1. Québec city, Canada
When the narrow streets of Old Québec City are covered in a dusting of snow, it feels like you’ve wandered into a Victorian Christmas card come to life. Enjoy the warm hospitality of this charming Canadian city with festive outdoor concerts, holiday markets and the extravagant QuébecAdabra! – an evening festival of music, lights, animation and architectural projections held city-wide. QuébecAdabra! runs from December 22 to January 4, 2017.
2. London, England
The capital is bursting with holiday cheer. Dazzling Christmas lights brighten up Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Carnaby Street. Skating aficionados can go for a seasonal spin on the picturesque rinks in Somerset House, Hyde Park, Canary Wharf and the Tower of London. Love holiday music? St. Martin-in-the-Fields hosts an inspiring line-up of Christmas concerts while London’s most famous Christmas tree holds court nearby in Trafalgar Square.
3. Antwerp, Belgium
Historic buildings and sensational holiday decorations make Antwerp one of Europe’s most popular Christmas destinations. The city centre is buoyant with the spirit of the season thanks to the lively Christmas market and festive evening concerts. Sample mulled wine and Belgian delicacies as you watch the antics of the much-beloved street entertainers.
4. Stuttgart, Germany
A visit to Stuttgart’s Christmas festival is like stepping back in time. The medieval Old Palace, vibrant Christmas market and breathtaking illuminations create a seasonal paradise. Skate on the outdoor rink, feast upon grilled sausages and soak up the fairytale ambience in the heart of the city.
5. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s stunning Gothic architecture provides a dramatic setting for its Christmas festivities. At the foot of the Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Old Town Christmas market sells stocking fillers and treats to the thousands of shoppers who visit each December. Carollers perform seasonal favourites while an elaborately decorated Christmas tree adds to the joyous atmosphere.
6. New York, United States
If you like your Christmas celebrations bold and over-the-top, make New York City your holiday destination. Manhattan seems even more magnificent at Christmas time. Rockefeller Center’s iconic Christmas tree and outdoor skating rink vie for attention with the beautiful storefront displays at Macy’s and Saks 5th Avenue.
7. Rovaniemi, Finland
For a storybook Christmas, Rovaniemi in Finland is hard to beat. Lapland’s capital becomes a winter wonderland. The area is illuminated by the spectacular Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, and this spellbinding astral show can be witnessed around the city from mid-August until early April. This magical place is also the official home of Santa Claus himself and visitors of all ages can meet his reindeer, huskies and elves at Santa Claus Village right on the Arctic Circle.