Destinations

Five Destinations to Visit During the Holiday Season

Christmas time, as the song says, “is the most wonderful time of the year,” or at least for many of us, including myself. During this time of the year, a festive atmosphere is generated around the city. There is not one café, store, or business that you can go to which is not playing a Christmas song or has some type of decoration making reference to winter or Christmas time. Some of the things that I like about the holidays are the smell of pine when I get home, the ornaments and decorations, and of course, the yummy food that I get to indulge in. Besides being able to spend time with my family, my favorite part of the holiday season is that some of us often have time to travel and experience the different ways in which Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world. For this reason, I thought I’d share a list of five destinations that you might want to visit during this season.

New York City

In addition to being known as The City that Never Sleeps, New York is popular for the dazzling Christmas decorations found throughout Manhattan. There is not a city in the U.S. that knows how to do Christmas  better than New York, at least, in my opinion.

Christmas Tree Rockefeller Center 2016. (Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

 The week after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting is the event that officially marks the beginning of Christmas for all New Yorkers. This year the gigantic 12-ton Christmas tree came from the state of Pennsylvania.

Saks Fifth Ave Holiday Light Show and fireworks (Photo Credit: Applesteve2017/Youtube)

The magic of New York Christmas can also be experienced just across the street from Rockefeller Center, at Saks Fifth Avenue, since the store produces a pretty spectacular light show in its storefronts. You can catch a glimpse of this stunning light show every day after 4:30 p.m. all throughout the Christmas season.

Furthermore, if you visit New York and do not get to do a little Christmas shopping yourself, it is probably because you got distracted by the amazing window displays around the city. Macy’s and mostly all the stores throughout 5th Avenue have the best displays in Manhattan.

One of the window displays at Bloomingdale’s New York City. (Photo Credit: Photoframd)

One of the window displays at Macy’s New York City. (Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Last, but not least, a must-do while visiting New York City during Christmas time is ice skating at Bryant ParkCentral Park, or most importantly at the Rockefeller Center.

Ice Skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza.  (Photo Credit: Traveling Europe)

 

Rovaniemi, Finland

If you want to experience Christmas like you have never done it before, we invite you to visit the city of Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland.

Santa Park in Rovaniemi. (Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi.com)

Rovaniemi is known as “The City of Santa Claus,” because it is located in the Arctic Circle, between magical forests covered in snow and sparkling frozen rivers.

Kids crossing the Arctic Circle. (Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi.com)

Some of the most popular activities to do in this city are, cross the Arctic Circle, observe the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis and visit Santa Claus’ village.

The Northern Lights in Rovaniemi. (Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi.com)

 A curious fact about this city is that during the summer you can experience the natural phenomenon called “Midnight Sun.” During this event, the sun remains above the horizon for a period of 24 hours, due to the summer solstice, which happens on July 21. However, this phenomenon can be experienced from June 6 to July 7 every year.

Midnight sun at Rovaniemi. (Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi.com)

 

Zermatt, Switzerland

For the ski enthusiasts and adrenaline lovers, we recommend Zermatt, Switzerland, as skiing in the Alps should be on the bucket list of every traveler who loves this sport.

Matterhorn mountain above the small city of Zermatt. (Photo Credit: myswitzerland.com)

Zermatt is a mountain resort renowned for skiing, hiking, and climbing. This town lies below Matterhorn, also known as the most photogenic mountain in the world. 

Matterhorn, the favorite place for many ski aficionados. (Photo: dailymail.co.uk)

 The Zermatt Matterhorn resort’s top-notch lifting systems, excellent restaurants, and the maximum elevation of 3,820 meters (12,532 feet) make it the crème de la crème of European ski resorts. Although the stays at this mountain resort make the list of the most expensive in all of Switzerland, you can find AirBnbs at reasonable prices if you prepare well in advance.

Prague, Czech Republic

If there is one magical city in all of Europe, there is no doubt that it is Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. With breathtaking landscapes, unique historical monuments, and streets that seem to be taken out of a fairytale, this city will amaze you. For this reason, Prague made the list of our favorite holiday destinations.

Old Town Square, Prague, during Christmas time.

In Europe, nothing says Christmas, like the Christmas markets, and in Prague, you can visit some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. The most popular ones in the city are: the Old Town Square Market and the Wenceslas Square Market.

Market stand with artisanal handicrafts and Christmas decorations. (Photo Credit: newsfour.ie)

In these markets, you can find from small souvenirs for your family and friends to typical Czech dishes such as barbecued pork, their famous sausages, or the delicious Trdelník.

The Trdelník is a pastry made with rolled dough, topped with sugar and walnut mix and filled with Nutella, ice cream, or your filling of choice. (Photo Credit: Pop Sugar)

Also in the Old Town Square, you can enjoy live shows of traditional Christmas Carols, while standing next to one of the biggest Christmas trees in all the Czech Republic.

Christmas tree in the Old Town Square, Prague. (Photo Credit: Utracks)

For a complete guide to the places you cannot miss, click here to read all about Maity’s adventures in Prague.

Maity enjoying the view from the Lesser Town Bridge Tower in Prague.

 

Quebec City, Canada

Another destination to visit during the holiday season is Quebec City, one of the oldest towns in North America. The festive atmosphere of the Petit Champlain District, make of  Quebec a unique place to spend this season. 

Petit Champlain during Christmas. (Photo Credits: Huffington Post Canada)

The snow-covered streets with small boutiques and bistros are brightened by Christmas trees and decorations that embellish each and every storefront.

Antique streets at Old Town Quebec. (Photo Credits: Justin Goes Places)

Due to its French and European roots, Quebec also has German-style Christmas markets where you can shop, enjoy live music, or drink some tasty mulled wine, to fight the cold weather. 

An activity that you cannot miss while visiting Quebec is going on the traditional toboggan run at Château Frontenac. The toboggan run is one of the oldest attractions of the city and will give you the best views of Quebec, though be ready to reach a speed of 45 mph. 

Whether you are a child or an adult, the toboggan run is a must in Quebec City. (Photo Credits: Pan-American World)

One of my favorite things about traveling is not only that I get to know different cultures and different places, but I also get to try the culinary delights of each of these cities. For this reason, on your next trip to Quebec, make sure to try the Poutine, which is a Canadian dish made with french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy.

It is said that the Poutine originated in Quebec and according to locals, Le Chic Shack is one of the best places in town to try this tasty dish. (Photo Credit: Phanny S./ Trip Advisor)

Don’t forget to share your traveling adventures with all of us by using #TravelersOntheGO on your Facebook and Instagram pages. Happy Holidays!