Are you looking for somewhere picturesque to spend Christmas with a view? How about experiencing the holiday period somewhere new? There are plenty of unique destinations to choose from worldwide, where you can see beautiful scenery and experience local Christmas traditions.
From snow-capped mountains and ski resorts to tropical weather and sunny beaches, here is a roundup of 20 places around the world where you can enjoy Christmas with a view.
- Christmas With A View
- Christmas in the USA
- Christmas in North America
- Christmas in Europe
- Christmas Around the World
Christmas With A View
Christmas in the USA
1- Leavenworth, Washington State
To get a taste of a European Christmas in America, spend your holidays at Leavenworth in Washington State.
This picturesque little mountain town is filled with Bavarian-style buildings blanketed in snow during the winter.
Feel the thrill of the Christmas spirit by going on a sleigh ride through the forest, listening to the Village Voices Christmas Concert and visiting The Nutcracker Museum.
Leavenworth is also home to a Christkindlmarket where visitors can sample Bavarian Christmas treats like heisse maroni (roasted chestnuts) or glühwein (spiced mulled wine), buy handcrafted ornaments and enjoy the atmosphere of a European Christmas.
2- Sun Valley, Idaho
It might sound like a summer destination, but Sun Valley is one of the best ski resorts in America.
There are slopes and terrain parks between Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain for everyone to enjoy, regardless of skill.
To get into the holiday spirit, go for a scenic sleigh ride through the snowy hills, attend a tree lighting ceremony or experience the Winter Solstice Soiree.
Sun Valley celebrates with fireworks and a torchlight parade of skiers on Christmas Eve coming down Dollar Mountain.
There are complimentary cookies and hot chocolate for guests to enjoy while they watch the show.
3- Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg is a colonial-era town in Virginia that embraces Christmas with zest.
From the traditional decor to the live theatre performances, the town is awash with festive cheer.
You can visit the Williamsburg Christmas Market or try ice skating at one of the outdoor rinks.
Williamsburg is also home to the Busch Gardens Christmas Village. Decorated with over 10 million lights, Busch Gardens becomes a Christmas theme park with lots to see and do, including exciting rides, themed restaurants, animals and festive dance, theatre, and music performances.
4- Wilmington, North Carolina
The historic town of Wilmington in North Carolina has a lot to offer visitors at Christmas time.
There are Christmas themed performances at Thalian Hall, horse-drawn tours through the town and a fun run called the Jingle Bell Run, which has the best costume prizes.
The Enchanted Arlie event at the Airlie Gardens is also a highlight of the Wilmington Christmas celebrations.
The beautiful botanical gardens are filled with sparkling Christmas light displays.
5- North Pole, Alaska
If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting Santa’s home, then a winter getaway to the North Pole, Alaska, might be for you.
The town keeps the Christmas spirit alive all year round and is home to Santa Claus House, where you’ll be able to find a gift for loved ones.
In December, the Winter Festival is also held for a few days, which features over 60 vendors, ice sculptures, performances, and fireworks.
From the town, you don’t have to travel far to experience the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.
Looking for something fun to do this Christmas? Try these:
6- Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is an internationally renowned skiing and snowboarding destination, perfect for anyone wanting an adventurous white Christmas.
Go ice skating in the shadow of Ajax Mountain, experience an All Night party at Snowmass, and try a nighttime hike around Ashcroft for a spectacular moonlit view.
From 20 December, there are also lots of activities around the town, including Victorian carolling, free hot chocolate, craft and cooking programs and live music performances.
If you decide to stay until the new year, you can also participate in the four-day Wintersköl celebrations.
7- Kauai, Hawaii
For a tropical American Christmas, Hawaii is the place to be.
Kauai has a stunning natural environment with tropical forests, scenic cliffs, and sandy white beaches.
The Christmas traditions have been merged with a traditional Hawaiian festival, making for a unique experience to the islands.
You can go to the Festival of Lights, visit a craft fair to buy Hawaiian Christmas decorations and enjoy Christmas day with a Hawaiian twist on the food and Santa Claus. Hawaii is also a fantastic place to have a Christmas vacation with kids.
Christmas in North America
8- Banff, Canada
Banff is renowned for its snow sports, hot springs, and the gateway to the spectacular Banff National Park.
The are lots of fantastic things to do in Banff at any time of the year but it’s especially pretty at Christmas time.
The town looks like a Christmas winter wonderland, complete with foraging deer and lit up Christmas trees.
If you haven’t seen the Banff National Park before, you can go on a romantic or family-friendly horse-drawn sleigh ride.
In late November, the Banff Christmas Markets are open, and there is also a Santa Parade.
Go ice skating on Lake Louise, experience the magical In Search of Christmas Spirit live story and drink your way through the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail.
9- Whistler, Canada
Whistler is another of Canada’s premier ski resort towns, with a landscape is covered in white snow and Christmas decorations, making the atmosphere feel very festive.
You can explore the mountains and try new snow sports before coming inside and sipping hot chocolate in front of a fire.
Local artisans sell bespoke Christmas gifts, you can experience an immersive winter story at Vallea Lumina, and most resorts have special Christmas events planned for guests.
10- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Christmas period is an excellent time of year to head to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico to spend Christmas on the beach.
The weather is tropical and filled with sunshine, meaning you can comfortably enjoy relaxing and exploring one of the best beaches in Mexico.
Spend time at the beach, sail a catamaran off the coast or go on a desert adventure.
The Christmas celebrations in Mexico go from 12 December until 7 January, with many parades, festivals, and community events.
There is also a nautical Christmas parade out on the bay with decorated boats, and don’t forget to try Ponche Navideño, a Mexican twist on the classic Christmas Punch.
Christmas in Europe
11- St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz is a beautiful ski resort town that knows how to celebrate at Christmas time.
Set among the Albula Alps, it is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and overlooks Lake St. Moritz.
On the pedestrian strip, the town hosts a traditional European Christmas market.
It has an outdoor ice-skating rink, gastro village with mulled wine and traditional sweets, stalls selling local crafts and live entertainment.
St Moritz is particularly popular with royalty and celebrities, so that you may spot a few familiar faces.
12- Colmar, France
The town of Colmar looks like something out of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast.
Colmar is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and a giant Christmas tree in the main square during the festive season.
Watch a Christmas concert, go on the Night Watchman’s round and see the traditional Light Procession.
There are over five Christmas markets to explore with artisan and locally made gifts and French treats like crepes, loaves of gingerbread, vin chaud blanc (hot white wine), and candied nuts.
13- Rothenburg, Germany
Germany has many Christmas traditions, and Rothenburg is a beautiful medieval town to experience them in.
The buildings along the cobblestone streets are covered in traditional Christmas decorations, and the old architecture helps create a magical festive atmosphere.
Rothenburg is home to the main store for Kathe Wohlfarcht, one of the most popular Christmas companies in Germany.
They also have a Christmas museum upstairs.
The main Christmas market is the Rothenburger Reiterlesmarkt in the main square.
Be sure to try the mulled wine or Christmas punch and keep the bespoke mug it’s served in as a souvenir.
14- Rovaniemi, Finland
At the very north of Finland is Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus.
At the edge of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by a snowy forest is the Santa Claus Village.
There you can meet Santa’s reindeer’s, go on a husky sled ride, and visit Santa Claus’s office, post office, the Christmas House and House of Mrs Claus.
Go on a reindeer sleigh ride through the forest and try cross country skiing at Rovaniemi.
The city is also one of the best places to see the beautiful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), and it’s possible to stay in a glass igloo for great views of the night sky.
15- Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is a historic town in Austria that is surrounded by the alps.
At Christmas time, it usually snows there, and the city is filled with festive decorations.
Two of the more unique events in Salzburg are the Krampus Run and Winterfest.
Krampus Run is usually on 6 December and celebrates Krampus, the devilish counterpart to St Nicholas, who punishes naughty children.
Winterfest is a celebration of all things to do with the circus, with talented performers coming to Salzburg to display their skills.
The city is also home to the Salzburg Christmas Museum, renowned Salzburg Christmas Market and Hellbrunn Advent Magic market.
16- Madeira, Portugal
On the island of Madeira, experience a warmer European Christmas that still has solid festive traditions.
Across the island, displays of Christmas lights and Nativity scenes are set up, and the voices of churchgoers singing carols after mass can be heard.
In Funchal, there is a Christmas market that sells gifts, souvenirs and festive food and drinks.
You can try a cherry liqueur served in a chocolate cup or Poncha, the island’s traditional drink.
There is also a huge night market a few nights before Christmas that spreads throughout the town.
Christmas Around the World
17- Sydney, Australia
Christmas in Sydney is a summer affair, with lots of hot weather that’s perfect for a cruise up the Sydney Harbour or visit one of the city’s beautiful beaches.
There are lots of Christmas light displays to see, and you’ll often spot Santa swapping the red suit for a pair of swimming trunks and a Hawaiian shirt.
You can visit The Rocks Christmas Market, see the city Christmas tree at Martins Place and check out the Sydney Christmas Fair.
Across Australia, there are many Carols by Candlelight events where people gather to listen to festive songs.
The most significant event in the country is in Sydney, called Carols in the Domain.
Some of the biggest names in Australian entertainment perform a range of Christmas carols, and it ends with a spectacular fireworks display.
18- St Lucia
St Lucia is a fabulous destination for a summery Christmas escape.
This Caribbean nation has tropical forests, cascading waterfalls, and superb beaches, including Marigot Bay and Reduit Beach.
The annual Festival of Lights is the lead up to Christmas, which celebrates St Lucy of Syracuse, whom the island was named after.
There are artisan lantern competitions, a firework display, and it is around then that many people turn their Christmas displays on.
There are also many local festive foods to try on St Lucia, including sorrel, a spiced drink made from the sorrel plant and the St Lucian black cake.
Grenada is another Caribbean island that celebrates Christmas.
Instead of the hustle and bustle of home, you could spend the holiday season relaxing on a beach, looking out at the ocean.
There is a Carols by Candlelight concert at Quarantine Point, Christmas themed cooking experiences and regular Parang performances.
Get into the festivities by trying Punch-a-creme, the Caribbean version of spiced eggnog.
20- El Nido, Philippines
Sitting on the edge of Bacuit Bay is the small town of El Nido in the Philippines, from which you can spend your Christmas exploring tropical islands, snorkelling among coral and swimming with sea turtles.
In the town, you’ll likely hear Christmas carols being sung by locals, and you can try some of the traditional festive foods like bibingka and puto bumbong, which are unique variations of rice cakes that are served around Christmas.
Many hotels and restaurants also hold Christmas parties and the local staple, El Nido Boutique Artcafe, holds a Christmas lunch.