With so many amazing destinations to choose from, it can be tough to know where will be the best place for you and your family to visit over the festive period. To help you choose, we’ve put together this handy guide to what we think are the five best places to celebrate Christmas, including tips on extra-special things you can do in each destination. So what’s holding you back? Book your flights, find a stunning hotel, and start planning your unforgettable Christmas holiday.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Christmas comes twice in Amsterdam, first on December 5th when the Dutch Sinterklaas – or Santa Claus – brings toys and presents to the children, and then again on the 25th, when families get together for a Christmas dinner. Between these two dates, Amsterdam comes alive with sparkling white lights, shopping avenues filled with decorations and – if the weather gets cold enough – people ice skating along the canals. Take a stroll along the central canal ring where you’ll find festively decorated bars and cafes ready to serve you a hot mug of mulled wine.
Germany is famed for its incredible Christmas markets, and whilst each and every city’s offering is guaranteed to impress, few can beat the extravagance and beauty of Cologne. Cologne boasts eight different Christmas markets, with the largest one being located on the square in front of the city’s stunning cathedral. Grab a cup of mulled wine, listen to the glorious sound of brass bands playing Christmas songs and stroll through the stalls selling home-made crafts. Festive cheer guaranteed.
With its extreme northern location at the foot of the Arctic Circle, you’d hardly be surprised to find Napapiiri, Lapland on this list. Every year, this snow-covered town draws thousands of visitors from all over the world, looking for a truly unforgettable Christmas holiday. Here you can take reindeer rides through snow-covered forests and drop off your wish list at a Santa-dedicated post office. If you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the big man himself.
You probably think of Rome as a typical spring or summer city-break destination, but in fact the best time to visit this beautiful city is in winter. As the weather turns cooler, the tourist crowds thin out, meaning it’s possible to enjoy all the famous sights of Rome without the infuriating queues. Rome’s Christmas offering is more subdued and solemn than most, but it can act as the perfect antidote to the commercial, brash Christmas celebrations you might find in other places.
It might seem impossible for Paris to become more beautiful and more romantic, but somehow, this is precisely what happens in the run-up to Christmas. Staying true to its moniker of ‘The City of Light’, Paris’ boulevards and shopping streets are lavishly decorated with strings of gorgeous white lights. You can even ice skate on a temporary ice rink beneath the glow of the Eiffel Tower.
Author bio: Rachel Harvey is a full-time writer blogging about travel, food and culture – although at this time of year you’re more likely to find her tucking into a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine!