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27 Best Christmas Destinations in The World to Experience the Holiday Magic

Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by Natalie

Searching for the best Christmas Destinations in the world to fully experience all things fresh pine and mulled wine?

As the holiday season approaches, these 27 picturesque Christmas destinations transform into magical wonderlands, complete with twinkling lights and aromatic evergreens.

From the colorful streets of Europe to the snow-covered landscapes of North America, these places have mastered the art of creating unforgettable Christmas experiences.

In no particular order, here are 27 of the Best Christmas Destinations in the World.

best Christmas destinations in the world

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Christmas Vacation Essentials

27 Best Christmas Destinations in the World

1. Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw is everything cobblestone streets and colorful gingerbread house-like architecture!

This Polish city is consistently in the top 3 for best Christmas markets in the world.

I planned my trip to Eastern Europe just to see it for myself and was so awe-struck by the beauty of this seemingly Christmas-themed city! After you’ve seen all you can of the gorgeous markets, be sure to go ice skating or hop on the Christmas tram.

best Christmas destinations in the world

2. Leavenworth, Washington

Welcome to a slice of Germany in a little corner of the USA. The Bavarian-influenced town of Leavenworth is an enchanting site to see during the holiday season. Nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, this is a Christmas-lovers paradise.

Peruse the twinkle-lit streets of Leavenworth and take in all the smells of chestnuts and cider. Don’t forget to visit the Nutcracker Museum.

best Christmas destinations in the world

3. Vienna, Austria

Renowned for its rich history and elegant architecture, Vienna takes on a magical feel during the holiday season.

As winter approaches, the Austrian capital becomes a symphony of lights, music, and festive cheer. The iconic Rathausplatz hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets, where the City Hall serves as a stunning backdrop for the festive scene.

best Christmas destinations in the world

4. Colmar, France

Visiting Colmar is like walking straight into a storybook. At Christmas time, the town square and lanes transform into lively hubs of activity, with wooden chalet-style stalls offering handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and local treats.

The “Quartier des Tanneurs,” or Tanner’s District, is a must-see during the holiday season.

best Christmas destinations in the world

5. Grindelwald Switzerland

The magical winter wonderland of Grindelwald comes alive during the holidays.

Hit the slopes to ski or snowboard, sip hot cocoa in a cozy lodge, and explore the Christmas markets where you can find handmade crafts and local treats.

best Christmas destinations in the world

6. New York City

NYC is undoubtedly one of the most magical places in the world at Christmas time. From the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to the bustling holiday market in Bryant Park, every corner of the city feels like a classic Christmas movie.

best Christmas destinations in the world

7. Quebec, Canada

Towards the end of November, Quebec City transforms into a real-life winter wonderland. The wondrous spires of Château Frontenac, the sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River, and the adventurous Place D’Youville ice rink are just a few of the endless things to do in Quebec City during the wintertime.

best Christmas destinations in the world

8. Branson, Missouri

Branson is THE Christmas spot to hit in the Midwest. If you want to completely immerse yourself in a Christmas experience, Silver Dollar City Amusement Park offers a unique family-filled holiday time to be had.

The shopping district, Branson Landing, is also decked with beautiful Christmas decorations to admire while you’re browsing shops or dining at restaurants.

best Christmas destinations in the world

9. Tallinn, Estonia

Voted time and time again as the best Christmas market in Europe, Tallinn stands as an underrated European gem that’s waiting to be discovered. This charming Estonian capital, often overlooked in favor of its more famous counterparts, has been quietly capturing hearts with its enchanting holiday spirit and old-world allure.

The town’s medieval architecture comes alive with an extra touch of wonder under the soft glow of holiday decorations.

best Christmas destinations in the world

10. Bruges Belgium

Amidst the Bruges Christmas market, the air is dancing with the irresistible smell of buttery waffles and velvety hot chocolate.

When in Bruges be sure to gaze at the dazzling Christmas tree in Markt Square. For a truly memorable experience, take a romantic canal ride and admire the lights reflecting all along the water.

best Christmas destinations in the world

11. Cologne Germany

With Cologne being one of the largest cities in Europe, treat yourself to SEVEN insanely beautiful and individually unique Christmas markets.

Be sure to check out some of the Holiday must-dos in Cologne such as the Cathedral Christmas market, Old Town, and the Chocolate Museum.

best Christmas destinations in the world

12. Rovaniemi, Finland

Rovaniemi is the official Hometown of Santa Claus, making it the perfect winter getaway. Located right at the Arctic Circle, travelers can cross the imaginary line that marks the northernmost point where the sun can be seen on the winter solstice. Of course, no trip to Rovaniemi is complete without a trip to Santa Claus Village and a view of the northern lights.

best Christmas destinations in the world

13. Tbilisi Georgia

Winter may arguably be one of the best times of the year to visit Georgia (if you can stand the cold!)

Christmas in Georgia falls later than when westerners typically celebrate with December 31 being the main event. Holiday activities get started in early December but with a full month of holidays scheduled, can last all the way to the end of January.

best Christmas destinations in the world

14. Budapest, Hungary

Whether it’s gallivanting in the Christmas market at Vörösmarty Square, unwinding in a thermal bath, or pulling out your best moves on the ice rink, Budapest is a great choice for a European winter getaway.

best Christmas destinations in the world

15. Solvang, California

Get the European winter experience without the harsh winter. Solvang is a Danish-inspired charming town in California that is full of fun Christmas activities like tree lighting, parades, and a Christmas market. Check their online calendar here so you don’t miss a thing!

best Christmas destinations in the world

16. Salzburg, Austria

With the enchanting Salzburg fortress and the Christkindlmarket in the heart of the old town, it’s no wonder why Salzburg is a fabulous winter destination to celebrate the holidays. If you can swing it, plan your trip around December 5th to experience the traditional Krampus Run.

best holiday destinations

17. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is one of the best Christmas destinations in the world because it is literally declared “the capital of Christmas!” See one of the oldest Christmas markets boasting over 300 wooden stalls filled with handcrafted gifts, regional delicacies, and warm spiced wine.

Spot the gigantic Christmas tree in Place Kleber, admire the twinkling lights from the Strasbourg Cathedral viewpoint, and take a stroll through Le Petite France.

christmas vacations

18. London, UK

One of the world’s most enchanting cities must be seen during the holiday season! See Oxford Street completely embellished with holiday decorations and go ice skating at Somerset House. Don’t forget to visit all the Christmas markets and see a holiday show at West End Theater.

christmas vacations

19. Woodstock, Vermont

Step into a cheesy hallmark Christmas movie in Woodstock Vermont. Meander in and out of the adorable local shops and plan your trip around Wassail Weekend where the town comes to life with parades, music, and holiday festivities.

christmas vacations

20. Amsterdam, Netherlands

There’s nothing more magical than perusing along the lit-up canals of Amsterdam during Christmas time. Be sure to see the Museumplein market which is a festive village with everything from artsy crafts to yummy street food.

For artsy vibes, hit up the Winter Parade or the Royal Carré Theatre – they put on some amazing holiday shows. And don’t forget to swing by Dam Square – it’s basically the Christmas epicenter with a massive tree and a vibrant atmosphere.

christmas vacations

21. Prague, Czech Republic

Start your cozy winter adventure in Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.

The Prague Castle offers breathtaking views of the city draped in snow. Don’t forget to warm up with some mulled wine or hot honey liquor, they’re the perfect fix in the chilly weather.

christmas vacations

22. Nuremberg, Germany

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets and for good reason.

You’ll be surrounded by cute little stalls selling crafts, toys, and seriously yummy gingerbread. Speaking of food, you must try the Nuremberg sausages.

Take a walk through the city’s charming medieval streets and capture the Nuremberg Castle on a snowy day when it looks like a picture postcard.

christmas vacations

23. Reykjavik, Iceland

Christmas in Reykjavik is the ultimate unique holiday experience! Check out the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður and look out for traditional Icelandic treats like kleinur.

Now, the weather might be chilly, but that’s the perfect excuse to warm up in one of Reykjavik’s geothermal pools!

If you happen to be there for New Year’s Eve, bonfire parties are a local tradition and a great way to welcome the upcoming year.

christmas vacations

24. Copenhagan, Denmark

If you’re hanging out in Denmark during Christmas time, you’re in for a hygge-filled treat!

Dive into the world of Danish Christmas markets – Tivoli Gardens is a total must, with its festive lights, rides, and stalls.

Take a stroll down Strøget, the city’s main shopping street which turns into a twinkling wonderland for the holidays.

For something truly Instagram-worthy, check out the giant Christmas tree at the City Hall Square.

best christmas destinations in the world

25. Edinburgh, Scotland

Celebrate the holidays in true Scottish style.

Capture the scenery along the Royal Mile, decked out with sparkling lights and performers. Also, see the Christmas markets in Princes Street Gardens and the Street of Light show on George Street.

Edinburgh Castle is especially worth a visit during this time of year and hosts a variety of events and concerts.

Of course, be sure to get cozy in a traditional pub to enjoy a warm pour of Scotch.

best christmas destinations in the world

26. Bethlehem, Palestine

Bethlehem, located in the West Bank of Palestine, is a place of immense significance for Christians as it’s believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. During Christmas, Bethlehem becomes a focal point for religious pilgrimage and celebration.

If you’re planning your holiday in Bethlehem, start by visiting the Church of the Nativity and attending the Midnight Mass. Stroll through Manger Square to admire all the decorations.

best christmas destinations in the world

27. Oxford, England

I consider Oxford to be one of the best Christmas destinations in the world because it already looks like a magical fairytale city any time of the year, but especially at Christmas. The historic city center hosts a charming Christmas market complete with carolers and mulled wine.

The Bodleian Library and much of the University of Oxford’s campus are decorated beautifully for the season. Complete your cozy evening in one of Oxford’s traditional pubs for hearty British fare and a fresh pint.

best christmas destinations in the world

Best Christmas Destinations in the World

From the enchanting Christmas markets of Europe to the snowy wonderland of Lapland, and the spiritual significance of Bethlehem, there are so many epic and unique best Christmas destinations in the world to suit every traveler’s dreams.

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  1. We often don’t plan to travel for Christmas. But these are definitely some picturesque destinations to consider. If we picked one a year it would keep us going for a long time. Although maybe the ones in Europe could be combined on a few trips. They all sure would put me in the holiday spirit.

    1. Thanks Linda! I totally get it. Most people save their travels for the summer. But winter holidays are so magical and way less tourists! Hope you’ll get to experience it someday. 🙂

  2. I’ve only experienced London during Christmas but I’d love to tick off all these places during this season! Thanks for sharing all your recommendations. I’ll be saving this for future trip inspiration.

  3. I just read your blog post about the best Christmas destinations in the world and I really enjoyed it! I’ve been to Wroclaw, Poland during Christmas time and it was truly magical. The city is decorated beautifully and there are so many festive activities to enjoy. I would definitely recommend Wroclaw to anyone looking for a special Christmas vacation.

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