For many Americans, a simple, cozy get-together with family is the ideal holiday. Hanging up your Christmas lights, putting up the tree, and decorating the banisters with garland is an undeniably enjoyable experience. However, if you’re looking for a truly memorable holiday season, traveling with your friends and family, for example, exploring Northern Ireland might be the best way to make the most of your end of year festivities. With that in mind, let’s count down the best travel destinations for you and your family for the Christmas season.
8. Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii is a top-rated destination year-round, not just for Christmas. In the winter, the warm weather and tropical atmosphere make it seem as though you’re stepping into an entirely different world. Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is the main city center for the state. However, if you’re looking to truly get away from it all, Maui and The Big Island offer beautiful hiking trails and less touristy beaches. You may also want to book a flight between islands to make sure you see it all for longer trips. If you’re considering a trip for the holidays, this is a convenient way to visit an entirely new locale without having to cross the border.
7. Breckenridge, Colorado
Breckenridge is a small mountain town at the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with beautiful vistas, fun shops, and plenty of high-end dining options. For skiers and snowboarders, it’s likely the best way to spend your holidays. The Breckenridge resort is right outside your front door, but there are plenty of other mountains within reach by car or bus, including Keystone, Copper Mountain, and Arapahoe Basin. Snowshoeing, tubing, and shopping are also fun, relaxing experiences Breckenridge offers for anyone looking to get away from it all for the end of the year.
6. London, United Kingdom
It’s never a bad time to visit London. There’s an incredible selection of museums, historical sites, palaces, and theaters. There are also famous parks, soccer grounds, and Olympic stadiums, all within one of the most recognizable skylines on Earth. Chances are, you’re probably a fan of at least one English novel or film series that takes place within the city limits. The fun doesn’t stop there, either. There are many day trips from London that you can arrange during your time there to explore the surrounding areas! There’s really only one downside to visiting London, which is the high cost. This is especially true around Christmastime, with plenty of hotels and apartments booking up several months in advance. However, if you’re seeking a memorable vacation for you and your family outside the country, without too much culture shock or a different language, this city is probably the perfect destination.
5. Reykjavík, Iceland
The capital of Iceland, and all of the surrounding capital region for that matter, offer Christmastime travelers a chance to experience the famous northern lights, visit glaciers and other natural wonders, or relax in world-renowned hot springs and thermal pools. Though Reykjavik is the country’s capital, it’s a reasonably small, cozy town that is always perfect for the holidays.
Celebrations surrounding the winter solstice are common, and there are plenty of Christmasy knick-knack shops along the Bankastræti and surrounding the Hallgrimskirkja at the heart of the city. Given the Northern Latitude, you’ll need to dress warmly. However, the weather in Reykjavik is probably not nearly as bad as you’re imagining, with average high temperatures in December holding around 37 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re feeling up to venturing outside of the capital region, you might want to check out this list of winter activities you can enjoy while in Iceland.
4. New York City, New City
New York City is a famous destination for New Years’, but it also makes celebrating Christmas a grand affair. A visit to the Big Apple at the end of the year is a true big city experience, with the lights in central park and the countdown clock in Times Square setting the stage for such an occasion. If you’re looking to stay within the United States for the holiday season, this destination is a perfect choice for you and your family. Alternatively, this is also a great spot for getting together with friends and enjoying one of the best nights of the year out on the town. Enhance your New York trip by using luggage storage Penn Station to store away any inessential bags.
3. Munich, Germany
The Christmas markets of Bavaria, in southern Germany, are a wonder to behold. They offer incredible handcrafted ornaments and decorative goods, alongside a wide selection of bakery goods and treats. The charming, rustic atmosphere of Munich, at the heart of Bavaria, sets the stage for a perfect Christmas. In fact, the Christmas tree tradition that we enjoy in our homes today has its origins in traditional German culture. If you’re looking for a destination that blends history with modern city life, Munich is the perfect spot for you this holiday season.
2. Moscow, Russia
If there was an award for citywide Christmas decorating, Moscow would definitely win the prize. The lights and atmosphere of the city center, including the markets, ice skating rinks, and parks, turn this destination into a holiday wonderland. Unlike other destinations, Christmas is not celebrated on the 25th of December- unless you’re following the Gregorian calendar. However, by most of our calendars, the primary Christmas festivities in Moscow occur during the first week of January. If you’re planning to visit Moscow for the season, you might want to consider visiting the Bolshoi ballet and opera theater for a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet or Swan Lake.
1. Zermatt, Switzerland
The small mountain town of Zermatt lies nestled in the Alps of southern Switzerland, at the heart of Europe. The charming and quaint atmosphere of the town makes for the perfect holiday destination, particularly if you enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Even if you aren’t as fond of these outdoor sports, there are plenty of fun activities and holiday markets to visit each year, all within sight of the famous Matterhorn. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Zermatt during the Christmas season, you’ll need to book as early as possible. This destination is trendy for travelers from around the world, but the limited capacity of the town means it will never feel overly crowded, even with the holiday festivities and New Years’ celebrations.