Catch the world’s most festive Christmas destinations coming alive during the holiday season.
While binging on Hallmark holiday movies and cosying up in your snug bed with some hot chocolate and homemade cookies seems like a perfect Christmas eve plan, nothing beats exploring illuminated cities and tinsel towns high on the holiday fever! Whether you fancy a snowy European escape, a beach break with friends, or a romantic vacation with beau, we have a Christmas getaway idea for you this December.
25 Christmas getaways to celebrate December 25!
Endless blue lagoons, coconut-fringed islands, lots of sunshine, and white sandy beaches, the Maldivian archipelago is always a great option to escape the world’s madness. And even more so in December, when luxury resorts strive to offer you the best holiday experience you could dream of. With no rains, low humidity, and pleasant weather all season long, atolls here are perfect whether you wish to go swimming with whale sharks and manta rays, or get that tan as you unwind in the infinity pool of your private villa.
Stay here: The dedicated Christmas programme at Soneva Fushi means spectacular displays, Santa visits, elaborate Christmas menus, and an array of exciting holiday experiences.
It may sound surprising but the Japanese buzzing capital takes holiday illuminations and festivities a notch higher when various districts lock horns to come up with the most sensational displays. Be ready to gawk at 10-foot-tall snow globes at Tokyo Midtown and a giant Baccarat crystal chandelier at Yebisu Garden Place. The German-style Christmas markets here have everything from robot Santas, bedecked stalls, to Japanese antiques and kimonos on offer. Visit nearby Kyoto to see the traditional architecture of Gion and the magical lantern festival at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
Stay here: Aman Tokyo, with its peaceful inner gardens, exceptional dining venues, exciting festivities, and a serene spa, is an elevated sanctuary ideal for celebrating the holiday season.
Home to the oldest Christmas markets in France, Strasbourg is where the first-ever Market of the Infant Christ took seat back in the 16th century. Arrive at the ‘Capital of Christmas’ when you wish to glide around ice rinks, sip on mulled wine, and experience the fascinating flea set beneath the stunning eponymous cathedral. Don’t forget to have many helpings of choucroute (a Strasbourg specialty of fermented cabbage and sausage), foie gras, and other Alsatian delicacies.
Stay here: Pick a fancy suite at the charming the Cour du Corbeau that overlooks medieval half-timbered rooftops, cobbled courtyard, and of course, the Christmas markets.
Bask in glorious festivities and holiday traditions, including midnight masses, carols, fireworks, and crazy beach parties — the Goan way of celebrating Christmas brings it all together and how. Add to it the perfect weather, carnivals, and raves that extend to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Dance till the sun shows up and then, head to a quiet beach, like Arambol or Palolem, to experience the most stunning sunrise.
Stay here: Marriott’s W Goa on Vagator Beach is known for throwing the best parties, serving up delicious cocktail at its peppy lounge, and offering detox therapies at its spa after a fun, fun night!
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ditch Rio to arrive at Sao Paulo to see exactly why its dynamic culture is making news in the world of art and architecture, food, and fashion. Have fun at holiday beach parties, enjoy pleasant spring days by the coasts, eat at the most innovative restaurants of Brazil, and attend the popular Sao Paulo Art Biennial, and end the day with a night cap at one of its buzzing bars.
Stay here: L’Hotel PortoBay São Paulo is a boutique property just off the popular Avenida Paulista. Celebrate Christmas eve by toasting to good company and good food at its Trebbiano Ristorante.
Cape Town, South Africa
How do candle-lit carols at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and open-air screenings of Christmas movies sound? Cape Town does Christmas in its own unique way with artisanal food stalls, fascinating fleas, magic shows, and other holiday activities at V&A Waterfront. Surf at Llandudno beach and spend the evening feasting in a wine estate in Franschhoek.
Stay here: Christmas at The President is a grand affair that treats you with assisted butler lunch, interesting wine offerings, curated menus for gin and craft beer, live entertainment, and spectacular sea views.
St Moritz, Switzerland
You just can’t go wrong with a holiday spent amid snow-capped Swiss Alps! Think exhilarating tobogganing and ice skating sessions, horse-drawn sleigh rides, age-old spa traditions, and more. The glitzy Alpine ski destination of St Moritz lets you be as Christmassy as you’d like.
Stay here: Rejuvenate yourself at the heated open-air pool of Kulm Hotel, a 160-year-old heritage property, overlooking at the winter wonderland that St Moritz is.
Expect the inhabited islands in the Bahamas to be fully decorated and abuzz with holiday festivities the entire season. The annual Junkanoo Parade and many carnivals bring the Christmas cheer to the archipelago. Visit Nassau where carols and drum beatings fill the air and performers dressed to the nines take to the streets. Try the traditional conch salad, pack a beach picnic, or go glamping in Eleuthera!
Stay here: Comfort Suites on Paradise Island is inviting guests to experience a nine-day-long, action-packed Christmas vacation filled with live entertainment, Bahamian delicacies, Santa Claus appearances, complimentary activities at the Aquaventure waterpark and more.
Christmas in Iceland means nothing less than 26 days of traditional festivities! The Icelandic traditions are most iconic in Reykjavík with strings of glinting lights illuminating the streets and Northern Lights filling up the skies on clear days. The frozen central pond of Tjörnin is a great site for ice skating. Watch the capital transform into a white wonderland and see 13 Yule Lads or Santa Clauses drop gifts to children over 13 nights!
Stay here: The capital city’s most sophisticated address, Hotel Borg offers luxury at the heart of Reykjavík, art deco-style suites, and rejuvenating services after a long day of merry-making.
Kick off your holiday with a weekly Fire & Ice show of skiers jumping through fire hoops, rounds of snowmobiling down the slopes, and a peaceful stay at one of the many bedecked luxury chalets at Whistler. Snow is guaranteed to fall and temperatures are sure to drop. Christmas feasts are also aplenty across the Canadian town. Soak in the gorgeous views of Blackcomb Peak and relish traditional pumpkin pies while you enjoy your ski staycation here.
Stay here: Fairmont Chateau Whistler naturally tops the charts, thanks to its modern alpine setting, 18-hole classy golf course, exceptional suites and concierge service, and special Christmas packages.
Expect, of course, no less than over-the-top decorations and extravagant celebrations in Dubai. Go on a shopping spree at the fancy Souk Madinat Jumeirah but also set aside time to stock up on Christmas souvenirs at one of the city’s Christmas markets and the exciting annual Santa Run. What’s more? Waterpark rides, towering twinkling buildings, endless beach adventures… you name it, Dubai has it.
Stay here: Atlantis The Palm is going all out with 27 adorned trees, a pop-up Festive Village, giant gingerbread houses, Christmas Day lunch served at 10 restaurants, and an unforgettable New Year’s Eve gala dinner!
Not all Christmas vacations have to be kitschy. If you prefer white sands to white Christmas, plan a trip to Bali to ride on a scooter through vast rice fields, go glamping in jungle or stay at a Balinese resort with your private saltwater pool (dreamy, right?), and take idle strolls along long beach stretches. Visit the Canggu Xmas Bazaar for an Advent fix to get your hands on festive crafts and Indonesian street foods.
Stay here: An entertainment hotel as it is called, Hard Rock Hotel is where you can enjoy a splash in the largest pool in Bali, nightly live shows, jam sessions, and an elaborate Christmas eve buffet dinner.
White Christmas at its best. Snug stays in glass igloos, husky-sled and sauna gondola rides at Yllas, and of course, lavish Lappish Christmas feast with reindeer on plate is what you can expect in Lapland! Relax in an outdoor Jacuzzi amid snow-covered mountains, or head to the less-crowded Inari neighbourhood, where holidays are quieter but equally pretty.
Stay here: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers snug glass igloos, tours to see Northern Lights, and even a trip to Santa’s home!
Holiday season in Berlin is all about the Yuletide cheer mixed with a throbbing party scene! Visiting the best of German Christmas markets is a must — it is believed that embellishments including decorated trees, baubles and tinsel were discovered in Germany! Besides, find it all from toboggan runs and ice rinks to giant Ferris wheels and ramped up club scenes.
Stay here: Sweet Suite Christmas at The Ritz-Carlton is offering a stay at one of its decorated Deluxe Junior Suites with Christmas treats and amenities, and breathtaking views of the Potsdamer Platz market.
Sydney’s Christmas lights will make you forget about all the holiday displays you have seen so far! Plus, forget 12 days of Christmas, it is a month-long affair here with the aptly-named festival of Sydney Christmas that features the city’s largest Christmas tree at Martin Place. Attend what’s popular as the world’s most famous Christmas party in Bondi, to enjoy beach barbeque, booze fests, and Christmas roast at Bavarian Bondi Beach.
Stay here: Join Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour in experiencing a sharing-style menu with flavours from South of France, and later, enjoy the NYE Soiree at Club Millésime.
Barbados, The Caribbean
Christmas cruises along the cerulean waters and honey-hued beaches are a major pull in Barbados every festive season. Add to it the balmy weather, swaying palms, and swelling tides ideal for surfing. Don’t forget to try the boozy, rum-infused Bajan cake instead of Christmas pastries, we promise you won’t regret it.
Stay here: Trust Sandy Lane for making your Christmas merry with its luxury packages, covering wellness therapies to adventures, to festive foods, and everything in between.
Lesser crowds, stunning winter landscapes, and opera/ballet performances at Bolshoi Theatre promise a pretty amazing Advent vacation at Moscow. The annual ‘Journey to Christmas’ festival runs for over a month at more than 40 different venues in the city. Enjoy caviar and karaoke at bars, hog on street food cooked by locals at open-air Izmailovsky Market, and stroll at the Tretyakov museum minus the flocks of tourists. Relax at Banya or a Russian sauna that is one of the oldest local traditions.
Stay here: The Four Seasons property here is where Christmas brunch, live music, and panoramic views of the Kremlin and Manezhnaya Square await your arrival this season.
New York City, US
New York City for a Christmas break is a no brainer. After all, what can possibly go wrong with ice skating at Central Park, visiting the bedecked tree at Rockefeller Centre, and gawking at charming window displays at Fifth Avenue, or over-the-top Christmas decorations at Dyker Heights. You can even pick to ride the gorgeously restored, vintage Jane’s Carousel on the East River-front for a romantic winter evening.
Stay here: The Plaza is a Beaux Arts–style, 19-storey dreamy hotel frequented by Hollywood celebrities. “The Plaza for the Holidays” offer includes festive floral arrangements, six-foot Christmas tree, and welcome treats in your room.
Holiday season is the only time when fashion takes backseat in Milan to give the spotlight to Christmas festivities. Experience unique Milanese holiday traditions, like the feast of the patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio. Take a trip to the twinkly market set up in the grounds of red-brick Castello Sforzesco fortress. Visit galleries at Zona Tortona, have brunches and mulled wine, and pick handmade trinkets and latest fashion to take back home.
Stay here: Impeccable service and authentic Italian charm await you at Hotel Principe di Savoia. Book the Festive Season package and receive luxury accommodation for two, complimentary welcome treats and daily breakfasts, and indulgent chocolate afternoon tea.
Dream-like horse carriage rides around medieval squares is what locals and tourists alike look most forward to, during the holiday season in Poland’s Kraków. Make your way to its markets for delicious dumplings and artisanal baubles, try flavoured vodka at a cellar bar around the corner and enjoy buzzing nightlife at Tynato.
Stay here: Spend a magical Christmas at Sheraton Grand Kraków with its festive package that includes daily breakfast for two, Christmas Eve dinner for two, holiday themed welcome amenity and more.
Hogmanay parties, snug watering holes, and global museums are what you get when you decide to spend Christmas the Scottish way in Edinburgh. There are also Christmas markets, adventure rides on Princes Street, fascinating holiday displays, and illuminations at Royal Botanic Garden to look forward to.
Stay here: The Dunstane House is offering luxury Christmas vouchers for your loved ones as well as indulgent holiday stay experiences for you.
Christmas or no Christmas — Marrakesh is always dreamy. But the over-the-top decorations along with snowy Atlas peaks do help you get into the festive cheer. Expect lots of sunshine even in December. Pay a visit to the colossal Catholic churches and prep to bargain at Moroccan souks. While scaling Mount Toubkal might be a tough task this time of the year, you can trek through Ouirgane National Park and Azzaden Valley.
Stay here: This year, Royal Mansour Marrakesh looks up to Venice for display inspiration. Enjoy a lavish masquerade ball along with commedia dell’arte performances and Italian feasts at Sesamo restaurant, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Maximilano Alajmo.
Treat yourself to some fun and joy at Singapore. Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay is pulling out all the stops with stunning light displays, carnival games, shopping stalls, and a Garden Rhapsody light and sound show. Enjoy the dazzling annual light-up along Orchard Road and visit Marina Bay for a fireworks party and an epic NYE countdown.
Stay here: At Resort World Sentosa, stay at a beach villa and savour your choice of fine multi-course dining from some our most celebrated restaurants. Explore the world-class Universal Studios Singapore and the majestic marine life of S.E.A. Aquarium.
Prague, Czech Republic
Come to Prague for a vintage Christmas holiday. You just won’t be able to take your eyes off the illuminated gothic-baroque architecture or the fascinating fleas with Prague Castle in the backdrop. Take a stroll on Charles Bridge, and glide down the ice rinks on Mala Strana quarter.
Stay here: Stay at Alchymist Grand amid 500-year-old buildings and be welcomed with mulled wine upon check-in, enjoy relaxing sauna sessions, and feast your eyes on Christmas decorations.
Las Vegas, US
Watch the rather hedonistic strip of Vegas transform into a winter wonderland of festive family events. Think colourful displays, giant gingerbread figures, and a 42-foot Christmas tree at the Bellagio’s gardens! Later, watch the Fountains of Bellagio come to life with holiday classic performances like Santa Baby and Carol of the Bells.
Stay here: The Venetian Resort is celebrating the Christmas season with discounts on suites, holiday-inspired treats, Christmas brunches, special cocktails, musical shows, ugly sweater pajama parties, and more.