What is the Best Place to Visit at Christmas?
Christmas is a magical time of year, filled with bright lights, festive music, and the spirit of giving. The holiday season is celebrated worldwide, with unique traditions and customs that vary from country to country. With so many destinations to choose from, it can be challenging to decide where to go for the best Christmas experience. In this article, I will explore some of the top places to visit at Christmas, providing you with insights and recommendations to help you plan your perfect holiday vacation. Whether you’re looking for a snowy winter wonderland or a sunny beach escape, I’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and explore the best places to visit this Christmas season!
Overview of Popular European Destinations for Christmas
Europe is known for its stunning Christmas markets, with cities all over the continent transforming into winter wonderlands during the holiday season. From festive lights to traditional food and drink, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer to be found. Some of the most popular destinations for Christmas in Europe include:
- Paris, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Salzburg, Austria
Traditional Christmas Markets in Germany
Germany is renowned for its enchanting Christmas markets, known locally as Weihnachtsmarkt. These markets are a quintessential part of German Christmas traditions and offer a unique experience for visitors. From handcrafted gifts to delicious food and drink, there’s something for everyone at the German Christmas markets. Some of the most popular markets in Germany include:
- Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
- Dresden Striezelmarkt
- Munich Christmas Market
- Cologne Christmas Market
- Berlin Christmas Market
Unique Christmas Traditions in Sweden
Sweden is a fascinating destination for Christmas, with its own set of unique traditions and customs. One of the most notable Swedish Christmas traditions is the Lucia celebration, which takes place on December 13th. During this celebration, a young girl is chosen to wear a wreath of candles on her head and lead a procession of singers through the streets. Other Swedish Christmas traditions include the julbord feast, which features a variety of traditional dishes, and the advent candles, which are lit each Sunday leading up to Christmas day.
The United States is a fantastic place to visit during the Christmas season, with many cities hosting exciting events and festivities. Here are two of the most popular American destinations for Christmas:
New York City
New York City is known for its iconic Christmas landmarks, such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The city transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, with elaborate window displays, ice-skating rinks, and holiday markets. Stroll through Central Park, where you’ll find horse-drawn carriage rides and hot chocolate vendors. Take a walk down Fifth Avenue to see the famous department store window displays, or take in a Broadway show. New York City is truly a magical place to visit during Christmas.
Disneyland in California is a must-visit destination for families during the Christmas season. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland, with festive decorations and nightly parades. There are special holiday-themed shows, including “A Christmas Fantasy Parade” and “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks display. The Haunted Mansion is transformed into “The Nightmare Before Christmas” during the holiday season, and there are plenty of holiday treats to indulge in. Disneyland is the perfect place to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones during the Christmas season.
Note: Disneyland is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check their website for updates on reopening.
As Christmas becomes more popular in Asia, the continent has developed unique and exciting ways to celebrate the holiday season. Here are two destinations in Asia that are worth exploring during Christmas time:
A. The Philippines
The Philippines is known for having the longest Christmas season in the world, starting as early as September and lasting until January. The festive atmosphere is evident everywhere you go, with colorful decorations, parades, and Christmas carols playing on the radio. One of the most popular traditions in the Philippines is Simbang Gabi, a nine-day series of masses leading up to Christmas Eve. After the mass, Filipinos enjoy traditional holiday treats like bibingka (rice cake) and puto bumbong (purple rice cake).
While Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, it has become a popular time to celebrate with friends and family. The holiday season is a time for shopping, dining out, and enjoying the festive illuminations that light up the city streets. Christmas Eve is considered a romantic holiday, with couples exchanging gifts and enjoying dinner together. Additionally, the tradition of KFC for Christmas dinner has become so popular that people often need to reserve their bucket of chicken weeks in advance.
Whether you’re in the Philippines or Japan, you’re sure to experience unique and memorable Christmas celebrations that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Southern Hemisphere Destinations
If you’re looking to escape the chilly winter weather, why not head down to the Southern Hemisphere for a warm and sunny Christmas celebration? Here are two popular destinations that are worth considering:
Australia is famous for its stunning beaches, and Christmas is no exception. Many Australians celebrate the holiday season by hitting the beach, soaking up the sun, and enjoying a BBQ with friends and family. Bondi Beach in Sydney is a popular spot for Christmas Day, with thousands of people gathering to enjoy the festive atmosphere. Other beach destinations, such as the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, are also worth considering.
In South Africa, Christmas falls during the summer months, providing an entirely different experience from the traditional winter wonderland. While Christmas trees and decorations are still prevalent, the holiday is celebrated with a unique African twist. Many South Africans celebrate with a braai (a BBQ), enjoying traditional dishes such as boerewors (sausage) and pap (maize porridge). Other popular activities include attending carol services and going on safari to spot the “Big Five” animals.
Whether you’re looking for a beach escape or a cultural adventure, these Southern Hemisphere destinations are sure to provide a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience.
In conclusion, Christmas is a magical time of year, filled with joy, love, and the spirit of giving. It’s a time when families come together to share special moments and create memories that will last a lifetime. Choosing the perfect destination for your Christmas vacation can be a daunting task, but with the right information and guidance, you can make the most of your holiday season.
From the charming Christmas markets in Germany to the sunny beaches of Australia, there is no shortage of destinations to choose from. And while each location offers something unique, my personal recommendation for the best place to visit at Christmas is New York City. The Big Apple truly comes alive during the holiday season, with dazzling lights, festive decorations, and a variety of holiday events and activities.
Whatever destination you choose, make sure to plan ahead, book early, and fully immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. And remember, the most important thing about Christmas is spending time with loved ones and spreading kindness and joy wherever you go.
Thank you for reading my article on the best places to visit at Christmas. I hope it has been informative and helpful in your holiday planning. Happy travels and a very Merry Christmas from Steve Foxover!