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Akureyri transforms into a veritable winter wonderland in Dec

Christmas with a twist

Ah, Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year indeed, a time that encourages reflection after another fulfilling year, and a time to bond with the people closest to you.

Celebrate the holiday season with these 8 unique destinations

Ah, Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year indeed, a time that encourages reflection after another fulfilling year, and a time to bond with the people closest to you. The holiday season only comes by once a year, making it the perfect time to go on a memorable trip to close out 2018. Whether you’re after a traditional white Christmas full of warm lights and city cheer, or prefer a quiet holiday immersed in the beauty of winter, we’ve rounded up eight unique Christmas experiences from around the world for you to get inspired by this December.

The market of 13 desserts, a traditional event in the Aix-en-Provence region, crédit Sophie Spiteri
The market of 13 desserts, a traditional event in the Aix-en-Provence region, crédit Sophie Spiteri

Savour the best of French holiday cuisine in Aix-en-Provence

Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing abound in Aix-en-Provence, France – gastronomical delights also await travellers to this quaint city. Truffle season in Provence is in full swing in December, which is also the time of Provence’s annual olive oil and truffle fair. You can sample a wide variety of olive oils, as well as discover the myriad of products that are produced from olives that are unique to the Aix region, including tapenades, biscuits and gibassiés…Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Spectacular views of the Nuernberger Christmas marktet
Spectacular views of the Nuernberger Christmas marktet

Wander in Germany’s most lavish Christmas market

If you’ve seen one Christmas market, you’ve seen them all – so why not see the best and grandest one there is? Experience Germany’s oldest Christmas market in Nuremberg, where a sprawling assemblage of craft and food cabins that thread along the city’s gothic streets await. Seek out Nuremberg’s unique eats first: the city is known as the birthplace of the traditional German Christmas gingerbread, the lebkuchen, so you’re sure to find dozens …. Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Aurora Borealis shining over mountains and reflecting on the Missouri River in Cascade by The Adaptive
Aurora Borealis shining over mountains and reflecting on the Missouri River in Cascade by The Adaptive

Admire the Northern Lights in Montana’s countryside

Iceland isn’t the only place to catch the spellbinding Northern Lights. Give the throngs of tourists the slip and head to the hidden gem of Montana, which boasts sprawls of snow-capped peaks and alpine trails during the winter, and is also a prime spot to catch the aurora at Christmastime. The Glacier National Park spans over a thousand kilometres across Montana’s sweeping mountain ranges and rivers. Its nearest town, Whitefish, holds the title as one of the most scenic towns in the state – and during Christmas time is when its charms are on full display…Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Akureyri transforms into a veritable winter wonderland in December
Akureyri transforms into a veritable winter wonderland in December

Race down the slopes in Iceland’s largest ski resort

You’re guaranteed to have a picture-perfect white Christmas in Iceland, but nowhere is the Christmas spirit stronger than in Akureyri, base of Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjörður, and home to the famed Christmas Garden. Open all year round, the city’s Christmas Garden – also known as Jólagarðurinn – is a celebration of all things festive, where you can admire Christmas accoutrements from around the world – it is also a hard sight to miss, …Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Crossing arctic circle Santa Claus Village Lapland Finland
Crossing arctic circle Santa Claus Village Lapland Finland

Visit Santa Claus in Finland

Santa Claus does exist – at least in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi. Live out the storybook Christmas straight out of your childhood fantasies in Santa’s official hometown tucked away in the north of Finland. The city’s main draw is its titular Santa Claus Village, where Santa’s main office is located (yes, the man works during the other 364 days of the year). Children and adults alike can personally hand their letters and wishes to the multi-lingual Santa…Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Large panoramic view of Christmas tree and tourists at Nazareth square by Lerner Vadim

Reconnect with your spiritual side in Bethlehem

Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims in Bethlehem, Israel, the biblical birthplace of Jesus. As you might imagine, Christmas is a major event in the city, and while the usual decorations and performances are put up across the city, the holiday season in Bethlehem take on a more traditional and spiritual slant. If you’re wont to feel jaded about the commercialisation of the holiday season, visiting Bethlehem is a refreshing change of pace. It’s fascinating to see how …Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Traditional Japanese hot springs and powdery slopes await at Nagano

Dip into Nagano’s snowy hot springs

Ringed with snowy mountains that are dotted with steamy hot springs, wintersport facilities, and playful snow monkeys, Nagano is a gem for those looking for a nearby winter escape. Though Japan doesn’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, you can still expect to see the serene resort town of Karuizawa decked out in an array of festive baubles, though the real draw comes from its surrounding mountains. Karuizawa is located at the foot of Mount Asama, …Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

Lake Baikal freezes over in December, creating the perfect playground
Lake Baikal freezes over in December, creating the perfect playground

Walk on water at Russia’s mesmerising Lake Baikal

Disconnect from the mad rush of the holiday season and spend Christmas along the frozen shores of the world’s deepest and oldest lake at Russia’s spectacular Lake Baikal. Irkutsk, one of Siberia’s largest cities and located on the lake’s west bank, is a popular starting point for travellers looking to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site.Winter is when Lake Baikal truly comes to life, with the 600-kilometre long lake transforming into the perfect arena for …Subscribe to the magazine to read the full article

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© This article was first published in Dec-Jan 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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