Are you already knee-deep in decorations? Are those Christmas radio tunes making you want to jingle some bells? Is your diet consisting entirely of gingerbread and hot cocoa? Then you’ll love these 9 escapes that’ll deliver on that holiday feeling, wrapped in a pretty bow.
1. Bruges, Belgium
The town itself looks like a Christmas card in winter. And they definitely play it up for the holidays. Bruges hosts its Christmas Market from November 24 to January 2. If crowds aren’t your thing, immerse yourself in history with a walk down the city’s cobbled streets. And don’t forget: there’s plenty of excellent beer to drink and chocolate to taste. In fact, why not combine the two? Stop at The Chocolate Kiss for a taste of their Belgian chocolate beer. Sante!
2. Strasbourg, France
This town knows Christmas. It’s famous Christmas Market (Christkindelsmärik) has been running since 1570, making it one of the oldest and longest-running town traditions. Check out the city’s impressive list of things to do over the holidays. We recommend taking a peek at “Little France,” a beautiful and historic section of Strasbourg, and trying out Alsatian delights at the food market.
3. New York City
New York is one of the best cities to visit for Christmas. Period. With all the movies, TV shows and books set in New York for Christmas, and it’s easy to see why. There’s almost too many things to do, but some must-sees include the Bergdorf Goodman holiday display on Fifth Avenue, wandering to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to see the rival lighting displays, and ultimately ending up at Rolf’s for their traditional German Christmas extravaganza.
4. Nuremberg, Germany
Nestled between the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in the heart of Bavaria is the historic city of Nuremberg. It’s an impressive display of medieval fortified buildings and Gothic brick architecture surrounded by plush, rich forest – perfect for a Christmas getaway. Hands-down, the city’s market is its star attraction. Chow down on bratwurst and drink mulled wine to your heart’s content.
5. Lapland, Finland
Go where you can visit the famed grotto of St. Nicholas himself. Lapland is this the stuff your Christmas dreams are made of. Imagine feeding snowy reindeer in one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world. Yeah, be sure to snap that so your friends get some serious FOMO. Stay at the 4-star Lapland Hotel Ounasvaara Chalets for a picturebook log cabin experience, complete with roaring fires.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is Denmark’s crown jewel, and the Danish sure know how to Christmas. Inventors of the hygge concept (the idea that being cozy makes you happier), Copenhagen is awash with things to do at Christmas. The Tivoli Gardens are well known for hosting the best Christmas market in the country, complete with roller coasters, crafts, brews, cabaret and more food than you can possibly eat. Yeah, consider that as a challenge.
7. London, England
Piccadilly Circus. Covent Garden. Harrods. Hyde Park. The list of legendary London hallmarks that get festive for Christmas goes on and on. It might get a tad crowded, so try heading further out to other zones on the Tube (London’s Metro). Check out Stratfords Roof East for retro chic 80s ski lodge bars, warm cider and a rooftop game of “sliders” (a cross between bowling and curling).
8. Colmar, France
While everyone else heads to Paris, get away from the crowds. The historic town of Colmar is perfect for walking around in with its pedestrian-only walkways. Spend your visit taking in the churches, museums and alleys all bursting with that Christmas spirit. Then, relax in a bar like L’un des Sens with a glass of delicious Alsace wine beside the fire.
9. St. Petersburg, Russia
Fancy a second Christmas? You can have it in Russia where they celebrate Christmas in early January. St. Petersburg is the ideal Christmas vacation for those looking for something a little different. Plus, expect plenty white Christmas as there will be plenty of snow. While you’re there, book a troika ride around Pavlosk Park to feel like you’re in a dark Russian novel.
Methodology: Hotel prices based on a double-occupancy room for check in: Tuesday, November 28 until check-out: Wednesday, November 29, unless otherwise stated. Prices, availability, and cancellation policies may vary. Please check actual provider policies before making a reservation.