10 of the best white Christmas holiday destinations

Let it snow...

For us Down Under, Christmas season involves days at the beach, backyard cricket, and barbecues. It’s a vast difference from what we see in our favourite festive movies from the other side of the world. The winter wonderlands on our screens consist of snow, markets, and plenty of hot drinks.
While summer in Australia is undoubtedly amazing, visiting the best white Christmas holiday destinations should be a bucket list item.

“A white Christmas isn’t just about the snow,” says James Smith, the founder of Travel-Lingual. “It’s about the people, the culture, and the holiday spirit.”

Finding the ideal white Christmas destinations takes planning. “Look for places with enchanting Christmas markets, cosy hotels, and opportunities to immerse yourself in local holiday traditions,” says James. 

Looking to live out your ultimate white Christmas fantasies? Here are the best places to go to do just that.

Denmark, Sjelland, Copenhagen . The Nyhavn Christmas Market, the Christmas market along the famous canal.
The Nyhavn Christmas Market along the famous canal.

Copenhagen, Denmark 

Whether visiting the annual Christmas markets, strolling through the Tivoli gardens, visiting the CopenHill indoor ski slope, or sipping gløgg (a Scandinavian mulled wine with raisins and almonds), you can’t go wrong with a white Christmas in Denmark.

Strasbourg, France. Christmas Market in Petite France old district of Strassburg in Alsace.
A Christmas Market in Petite France, old district of Strassburg in Alsace.

Strasbourg, France 

Oui! There’s a reason Strasbourg has declared itself the capital of Christmas. If not for its Christmas markets and gorgeous festive tree in Place Kleber, the city’s ice skating rink is a must visit. You can also ascend to the top of the Strasbourg cathedral for picturesque views of the city. Or take a stroll through La Petite France!

Budapest, Hungary - December 2017: Christmas market in front of St Stephen Basilica
A Christmas market in front of St Stephen Basilica.

Budapest, Hungary

One of the most colourful cities at Christmas time, Budapest is loved for its thermal baths. The main Christmas market in Vörösmarty square is a must visit, as is the city ice rink next to Vajdahunyad Castle. And don’t forget to indulge in mulled wine while getting cosy by a fireplace!

Typical wooden christmas carousel, Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
A wooden Christmas carousel in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Munich, Germany

Of course, Germany made this list. From their Christmas markets, or Münchner Christkindlmarkts, Christmas tram, and ice skating at Muenchner Eiszauber, you will never run out of things to do. And if you have always wanted to try curling, take a trip to the Nymphenburger Canal!

Bern, Switzerland - December 14, 2012: The contours of the Federal Palace of Switzerland (Bundeshaus) are retraced with projected light spots during the performance of the sound and light show \"Rendez-vous Bundesplatz\".
The Federal Palace of Switzerland during the performance of the sound and light show.

Bern, Switzerland

A winter wonderland that is perfect for your camera roll. There’s the Berner Münster Christmas market, and the delectable mulled wine at Waisenhausplatz’s traditional Christmas market. Snow is never scarce with the Schwarzsee ice palaces and luxury igloo at Hotel Kemmeriboden-Bad. Or you can hit the slopes!

Rovaniemi, Finland - March 5, 2017: People in Reindeer sledge caravan safari in winter forest in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland
A reindeer sledge caravan safari in the winter forest in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Lapland, Finland

We simply had to include the home of Santa Claus Village. Lapland holds many winter wonders. Be transported into your favourite Christmas movie during a reindeer sleigh ride or a husky safari. Or, get your blood pumping with a snowmobile ride. If you go far enough north, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the iconic northern lights!  

Aerial view of downtown Reykjavik during Christmas, including a small outdoor skating rink.
Aerial view of downtown Reykjavik during Christmas, including a small outdoor skating rink.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Speaking of the northern lights, Reykjavik in Iceland is the best place to bask in their beauty. But this is just the icing on top of the country’s capital. Yule Town at Ingólfstorg and the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður will have you feeling all types of festive. Cosy and magical, the Christmas markets are a must visit, as is the ice skating at Ingolfstorg Square. Take your little ones to Santa’s mailbox at Laugavegur to post their lists to Santa. 

 Rockefeller Center all decorated surrounding the newly lit Christmas tree.
Rockefeller Center decorated with the iconic Christmas tree.

New York City, United States

Always busy, New York City seems to get even more electric during the festive season. The holiday decor in Central Park is a sight to behold, as is the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree. If you’re a window shopper, take a stroll past stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; they have magical window displays. Then there’s the iconic ice skating rink, and winter village at Bryant Park… you won’t run out of things to do or see.

Sunrise morning at Takayama city and stream water, Japan.
Sunrise morning at Takayama city and stream water, Japan.

Habuka Valley, Japan

If you’re looking for a winter wonderland destination that’s slightly closer to home, in the heart of the Northern Japanese Alps, Habuka Valley’s ski resorts – snowmobiling, and winter festivals are tourist favourites. The backcountry guided tours ensure you don’t miss any nook and cranny of the valley. Then there’s the Jigokudani monkey park for all the animal lovers too. It’s not white Christmas as you know it, but no less magical.

Winter day in old Quebec.
A winter’s day in old Quebec.

Quebec City, Canada

The cobblestone streets are enough reason to book a ticket to Quebec. Take a stroll along the St Lawrence river and you will see roads of shops decorated with holiday garland and ethereal Christmas lights. In the middle of Quebec City is Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, a hotel that is akin to a castle. If you’re seeking a thrill, don’t miss out on sledding in the Quebec forest at Chenil La Poursuite, or skiing in the Village Vacances Valcartier. 

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