There’s something quite magical about Christmas, isn’t there? The rules seem to change around the holiday season. Time off work, family get-togethers, and some of the best food of the year. We’ve got a list (and we’ve checked it twice!) of five top holiday destinations. Some are well-known, some are more off the beaten track, some are luxurious and some are more affordable. What they all have in common, however, is that they truly take your breath away, each in their own special way.

Nuremberg, Germany

A strange choice to start with? Trust us, you’ll understand why. Nuremberg, in the heart of Germany, offers one of the most unique Christmas experiences anywhere on the planet. Walk through streets smelling of cinnamon spices and stalls selling world-famous Nuremberg gingerbread. The hand-stitched ornaments and gifts will make you fall in love with Christmas again, like opening presents on Christmas morning.  

During the festive season there are many things to keep you entertained. There are concerts and Christmas music playing on every corner. On top of that, nativity reenactments encourage audience participation, perfect for youngsters, or those young at heart! In particular, the Sternenhaus provides magical performances for children and young families.  

Make sure you wrap up warm though, as the chances are it will be snowing as you stroll through the city, which sparkles with twinkling lights.  

New York, USA

Possibly one of the most iconic Christmas vacation destinations of all time. Why else would the song be called the Fairytale of New York?

Christmas is one of the busiest times to visit the city, so be prepared for crowds. It wouldn’t be a trip to NYC without a visit to the Rockefeller Center. At this time of year, the Christmas tree is magical and is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, even reluctant scrooges! The ice rink there is worth a try too, and open to both advanced and beginner skaters if you don’t mind the odd bruise here and there! Both the Nutcracker and Roquettes shows are also heavily recommended!

Snowy Central Park is the stuff of dreams, and is one of the many reasons why the city has been featured on endless TV shows and blockbusters during the holidays. Christmas in New York is magical and there are many different ways to get into the holiday spirit in NYC.

Prague, Czech Republic

Despite its low profile outside of Europe, Prague comes alive at Christmas, with festive lights and huge holiday displays. The 600 year old buildings, medieval streets and the river Vitava are the perfect backdrop to Christmas songs.

Various small food stalls line the streets with delicious food unique to the traditional Czech cuisine. Our top pick would have to be Chlebicky, an open sandwich with a variety of meat and Czech sausages which are very similar to German bratwurst. Svarak, a form of Czech wine made out of apples, also keeps the cold at bay!

Just like Nurmeberg, the Christmas Markets will keep you in awe. The experience of witnessing Christmas eve in Prague is incomplete without attending the festive Christmas markets which this city hosts. Wenceslas Square is also worth visiting for enjoying the Christmas festivities in this city. These popular marketplaces are open from 2nd December till 6th January every day even during the public holidays.  

Honolulu, Hawaii

Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh? We don’t think so. What you will get in Hawaii is long beaches and year-round sunshine, so instead of coldness and clouds, you’ll start your Christmas vacation with warmth on your skin. No more turkey, instead why not BBQ some freshly-caught fish!

Thousands visit Hawaii to spend their Christmas vacation, yet the island still feels calm and authentic. People come here seeking a tropical paradise to celebrate this festive season, and that’s exactly what they get.

The celebrations focus around Honolulu City Lights, a month-long Christmas display with an opening parade, live music and a 15-meter Christmas tree. We’ve saved the best until last, though: the arrival of Santa. Like we said earlier, no sleigh involved, but he does make an entrance by sea! Carried by a canoe, he arrives on Christmas Eve for a party and photo opportunities for kids!

Courchevel, France

Just look at that image! A true winter paradise with guaranteed snow and cozy wood fires, not to mention world-class slopes for skiing fans! We recommend booking self-catering accommodation, as Courchevel does not come cheap.

There are so many upsides to splashing the cash, though. For instance, throughout the festive period there are continuous parties and street events, the highlights of course being Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Much like the unorthodox entrance in Hawaii, don’t miss Santa sledding through all the little towns of Courchevel. No reindeer to be seen unfortunately!

The season is filled with fireworks and festivity. Christmas Day promises the annual Katchalene, a festival including performances of all kinds, centered around music and magic! The Chamallow party atmosphere provides the perfect complement, with marshmallows and firepits creating warmth amongst the pistes.

Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends and soaking in the festive spirit. These five destinations provide both traditional and orthodox Christmas experiences, surrounded by both sun and snow, all at varying degrees of affordability and luxury. Feel like getting away and spending the season somewhere new? Well now you have the answers. Let us know your experiences!

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