It’s that wonderful time of year again! Christmas lights adorn the eaves of every house and shine from the windows of every store. Menus are being planned, spare bedrooms are made up for visiting family, and gifts are wrapped and waiting under the tree. But what if theyâ€™re not? What if you don’t have any family coming to visit, you don’t have any plans for the big lunch, and you don’t have any obligations to keep? Why not try the holidays a different way this year? Why not take a little time for yourself, if you like, or bring your family along on a new and exciting trip? There are festive destinations all over the world waiting to welcome you with open arms. You could go somewhere where you can get outside and be active, head to a destination where relaxation is your top priority or try a place where you can party your way through the holiday season. Weâ€™ve got something for everyone in our list of top ten festive destinations worldwide. Letâ€™s check them out!
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1. New York City, USA
Thereâ€™s nowhere quite like the Big Apple at Christmas time. People rush through the snow-covered streets with armfuls of Christmas packages or sip hot cocoa in the frosted cafe windows. You can see a traditional Christmas show like the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, go ice skating in Central Park or take a night-time walk to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. The vibe is second to none, and there’s so much available to entertain even the most easily bored of vacationers.
2. Bruges, Belgium
The city of Bruges simply oozes old-world European charm. Wander the cobblestone streets arm in arm with a loved one and stoll under the sparkling Christmas lights strung between buildings.Â Prepare for a white Christmas like no other in a place that is more charming than you could possibly imagine without having seen it yourself.
3. Cape Town, South Africa
While there’s certainly no snow on Africaâ€™s Southernmost tip in December, if you visit Cape Town in the summer, youâ€™ll be treated to turquoise waters that lap at secret beaches, wine farms with acres of glowing grapes on the vine, wildlife around every bend and mountains that guard the city from on high. It’s a unique place to visit for a festive vacation and one you won’t soon forget.
4. Cologne, Germany
If Christmas markets are something you love, then Cologne is the place for you. The German people take a good many things seriously, and a Christmas market is one of them! Enchanting stalls, the delectable aroma of fresh baked goods, crisp air, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere await you in this charming city.
5. Inari, Finland
Want to be as far from a massively populated area as humanly possible without actually perishing from exposure? Head to this exquisitely beautiful location in Finland. Inari is a winter wonderland with plenty of hotels and the ever-popular glass-topped igloo-like cabins that let you enjoy the Scandinavian night in all its beauty.
6. Paris, France
Letâ€™s be honest, Paris is great any time you go! However, the City of Lights earns its name over the festive months more than it does at any time of the year. The shopping is second to none, so you certainly won’t have any problems finding a killer outfit for your upcoming New Yearâ€™s bash.
7. Santa Fe, USA
Santa Fe is always charming and inspiring, but the town truly outdoes itself every year come Christmas. There are holiday art exhibitions to wander through and many masses to attend if that’s up your alley. If you do feel like skiing, you can head up into the nearby mountains and let off some steam.
8. Zell am See, Austria
Talking of skiing, the Austrian alps offer some of the best slopes in the world come Christmas. The ski lodge near Lake Zell offers more than just fresh powder, though. Try the hot, fragrant Gluhwein (mulled wine), stop by all the local stores, and indulge in a little locally crafted retail therapy, or take a slow stroll around the frozen lake.
9. San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan takes pride in the fact that its holiday season lasts a full month and a half, so youâ€™ll have plenty of time to enjoy the festivities. Exchange your eggnog for a coquito (a coconut-based drink), your scarf and gloves for a swimsuit, and enjoy all the folk music, masses, and relaxation the island offers.
10. The Maldives
If it’s sun and sand youâ€™re after, treat yourself to a holiday in the Maldives. There won’t be any snow, but the dazzling white sand on every beach will more than make up for it! Indulge in spa treatments and freshly caught seafood, and a lazy nap in the sun. Though they don’t officially celebrate Christmas in the Maldives, most hotels do cater to those who do.
Make this holiday season your most memorable one yet with an exciting trip away from home. Bon voyage!