered Alps, it’s no wonder that Switzerland’s Geneva has reached our list of amazing places to spend Christmas around the world. Between the old town and Lake Geneva itself, you will find a Christmas Market to enchant you with an array of exhibitors and caterers.
We have touched on the views already, but they deserve mentioning again. Lake Geneva is the among the largest freshwater lakes in all of Europe, and a magnificent city has been built upon it. Here you will be surrounded by everything, during the season where most anything goes.
When you think of a quintessential German Christmas, it’s natural for Christmas Markets and little gingerbread houses to spring to mind. It’s imperative to visit an authentic German Christmas Market at least once in your life, and if you’re going to do it at all, then you have to do it right.
Not all Christmas Markets are created equally, and it’s often said that Nuremberg is the place to be. The aroma of mulled wine will entice you in, but you’ll stay for the plethora of traditional festivities and yuletide treats. To really appreciate the charm of the city, climb the steps of the Church of Our Lady, for a breathtaking view of the red and white coloured stalls and delightful lights. While you’re in the area, you could also take a city tour around the marvellous old town by old-fashioned stage coach.
Whether you have a child or you’re simply still a child at heart, a visit to Santa’s homeland surely has to be on your bucket list. While the most northern region of Finland is wonderful year-round, during December it takes on extra spirit.
Your children will delight in meeting Santa, but there is plenty to do for people of all ages. Discover the natural beauty of the Northern Lights, explore on a sled or simply marvel in the atmosphere. Couples can partake in excursions, or simply relax by a roaring fire as the snow settles around you.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague at Christmas time is a true winter wonderland, in every which way. Even without the promise of joy that the giving season brings, there is simply something about the city and its allure. When the castles, churches and Christmas combine, you’re in for a real treat.
A giant, decorated Christmas tree adorns the Old Town Square and there are Christmas Markets galore. All that’s missing is snow… and if you’re lucky, you’ll see some of that as well.
This South Asian country in the middle of the ocean offers travellers the height of luxury no matter what time of year it is, but if you need a break from the norm, the perfect climate and postcard-perfect surroundings of The Maldives are best enjoyed over Christmas.
It goes without saying that some of the world’s most luxurious properties can be found in The Maldives and so you will not have to sacrifice comfort at a time where you have come to expect it most. Sit back, relax and escape the chaos of the season.
Barbados may be in the Caribbean, but it’s still a deeply Christian country, and so locals and tourists alike go all out for Christmas. Appreciate the token symbols of a cold Christmas season, such as snowmen and snowflakes, as you lay back and relax on your lounger at your resort in 30 degree heat.
Speaking of your accommodation, every effort will be made to decorate it accordingly for the festivities and you will be welcomed to this joyous occasion with open arms. Picture grand Christmas trees, adorned in tinsel and baubles, and a lobby filled with the sounds of joyful holiday music. Enjoy a hearty Christmas lunch, complete with turkeys shipped in from overseas, before walking it all off thanks to a stroll along the beautiful beach.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The concept of raising a predominantly Muslim nation for a Christian holiday may not exactly be in keeping with tradition, but it’s still a fantastic idea. Dubai is a city built upon indulgence, and so a visit is more than fitting at this time of the year.
Completing your Christmas shopping here is a must, with malls lined with designer stores and outlets filled with more trinkets and extra-special gifts than you ever imagined you might find. Bizarre as it may seem, this desert location goes all out for the Christmas holidays, and while you’ll probably never get to wear your Christmas jumper outdoors, it will be appreciated from the comfort of the air conditioning at your hotel or resort.
BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Often referred to as the world’s best island, Bora Bora does not need to go to any extra lengths to impress visitors, and yet it often does. The lagoon’s calm, glistening waters are legendary should you wish to snorkel in them on Christmas Day (this is a spectacular Christmas gift in itself).
If the ocean and majestic mountains aren’t enough to sway you, perhaps the clanging of the church bells and the evocation of the Christmas spirit itself from your lavish resort will.