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Colmar, France at Christmas
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 18 best places to go for Christmas

From archetypal blithe getaways to the best places to escape the madness, these are the world’s greatest places to absorb Christmas

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

There’s visiting a abode – and again there’s visiting it at Christmas. The best bewitched time of the year has a addiction of transforming destinations about the apple in amazing ways: cities get decked out in admirable decorations, streets abound with bounded traditions and squares are taken over by pop-up blithe markets dishing out stocking fillers and melancholia treats.

That said, some destinations are abundant to appointment at Christmas for absolutely the adverse reason: because you ability not alike realise it’s Christmas at all. Who hasn’t sometimes capital to forget the anniversary exists, arch somewhere that Christmas isn’t a thing, and appear home back the carelessness is over?

And so, back because the best destinations to appointment at Christmas, we haven’t aloof included places with arbitrary traditions or an unmissable blithe atmosphere. We’ve additionally included some Scrooge-appropriate destinations area you can bend the anniversary entirely.

Dive into our festive biking hit account beneath and you’re affirmed to acquisition about abundant to absorb the division – whether you’re all-embracing or artifice those twinkly Christmas vibes.


🎄 Amazing Christmas towns to appointment about the world
🎁 The
best Christmas markets to appointment in Europe and worldwide
❄️ The best places to biking in December
🍿 The 50 best Christmas movies of all time
🎶 The 60 best Christmas songs of all time

The best places to go for Christmas

Good for: shopaholics 

From the abstracted affair of ice skating at the Rockefeller to Broadway’s admirable blithe shows, there are affluence of affidavit why the Big Angel has such a rep at Christmastime. NYC is a archetypal blithe best and, with its alternative of administration stores, markets and bazaars, there charcoal boilerplate absolutely like it back it comes to shopping, either.

Read more: The best Christmas things to do in NYC

Good for: wannabe Santa elves 

There are few destinations as legendarily Christmassy as Rovaniemi, which, as the basic of Lapland, is additionally the official hometown of Santa Claus. But Rovaniemi isn’t all about Santa. Already you’re done exploring Santa Claus Apple and accepting reindeer rides about town, be abiding to diaphoresis out your worries with a blithe bathroom – a Finnish Christmas tradition.


Good for: an unconventional Christmas

New Orleans is arranged abounding of another Christmas traditions, from its bonfires on the banks of the Mississippi and affably redecorated streetcars to its lively carol concerts and glam AF auberge antechamber decorations. With daytime temperatures hitting about 17C, it’s additionally that bit warmer than abundant of the blow of the continental US at this time of year.

Best for: acceptable romantics 

Festive acclamation sweeps through London ancient in aboriginal November and doesn’t let up. By the time the end of December comes around, Christmas accordance hit a agitation pitch: the already-very-romantic UK basic finds itself lined by fir trees, twinkling with Christmas lights and sound-tracked by clinking blithe tunes. Aye, it’s exactly as bewitched as it sounds.

Read more: The best Christmas lights in London


Best for: the lads!

No, not those kinds of lads. We’re talking about the ‘Yule Lads’, 13 allegorical bodies who commonly leave ability in boots for Iceland’s affable kids. Christmastime is additionally aloof a rather admirable time to appointment Reykjavik, with the burghal boasting markets and ice-skating – as able-bodied as, acknowledgment to its extra-long nights, abundant opportunities for viewing the Arctic Lights.

Nuremburg, Germany
Photograph: Perati Komson /

Nuremburg, Germany

Good for: Weihnachtsmarkt fanatics

Germany’s Weihnachtsmarkts (traditional Christmas markets) are acclaimed the apple over – and Nuremburg’s is one of the country’s oldest, better and best. Addendum of applique and mulled wine waft through a mini burghal of board stalls abundant with bonbon canes, scrummy lebkuchen and handmade decorations.


Best for: Christmas banquet on the barbie

Looking for about that goes full-throttle for Chrimbo but isn’t so, erm, wintry? Australia’s acceptable your best bet. Sydney has all the blithe lights, copse and alike ice skating of a archetypal Christmas-celebrating city, but with balmy boilerplate temperature highs of 25C. Don’t beating an Xmas banquet adapted on a beachside barbeque until you’ve approved it.

Best for: the culturally disconnected 

With no accessible anniversary and aggregate accessible as usual, Japan doesn’t absolutely bless Christmas – but that’s additionally its charm. The country is accurately broken from the blow of the world’s Xmas aberration but still has tonnes of festive stuff to see and do, from Tokyo’s attractive winter illuminations to the anniversary Japanese attitude of accepting KFC on Christmas day.

Caracas, Venezuela
Photograph: Juan Carlos Hernandez/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Alive News

Caracas, Venezuela

Best for: religious roller-skaters

Think you’ve got a accurate ride back it comes to branch bottomward to abbey (if that’s your jam, anyway) during the Christmas period? Analysis out the locals in Caracas. From December 16-24 afore 8am, anchorage are bankrupt in the Venezuelan basic so that aggregation can roller-skate to mass. It’s additionally accepted for rollerbladers to dress up in Santa gear... does it get abundant acknowledgment than that?

Best for: festive escapees 

Christmas isn’t acclaimed by the all-inclusive majority of bodies in Marrakech, authoritative it absolute for artifice accepted blithe vibes. The Moroccan burghal additionally isn’t anywhere abreast as hot in December as it is in the summertime (hitting highs of 20C after dipping too low at night), so exploring its medina, souks, mosques and riads is alike added pleasant.


Best for: total blithe immersion

Whether you’re watching Krampuses (a array of awful Austrian anti-Santa) roam the streets, munching on toffee apples at one of the city’s abounding Christmas markets or artlessly assimilation in the very, actual appealing artery decorations, we claiming you not to get absolutely swept up in Vienna’s all-embracing Chrimbo vibes.

Photograph: Shutterstock


Best for: adventurous eaters

The blithe aeon in Greenland is best accepted for its food: accurately mattak (essentially a band of bang skin) and kiviak (a affectionate of brewed seabird). Both are a airiness to natives, but they’re acceptable a bit more, er, stomach-testing to the blow of us.


Best for: clubbers and beachside chillers

Sure, if you really appetite to, you can accept a altogether Christmassy time in Phuket. The island has affluence of carol concerts and blithe dinners if you so appetite them. However, it’s an ideal abode to get abroad from all the accepted festivities, too. As a abundantly Buddhist country, Thailand doesn’t absolutely bless Christmas – abrogation you chargeless to arctic out at a beachside bar or go clubbing as if it’s any accustomed day of the year.

Best for: aesthetes

With its alarming gothic churches and ambagious bizarre streets, Prague is one of Europe’s best dazzlingly appealing cities at any time of the year. But at Christmastime? Well, the Czech basic somehow gets alike prettier. The key attractions actuality are the markets, which booty over the brand of Prague Alcazar and Wenceslas Aboveboard with bounded specialities such as medovina (honey wine), rybí polévka (traditional angle soup) and perníčky (spicy gingerbread).


Best for: light affectation fanatics

With capital avenue Orchard Alley hosting a anniversary on Xmas Eve complete with admission and fireworks, Christmas in Singapore has a different New Year’s Eve feel about it. Best legendary, however, are the city’s ablaze displays. From the Christmas Wonderland in the Area by the Bay to the ablaze shows at Vivocity, Singapore abiding knows how to put on a mesmerising electrical show.  

Guatemala City, Guatemala
Photograph: Lucy.Brown /

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Best for: demon banishers

There’s article actual antibacterial about afire being – and Guatemalans apperceive that so able-bodied that they’ve fabricated a attitude out of it. Every year on December 7, Guatemala celebrates the ‘Día del Diablo’ (or ‘Day of the Devil’), blame off the Christmas aeon by afire an figure of the devil. The act is advised to symbolise the cleansing of bad spirits.

Colmar, France
Photograph: Shutterstock

Colmar, France

Best for: Christmas dreamers

Even in the acme of summer, Colmar, a thirteenth-century boondocks in the eastern French arena of Alsace, looks rather a lot like it’s fabricated out of gingerbread. Add a blanket of snow, some tasteful Christmas lights and a characterful blithe market? You’ve got one of the world’s best picture-perfect Xmas destinations.


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