Many of us are free from work at the end of December. While it can be very comfy to stay at home with family and friends, more and more people are now choosing to travel during this time of year.
If you’re interested in going abroad during Christmas and New Year, we would like to share some of the destinations that are well suited for it. Here are our favorites!
New York City (United States)
Most people around the world have probably dreamed of spending the holiday season in New York. After all, so many Christmas movies take place there, and the city has all the facilities you could possibly ask for.
When it comes to shopping, eating and celebrating, no place does it better than New York. You get a bit of everything. And it’s a great idea to stay around for New Year’s if you want an amazing celebration. New York City is expensive during this time of the year – many tourists are coming in, so expect overbooked hotels – but it’s all worth it in the end. Everyone should at least celebrate one Christmas in America’s largest city, and if you get the chance to live there and celebrate it several times, consider yourself very fortunate!
In Europe, Madrid might be the most underrated Christmas destination. But we value it very highly.
The city gets decorated just as much as any other. All the main squares have huge markets with foods, snacks and items. Callao and Ópera are just some examples. There are many charming things about the Christmas season in Madrid. The crowds are huge, and you will notice people standing in line to buy the famous Spanish Christmas lottery tickets (El Gordo). Madrid is a highly commercial city, so you find stores of all kinds. Many restaurants will serve traditional Spanish foods, and since Madrid is the center of the country, you can easily take day trips to other Spanish cities to see their markets during December. Seville should be the second priority after Madrid!
In Europe and North America, Christmas and New Year are typically spent in cold environments. If you want to try a different type of holiday, simply visit the Southern Hemisphere where Sydney might be the best destination.
Not only can you visit a huge city that also cares a lot about the Christmas celebrations – you can even spend the December days on the beach, which is unheard of if you have always celebrated Christmas in Europe!
Sydney has always received many Christmas tourists, but that number only seems to increase with the years. For a warm holiday with a similar culture, Sydney (or any Australian city) is an ideal destination. And don’t forget this – you get to celebrate the New Year a few hours before everyone else if you stay in Sydney!
The German Christmas markets have always been famous, but don’t sleep on the Austrian ones either!
Vienna is a city with a very charming Christmas season. The surroundings are beautiful, the food and the drinks are on point, and the mood feels very calm, yet it is a big city with many great attractions.
The location in Central Europe also makes Vienna accessible to many people. An alternative could be spending Christmas in nearby Budapest, which is also famous for its many markets and celebrations.
Prague (Czech Republic)
Christmas in Prague is a bit more low-key than in the German, Austrian and Polish cities. Don’t get us wrong, Prague has beautiful markets on its main squares, and there are a lot of traditional foods to try.
But the thing that really makes Prague stand out is the surroundings. The Old Town is just so beautiful when it’s being lit up with lights during the winter. It feels like a very romantic place. Prague is also used to hosting tourists from all over Europe, so you find a great selection of hotels to choose from.
Tallinn is one of the most charming cities in Europe. It is by far the largest city in Estonia, and the people care a lot about the holiday season in December.
The old part of Tallinn has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there is a lot to see and do. It is incredibly picturesque. A lot of people also want to celebrate Christmas in snowy conditions – in Tallinn, there is a decent chance of that happening.
The mood and the markets make it seem like a fairytale, and many people consider Tallinn to be the absolute best destination in Northern and Eastern Europe during December. We can certainly understand why.
Algarve region (Portugal)
Christmas is also big in Portugal. If you want a Christmas and New Year trip full of activities, you should go to Lisbon, but if you want a calmer holiday without all the big crowds, then look a bit south and visit the Algarve region!
It arguably has the best weather in Europe during this time of the year. Not hot by any means, but warm enough to keep you from freezing if you want to go for a walk without a coat.
The Portuguese people love their holidays, so you can expect the local towns to be well decorated. Algarve has a popular airport, so it’s easy to fly in. Faro and Algarve would be some good places to stay, but there are many cute coastal towns to choose between, and almost all of these towns have hotels and holiday apartments.
For more information on visiting Algarve in general, you should read our full guide to this southern region.