Christmas is a wonderful time to relax, unwind and take a break with loved ones.
Increasingly, couples, families and groups of friends looking to spend the festive season together are seeking out destinations with a difference.
There are wonderful European cities that many people flock to for Christmas markets and gift shopping or simply to enjoy the bright lights and ornamental street decorations. Some northerly locations offer the opportunity to experience a storybook white Christmas, complete with roaring log fires, jingling bells and sleigh rides in the snow. Alternatively, a beach holiday offering a dose of winter sun can warm the body and rejuvenate the spirit, making for a perfect interlude between the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
Besides London, which is always great for a shopping trip at any time of year, a sojourn to cosmopolitan destinations such as Paris, Prague, Milan or Istanbul can offer adults and children alike an unforgettable Christmas holiday. For those also looking for convenience, a quick trip via Eurostar means the delights of Paris are near at hand. The antique shops, boutiques and market stalls of the French capital are loaded with high quality goods, and the city’s Christmas window displays and lights are truly dazzling. At the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral, regular performances of the Nativity take place, while ice-skating enthusiasts can enjoy skimming around the public rinks at Montparnasse or at the Hôtel de Ville.
If a Christmas break has to have snow and reindeers, then traditional destinations such as Switzerland or Finland – which boasts Christmas-themed amusement parks – are ideal for extended family groups. Alaska, on the other hand, offers a similar experience, yet also provides something a bit different. Travellers who love the natural world can enjoy the beauty of North America’s snow-covered landscapes and mountain peaks while observing the diverse wildlife in the region as it adapts to the changing seasons. Music during Christmas is an important feature – children often sing hymns and carols, while carnivals and celebrations in the winter wonderland of Alaska are extravagant and lively affairs.
A white Christmas can also mean a holiday with white sandy beaches and deep blue water; for those looking for a perfect holiday escape, such destinations will also be bathed in a warm winter sun. Along with upmarket destinations like the Maldives, there are also exotic options such as Vietnam and Thailand. For a blend between the two, however, the Philippines are ideal. The beaches here are simply fabulous, and while there are some popular, well known spots such as Boracay, it might be preferable to choose the quieter Camiguin, the country’s “Garden of Eden”, so named because of its stunning landscape, which includes lush green vegetation, hot springs and waterfalls. Keen surfers can head to the unspoiled island of Siargao for impressive waves and beautiful beaches.
For adults looking to indulge in a local Christmas holiday, shopping in London and enjoying a few nights of sophisticated pampering at hotels in London before taking the train to spend Christmas in the highlands of Scotland is hard to beat. Whether individuals decide to go abroad or stay at home this holiday season, it’s sure to be an enjoyable and memorable experience.
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