The Christmas holiday brings good cheer, great food and even better, some time off to travel. Whether you are looking to escape the icy grip of winter or dive head first into a traditional Christmas experience, there are some great locations out there to explore either. With so many of us travelling in one way or another this December, here is a look at some of the best Christmas vacation destinations around the world.
Quebec City, Quebec
This spot is for the traditional Christmas lovers out there. Quebec City has a unique charm on a normal day but Christmas sees the cobblestone streets of this 400-year-old city lit up in luminous splendor seemingly out of the pages of Dickens novel. There is sure to be snow on the ground and the site of a 17th century stone building covered in icicles will turn even the Scrooges amongst us into carolers with holiday spirit to spare. Christmas day dinner at the Aux Anciens Canadiens is not to be missed with its delectable offerings of French-rooted Québécois cookery while staying at any of the stone-built hotels in the city, such as the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, is icing on the cake, or snowflakes on the castle, for this quaint and cultured holiday destination.
This large and energetic South American country is a perfect getaway for those looking to skip the snow while still staying in spirit. Portuguese influence within the country makes Christmas a much celebrated and festive occasion here. From the sprawling cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to more off the beaten path spots like Paraty and Trancoso, Brazil has much to offer and many locations to explore. Christmas south of the equator means summertime weather, alluring many to the beaches that become full of life and teaming with activity this time of year. Papai Noel visits children who leave a sock outside of their window bringing gifts and treats while large fireworks displays and full-fledged Christmas trees light up the country.
Don’t let the certain cold and constant darkness keep you from travelling to Iceland for Christmas. Flights are cheaper this time of year and there is plenty of fun to be found in the capitol city of Reykjavík. The city is actually becoming a fairly popular holiday destination so be sure to book hotels early as they tend to fill up quickly this time year. Ice skating, horseback riding, Christmas markets and sleigh rides are popular activities to explore and will fill up the short daylight hours. Santa Claus takes the holiday off here with the 13 Yule Lads taking his place. These prankster trolls live in caves in the mountains and only come out around Christmas so keep your eyes peeled for projections and pictures of these guys up around the city. Many people come here in winter to see the Northern Lights and there is a great chance of catching a glimpse of nature’s Christmas show if you escape the city on a clear night.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Christmas in Mexico has a special vibe surrounding it. Much more focus is placed on parties, parades, food and fun than the act of spending money on gifts. San Miguel de Allende is a stunningly beautiful city, full of romance and charm. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one afternoon spent walking the marbled streets or lounging in the plaza and it is easy to see why. Posadas take place every night on the 9 days leading up to Christmas with a candle-lit procession reenacting Mary and Josephs search for an inn. Catholic customs are strong here so the city has a very traditional feel to it, especially around the holiday. The nearest airport is Leon, about an hour’s drive away with shuttles also easily available.