It’s the holiday season when many people start to prepare to host family and friends. If you’re like me, however, I am preparing to get as far away as possible from my family and friends this holiday season.
With these five destinations, there will be plenty of opportunities to get away from the drudgery of hosting and spending time with family while experiencing how other parts of the world celebrate Christmas.
Fiji is considered a romantic getaway so it’s a great Christmas destination for couples and young families – especially at Christmas. The Fijians party hard at this time of year, with a mixture of celebrations throughout the entire two-week period building up to New Year’s Eve. Communities come together to sing, dance and feast on “lovo” – a variety of dishes that are slow-cooked in banana leaves.
2. New York
First-timers to New York feel as though they are in a film – so you can already imagine that Christmas is a magical time to visit the city that never sleeps. And whilst you’re there, why not take a movie tour and visit the sets of iconic Christmas films including Scrooge, Elf, Home Alone 2 and Miracle on 34th Street. As you would expect from the Americans, New York has the most elaborate decorations, the most lights and the biggest displays including the Lincoln Centre lights, the Rockefeller Tree lights and Bryant Park winter village.
3. Reykjavic Iceland
Iceland does Christmas like nowhere else; they have 26 days of Christmas, 13 Santas and an irrepressible group of Yule Lads. On top of that, the Christmas markets, ice-skating rinks on frozen ponds and the delicious offerings of Christmas buffets provide a uniquely different Christmas. And with tours to witness the white, pink, green and purple streaks in the night sky provided by the Aurora Borealis, there are no other Christmas lights in the world that compares with this natural light display.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its awe-inspiring network of canals, Amsterdam is one of the most attractive cities in the world any time of year. At Christmas, the “big village” takes on a truly magical quality that has to be experienced at least once in your lifetime – mainly due to the incredible Light Festival. In addition, you will find an endless chorus of carols, live music shows, sumptuous food, Christmas markets and romantic quality of lights shimmering on the surface of the water. If you want to experience something different this Christmas, Amsterdam is very different!
5. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s medieval downtown looks like something straight out of a fairytale. The cobbled streets and gothic architecture around Old Town Square bring the romanticism of Christmas to the surface. Christmas in Prague has a special vibe and is a must for the street food alone – delicious servings of Czech delicacies including deep-fried carp, the mouthwatering winter food, halušky and the sumptuous trdelník, a sweet pastry topped with cream and dressings. Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in the world – at Christmas, it’s even better.
Wherever you decide to go this Christmas, make sure you have a truly magical experience and hire a local tour guide. The locals know where to go and where to avoid – and with the bustling Christmas crowds, local knowledge is a gift.