International,Travel

Top 10 Christmas Travel Destinations for Christmas Lovers

christmas travel destinations

I’m a wanderer at heart, which means literally EVERYWHERE is on my list of places I would like to visit. However, there are quite a few places that are really special during the Christmas holiday season. Here are my Top 10 Christmas travel destinations for Christmas lovers. I’ve got a lifetime of Christmases to get these all checked off of my list.

  1. Visit Walt Disney World at Christmas.  Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom is covered in lights making everything feel more magical. All of the parks have their own spin on holiday celebrations. There’s a new light/fireworks show this year at Hollywood Studios that has gotten great reviews. There’s also an aerial drone show at Disney Springs.  The best part of visiting WDW at Christmas is resort-hopping to see the Christmas decorations at all of the different resort properties.  This is something you can do completely free even if you aren’t staying on the property. There’s a larger than life gingerbread house where you can purchase a roof shingle of gingerbread at the Grand Floridian and an entire life-size display made of chocolate at the Swann and Dolphin.
    disney world at christmas

    Photo Credit: Lauren Gay

  2. Visit the Christmas Markets of Germany. The largest Christmas Markets are in Frankfurt Germany and Strasbourg, France. However most of the major European cities have some version of the Christmas Market. You will find all kinds of holiday foods, wines, and holiday crafts for sale. 
  3. Christmas in New York – New York has its own brand of holiday magic. Of course there is the infamous Rockefeller Tree. There is also the 5th Avenue holiday window displays, the Rockettes, Central Park, and the Christmas markets. 
  4. Christmas at the Fairmount Castle Banff Springs – Visiting Banff National Park in Canada is already on the list of any outdoor lover. However for a Christmas enthusiast like me, I dream of spending a Christmas here. Not only does it look like the dreamiest winter wonderland, there are some really epic activities. There is dog sledding, skiing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. This outdoorsy diva is ready for all of it! 
  5. Christmas with Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle – Lapland, Finland is thought to be the original home of Santa Claus. You get to meet Santa and his elves in his workshop. interact with reindeer, and go dog sledding.  If you’re lucky you might also get to see the Northern Lights. 
  6. Christmas at Kakslauttanen Resort – It would be a dream come true to stay in one of the kelo-igloo cabins or one of the large glass igloo cabins and sleep beneath the Northern Lights.  You can also choose to stay in a room that is actually inside Santa’s home or you can just visit for dinner. There are husky sleds and reindeer safaris and all kinds of ways to enjoy the winter wonderland of Finland.
  7. Verry Merrytime Christmas on Disney Cruise Line – The Disney Cruise Lines go all the way out for Verry Merrytime Cruises. The ship is full of holiday decorations and there are all kinds of Christmas-themed activities. Castaway  Cay is even transformed into to a winter paradise with snow flurries at the beach. 
  8. Christmas at the Biltmore Estate – The Christmas celebration at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most beautiful found anywhere in the country. The estate boasts 70 decorated Christmas trees and thousands of lights. 
  9. Christmas at Edinburgh Castle – This castle in Scotland offers visitors a classic Victorian Christmas experience Learn about the origin of the Christmas cracker, and learn where the tradition of the Christmas card came from. 
  10. Christmas at the Gaylord – One of my family’s favorite traditions is ICE! at the Gaylord.  We’ve seen it at the Gaylord Palm in Orlando and the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.  ICE! is a magical walk-through of larger than life ice sculptures carved into whatever the theme of the year is.  It’s a different theme at all four of the Gaylord resorts. The other 2 resorts are in Nashville and the Washington, D.C. area. They also go all out with decorations, shows, and special Christmas packages. It will definitely put you in the spirit. 

What are some of the Christmas travel destinations that you have enjoyed or that you recommend?  Let me know in the comments below. 

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Diane T Wickles
    December 10, 2016 at 10:07 am

    We just moved into North Carolina and hope to experience Christmas at the Biltmore Estate some year. I would also love to have Christmas at the castles you mentioned.

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Diane I hope you are able to experience the Biltmore now that it is so close to you.

  • Reply
    Kristine
    December 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I worked in Disney World for a year and had free access to all the Disney parks during that year – including Christmas time. It was truly magical 🙂 Now I live in France, and travel to Germany quite often at this time of the year. Love the Christmas markets there!

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      The German markets look so festive. I can’t wait until I can make the trip.

  • Reply
    The Curious Creature
    December 10, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Just came back from the Germany Christmas markets and they were pure magic. Hope you get to visit soon! NYC is also a fave.

  • Reply
    Ashleigh
    December 12, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks for this post! I’ve seen Disney World, Gaylord, and New York and now I’m making it my mission to see all the other places during Christmas time as well. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love seeing how different places decorate!

  • Reply
    STACIE
    December 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    These are all very beautiful destinations but I always prefer to stay at home for Christmas. There’s no place like home for the holidays.

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 13, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      It isn’t limited to Christmas day. People can experience these during the season but still be home with family for the holidays.

  • Reply
    Tia | Pennies In My Pocket
    December 13, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I have not been to any of these places during the holidays. I guess I have a few more experiences to add to my bucket list for the years to come. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Ayanna
    December 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I have never traveled for Christmas, but when my girls get older we will definitely start. I never thought about taking a Disney cruise, but that sounds like fun

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      I like to be home for the actual holiday myself but as my son gets older I don’t care where we are as longo as we are together.

  • Reply
    Latoya
    December 13, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    These are some great destinations. I would love to see Disney at this time of year.

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 13, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Disney really is something special during the holiday season. I’m so lucky that I live so close.

  • Reply
    Kim
    December 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I see a few destinations I’d love to visit. Maybe next year we can choose one of these destinations because I don’t plan on spending yet another Christmas in New York.

  • Reply
    Chante
    December 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    omg the little girl in me wants to visit them all, maybe I’ll plan a trip before my gets too old

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 13, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      LOL Chante it’s never too late.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Cooper
    December 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    These are all beautiful destinations. I’m really loving Santa enjoying himself on that cruise! Thank you for this list!

  • Reply
    Ramona
    December 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    This is a great list. I love Christmas in NYC. However, the other destinations you listed look marvelous as well. I would love to see the Northern Lights.

  • Reply
    Adeola Naomi
    December 14, 2016 at 3:10 am

    I will recommend Germany and all its Christmas markets, especially the Nuremberg one!

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 14, 2016 at 7:48 am

      I’ll make sure to add Nuremberg to my itinerary when I plan my trip.

  • Reply
    Kendra
    December 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    We literally just came back from ICE! at the Gaylord National and I thought it was amazing. It’s on our list to visit all the rest over the next few years.
    The Disney experiences are on my list too.

    • Reply
      Lauren
      December 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      I read your post about ICE! Kendra! You definitely have to plan for Disney! It’s awesome this time of year.

  • Reply
    Michelle Malone
    December 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    This is an awesome post! I love the Gaylord Hotel. I fell in love with that place when I lived in Nashville. Of all the destinations, I think I’d like to sleep under the stars and see the Northern Lights from a glass igloo. I wonder how cozy they are.

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