Christmas lovers looking for something special will be delighted to find Christmas Vacation celebrations that bring the season alive with extra festive spirit!
After two years of limited activity due to the pandemic, many locations are regaining their vibrancy and getting ready for a celebratory season ahead!
Experience the beauty, charm and festive spirit of Christmas around the world! From Finland to Mexico, these 10 destinations offer up some truly magical holiday experiences that are sure to create lasting memories.
1. Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
Controversy abounds as cultures around the world battle to claim Santa Claus and his wife as their home turf. While many associate them with the North Pole, some Finns beg to differ – could this be their domain?
Rovaniemi in Lapland is a true winter wonderland, as it’s the headquarters for Christmas celebrations. Kids can learn calligraphy with an authentic quill pen and make gingerbread cookies with Mrs Claus. There are even Elf School classes to join! What better place could there be for fulfilling all your festive wishes?
Visit the Ranua Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with adorable baby polar bears, wolverines, and moose.
Discover the secrets behind one of nature’s most captivating spectacles at Arktikum: a science centre dedicated to unlocking the mystery of the northern lights.
The Arctic Snow Hotel offers an unparalleled experience with its walls made entirely of snow and ice. It has everything to keep you comfortably warm in its saunas and hot tubs.
02. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
A jewel located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley region known as Bethlehem is the perfect getaway for those wanting to experience the festivities of Christmas amidst cosy small-town vibes.
The city of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania is a city with deep-rooted Moravian heritage and hosts an annual Live Advent Calendar for visitors to enjoy! Starting December 1 to 23rd, nightly celebrations begin at 5:30 pm.
Step into the world of days gone by as Main Street echoes with a traditional town crier ringing his bell! Join in on all the fun and watch as a child is invited to come to knock three times, unleashing an unexpected surprise from one of the local businesses. Don’t miss out on this free family-friendly event at Goundie House promises delight for everyone!
This holiday season, “The Christmas City” is sparkling brighter than ever! A giant LED star has been added to the already vibrant decorations. Life-sized toy soldiers stand ready for inspection, and thousands of lights twinkle in a festive display all over town.
03. Bath, England
The streets of this charming city in southwest England come alive each year with festive celebrations honouring both the birth of Jesus and pride for local author Jane Austen.
The historic Theatre Royal, referred to by Jane Austen in classics such as “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion,” offers an exciting array of dramatic plays, musical performances, operas and concerts on its program.
With a festive atmosphere to match its historic setting, Bath Christmas Market is the place to find uniquely British handmade crafts in traditional wooden chalets snuggled between stunning Bath Abbey and venerable Roman Baths.
For a frosty thrill, put on your skates and head to Bath on Ice!
04. San Fernando, Philippines
The city of San Fernando in the northwest of Manila celebrates the impressive Giant Lantern Festival every year. A festive that is sure to light up the holiday season which is celebrated from December 17 to January 1!
Visiting the Philippines during Christmas is a magical experience. The electric lantern is one of its unique highlights also known as the Parol which symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. Paroles offer a dazzling visual experience, like staring into an enchanted kaleidoscope or through stunning stained glass windows. They shimmer and sparkle with the vibrancy of mini-prisms and majestic snowflakes.
05. Barcelona, Spain
The city of Barcelona comes alive on the 12th day of Christmas! Celebrate Three Kings Day or Epiphany alongside Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar in one of Spain’s most beloved cities.
On January 5th, a mystical scene unfolded at the city’s port. Three wise men made their grandiose arrival on board Santa Eulalia in extravagant beards and velvet robes.
The citizens of the city welcomed their beloved Magi with a bright spectacle. A symphony of cannons and vibrant fireworks illuminated the skies, signalling that it was time to present them with official keys from the mayor
In a vivid display of pageantry, the celebrants parade down city streets amidst vibrant floats adorned with majestic camels, giraffes and elephants in eye-catching costumes.
06. New York City
Rockefeller Center has for decades been the beating heart of Christmas in New York City. Skaters have twirled under its iconic ice rink since 1936 and its awe-inspiring tree – a holiday tradition since 1931 – still stands tall to this day!
Experience an enchanting holiday tradition at Radio City Music Hall features the world-famous Rockettes.
Columbus Circle is the perfect spot for your holiday shopping needs! Shop amongst over 100 vendors and find one-of-a-kind clothes, gifts, snacks and drinks at this festive Holiday Market
This Christmas season, the world’s most iconic fashion labels bring joy to department stores everywhere. Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Macy’s Herald Square flagship are just a few locations boasting show-stopping window displays filled with festive surprises from renowned brands.
07. Nairobi, Kenya
Christmas comes alive in the vibrant city of Nairobi! The air is filled with lively carols sung in multiple languages or eagerly waiting for their turn at supermarkets and restaurants.
If you are invited to someone’s home or popular local eatery in Swahili culture, your plate will be graciously filled with a variety of flavours. Enjoy traditional chapati flatbread as well as pilau rice, cooked to perfection and spiced just right! No meal is complete without the famous nyama choma grilled meat – savour its smoky flavour that would tantalize any taste buds.
Explore the lush and peaceful beauty of nature from atop Karura Forest Reserve, a popular destination for outdoor adventurers. Loved by Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, this is an excellent spot to work off those holiday calories with a scenic hike!
For a wild safari experience right near the city, visit Nairobi National Park! There you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to observe lions, rhinos, giraffes and more in their natural habitat with a distinct backdrop of urbanity.
Get your loved ones something special this Christmas – an authentic African experience! At the open-air markets of Kenya such as Maasai, you can find unique gifts like elegant jewellery and distinctive paintings, clothing and fabrics.
08. Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt (Nuremberg Christmas market) is a symbol of German tradition, with roots stretching back to 1628. Each year more than 2 million visitors flock to the market – making it one of Europe’s most popular holiday attractions.
In this city of wood and cloth, visitors can find charming huts selling traditional Christmas decorations crafted by local artisans, wooden toys as well as an array of delicious food and drinks.
For a festive and fun experience, adults can delight in the flavours of Nuremberg; with bite-sized spicy gingerbread treats and mugs of warm mulled wine. Kids will also find plenty to keep them entertained at the interactive Toy Museum!
09. Bogotá, Colombia
Colombia’s dazzling capital really sparkles during the holidays with its stunning display of Christmas lights.
Bogotá‘s “Ruta Navideña” offers a unique holiday experience. Stroll through popular spots around the city and take in its spectacular Christmas displays! Visitors to Bogota are met with an incredible landscape that includes the majestic Monserrate mountain.
Día de las Velitas is also known as Little Candles’ Day which marks the start of Christmas in Colombia. On December 7, families gather to light candles and paper lanterns on windowsills and balconies.
Christmas in this region is a delightful experience. From creamy custards known as Natillas to savoury Buñuelos, there’s an abundance of traditional favourites for locals and visitors alike to enjoy!
During the Christmas season, Malta transforms into a magical place with its festive spirit and religious zeal. This Roman Catholic island in the Mediterranean Sea is sure to bring joy and spirituality during this special time of year!
With the coming of Christmas in Malta, residents honour a beloved local tradition: presepju! To proudly reveal intricately constructed nativity scenes, shutters and even garage doors open wide every year.
Experience the wonderful holiday cheer of downtown Valletta–from songs and carols ringing out in front of Baroque St. John’s Co-Cathedral during Advent, to mesmerizing Christmas lights outlining Republic Street!
Step back in time and explore the history of childhood playthings at the Malta Toy Museum. From dolls to soldiers, train sets to clockwork tin trinkets dating as far back as the 1790s – this privately owned museum offers visitors a delightful look into days gone by!