10 Best Fairytale Christmas Destinations
There is something about tradition that makes us feel connected, and in a year where we might feel somewhat disconnected, the holiday season is a way for us to be connected in human spirit. If you don’t have any holiday traditions of your own, or you’re just looking for a unique holiday, I’m here to share some of the cities/towns that do Christmas the best. This year, or next year, these are some of the most magical destinations that you can visit during the holiday season, whether you’re looking for a cozy snowy getaway or a sun-drenched tropical vacation. It’s never too early to start planning for holiday seasons to come…
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1. KITZBUHEL, AUSTRIA
This small skiing village in the Austrian alps is about as fairytale-esque as it gets. Spend a day on the slopes and then head to the historic downtown area to soak in the sights and smells as you wander through their annual advent Christmas market. There are also over 50 ski huts scattered across the mountain to provide accommodation and nourishment for the more adventurous back-country and cross-country skiers. Or for something more my pace, head back to Hotel Penzinghof to warm up with the sauna/hot tub and a glass of “Punsch”, Austria’s version of traditional mulled wine.
Where to stay in Kitzbuhel, Austria
Hotel Penzinghof – a chic hotel and spa with warm saunas, a salt water steam bath, an infrared cabin, and gorgeous views overlooking the mountains. Or in one of these airbnbs:
2. QUEBEC CITY, CANADA
In early December, Quebec transforms its cobblestone streets into a Christmas village that will have you feeling like you’ve been transported directly into “A Christmas Carol”. As one of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec’s colonial architecture and french dialect will give you the European holiday without the price tag. Explore cozy bistros or wander the streets sampling the roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.
Where to stay in Quebec
Glamorous Aspen not only has some of the best skiing you can find in the United States, it also has by far the best Apres Ski scene. Head to this gorgeous mountain town for incredible views and swoon-worthy luxury accommodation anytime of year, but winter is the best, especially for Christmas and New Year’s Eve vacations.
And, even if you don’t ski, Aspen is also one of the best mountain getaway spots for non-skiiers! For recommendations on what to do, where to stay, the best restaurants, bars and more, check out my Ultimate Jetset Guide to Aspen.
4. NEW YORK, NEW YORK
I mean is there anything that can really compete with the iconic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, the window displays on 5th Avenue and the Ice Skating rink in Central Park?? New York City at Christmas is a dream. Plus, a Broadway show alone is worth the trip!
Where to stay in New York City
5. LAPLAND, FINLAND
Where reindeer roam, Northern lights sparkle and you can sleep inside a snow-globe. Just south of the arctic circle, as close to Santa as you’re gonna get, lies Lapland- a pristine winter wonderland. Snowshoe, ski and sled by day, chase the northern lights by night. Lapland is truly a bucket list experience, for the full luxury experience stay in one of these epic and romantic chalets, or even an arctic igloo!
The best airbnbs in Lapland
The best arctic igloo airbnbs in Finland
6. LONDON, ENGLAND
The cold streets make the cozy wine bars and pubs all the more inviting. Head to Gordon’s Wine bar for a charcuterie board in a wine cellar, and then hit the Christmas markets for a Hot Toddy and streusel, maybe even a ride on the London Eye to take in all the sights. For the true lux experience stay at Claridges, one of the top hotels on the planet.
Where to stay in London
Claridges if you’re looking for an iconically glamorous, sophisticated hotel in central London.
The Berkeley for its vast suites, Hyde-Park-view terraces, elegant decor, rooftop pool, 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, and a lavish spa
7. PARK CITY, UTAH
A white Christmas guaranteed, Park City has an abundance of alpine lodges to keep you warm and cozy after a long day skiing the mountains. The historic downtown area will give you all the holiday feels with their extensive decorations and festive lights, making this a perfect Christmastime getaway.
Here are some of my favorite Park City Airbnbs:
8. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
If you’re in for a Christmas like no other, head across the equator to the land of the kiwis for an experience you’ll never forget. Think warm sunny days, Christmas lights in the summer, boozy brunches and drool worthy accents. There is plenty to keep you busy in Auckland, but while you’re there you better head to the island of Waiheke (just a 20 minute ferry ride from the city) for a day of wine tasting, the island has a “hop on hop off” bus that stops at over 20 vineyards! As for where to stay, treat yourself to a 5-star luxury experience at the Delamore Lodge or rent out one of these private ocean view villa’s with friends!
Where to stay in Auckland / Waiheke Island, New Zealand
9. THE MALDIVES
You guys always know my pick would be to trade in the white snow for white sand beaches… after all, who needs presents when you have the most incredible sunsets, turquoise water, world class food and your loved ones by your side to enjoy it all with. Check out my Ultimate Maldives Guide for recommendations and inspo!
The best part? December through March the best time to visit the Maldives – it’s dry season, and you’ll find the BEST weather of the year.
Where to stay in the Maldives
Six Senses Laamu for an off-the-map, five-star deserted private island experience, and a one-of-a-kind focus on sustainability, eco luxury and wellness.
St. Regis Vommuli for a sleek, modern, opulent five-star private island that epitomizes luxury
10. FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Germany is one of those sneaky countries where it may not be on the top of everyones bucket list, but it seems to have so many gorgeous gems of cities. I didn’t know this until now, but as it turns out, Germany is where the traditional Christmas Market originated! Every major city is going to have an incredible market, along with decorations and insane traditional food, but one city in particular seems to be extra dreamy around the holiday and that’s Frankfurt!
Which of these ultimate Christmas destinations is on your bucket list?