7 best places to travel at Christmas
7 best places to travel at Christmas
It’s common for people in most cultures to spend Christmas at home with family members decorating the Christmas tree and exchanging gifts. On the other hand, this option can be quite stressful – preparing the house for guests, cooking Christmas delights, setting the table, dealing with not-so-pleasant remarks from some family members, and cleaning the mess afterwards. What about spending the Christmas somewhere else, preferably in a place with the magical atmosphere specific to Christmas postcards? We have chosen 7 wonderful places to celebrate the birth of Christ or just enjoy the lights and the Christmas markets if you are more on the secular side of this holiday:
1. Lapland, Finland
Lapland is one of the most popular destinations during winter holidays and is preferred by those who like a Northern Christmas. Lapland is not just an imaginary spot where Santa lives; in fact it’s the northern part of Finland, locally called Korvatunturi. The destination is north of the Article Circle, so make sure you bring warm clothes with you. One of the main attractions is a tourist theme park called “Christmas Land” and nearby you can also visit Santa’s home. Other activities you might like are skiing, skating, going to the sauna, eating local foods, and admiring the view of cemeteries, where family members of the deceased take lanterns and candles on Christmas Eve.
2. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is the perfect destination if you don’t like arctic temperatures and enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas. Walking around, admiring Vienna’s breath-taking architecture, and shopping for gifts at Christkindlmarkts are the most popular activities here. If you like soft music, go to a Vienna Boys’ Choir concert and forget about the freezing cold with a mug of spicy mulled wine.
3. Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, Capitale de Noël 2013 by VilledeStrasbourg
What makes this destination so special at Christmas is the themed Christmas villages scattered throughout the city and accompanied by sellers of gastronomic delights, from biscuits and mulled wine to cheese and foie gras. The market in Strasbourg is the oldest in France and at the same time it has adapted to modern times admirably, with gleaming shop windows, twinkling decorations, stalls with gifts and treats, and carols being heard from nearby churches.
4. Santa Claus, Indiana, USA
The temptation of visiting a city named after Santa Claus is very big, we must admit. Furthermore, the weather is perfect for Christmas, with temperatures around 0 degrees, and there are many Christmas-themed gifts and activities. From riding with Santa to chatting with elves, children will find lots of nice things to do here. The one thing that makes Santa Claus different from the other destinations is that here it is Christmas all year round and you can always come to Santa Claus if you miss this magical holiday.
5. New York City, USA
There will always be something interesting to see in New York City, and on Christmas time, there is one extra attraction – a huge Norway spruce tree measuring 70 to 100 feet, and decorated with approximately 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring! On top of the giant Christmas tree lies a 550 pound star, making it truly unique among other trees. If you haven’t seen it with your own eyes, you probably find it familiar because you’ve seen it in the second movie in the Home Alone series.
6. Sydney, Australia
Would you prefer a warm Christmas instead of freezing in a Christmas market like you’ve been doing for years? Going to Sydney is a great idea if you can get used to the idea of not seeing snow and having hot drinks. Make your fantasy of spending Christmas under a scorching sun reality and go to Bondi Beach on December 25. Local families are also going there and the event is carefully controlled by authorities, which means there are no alcoholic drinks allowed on the beach.
Here is a moderate Christmas option regarding temperatures; you don’t have freezing cold but neither hot sun, as daytime temperatures are usually between 15 and 20 degrees. Traditions are slightly different due to the country’s Roman Catholic predominant religion. You don’t need to be here on Christmas Eve, as Christmas celebrations start on December 12, with the “La Guadalupana” (Virgin of Guadalupe) celebration and end on January 6, with the Epiphany. If in western nations it is Santa Claus who brings gifts on Christmas Eve, in Mexico children are visited by the Three Magic Kings in the early morning of January 6. Nativity scenes are very common and almost every family builds one at their place. The birth of Christ at midnight on Christmas Eve is announced with great joy – families go to church while fireworks as being launched, bells are ringing, and whistles are blowing.
So, what are you doing this Christmas? Are you staying at home or are you going to one of the destinations mentioned above? No matter where you spend winter holidays this year, this is a magical time and you should go for the option that makes you happier and makes you feel the Christmas spirit the most!