People rarely consider Christmas to be an ideal time to travel. The traditional idea is to catch up on family time, binge on homemade food and drink, shop till you drop, and just revel in the good will and cheer all around. Although this is an appealing way to spend the winter holiday, an increasing set of travel aficionados is making use of the time off to take a holiday. With that in mind, here are the top ten Christmas Holiday destinations, for everyone, from solo backpackers to families!
- 1. New York, USA
- 2. Lord Howe Island, Australia
- 3. Lapland, Finland
- 4. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
- 5. Brussels, Belgium
- 6. Cape Town, South Africa
- 7. Volunteering in South America
- 8. Okavango Delta, Botswana
- 9. Zagreb, Croatia
- 10. Reykjavik, Iceland
1. New York, USA
The image of The Big Apple coated in a fresh blanket of snow is reason enough to add this wonderful city to your Christmas travel bucket list. With Christmas markets, seasonal villages, and world-famous lights displays, New York is well stocked for a great seasonal adventure. Take your other half for a romantic gander at the mesmerising lights in Rockefeller Centre, treat your family to an unforgettable ice-skating experience in the Bryant Winter Park Village, and look out for the Christmas concerts and movie screenings that pepper the city; the options for activities in New York at Christmas are endless!
2. Lord Howe Island, Australia
In stark contrast to wintery New York, Lord Howe Island offers a Christmas Day celebration lounging on the beach with a barbecue on. The scenic and relaxed island offers the perfect getaway from crowded cities and a cold Northern Hemisphere to an unusual experience of a balmy Christmas on the beach! Of course, this is only unusual if you normally spend winter in the northern half of the globe…
3. Lapland, Finland
On the opposite side of the planet lies the Christmas of every child’s dreams – a family holiday to meet Santa Claus himself. Staying in log cabins deep in the wintery magic of Finnish Lapland, travellers can enjoy sleigh rides, meeting Father Christmas, and even catch the unique spectacular phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. These trips can be quite heavy on the wallet; seeking the aid of a local guide can help travellers make the most of their festive holiday.
4. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
The backpacker haven of the Perhentians offers a clean break from traditional festivities. It is a group of coral fringed islands offering pristine white sandy beaches and several trek trails around the islands to explore. There aren’t any roads, just jungle trails. The Lighthouse Towers offer spectacular viewpoints, and a sea diving spot. Bars catering for tourists may offer some form of Christmas celebrations, but you can opt to spend your time here scuba diving, snorkelling, sea-kayaking, sunbathing, turtle conservation volunteering and relaxing in the sun off the eastern coast of Malaysia. You can take help from your Malaysia tour guide(https://www.tourhq.com/malaysia-tours-guide) for more.
5. Brussels, Belgium
Belgium’s capital is internationally known for chocolate, waffles, and beer. However, it’s the Christmas markets that make it an ideal holiday destination for those looking to imbibe the best of the yule season. From November 30th to January 6th the city turns into a dreamlike Christmas wonderland, with fairground attractions, huge markets, great food, and an ice-rink. The nearby city of Bruges offers an equally fantastic Christmas atmosphere for those considering an additional daytrip from Brussels! Ask your tour guide about this Belgium tour (https://www.tourhq.com/belgium/tours).
6. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa offers Christmas traditions similar to Australia, as festivities tend to involve relaxing in the sun on the beach. However, Cape Town also has more some other conventional Christmas offerings for travellers too. Carol services at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Christmas markets at Sea Point City Hall are just two of the many festive activities organised in the city.
7. Volunteering in South America
During the festive period it may be easy to overlook those in need of assistance worldwide. If you happen to be travelling in South America during the winter holidays, why not try to help those in need? Through these, you’ll be able to gain a deeper insight into the challenges faced by the communities or the environment. For example, you can provide support at child development at care centres, animal rehabilitation houses or reforestation efforts in the rainforest. You can also join in for one of the Global Internship programmes, to gain first-hand knowledge in your preferred domain from experienced local professionals and gain valuable experience for your resume. Ask local guides and agencies about charitable organisations looking for assistance; it can be a fantastically rewarding way of spending your Christmas.
8. Okavango Delta, Botswana
Christmas may not typically conjure up images of driving through the African Bush searching for wild animals, but why not take a break from tradition? An oasis, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, is one of the largest inland deltas in the world, spanning 17,000km, and is one of the ideal places to see incredible wildlife and celebrate Christmas in an unconventional style. It is a major wildlife area protected by Moremi Game Reserve and numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland. It is also the 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Many tour guides even offer specific travel itineraries for those wishing to enjoy the festivities from this remote corner of the globe!
9. Zagreb, Croatia
The Croatian capital is renowned throughout Europe for being an ideal Christmas travel destination, offering everything from traditional ice-skating to more unique DJ sets and craft beer vendors. That apart, the Sjleme Mountain Ski Resort, less than an hour’s drive from the city is ideal for anyone planning an outdoorsy Christmas trip!
10. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland’s Christmas traditions differ from most other countries. For example, did you know that the country has thirteen different Santa Clauses? This beautiful and fascinating country combats the lack of sunlight with stunning Christmas decorations; and the Northern Lights often brighten up the dark sky in winter! With striking natural beauty, fascinating culture, and an almost guaranteed white Christmas, it is easy to understand why more and more tourists are heading to Iceland for their Christmas holidays!
Christmas is a special time of year, steeped in interesting traditions that varies from country to country, town to town, and even home to home. Why not break the mould and set sail to one of the infinitely enjoyable Christmas travel destinations mentioned above? Try not to worry, Santa Claus will surely deliver your presents wherever you are in the world!