Here are five cities we recommend if you are looking for a festive season that emulates the ones you dreamed about in childhood picture books.
Northern Finland is a place where the Northern Lights dance across the night sky and sleighs are the preferred mode of transport. The natural beauty of this region will take your breath away ... what else would you expect from Santa Claus’ home?
If you want to visit Santa, head to the jolly fellow's Rovaniemi office (take bus number 8 from Rovaniemi city centre) where he greets more than 300,000 visitors year-round; in-between supervising his busy toy workshop of course.
Rovaniemi is about a 1hr 20min flight from Helsinki and lies on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Perfect for the young and young at heart, this magical part of the world is a must-see for anyone seeking the ultimate white Christmas.
Quebec City – Canada
Voted Canada’s favourite city in 2017, this charming city comes alive at Christmas with winter festivals and events that transform the UNESCO-protected city into the most perfect Christmas village.
Each year the square outside the historic Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral (16 Rue De Buade, Québec City), transforms into a Christmas Market where you can purchase handmade Christmas decorations, sip on warm spiced mulled wine from the barrel, munch on hot roasted chestnuts and sample the famous Quebec ‘taffy’ made from heated maple syrup set in fresh snow.
Don’t miss Rue de Petit Champlain and it’s many delightful boutique shops, cafes and art stores. Skate on one of the outdoor rinks, or toboggan down the slopes of Dufferin Terrace at the foot of Chateau Frontenac - a family Christmas tradition for over 100 years and part of the annual Winter Festival.
Vail, Colorado – USA
Located in the beautiful Colorado mountains, Vail is the third largest ski mountain in North America and the delightful village really knows how to turn on the Christmas charm.
Snow-covered trees line the streets and historic lamp posts light up cobblestone pathways throughout the village. Alpine chalets are beautifully draped in pine garlands and families skate on the open-air skate rinks, with sleigh rides on offer everywhere.
Each night the town buzzes with Christmas parades and family activities for all ages. If you’re renting a villa or home, arrange ahead for a beautifully decorated Christmas tree for your arrival.
Vienna – Austria
Playing host to over 300 Christmas balls each year, many of which are held in the palatial settings of grand hotel ballrooms and opera houses across the city, Vienna puts on a Christmas that would make even the Grinch himself belt out a Christmas carol!
Christmas markets fill city squares and parks, with concerts and carol singing a highlight of each evening.
Don’t miss an evening performance of the famous Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, at the majestic State Opera House - one of Vienna’s best examples of elaborate Renaissance revival architecture.
Tallinn – Estonia
When you think of Christmas, Tallinn may not immediately spring to mind. But beside its countless old-world charms, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic Sea is responsible for one of the most loved traditions of all – the Christmas tree.
First erected in Raekoja Plats in 1441, the tradition continues today with a tree raising ceremony in the centre of the heritage-listed Old Town, surrounded by traditional wooden Christmas market huts as it was centuries ago.
Throughout the Old Town you will enjoy classical music events, jazz concerts and film screenings across this Eastern European winter wonderland.
Published under license from Well Travelled.