Updated: Sep 28, 2020
If you are dreaming of travelling this Christmas in the frosty air, we are here to help.
This list will help you find the best places to travel to during Christmas. And a side-note for those Christmas Grinch Travellers - we'll also provide you a list of places that are cheap travel destinations during Christmas that instead of white snow have pearly white sands.
Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Santa Claus seems to originate in this winter wonderland as Rovaniemi, just north of the Arctic Circle, is ground zero for Christmas.
Children make gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, enroll in Elf School and can take a calligraphy class to compose their Christmas wish lists with a traditional quill. There are even seasonal positions available as elf workers in Santa's post office.
Visit the Ranua Wildlife Park, home to baby polar bears, wolverines and moose or take an entire day to learn about the Northern Lights at the Arktikum Science Center. Then take in the Northern Lights in all their glory each and every night!
Aspen, Colorado, USA
With world-class skiing, cuisine, retail, and a great nightlife scene—Aspen sings Christmas and holiday cheer! Aspen is extremely busy so remember if you do want to go, boo early and be prepared to pay a premium.
Starting December 20 with a free kick-off skating party, there are dozens of public, adult and family-friendly events around town. From cookie decorating, art projects, and story hours for the kids, free hot chocolate on the Cooper Street Mall, live jazz, après ski drink specials, and Victorian carolling, there’s something for everyone.
The Aspen Chamber has a full activities listing, or ask the Limelight concierge for suggestions. Buttermilk and Snowmass hold family celebrations of their own, featuring crafts, carolers, hot cocoa; and even Santa on a snowcat.
The Nuremberg Christmas market (Nurnberger Christkindlesmarkt) is a German institution, grabbing more than two million visitors each year to celebrate Christmas and the gift-giving season.
Highlights include a giant carved wooden Ferris wheel, old-fashioned carousel and a steam train. Nuremberg's Christmas Market Council is serious about making sure only traditional handmade toys and holiday goods are sold. No mass-produced plastic garlands or Chinese made toys are allowed. The market's 200 select vendors also put up fantastic displays as they compete for the Most Beautiful Stall Design award. Adults can enjoy Nuremberg spicy gingerbread and mugs of mulled wine and for kids, there's the amazing Toy Museum.
New York, New York, USA
New York Christmas' are centred around Rockefeller Square. Its historic ice rink has been around for 80 years and the celebrated Christmas Tree is a staple tradition since 1931.
Across the street, Radio City hosts the annual Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes. And on the corner of Central Park, Columbus Circle hosts more than 100 vendors selling clothes, gifts, snacks and drinks at the Holiday Market.
You'll be impressed with all the shopping New York has to offer, even if you just marvel at the fantastic Christmas window displays.
Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA
You will feel like you are walking into Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol when you step onto the cobblestone streets for the annual Christmas Stroll. Carollers wandering through cobblestone streets, 80 uniquely decorated trees adorn the walkway, and shop windows give New York City department stores a run for their money. There is historical Christmas charm and a magical feeling in Nantucket during the holidays that you just can't miss!
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City is one of North America's oldest cities withcolonial French architecture giving off an unmistakably European vibe. The cobbled streets of the Old Town are packed with quaint shops and delicious bistros, all merrily decorated for the holidays.
The Château Frontenac Toboggan Run (open from mid-December to March) is one of the city’s oldest traditions—and quite the thrill not to be missed. Zoom down icy tracks overlooking the city on a wooden sled reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
Prague, Czech Republic
With over six hundred years of architecture virtually untouched by natural disaster or war, few other cities in Europe look as good as Prague. Straddling the winding Vltava River, with a steep wooded hill to one side, the city retains much of its medieval layout, and navigating the lanes in the run up to Christmas is a spellbinding experience.
Christmas Markets and Europe in December go hand in hand, so make sure you wear your comfortable shoes and get ready to hit the snowy cobblestones in Prague. If you’re looking for the most scenic Christmas Market and prefer to just visit one then make sure you don’t miss a visit to the Old Town Square Christmas Market and be sure to make your way up to the top of the Old Town Tower for a view from above.
In this snow-covered landscape, daylight is only four hours so a lot of the Christmas Cheer comes at night when the liquid-green aurora borealis illuminates the nighttime sky. Soak in a thermal pool while snacking on smoked fish and drinking shots of fiery Brennivín.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
The best skiing and mountain landscape in the world beckons you to spend Christmas in the picturesque town of Banff. Stay in a Rocky Mountain Castle at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel while enjoy hot springs, world renowned cuisine and holiday shopping in the picturesque town of Banff.
And for those that hate snow and cold weather , here is a list of the cheapest and best places to travel to to find white sand and warm sunshine:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The weather during Christmas time is pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the large international airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities.
Hotels for well under US$100 per night per couple are easy to find, although if you want a well-located chain hotel you'll be paying slightly more.
While it's not as historic or “authentic,” it might also be worth looking into Los Cabos at the southern tip of Baja California. Things tend to be a bit more expensive there, but it's a shorter flight for most people and sometimes a cheaper flight as well.
3-star hotels from: US$79 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$159 per night for two people
Cancún / Cozumel / Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cancún is a resort city on the Yucatán Peninsula facing the Caribbean, and the area just to its south is known as the Riviera Maya, which includes the nearby island of Cozumel. In other words, they are all basically the same travel market, with nearly 1,000 hotels in total, and all served by the huge Cancún Airport with cheap flights from all over.
The weather in late December is predictably perfect with barely a chance of a quick thunderstorm, much less anything worse. With so many hundreds of hotels competing for business, holiday room rates for well under US$100 per night
3-star hotels from: US$45 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$189 per night for two people
Roatán Island, Honduras
Roatán Island is south of Belize and sits off the world's second largest barrier reef with excellent diving and snorkelling, plus more sandy beaches than you'd get in Belize.
There are only about 60 hotels on the island at this point, and holiday rates are still surprisingly reasonable considering what is on offer. Still, booking early is probably wise.
3-star hotels from: US$79 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$229 per night for two people
Phuket is Asia's most popular beach destination, featuring well over 1,000 hotels and resorts. It's actually an island with about 12 different beach areas that are quite different from one another.
3-star hotels from: US$24 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$49 per night for two people
Bali is in the Southern Hemisphere, and December is one of the rainy months so Christmas visitors can expect at least a few downpours per week. But the rain usually doesn't last long so it's still very popular here on the Christmas holidays.
3-star hotels from: US$17 per night for two people
4-star hotels from: US$29 per night for two people