Our Pick of Christmas Destinations 2022
Whether you're after a Christmas on the beach or a Christmas in the snow, here's our top 15 Christmas destinations.
Where better to spend Christmas then in Iceland. Here, the festive spirit of the holiday is at every turn, with Christmas market boothes overflowing with food, warming drinks and gifts. A true Winter Wonderland, where you have the added bonuses of a warm dip in the Blue Lagoon's geothermal waters, or a drive into the mountains to catch the northern lights. It doesn't matter if you seek a more relaxing experience or an adventurous one - it's all waiting for you in Iceland.
2. The Rhine
A Rhine River cruise is an amazing way to spend Christmas and the festive season, making stops along Rhineland cities such as Cologne, Koblenz and Bonn. Amid the twinkling lights, live Christmas markets, and the sounds of skates on an ice rink, Yuletide lovers can celebrate this special time of year.
Christmas holds a special place in German culture because the country's famous Christmas markets overflow with copious amounts of mulled wine and cheer. Anyone looking for holiday fun should head to Berlin, which offers up a large number of Christmas shows including one at Alexanderplatz. Those interested in history might want to venture further away from Germany and spend Christmastime at Colditz Castle in Saxony. Visitors hoping for a white christmas are sure to be delighted.
The Caribbean is a wonderful place to enjoy Christmas. The water is clear, the beaches are beautiful, and while there are endless water activiteis, there is plenty fun to be had on dry land. Christmas in the Caribbean means enjoying Brugal XV's smooth rum, white sandy beaches, and spa treatments. Visit Bathsheba - one of many great spots in the island's Atlantic side that offers dramatic shorelines and rolling surf perfect for walking on. A contrast from congested beach resorts found along the west and southern coasts that don't have much room for exploring. There are also great restaurants to visit like Bay Tavern in Martin's Bay where locals take a break on Thursday afternoons and shooting the breeze at what they call "limes."
5. Courchevel, France
No longer the Russian oligarch go-to for a luxurious winter holiday, the resort is still a gathering place for the world's ultra-wealthy. The well groomed pistes combined with Michelin-star restaurants and five-star hotels makes it one of the most luxurious ski resorts. An excellent time to visit would be from Boxing Day to New Year's Eve, when there are champagne bars and perfect teeth set against a sharp mountain ridge.
6. Muscat, Oman
Hop on an overnight flight and wake up in Muscat the next day. Get straight to the beach - it's only 15 minutes from the airport. The Chedi, with its kids' menu and family pool, is great for small families. If you have older kids, head to Six Senses Zighy Bay. It's a must do for grown-up families who want to go hiking or snorkelling or refresh at the spa before getting dressed up for a fancy dinner.
There are tons of tourist attractions around Muscat, including plenty of things to do with kids. See some of the best marine life at Marina Bandar Al Rowhda and explore Oman's desert on a bike. Nearby, you'll find Wadi Bani Khalid as well as Muscat's Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Round out your visit by checking out the city center with its beautiful mosques and markets before enjoying a traditional dhow boat tour.
7. Edinburgh, Scotland
The winter season is often associated with festive flavors, like gingerbread and eggnog, as well as riotous New Year's eve celebrations. But in Edinburgh, it the decorations that capture the spirit of the holiday season. You'll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy phenomenal art and culture amongst winter landscapes.
If you're looking for a Christmas bargain, head to Edinburgh in early December. The city is peaceful and the Christmas markets are open. You can go for a spin on the panoramic big wheel overlooking Princes Street, bar crawl under the fairy lights of George Street, or pop into the Scottish National Gallery to admire winter scenes. You'll want to go out at night, the Royal Botanic Garden has spectacular Christmas illuminations where you can sip spiced cider while you watch the show.
8. Salzburg, Austria
Revel in the snowcapped peaks and elegance of this beautiful, traditional city. Head around the Old Town streets and dive into the beer cellars. Then shop for lederhosen - a tradition that dates all the way back to medieval times. When you're not exploring Salzburg's old-fashioned charm, warm up with some mountaineering.
After a long day of exploring, stop by Balkan Grill Walter for a taste of Balkan culture. These tasty sausages are on the menu since 1950. Afterward, make yourself at home in the intimate Seppo wine bar or squeeze your way into one of the few available chairs at Sternbrau's beer garden.
9. Finnish Lapland
For the real deal and endless fun winter activities, such as snowmobiling and skiing, head north to the smaller resorts of Levi, Yllas, or Saariselka. Levi is only 20 minutes from the airport, making transfers with tired children super speedy. Here, Santa's village is way out in the wilderness: a huddle of twinkly log cabins hidden among snow-laden pines. Kids can decorate gingerbread cookies with Mother Claus and make decorations before attending Elf school to learn Finnish words such as "Hyvaa Joulua" ("Happy Christmas") and having a private tête-à-tête with Santa himself. The focus here is on wholesome festive fun rather than souvenirs - which are sparse by comparison.
10. New York, United States
Riding the Santacon is a must-do for this holiday season. The event changes every year and starts at Union Square, where well-meaning and inebriated Santas will hand out cocoa and cookies to kids. After a while they'll head over to the "dueling tree" at Rockefeller Center, where they'll join forces in an attempt to get as close to the tree as possible. Like Christmas trees, Santa costumes are all about that uniformity but no two costumes are alike, so it'll be fun watching them all try to one-up each other at "dueling."
11. Marrakesh, Morocco
When you go to Morocco, be prepared for hot days and cold nights. It never snows for long in Morocco, but temperatures can still dip down near freezing from November to April — so take a layer or two. The months of July and August are considerably less expensive than the rest of the year, but they're only worth it if you can tolerate crazy high temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius.
The beautiful Flame trees in Mauritius are what typically mark the start of the festive season there. The trees usually bloom during late November to early December, and shortly after, Christmas-themed displays will appear across the island. Food is central to a Mauritian Christmas, which is why hotels and resorts offer gala dinners and festive brunches for guests.
For a change, swap out your traditional Christmas colors for a landscape filled with endless shades of blue. Fly to the capital city of Male, before taking a seaplane to one of the beautiful private island resorts. Stay in a villa suspended on stilts above the Jacuzzi-warm waters of the Indian Ocean and you'll be able to snorkel and day-sail your way through December. Many hotels in the Maldives offer traditional menus on December 25th and we have delicious seafood choices - all served with wine or champagne.
Don't fancy a flight? In Singapore, Christmas is a spectacular time of year. Starting in mid-November, the Christmas festivities begin with over four kilometers of Christmas lights being turned on along Orchard Road. Shortly after, restaurants debut their festive menus and Gardens by the Bay opens its Christmas Wonderland attraction. The climax of the season is the extravagant countdown and fireworks party at Marina Bay.
15. Tenerife, Spain
If you don't want to miss out on the sunshine this winter, come to Tenerife. Yes, tourism has had a definite effect here, but the crowded resorts take up only a small part of the island. Beyond that is untouched beauty: seaside villages and coves for swimming all day, gracious colonial towns in rustic rural areas, and rainforest trails dripping with lichen. There are also stunning gorges that'll make your jaw drop. And all beneath the awesome gaze of a 200,000-year-old volcano.
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