Christmas vacations: 15 of the best places to go

The enchanting holiday season beckons, and what better way to celebrate than by exploring the top destinations for Christmas vacations? In this guide, we’ll delve deeper into the already mesmerizing list of “Christmas vacations: 15 of the best places to go.” Let’s uncover the unique experiences and festive traditions that make these destinations truly exceptional.

Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland: Where Christmas Comes Alive

The Finns proudly claim Rovaniemi, not the North Pole, as the official home of Santa Claus. Nestled in Lapland just north of the Arctic Circle, this winter wonderland offers a magical experience for all. From making gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus to enrolling in Elf School, Rovaniemi ensures a festive and educational escape. Don’t miss the Ranua Wildlife Park and the Arktikum Science Center, unveiling the mysteries of the Northern Lights.

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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: A Cozy Christmas Retreat

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Escape to the charming Bethlehem, a small-city Christmas escape near Philadelphia and New York City. Immerse yourself in the Live Advent Calendar, a free, family-friendly event that captures the town’s holiday spirit. With horse-drawn carriage rides, a pub tour, and historic tree displays, Bethlehem exudes warmth and festive charm.

Bath, England: Where Tradition Meets Celebration

Bath, a historic city in southwest England, seamlessly blends the celebrations of Jesus’s birth with the legacy of Jane Austen. Explore the Jane Austen Centre, attend holiday performances at the Theatre Royal, and discover unique British crafts at the Bath Christmas Market. Embrace the festive spirit at Bath on Ice, a delightful ice-skating experience.

San Fernando, Philippines: Asia’s Christmas Capital

San Fernando, Philippines, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

San Fernando in the Philippines takes the crown as Asia’s Christmas capital, renowned for its Giant Lantern Festival. Witness the dazzling parols, and electric Christmas lanterns symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem. The colorful displays evoke kaleidoscopes, stained glass windows, and oversized snowflakes, creating a unique Christmas spectacle.

Barcelona, Spain: A Regal Christmas Extravaganza

Barcelona, Spain, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Extend your holiday until the 12th day of Christmas in Barcelona to witness the grand arrival of Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar during Three Kings Day. Experience the magical parade featuring camels, elephants, giraffes, and dazzling costumes. The festivities include cannons firing, fireworks, and the symbolic handing over of keys to the city.

New York City: The Epicenter of Christmas Magic

New York City, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Rockefeller Center stands as the core of New York’s Christmas, with its iconic ice rink and decorated tree. Enjoy the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, featuring the Rockettes. Explore the Holiday Market at Columbus Circle and marvel at elaborate Christmas window displays by top fashion labels.

Nairobi, Kenya: A Vibrant Christmas Chaos

Nairobi, Kenya, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Celebrate the magic of Christmas in Nairobi, Kenya, amidst lively chaos. Experience carol music, diverse cuisines, and the scenic Karura Forest Reserve. Nairobi National Park offers a unique safari backdrop to witness rhinos, lions, and giraffes. Explore open-air markets for authentic African gifts.

Nuremberg, Germany: Tradition and Festivity Unite

Nuremberg, Germany, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Immerse yourself in the tradition of the Nuremberg Christmas market, a German institution dating back to 1628. Indulge in traditional Christmas decorations, wooden toys, and Nuremberg spicy gingerbread. Visit the Toy Museum for a nostalgic journey into holiday delights.

Bogotá, Colombia: A City Aglow with Lights

Bogotá, Colombia, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Bogotá illuminates during Christmas with vibrant lights and the Ruta Navideña or Christmas Route. Experience Día de las Velitas on December 7, marking the start of Christmas in Colombia. Indulge in traditional Colombian dishes like chapati and pilau. Explore open-air markets for unique African paintings and crafts.

Malta: A Mediterranean Christmas Wonderland

Malta is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Despite being off-season, Malta radiates festive and spiritual vibes during December. Witness presepju, nativity scenes displayed by proud residents. Downtown Valletta buzzes with carolers, Christmas lights, and holiday attractions. Visit the Malta Toy Museum for a heartwarming homage to childhood.

Quebec City, Canada: Winter Wonderland Extravaganza

Quebec City, Canada, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Quebec transforms into a picturesque Christmas village, offering holiday programs for all tastes. Old Quebec hosts the German Christmas market, and nativity scenes from around the world are displayed. Explore the nearby Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix for family-friendly winter activities.

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: A Colorful and Spiritual Christmas

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Celebrate a unique blend of solemnity and festivity in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Witness pilgrimages, piñatas, and ponche leading up to Christmas Eve. The city’s UNESCO World Heritage status adds to its charm, making it a perfect Christmas destination.

Salzburg and Oberndorf, Austria: Mozart’s Hometown Illuminated

Salzburg and Oberndorf, Austria, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, transforms into a chocolate-box perfect Christmas destination. Experience the origins of “Silent Night” in Oberndorf bei Salzburg. Discover the unusual Yuletide tradition of Krampus runs in Austria and Bavaria.

Strasbourg, France: A Blend of French and German Christmas

Strasbourg, France, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Experience both French and German Christmas flavors in Strasbourg, a border city influenced by both cultures. Dating back to 1570, Strasbourg claims to be one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. Explore themed Christmas villages, witness a towering Christmas tree, and enjoy the alternative Christmas fair.

Queenstown, New Zealand: A Southern Hemisphere Christmas

Queenstown, New Zealand, is one of the 15 best places to go this Christmas vacation

Celebrate Christmas with a Southern Hemisphere twist in Queenstown, New Zealand. Admire the pōhutukawa, New Zealand’s ruby-red flowering Christmas tree, and enjoy the pristine sandy beaches. Engage in water activities or savor a traditional Christmas meal with lamb, seafood, and chicken on the barbie.


This comprehensive guide unveils the allure of 15 exceptional Christmas vacation destinations worldwide. Whether you seek snowy landscapes, vibrant lights, or unique traditions, these destinations promise unforgettable holiday experiences. Embrace the magic of Christmas and create cherished memories in these enchanting corners of the world.

FAQs about Christmas vacations: 15 of the best places to go

What makes Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland, the official home of Santa Claus? Rovaniemi offers a magical Christmas experience with activities like gingerbread making, Elf School, and encounters with Santa Claus himself.

How does Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, celebrate Christmas differently? Bethlehem captivates with its Live Advent Calendar, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a pub tour, creating a cozy and festive Christmas escape.

Why choose San Fernando, Philippines, as Asia’s Christmas capital? San Fernando’s Giant Lantern Festival, featuring vibrant parols, makes it Asia’s Christmas capital, immersing visitors in a unique and colorful Christmas spectacle.

What is the significance of Three Kings Day in Barcelona, Spain? Three Kings Day in Barcelona brings regal splendor with a grand parade, featuring camels, elephants, and dazzling costumes, marking the official commencement of the holiday season.

What makes New York City an epicenter of Christmas magic? New York City’s iconic landmarks like Rockefeller Center, Radio City, and Columbus Circle create a magical Christmas atmosphere with renowned events and festive markets.

How does Nairobi, Kenya, celebrate Christmas traditions? Nairobi’s lively chaos during Christmas includes carol music, diverse cuisines, outdoor activities at Karura Forest Reserve, and authentic African markets for unique gifts.

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