Here are some top destinations for the ultimate Christmas getaway:
New York, United States
The city that never sleeps takes on a particularly magical tone in the festive season. Often dusted (or even buried) in snow, the streets twinkle with fairy lights and the famous shop windows glitter with tempting displays of gifts.
The famous Christmas tree out front of the Rockerfeller Centre is just as enormous as it looks in all the films you’ve seen it in, and watching the local skaters on the temporary ice rink in front of it is a great way to pass an hour, so long as you have a warm coat and boots.
Street parades, musical performances and a general sense of bonhomie make for a memorable experience – and if the cold eventually gets a bit much, it is only an internal flight to get yourself over to the west coast to thaw out before returning home.
Perhaps the spiritual home of the Christmas market, Vienna adorns its many and beautiful public squares with these bespoke craft events throughout December. Even the Schönbrunn imperial palace hosts one in front of its impressive façade.
Rug up in your furs (or polar fleece) and join the locals hunting for hand-blown glass tree ornaments, candles, jewellery and carved nativity cribs.
To warm the belly, a glass or two of warm spiced Glüwein (mulled wine) and a slab of apfelstrudel or a cone of freshly roasted chestnuts will keep you browsing a little longer.
When the cold starts to nip at your toes, head indoors to one of the hundreds of musical performances that take place in the city’s baroque halls and churches. If you have kids in tow, a daytrip to the Vienna Woods for a magical walk among the ancient trees will ensure they fall asleep early.
The Christmas season starts in Sweden on Santa Lucia Day, December 13. The eldest daughters of families dress in white robes and are crowned with candles as they process through the town.
Unsurprisingly, since the northern winter days are brief, the festive celebrations focus on light. Displays ignite all over Stockholm during December, with everything from fairy lights to giant herds of gleaming bud-lit moose.
Fossick out some truly Scandinavian gifts at the Christmas market at the beautiful Drottningholm Castle, where not only traditional crafts are on display, but also Christmas candy and, for the grown-ups, hot glögg – Sweden’s answer to mulled wine.
Book yourself into a hotel or restaurant for a truly Swedish food experience with a Christmas Eve smorgasbord replete with many different types of preserved meats, herring, cheeses and breads, and keep an eye out for the Tomte, or Christmas gnome, who takes the place of Santa for locals.
Christmas is a magical time to see this beautiful seaside town in a different light.
Carols echo through the cobbled streets, and the stone walls and parapets of the old town are decorated with a thousand lights, with Christmas trees dotted along the Stradun or main street, watched over by the city’s patron, Saint Blaise.
Even in winter, Dubrovnik can be mild and calm when the rest of Europe freezes.
Like most of Europe, Christmas is a very traditional time of year in Croatia, when local craftsmen showcase their handicrafts. The annual Christmas Fair in Dubrovnik runs from December 6 until January 8.
Christmas Eve is the bigger celebration for locals, and dried cod or bakalar is on the menu. On Christmas Day, roasted meats and stuffed cabbage leaves are followed by a huge range of biscuits and sweets.
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas in New York? Or seeing the magical Christmas markets in Europe? Rundle Mall is offering the chance to make it happen with a Make Your Christmas Dreams Come True competition. Find out more here.
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