Best Places to Visit in Christmas Holidays

Experiencing the holiday season’s enchantment is best done firsthand. While your local neighborhood might offer a glimpse of the festive spirit with its decorations and tree-lighting events, to truly immerse yourself in the full breadth of America’s Christmas joy, consider traveling beyond your hometown. These top Christmas destinations range from quaint towns to bustling cities, featuring snug cabins, holiday-themed amusement parks, and restaurants serving festive culinary delights. 

Whether you choose to spend Christmas Day itself or opt for a brief weekend trip with family or friends, these places offer a range of experiences. You could find yourself in a snowy paradise or relaxing in a warm beach town. Fans of Christmas films can even explore real-life locations from iconic movies, like the house featured in “A Christmas Story.”

Destinations like the vibrant New York City or the quaint Santa Claus, Indiana, are just a few examples of ideal places for a December retreat. The next step is simple: purchase your tickets or get your car ready, and begin packing. And remember, don’t leave behind the gifts! If you’re looking for more vacation ideas, check out our 25 best places to visit in Christmas Holidays.

25 Best Places to Visit in Christmas Holidays

1. New York City

New York City

Christmas in New York City is an experience unlike any other. The city, already famous for its bright lights, becomes even more magical during the holiday season with its festive illuminations. The search for entertainment and activities is almost effortless, thanks to the iconic attractions: the majestic tree at Rockefeller Center, the charmingly lit tree at Washington Square Park, the dazzling LED display on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue, and the captivating animated window displays at Macy’s Herald Square are just a few highlights.

During your holiday stay in NYC, you can enjoy warm hot chocolate as you browse through last-minute presents at the German-style Christmas markets. Additionally, embracing the long-standing tradition of watching the Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular is a must-do for a complete New York City holiday experience.

2. Bruges, Belgium

The Bruges Christmas Market ranks among the finest in Europe. This delightful event transforms the Markt, Bruges’ central square, into a festive wonderland. Here, various stands and wooden chalets offer an array of items, ranging from handcrafted Christmas decorations to delicious waffles and cozy woolen socks.

The market is further enhanced by the vibrantly decorated storefronts encircling the square, each adding to the festive atmosphere. In these shops, you can indulge in Belgian hot chocolate, renowned for being exceptionally delicious. Additionally, the holiday spirit spills over into the nearby Simon Stevinplein Square, hosting a smaller yet charming market. For an even more memorable experience, consider staying in a suite with canal views at the opulent and historic Hotel Van Cleef.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in December

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s allure in winter extends beyond its gingerbread-infused markets and lively Hogmanay celebrations. The city remains enchanting even on overcast days, offering cozy, world-class museums and restaurants to explore. The brisk winds from the North Sea provide the perfect excuse to seek refuge in a cozy pub and enjoy a heartwarming glass of Scotch.

For those seeking deals, early December is ideal. This period allows you to experience the open Christmas markets while the city is still calm and less crowded. Enjoy a ride on the big wheel for sweeping views above Princes Street, explore the festive-lit bars along George Street, and visit the Scottish National Gallery to view winter-themed art. As evening falls, the Royal Botanic Garden becomes a wonderland with its Christmas lights, where you can enjoy spiced cider and the festive atmosphere.

4. Iceland


Iceland stands out as an idyllic destination for those seeking the essence of the Christmas spirit. The holiday vibe is vibrant, especially in the Christmas markets dotted with wooden stalls that overflow with festive treats, drinks, and gifts, all under the watchful presence of grand Christmas trees. The landscape turns into a quintessential winter wonderland, with its untamed lava fields and rugged mountains dusted with snow, adding an extra touch of enchantment.

When the Icelandic cold becomes more pronounced, there’s no better remedy than a soothing soak in the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal waters, particularly invigorating when the temperature drops below freezing. Embarking on a self-drive journey into the mountains offers a chance to witness the mesmerizing northern lights dancing across the night sky. Additionally, seasonal adventures like trekking near the Snaefellsjokull glacier further enhance the unique winter experience in Iceland.

5. Muscat, Oman

Board a night flight and find yourself arriving in Muscat just seven hours later, with the beach conveniently located just a 15-minute drive from the airport. During your stay, embark on a journey on a traditional dhow boat from Marina Bandar al Rowhda. This is a great opportunity for children to marvel at exotic marine life, while teenagers can immerse themselves in the Bedouin culture of the Arabian desert.

Consider experiencing the wonders of Wahiba Sands, perfect for stargazing and camel riding, or visit the serene, turquoise waters of the Wadi Bani Khalid oasis. For a day of exploration, hire a local driver through your hotel to tour around Muscat, including a visit to the aromatic Mutrah Souq, known for its frankincense. Close by, you can hear the call to prayer resonating from the minarets of the lavish Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which welcomes visitors on most days.

6. Courchevel, France

Courchevel remains a premier destination for the global elite. Its broad, user-friendly ski slopes are paired with high-end dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants, and luxurious five-star accommodations, making it one of the most opulent ski resorts around. The period from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve is particularly vibrant, characterized by lively champagne bars and a glamorous crowd, all set against the backdrop of the sharply defined mountain ridges.

Celebrating New Year in Courchevel is a lavish affair, and while it comes with a hefty price tag, costs can be mitigated by opting for a self-catering apartment in the Forum, located centrally. To ensure confidence on the slopes, especially near the popular slopeside bars, consider taking lessons with the New Generation Ski School. And remember, the festivities in Courchevel begin well before December 31, so there’s no need to delay the celebration.

Read Also: Best Places to Visit in California

7. Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Germany, renowned for its Christmas markets, boasts over 60 in its capital city alone. Among these, the WeihnachtsZauber market stands out, beautifully set amidst iconic landmarks like the Französischer Dom and the Konzerthaus. Besides exploring these festive markets, visitors to Berlin can indulge in the city’s Michelin-starred dining, vibrant nightlife, and cutting-edge museums, which continue to captivate well into the new year.

A key highlight is the transformation of Berlin’s Botanic Garden from November through January. During this period, it becomes a festive paradise adorned with light sculptures and illuminations, perfect for getting into the holiday spirit. For those looking for a classic place to stay, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is a top choice. It’s conveniently located just a 15-minute walk from the enchanting WeihnachtsZauber market.

8. Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Contrary to the widespread belief that Santa Claus resides at the North Pole, the Finnish people hold Rovaniemi, located just above the Arctic Circle in Lapland, as the real center of Christmas activities. In this winter wonderland, children engage in festive activities like baking gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, participating in Elf School, or learning calligraphy to write their Christmas wish lists using traditional quills.

Additionally, a visit to Ranua Wildlife Park is highly recommended. Here, visitors can see baby polar bears, wolverines, and moose in their natural habitat. The Arktikum, a science center in the region, provides insights into the enigmatic northern lights.

For those seeking an immersive winter experience, the Arctic Snow Hotel offers a unique stay. This hotel is constructed entirely from snow and ice but also features saunas and hot tubs for guests to warm up and relax in.

9. San Fernando, Philippines

Should Asia designate a Christmas capital, San Fernando in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines would be a leading contender.

Located to the northwest of Manila, this city is famous for its Giant Lantern Festival, which runs from December 16th to January 1st. The tradition of lantern-making in San Fernando has its roots in the late 1700s.

A key attraction in San Fernando is the parol, an ornate, electric Christmas lantern representing the Star of Bethlehem. These parols are reminiscent of vibrant kaleidoscopes, magnificent stained glass windows, colorful pinwheels, or large snowflakes, adding a unique and festive flair to the holiday celebrations.

10. Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada

Quebec, a paradise for eco-conscious and outdoor enthusiasts, buzzes with a variety of winter activities catering to diverse holiday preferences. Transformed into a charming Christmas village, Old Quebec becomes even more picturesque during the holiday season. For those who enjoy traditional holiday treats, the German Christmas market offers an array of sausages and roast chestnuts. Meanwhile, visitors with a keen interest in religious traditions can explore an exhibition featuring nativity scenes from across the globe.

For families seeking outdoor adventures, the nearby Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix provides an ideal setting for hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. Adventure-seekers can also experience the thrill of snowmobiling with Nord Expe.

If you’re unable to visit during Christmas, Quebec still has plenty to offer with the Quebec Winter Carnival, scheduled from January 25 to February 11, 2024. This event promises to be a festive celebration, perfect for those wanting to experience the joys of winter in Quebec.

Also Read: Best Places To Visit In Winter In India

11. Tenerife, Spain

For those looking to enjoy some sunshine during the Christmas season, Tenerife is an ideal destination. While the impact of tourism is evident, especially in the southern coastal resorts of Costa Adeje and Playa de las Americas, these developed areas are just a small part of the island’s landscape. Venture beyond these resorts, and you’ll find unspoiled natural beauty: quaint seaside villages, stunning coves, elegant colonial towns, a lush rainforest adorned with lichen, and breathtaking ravines. Dominating this scenic backdrop is the imposing Mount Teide, a 200,000-year-old volcano and the highest peak in Spain, offering awe-inspiring views.

12. Washington, D.C.

Visit Washington, D.C. this December to witness the National Christmas Tree, enjoy ice skating at Washington Harbour, and participate in a festive sing-along at a choral concert in the National Cathedral. The city offers a plethora of holiday activities, many of which are free, allowing you to allocate more of your budget to Christmas shopping. To take a break from the chilly weather, explore the esteemed Smithsonian museums. Alternatively, you can wrap up warmly to appreciate the dazzling lights at the National Zoo or stroll along the National Mall with a warm cup of hot cocoa. For accommodation, The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown offers an unparalleled experience.

13. Antalya, Turkey

Antalya, Turkey

In Antalya, the approach to the festive season is flexible, allowing visitors to celebrate as much or as little as they like. The region’s resorts often offer attractive all-inclusive packages, complete with special gala dinners on Christmas Day. The fact that Christmas Day isn’t a public holiday in this area means everyday activities like shopping, dining out, and visiting attractions continue as usual. While sunny weather is likely, it might be too chilly for beach outings. A great alternative is exploring the region’s ancient ruins, which offer a dose of culture without the usual throngs of tourists. The ruins of Termessos and Perge, in particular, are quite remarkable and worth a visit.

14. Beaver Creek, Colorado

Beaver Creek, Colorado, located roughly 12 miles from the lively town of Vail, is another superb destination for enjoying the holiday season on the ski slopes. This scenic ski village is known for its family-friendly festive activities, which typically include an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, along with various events like holiday movie nights and cookie-baking contests.

For a comfortable and luxurious stay, The Osprey provides high-end accommodations complete with a heated outdoor pool, located just steps away from the chairlift. Alternatively, The Pines Lodge, with its limited 60 rooms, is an excellent choice, both offering the convenience of ski-in, ski-out access.

15. Paris, France

Paris, the ‘City of Lights’, lives up to its name during Christmas. The Champs-Élysées is adorned with twinkling lights, creating a romantic backdrop. Traditional Christmas markets, like the one at La Défense, offer an array of crafts and cuisine. Notre-Dame and Sacré-Cœur host enchanting Christmas concerts.

You can Read: Best Places to Visit in Winter in Bangladesh

16. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo fully embraces the Christmas season, albeit with a unique flair. The city becomes a spectacle of lights from mid-November, with illuminations adorning buildings, trees, and various other structures. Additionally, keep an eye out for festive fairs and Christmas markets, ideal for finding kawaii (cute) handmade gifts. For those traveling with children, a trip to Tokyo Disneyland is a must-do. And while the local tradition of eating KFC on Christmas Day is popular, many hotels in Tokyo provide options for a more conventional festive meal.

17. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Situated conveniently near Philadelphia and New York City, Bethlehem presents a charming small-city escape for the Christmas season.

Founded in the 1700s by Moravian settlers, Bethlehem takes pride in its unique Live Advent Calendar. This event starts at 5:30 p.m. daily from December 1st to 23rd. It’s a family-friendly occasion where a town crier walks along Main Street, ringing a bell to gather visitors at the Goundie House, the oldest building on the street. In a delightful tradition, a child from the audience is chosen to knock on the door three times, prompting a local business to emerge with a surprise for the crowd.

Known as “The Christmas City,” Bethlehem enhances its festive atmosphere with horse-drawn carriage rides, a pub tour, and displays of historic Christmas trees and decorations.

18. Salzburg, Austria

Exploring Salzburg during the Christmas season is a surefire way to immerse yourself in holiday cheer. The city’s festive Christmas markets, the comforting warmth of glühwein (mulled wine), its historic medieval castles, and a museum dedicated entirely to Christmas all contribute to a merry atmosphere. Salzburg is also celebrated as the birthplace of Mozart and the backdrop of the famous film “The Sound of Music,” which is a holiday staple for many.

Enjoy ice skating around a statue of Mozart in Mozartplatz, and experience breathtaking views of the snow-laden Alps from the south-facing terrace of Hohensalzburg Fortress. For a luxurious stay, consider the Hotel Goldener Hirsch, conveniently located in the Old Town.

19. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is enchanting during Christmas, especially the Tivoli Gardens, which transform into a winter wonderland. The amusement park offers Christmas markets, rides, and a festive atmosphere that captivates both kids and adults. The Danish tradition of ‘hygge’ creates a cozy, family-friendly environment throughout the city.

20. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

If you’re able to prolong your holiday celebrations until the 12th day of Christmas, also known as Three Kings Day or Epiphany, you’ll have the opportunity to witness a special tradition in Barcelona featuring Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar.

On January 5th evening, these kings, often referred to as the “three wise men,” make a grand entrance into Barcelona’s port aboard the Santa Eulalia, their dedicated ship, clad in beards and velvet robes. The event is marked by the firing of cannons and a spectacular fireworks display. Upon receiving the keys to the city from the mayor, the enchanting celebration of the Magi truly begins. They lead a majestic parade through the city streets, featuring a procession of floats with camels, elephants, giraffes, and resplendent costumes.

Read More: Best Activities to do in Northwest Indiana this Season

21. Sydney, Australia

If you’re in search of a destination that embraces the Christmas spirit wholeheartedly but without the typical winter chill, Australia, particularly Sydney, is an excellent choice. This city features all the traditional festive decorations, including lights and Christmas trees, and even offers ice skating. However, the experience is set apart by the warm average temperatures around 25°C. Embrace the unique experience of enjoying a Christmas dinner cooked on a beachside barbecue – it’s something you must try at least once.

22. Banff, Canada

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a picturesque escape. Couples can bask in the romantic landscape of snow-covered mountains and crystal-clear lakes. Activities include skiing, relaxing in hot springs, and enjoying the quaint charm of Banff town with its festive decorations and Christmas markets.

23. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France

Experience a blend of French and German Christmas traditions in Strasbourg, a city that straddles the cultural border between these two countries. Boasting a history dating back to 1570, Strasbourg lays claim to having the oldest Christmas market in France and one of the oldest in Europe.

The city transforms into a festive wonderland with its array of themed Christmas villages, offering a feast for the eyes and palate. Spread across various locations, these markets feature hundreds of stalls. A highlight of the festivities is the towering 30-meter (98-foot) Christmas tree that graces the Place Kléber each year, adorned with festive ornaments and lights, creating a perfect backdrop for photographic memories. In addition to the traditional market, Strasbourg also hosts the OFF alternative Christmas fair, complete with live music and a street art trail.

24. Cape Town, South Africa

For those wishing to avoid the cold of winter during Christmas, Cape Town is an ideal destination, as it enjoys summer in the Southern Hemisphere at this time. Here, you have the luxury of exploring the city’s festive holiday markets comfortably without the need for heavy coats and scarves.

A special experience that’s sure to ignite the holiday spirit is a visit to Boulders Beach, home to approximately 2,000 to 3,000 African penguins. While they may not be Santa’s elves, the opportunity to get up close and capture portrait-mode photos of these charming creatures is bound to bring a touch of warmth and joy to your holiday experience.

Read Also: Best Honeymoon Destinations in India

25. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is a hidden gem with its medieval Old Town dressed in Christmas finery. The city’s Christmas market is known for being one of the most charming in Europe. The snowy streets, historic architecture, and Estonian Christmas customs, like the Christmas Peace Declaration, offer a unique yuletide experience.

Travel Tips and Planning for Christmas Holidays

Booking in Advance: The Christmas season is a peak travel period, so it’s crucial to book flights, accommodations, and activities well in advance. This not only secures your spot but often ensures better rates.

Checking Weather Conditions: Weather can greatly affect travel plans, especially in winter. Regularly check the forecast for your destination and have a flexible itinerary to accommodate any unexpected changes.

Packing Appropriately: Depending on your destination, pack suitable clothing and essentials. For colder climates, warm layers, and snow gear; for warmer destinations, light clothing and sun protection.

Coping with Holiday Crowds and Managing Travel Stress:

  • Plan Ahead: Research your destination and have a clear plan of what you want to see and do. This can help avoid the stress of last-minute decisions.
  • Stay Flexible: Crowds and queues are common during the festive season. A flexible mindset can help you manage unexpected delays or changes.
  • Take Time to Relax: Amid the hustle of sightseeing and activities, schedule some downtime. Whether it’s a quiet evening in your accommodation or a leisurely walk, taking time to relax is essential.


Traveling during the Christmas holidays offers a unique opportunity to experience the world’s festive spirit. From the snowy landscapes of winter wonderlands to the vibrant celebrations in tropical locales, each destination presents its own version of holiday magic. As you plan your holiday travels, remember to embrace the joy and excitement of discovering new places and creating unforgettable memories.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or an off-the-beaten-path exploration, the world is full of destinations waiting to be explored. So pack your bags, plan carefully, and set off to experience the wonders of the Christmas season around the globe. The holiday season is a time to celebrate, reconnect with loved ones, and create stories that will be told for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common frequently asked questions about “Best Places to Visit in Christmas Holidays”:

What’s the Most Affordable Christmas Travel Destination?

For budget-friendly Christmas vacations, consider staying within the country. In the US, top beach cities like Miami and San Diego offer great value. If you’re thinking about international travel, Mexico is an excellent choice for Christmas 2023. Destinations like Puerto Morelos, known for its white-sand beaches, and Cancun, famous for exciting water sports and top-notch all-inclusive resorts, are worth considering. On Expedia, affordable Christmas vacation deals start at around $150* per night. You can also opt for a package deal that includes both flight and accommodation, with prices beginning at about $1,300* per person.

Where’s the Best Place to Celebrate Christmas in the USA?

New York City is a standout destination for Christmas 2023 in the USA. It’s home to the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and brims with festive activities, including the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, various Christmas markets, and eye-catching window displays on Fifth Avenue. For a winter adventure, Denver is an excellent option, offering activities like Rocky Mountain tours and ziplining. Alternatively, for a warmer holiday, Orlando is ideal, providing relaxing resorts perfect for a family Christmas vacation.

What’s the Ideal Destination for a Sunny Christmas Vacation?

For a sunny Christmas retreat in 2023, the Caribbean is a top choice, renowned for its idyllic white-sand beaches and clear blue waters. Islands like Barbados and the Bahamas are especially captivating, featuring a variety of resorts that provide special festive activities. Mexico also ranks high as a winter holiday destination, celebrated for its dynamic culture, delectable cuisine, and serene beaches. Puerto Vallarta and Cancun are among the numerous Mexican locales ideal for enjoying a sun-filled Christmas vacation.

What are some top destinations for a snowy Christmas holiday?

For a classic snowy Christmas, consider destinations like Lapland in Finland, known for its winter wonderland scenery and Northern Lights; Aspen, Colorado, for its luxury ski resorts; or Nuremberg, Germany, famous for its traditional Christmas markets.

Where can I go for a warm Christmas vacation?

Destinations like Honolulu, Hawaii, Sydney, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil offer warm climates and unique Christmas celebrations, blending traditional festivities with local customs.

What are some of the best European cities to visit during Christmas?

European cities like Paris, France, and Vienna, Austria, are renowned for their festive markets, lights, and holiday concerts. Prague, Czech Republic, and Brussels, Belgium, also offer a charming Christmas experience with their rich traditions and decorations.

What should I pack for a Christmas vacation in a cold destination?

Pack warm clothing, including thermal layers, waterproof jackets, hats, gloves, and boots suitable for snow. Don’t forget skincare essentials like lip balm and moisturizer to protect against cold, dry weather.

What are some romantic destinations for Christmas holidays?

Destinations like Venice, Italy, Bruges, Belgium, and Banff, Canada, are ideal for romantic Christmas getaways, offering picturesque settings and cozy experiences.