The Ultimate Guide
It’s hard to describe how the perfect Christmas destination should look and feel. For many people though, it has to be cosy and welcoming and, if it’s snowing, then even better. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, after all, so spending time somewhere a little different will always make the time more special. Here are some of the ultimate destinations for a Christmas getaway.
Spending Christmas in Bruges is almost like stepping into a Christmas card. The medieval town, located in the Flemish region of Belgium, glows with fairy lights during the festive period. Complete with one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, beautiful gothic churches and pretty Christmas decorations, a visit to Bruges at Christmas is sure to leave you feeling all warm and cosy.
Whether you visit the square for ice skating and a warming mug of mulled wine or explore the medieval buildings that line each street, there are plenty of authentic festive activities to indulge in. If you fancy something a little different, or something to keep you warm during the colder days, then a bike ride through the city is one of the best ways to explore and see the sights of the city.
New York, USA
Having appeared in a number of films, TV shows and been the feature of many Christmas songs, there is no place that provides a bigger dose of Christmas magic than New York. Be ready to wrap up warm and indulge in some of the best festive holiday activities that the city has to offer.
For perhaps the most festive of activities, no trip to New York is complete without visiting Macy’s Santaland. With a 13,000 square foot Christmas display and Santa himself paying regular visits in between all of his Christmas preparation, it can become extremely busy. Tickets can be purchased for an advance visit, or you can risk it and visit in between your shopping trips.
Many of the museums and popular tourist destinations really Christmas it-up from November onwards, and the people of New York take Christmas extremely seriously. There are plenty of things to see and do, as New York is a huge city, but be sure to visit the Rockefeller Centre tree and go ice skating in Central Park if you want to feel like you are in your very own Christmas film.
If you want something that is a little less consumer-focused this Christmas, then Reykjavik is the perfect place to visit at Christmas. Over the festive period, almost every hotel is fully booked, and it is no wonder. With one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, Iceland makes for the picture-perfect Christmas.
The Nordic country focuses on its own Christmas traditions, especially the Yule Lads. Icelanders don’t believe in Santa, instead focusing on the thirteen Yule Lads that prank the locals at Christmas. Christmas lasts for 26 days, and a huge carol-singing procession is led from the Christmas service at the Hallgrimskirkja church which overlooks the city on Christmas Eve to celebrate.
In the run-up to Christmas, there is plenty to see and do around the city. Visit the infamous Blue Lagoon for some relaxation, or head out in search of the Northern Lights. Reykjavik also has its own Christmas markets and ice skating rink in the city centre.
Christmas is a truly magical time in Manchester and is the perfect location if you’re looking for a festive mini-break. There are hundreds of high street and independent stores in the city, so it is the perfect location for a spot of last minute Christmas shopping.
If you’re looking for things to do in Manchester over the festive period, then there is no shortage of activities. One of the Christmas highlights in Manchester is the European-styled Christmas Markets, which are spread across the city offering warming and delicious food, festive tipples and unique Christmas gifts.
As well as the markets, there are plenty of other festive activities you can enjoy. There are often pop-up outdoor cinemas in the Spinningfield area, showing classic Christmas films and ice skating in the shopping district. If you prefer to do something indoors, then there are plenty of festive afternoon teas on offer in many of the hotels in the city or you could visit the annual pantomime at Manchester Opera House.