Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Or perhaps just something a little different than just being home yet again? It happens.
While you can certainly find last minute deals, you’re better off in terms of value, comfort and security to plan your Christmas getaway far in advance. So, our experienced team have come up with some of the ultimate Christmas holiday destinations from around the world to inspire you for next year.
Christmas in New York
If you’ve got Bing Crosby on repeat and your dreams are indeed of the white Christmas variety, then a Big Apple trip should be first and foremost on your agenda. Americans and in particular, New Yorkers, celebrate Christmas and the holiday season to the extreme. The scene of countless festive films, the streets of New York really do transform into something magical under a mantle of snow – and you won’t be stuck for experiences in the city that never sleeps. Eat, drink and shop your way through all that’s on offer.
Boasting a 17,000 square-foot ice skating rink and over 150 shopping kiosks and food vendors, this is a local favourite. Open October through March, here you’ll find the Bank of America Winter Village Market.
Rockefeller Christmas Tree
With a 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce sporting over 45,000 LED lights, Rockefeller Centre Tree Lighting is ‘one of NYC’s best events’ and 2018 will be the 30th anniversary.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
Over 100,000 people go to Brooklyn to witness some of the most over-the-top lights. The best time to visit is mid-December through to New Year’s Eve, between dusk and 9pm – guided tours available.
Watching George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker performed live on stage is a quintessential New York Christmas experience. With 90 dancers and a whole herd of musicians, stagehands and children involved in the production, this classic tale comes alive (much like the toys) on stage.
Fifth Avenue Christmas Shopping
The window displays along Fifth Avenue are what shoppers’ dreams are made of. With big names in retail such as Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany’s and the incredible FAO Schwartz – to name but a few – the displays are iconic, dazzling and memorable. Not to mention utterly demanding on your willpower and wallet! Pause for a warming hot chocolate or hot toddy when the cold gets too much.
You’re not always guaranteed snow for a London Christmas, but you are guaranteed a beautiful display of cheer and festive scenes. A more traditional and European take on Christmas, London at Christmas time is something you should experience at least once in your life. Horse-drawn carriages, cheeky robins, roasting chestnuts, plum pudding with custard and tankards of frothing ale in ‘ye olde’ pubs with roaring fires are de rigueur. The images traditionally associated with the season can all be found here, and are in part thanks to Charles Dickens works including A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843 was one of the most popular books of the holiday season when it was released – and is still a worldwide perennial favourite. Many of our traditions in Australia stem from England and Dickensian interpretations. So why not indulge in true Yuletide fantasy with a Dickens-inspired Christmas in London?
The markets of London are fabulous year-round, yet they take on an extra dimension of loveliness come Christmas time. The smells of clove, cinnamon and gently mulling wine fill the air, mingling with the distinctive scent of pine trees and ozone before snowfall. Combined with the sight of piles of chocolates and sweets cheek by jowl with hams, cheeses and Turkish delight, it can be a wonderful sensory overload. Crowd pleasers include Borough Markets, Brick Lane Market, Columbia Road Flower Market and Old Spitalfields.
Some would argue that London rivals New York for shopping and awesome festive window displays. Oxford Street is renowned for an incredible light display, carolers and happy revellers. Check out Selfridges, Oxford Street, Fortnum and Mason, Harvey Nichols. Fenwick, Liberty and Harrods. Honourable mention to John Lewis and Marks & Spencer – English highstreet stalwarts. Don’t forget to get a bag of roasted chestnuts!
If you want a truly luxurious escape in London, then look no further than the famed Claridge’s Hotel. Royalty and rock stars alike stay here – and that’s how you’ll be treated by the staff too. Book a suite or a room and be thoroughly spoiled in grandeur – you deserve it.
Just 30-minutes from London, in amongst the stunning foliage and heritage trees of Kew Gardens, a fairyland of Christmas lights awaits. A truly stunning display with over one million lights flickering into the winter night, it’s an incredible experience for young and old.
Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace.
The Christmas markets of Europe are the stuff of dreams – handcrafted decorations, trinkets, chocolate, sweets, carols, spices, mulled wine and old traditions. All in the gloriously brisk winter air – true cold reigns in a European Christmas.
One of the world’s oldest Advent markets dating back to the 15th century – Salzburg Christkindlmarkt’s current form has been in place since 1974. Situated in the heart of the Old City expect traditional decorations and handmade gifts with over 100 stands. Daily activities include reading Christmas stories for kids, Krampus parades, guided Christmas tours, choral concerts, and much more.
The Christmas Markets in Munich are the biggest in Germany, set in the central location of Marienplatz. Dating back to the 14th century, these markets retain traditional Bavarian character, with delicacies such as Zwetschgenmand (figures made of fruit and nuts). With over 160 stalls, you’re sure to find something to wow and delight – if not the Christmas tree in front of the town hall (Neues Rathaus) that is lit with over 2,500 candles.
Prague, Czech Republic
Medieval Prague comes into its own at Christmas – you feel transported back hundreds of years in streets that have seen little change. The Old Town Square Markets are gorgeous and romantic. A little less crowded than other European markets, this is more than made up for in atmosphere and cheer. Gather at the famous astronomical clock with a steaming mug of mulled wine and breath in the very special atmosphere for an unforgettable Christmas.
Honourable Christmas Market mentions
Budapest (Hungary), Colmar (France), Basel (Switzerland), Gothenburg (Sweden).
If you are bringing the little ones or just looking for a cosy escape for two, a trip to the North is both an adventure and a romantic escape in one. Gaze at the incredible aurora borealis (the northern lights) or ride on a sleigh led by reindeer to experience the ultimate in Christmas getaways. December has the highest chance of seeing the famed Aurora Borealis. Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden and Finland all offer the chance to discover the beauty of this natural phenomenon. It’s just a matter of picking your ideal location.
Thessaloniki Christmas, Greece
If you fancy a low key Christmas escape, then Greece should be on your agenda with the city of Thessaloniki offering a fabulous Christmas atmosphere. Thessaloniki, the cultural capital of Greece, is famed for its huge lit-up boat display in place of a Christmas tree. Stick around to the 6th of January and you’ll get to experience the Greek festival of the Epiphany – ‘The Blessing of the Waters’. Daring young men dive into the winter waters for their chance to grab a blessed cross – receiving good luck for the coming year. Music, feasting (naturally) and dancing accompany this day-long festivity.
Escape to the High Seas – Christmas Cruises
What could be better than escaping to the high seas come Christmas? Just pack a bag and turn up for departure. Settle into your cabin and prepare for a period of pure bliss – no dishes or cleaning for you! All you will have to decide is where you wish to sail. To go somewhere nearby and warm, where relaxation is king? Or are you looking for more stimulation and adventure, perhaps even a little romance? At Angas Travel, we are cruising experts and more than happy to help you tailor your dream cruise package.
So while the chaos reigns free around you this holiday season, hold onto the knowledge that you’re already planning your escape for next year. These suggestions are just the tip of the festive iceberg – your options are truly endless. However and wherever you choose to celebrate Christmas in 2018, Adelaide’s Angas Travel are here to help make your dream escape a reality. We’re a one-stop shop for all your travel needs; flights, accommodation, tours, insurance, car hire and even hotel pickups. As an independent and accredited travel agent, our team of experienced, well-travelled professionals are dedicated to providing you with personal service and making your trip something special.
Happy Christmas from the Angas Travel team and don’t forget to give us a call in the new year (once you’ve recovered) so we can start planning your stress-free 2018 Christmas.