The winter holidays are here! With Christmas on Tuesday this year, your winter vacation may start the preceding weekend. Or, a few days earlier and beyond the New Year if you’ve saved your leaves. So this is the best time to check a few winter destinations off your travel bucket list.
Get the real feel of winter in freezing cold destinations with their very own sparkly light shows; join the festivities in cities known for their merry Christmas celebrations, or head to warmer countries for some sun and sand to thaw you out.
Trending International Winter Holiday Destinations
|Destinations 2017||Destinations 2018|
Witness magic during the winter holiday season with the spectacular Northern Lights
1. Tromso, Norway
Why go: Chase the beauty that is the Aurora Borealis from the deck of a steamer ship sailing along the fjord; hop onto a snowmobile or a bus tour in the countryside, or stay put and gaze at the spectacular show from the village of Ersfjorden. Tromso is a popular choice because of its accessibility – well connected by flight and full of comfortable accommodation options.
Other tourist attractions: Visit the Arctic Cathedral, the Mack Brewery, and the Polar Museum.
Best time to visit: Between October and March
Events to attend: Gingerbread town Bergen, Christmas Market in Oslo, Rita Engedalen & Backbone blues concert, Drekkedagsnatta in Kongsberg
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
Why go: Witness the Northern Lights in the capital city of Iceland; dotted with geothermal hot springs and spas for your cosy viewing comfort. Reykjavik is about 250 kilometres from Jokulsarlon, where an iceberg filled glacier lagoon reflects the lights in the most dramatic way.
Other tourist attractions: Visit the Hallsgrimkirkja, the National Museum and soak in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.
Best time to visit: Between September and March
Events to attend: The Reykjavik Food Walk, the Northern Lights Adventure tour, Walk with locals in Reykjavík on the main street Laugavegur, on Þorláksmessa, on 23rd Dec.
Add some cheer to your holiday season with twinkling Christmas festivities
1. Prague, Czech Republic
Why go: Attend one of the best Christmas markets in Europe and shop for traditional toys, lace, Christmas decorations, and Czech glass; get into the Christmas spirit with the nativity scene at the Old Town Square; and dig into barbequed sausages and wine in your spare time. Christmas in Prague is quite the fairytale.
Other tourist attractions: Visit the medieval Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral.
Best time to visit: End May and June, and September. Visit in December for a Christmasy trip.
Events to attend: The International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music, Bohuslav Martinů Days to honour the composer, Old town square Christmas Market.
Read more: Holiday in Europe: 10 places to visit
2. New York City, United States of America
Why go: Be part of the iconic Christmas celebrations in The City – take a holiday lights tour, walk around streets dressed up in their Christmas best, admire holiday window displays and winter villages, and ice skate under the massive Rockefeller Centre tree.
Other tourist attractions: Visit the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, shop and dine, attend shows at iconic theatres, and visit the best museums in the world.
Best time to visit: Between April and June and from December to February.
Events to attend: Spirits tasting, Motorcycle Show, Horror Film Festival, Christmas tree lighting, Holiday market Grand Central.
Thaw the winter away with the sun, the sand, and the sea
Why go: Soak up the sun as you sprawl on the impeccable beaches of pretty Thailand and thaw the December chill right out of you! Sustain yourself on some of the best food – choose any menu from around the world – seafood fans will rejoice, though tourist friendly Thailand has something for everyone. And don’t forget to put that luggage space to good use in retail friendly Bangkok.
Other tourist attractions: Beaches, golf resorts, shopping, street food, and designated party areas.
Best time to visit: November to March
Events to attend: Loi Krathong -the Festival of Light, Big mountain music festival, Koh Phangan Color Moon Festival, Mae Hong Son International New year
Read more: Best time to visit Thailand
Why go: Attend the Dubai Shopping Festival held between 26th December 2017 and 28th January 2018. This time of the year is also the best weather-wise to visit this wonderful city in the desert. The days are warm, but you can spend them splashing around in some of the best water parks in the world, or shopping in air-conditioned retail havens. Evenings are pleasant and perfect to sample great cuisine and entertainment.
Other tourist attractions: Visit the Burj Khalifa, Ski Dubai, go for a desert safari, or head to Dubai Creek.
Best time to visit: December and January
Events to attend: Dubai International Film Festival, Shopping festival, New Year’s Eve celebrations, Elton John Festival.
To Book your flight tickets
You can now plan your holiday with Skyscanner’s help. If you know the departure airport and the travel dates use Skyscanner’s unique everywhere search to check for flights to various places. If you are not fussy about dates, then check the monthly view for the best dates.