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Top 10 Christmas holiday destinations

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Whether you're after traditional Christmas markets or Santa on a surfboard, this guide to the top 10 Christmas holiday destinations will help you book the right hotel for a festive break.

Meeting Santa in Lapland

It's jingle bells all the way to the Santa Claus Village near Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, where Santa dishes out presents 365 days a year. Christmas fanatics are in their element skidooing and dashing through the snow on reindeer-driven sleighs in this winter wonderland.
Santa Claus Village, 96200 Rovaniemi

A fairy-tale Christmas market in Nurnberg

The Christmas market on Nurnberg's Hauptmarkt is pure fairy-tale stuff. During advent, 180 wooden stalls entice shoppers with Zwetschgenmännle (plum people), hand-carved nativity figurines and freshly baked gingerbread. Kids love the thatched nativity scene and steam-driven carousel.

Hauptmarkt, 90493 Nurnberg

Sizzling celebrations in Sydney

Santa arriving on a surfboard on Bondi Beach, a merry dip in the Pacific and a festive suntan make Christmas in Sydney special. It's summer Down Under, so expect barbecues with all the trimmings, carols in the sunny parks and Australia-themed light displays at City Hall.


A Christmas carol in York

York is the vision of a Dickens' novel at Christmas, particularly along the cobbled Shambles, where lanterns cast a glow on half-timbered houses and old curiosity shops. Catch a carol concert in the medieval Minster to see the city at its festive best.

York Minster, York YO17

Happy holidays in New York

New York springs to life with holiday spirit at Christmas, with an enormous tree shimmering at the Rockefeller Centre and skaters twirling in Central Park. Festive window displays at Macy's and Saks lure shoppers in for last-minute gifts.

A tuneful Christmas tree in Zürich

Frosty Swiss Alp views and Bahhofstrasse's illuminations bring yuletide cheer to Zürich. Grab a mulled wine to watch the evening Singing Christmas Tree, where young carol singers in red woollen hats flicker like candles as they sing under the fir branches. 

Werdmühleplatz, 8001, Zürich, Switzerland. 

Deck the mango trees in Goa

Swaying in a hammock by the Arabian Sea and gazing up to tinsel-draped mango trees make Christmas in Goa blissfully relaxed. Christian locals celebrate with passion, pudding and thousands of scarlet poinsettias. Catch a village carol concert before a traditional feast of pork vindaloo.

Three Kings Parade in Barcelona

Barcelona's star attraction at Christmas is the Three Kings Parade on Twelfth Night. Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar arrive by boat in the harbour, then proceed to Montjuic with glittering floats that fill the streets with music and shower the crowds with sweets. 

A winter wonderland in Whistler

Whistler is like a snow globe scene at Christmas with its alpine backdrop, blanketed in downy powder snow. Come to this postcard-pretty Canadian resort to ski on legendary slopes and huddle around a log fire in a mountain lodge.

Midnight mass in Paris

Paris is more romantic than ever at Christmas, when hundreds of trees sparkle on the Champs-Élysées and carousels turn on city squares. A must for the faithful is midnight mass at neoclassical Eglise de la Madeleine, which finishes in time to catch the last metro home.

Eglise de la Madeleine, 14 rue de Surène, 75008 Paris

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