It is CHRISTMAS and “THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR”! Whether or not you’re looking into spending Christmas at home, with family, alone, traveling, working, or you see Christmas as another holiday, i.e., a day of festivities, you should still check out our specially selected 10 MOST POPULAR PLACES TO VISIT FOR CHRISTMAS.
#1. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Snowy peaks, fresh winter breeze, cobbled roads and … and … chocolate — what more could you ask for at Christmas? This fantastic combo takes us to Zurich, Switzerland. Beautifully situated in the magnificent Alps Zurich is among the winners for gorgeous Christmas Markets, especially the one located inside the train station. There are not many places in the world where one can see a singing Christmas tree, but at Zurich’s Werdmuhleplatz Christmas stories and fairy-tales come alive. Young and old enjoy guided Christmas theme strolls, as well as a bunch of caroling. Zurich awaits you for a memorable Christmas!
#2. NUREMBERG, GERMANY
Well, we believe Germany could be called the “Queen of Christmas Markets”. Travelers, from near and far have left the country astonished after visiting one or more of Germany’s Christmas Markets. The one in Nuremberg is not much different. At the Hauptmarkt you will find 180 stalls proffer toys, trinkets, candles, gingerbread, sizzling bratwurst and mulled wine. The Nuremberg Christmas market shopping is an outstanding experience that cannot be compared to the regular day-to-day mall shopping. Of course, it is best to visit the market after dark when millions of little Christmas lights will transfer you to a world of fairy-tales.
#3. DUBLIN, IRELAND
If you’re looking an untraditional Christmas experience, then Dublin is the right place for you. The Irish cracking sense of humor will welcome you with a morning swim on the 25th of December at the Forty-Foot sea-water pool. Once that’s over, you can visit the ’12 Days Christmas Market’ or enjoy more Christmas lights, cheesy pantos and ice skating with a lot of seasonal cheers at the Temple Bar. Most of all, do not miss the carols at the St.Patrick’s Cathedral.
#4. THE VATICAN, ITALY
Starting with roasted chestnuts sold at every corner to midnight Christmas Eve mass held at St.Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican is especially great to visit around Christmas. You can only see so many nativity scenes at one place, but here you can see countless of them in and around St.Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona and in the church of Santa Maria Aracoeli. After all, it is the Vatican that pulls most pilgrims. The extra frisson that the city experiences throughout December will stay like a stamp in your heart and mind, truly a real Christmas experience. If you miss the Christmas Eve mass at St.Peter’s Basilica, don’t worry and attend one on Christmas Day.
#5. BONDI BEACH, AUSTRALIA
Perhaps, you are tired of the classical snowy Christmases or you don’t like snow at all? Perhaps, you prefer to swim on Christmas than go sledding? The good news is that such a place exists, just for you, and that is Australia. A land far, far away with its own specific climate, traditions and holidays. Here sun, sand, and surf are what snow and Christmas lights are for the Northern hemisphere. Bondi Beach is the typical Christmas day location for solo-travelers. Pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sunhat, and head out to mingle with other like-minded Christmas lovers, enjoy some great music played by famous DJs and soak in the heat of Christmas Day.
#6. NEW YORK CITY, USA
“Start spreading the news, [you] are leaving today…” as the old Frank Sinatra song goes, New York is one of the few classical Christmas places to visit in December. Covered with lights top-to-bottom the tallest Christmas tree proudly stays at Rockefeller center. Of course, all of us know “perfectly well” what Christmas is in NYC, but how many of us have been there for this special holiday? Haven’t you? Come along then! Checking out the windows of the city’s largest department stores, millions of Santa Clauses greeting you all over the place and ice skating is a MUST experience while visiting the Big Apple. The famous ballet performance of the Nutcracker is also an old and beautiful tradition that New York City offers every year to its millions of visitors.
#7. SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE, FINLAND
If you couldn’t meet enough Santas in New York City, then pack your arctic gear and head north to Finland’s Arctic Circle. The fatty dressed up in red is this neighborhood’s most famous and valuable resident. Imagine the reindeer-dotted forests, numerous Christmas shops, traditional Christmas activities, deep wintertime snow and the Santa Park amusement park, and you’ve got yourself in Christmas Land. Unless you are a complete Grinch, nobody leaves this place without a big, happy smile!
#8. SALT LAKE CITY, USA
Utah, famously known for its excellent ski slopes, deep powdered snow, beautiful hiking destinations, gorgeous and unique national parks, is still not a worldly known place to visit for Christmas. What a miss! The Temple Square at downtown Salt Lake City offers the best Christmas lights viewing one has ever seen! The putting up of lights begins in early Fall and the crew is done taking them off by end of winter. There is not a tree branch or a leave that is left without a light! The grounds are decorated with hundreds of lights representing Christmas decorations and/or Nativity Scenes. The best of all you can find in the reflection pool in front of the Latter-Day Saint Temple. If you’re lucky, you might get to see and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir who perform at the Old Tabernacle Building and who have beautified the world with their angelic voices. Utah does not only have the best snow on Earth but the most beautifully decorated square at Christmas!
#9. ANYWHERE IN BULGARIA
Bulgaria is probably the last place you would plan on visiting for Christmas. Partly because of its bad reputation from the communist years, or perhaps of its status (somewhat true, somewhat not) as the poorest country within the European Union, Bulgaria remains undiscovered. However, you might be surprised to see that Christmas in Bulgaria is truly an amazing experience! Although the streets and residential buildings are not covered top-to-bottom with Christmas lights and there are no Santas on every corner, Bulgarians are proud of their Christmas traditions. Traditions originating from many years ago. Most of them come from the influence of the Orthodox Church, but the most important ones are the family traditions. Many Bulgarian families have been transferring, from generation-to-generation, strong traditions. If you can get yourself to spend a Christmas Eve at a typical Bulgarian home, you will be amazed! What matters at the end of the day is who you are with and not where you are at! Plovdiv, Bulgaria is a good start.
#10. BETHLEHEM, ISRAEL
Whether or not you are a believer, Bethlehem remains part of history. To celebrate Christmas and the Birth of Christ (if you celebrate it) at this special place is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One does not need tall Christmas trees, millions of Christmas lights or a Santa Claus greeting you at the door, not at Bethlehem. The place is magical on its own and the atmosphere and spirit felt here will give you a life-long memory. The kind of memory you want to have during the rough times in life and the kind of memory you will re-tell to more and more people every year. The energy felt at Manger Square and in the Old City on Christmas Eve could light a forest of Christmas trees. There is a mass held at St.Catherine’s Church exactly at midnight.
We want all of you to have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Let us help you plan your memorable Christmas trip this year by sharing your own Christmas fairytale with us HERE…