The holiday season is the best time to spend some quality time with family and friends. It makes for a good excuse to leave your houses, as well as explore other towns that may lead you to the real hideout of Santa Claus.
But even if you don’t get to see the “real one,” don’t forget to still fill your suitcase with Santa memorabilia to trick kids into becoming nice instead of naughty all year round!
Regardless wherever you are in the world, Christmas is always just around the corner. Here are some of the best places to visit to feel the best of the holiday spirit!
1. New York City, USA
To celebrate Christmas in the middle of Times Square in New York City is like waking up in a dream. It really does get dreamy during this time in the city that never sleeps, so this should be on top of your list when you plan for a holiday vacation.
Bring the whole family to see the enormous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center or watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Whatever you feel like doing, there’s always something for you in New York City.
If you have enough time, extend until the New Year’s Eve for the ball drop as it is one of the most extravagant celebrations for this occasion!
2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is such a beautiful city, you probably would not run out of reasons to convince your friends and family to come and join you on this trip.
It’s such a livable city so you don’t have to worry when you plan to bring the entire motley crew with you. The pretty canals in Amsterdam are perfect when you feel like slowing down and just thinking about what you have accomplished this year.
There are also a lot of coffee shops for the older members of the vacationers, for chitchats and deep conversations while taking in the wonderful view around you.
Christmas is an official holiday in the Netherlands so most of the establishments are closed during this time. But don’t you worry, the famous museums such as the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Hermitage, and the Stedelijk Museum are open for the artsy soul in you.
3. Valkenburg, The Netherlands
This quaint town in the Netherlands is dubbed as their Christmas Town. It is definitely one of Europe’s best Christmas destinations so you better not skip this one.
The Valkenburg’s Velvet Cave has been transformed into a bustling Christmas Market where tourists often go for a one-of-a-kind Christmas shopping. If you’re lucky, you can even visit Santa’s “residence” filled with presents for everyone.
To complete the holiday experience, ride the Christmas Express train from Simpelveld to Valkenburg! It runs regularly for everyone to try.
4. Paris, France
How can we skip the City of Lights, especially during this time when dazzling lights abound?
Besides, to welcome Christmas time right under the Eiffel Tower is such a romantic scene anyone would not be able to resist. If in case it gets a bit too crowded, you can go to Champs-Elysees to see an extravagant display of lights that changes colors every few minutes.
There are also special shows at La Sainte Chapelle where you can watch and sing along with your favorite Christmas songs. The Notre Dame Cathedral is also back for its annual Christmas Market filled with goodies like French crafts and eats.
5. Quebec City, Canada
For most of us, Christmas means winter.
So, if you are one of those looking for the crisp, cold air of winter with the overflowing charm of European-inspired architecture but don’t have time to really cross another continent just in time for the holidays, head up to Quebec, Canada.
During this time of the year, the old-fashioned city is clad with Christmas lights and all the things that scream Yuletide cheer.
Kids and kids at heart would definitely enjoy snowmobiling and rush skiing in Quebec.
6. Rovaniemi, Finland
In Rovaniemi, Finland, they have a village dedicated to the Christmas season. It’s called Santa Claus Village.
The name of the little town speaks for itself as you would be able to come and get close to our favorite bearded man in a red suit. There are even reindeers prancing around town which makes for a great photo opportunity!
Whoever said Santa Claus isn’t real probably never visited this place, or well, had a bad childhood.
You can relive your childhood fantasies to visit Santa in his hometown right in Finland without having to cross another ocean to go to the North Pole. It’s really one of the best Christmas towns in the world so you better plan your trip right now.
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
Now, if you want to see Santa Claus in a different outfit, then Hawaii is the place to be. Different from the usual wintry Christmas that we are so used to, a tropical holiday wouldn’t hurt once in a while.
Get your dose of holiday vibe at Honolulu for their month-long Christmas display. Parades, live music, and a 15-meter Christmas tree will greet you once you visit the city.
It’s days and days of saltwater therapy and fresh flower aromas!
8. Jerusalem, Israel
Back to the main reason why we’re celebrating this season, Jerusalem in Israel is the best place to go to this Christmas.
Whether Hanukkah or Christmas, the holiday season is a sacred time for the people of Jerusalem. It’s a special experience for everyone, even those that share different religions and beliefs.
There’s an available guided tour around places where Jesus lived his life up to the very last moments of his earthly existence from Nazareth to Tabgha, to Capernaum and the Mt. of Beatitudes.
They also hold a special mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Day.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, make sure you make it count!