Enjoy the holidays in the best Christmas vacation destinations

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to escape to an exotic locale and enjoy a different take on the classic Christmas experience. All over the world, you’ll find cities and towns with unique cultural approaches to the holidays and unforgettable festivities, such as Christmas markets, holiday performances, and biblical reenactments. Christmas is a great time to experience the iconic attractions of famous cities with a holiday twist. Whether you want a classic Christmas trip, a family holiday experience, or a tropical paradise with a touch of cheer, take a look at the best Christmas vacation destinations to plan your getaway.

Vienna, Austria for all your family's gifts

One of the best parts of travelling to Europe for the holidays is the Christmas markets, and few cities do it better than Vienna. The biggest market is the main market in Rathausplatz Square, but you could find markets all over the city for handmade gifts, holiday treats, and other Christmas-themed activities. Be sure to try weihnachtspunsch, a local Christmas punch, and sample Austrian holiday desserts and dishes.

Charleston, South Carolina for couples or families

For a traditional Christmas in a warm climate, head to Charleston for your Christmas getaway. With mild winter temperatures, you can experience the historic charm of Charleston and its many Christmas-themed festivals, such as the Holiday Festival of Lights and the Christmas walking tours through the city. You can also take holiday dinner cruises for a romantic evening with views of the city illuminated by Christmas lights.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to delight the children

San Miguel de Allende is one of the most charming cities in Mexico. Filled with historic architecture and cobbled streets, San Miguel de Allende is particularly beautiful when the streets are adorned with Christmas trees and holiday lights. The iconic churches in San Miguel de Allende host Christmas Eve and Christmas masses, and in the days leading up to Christmas, the streets are filled with candlelit processions reenacting Christ's birth.

Watch for Santa in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague transforms into a North Pole of its own during the Christmas season. The medieval architecture decorated with twinkling lights and snow-capped peaks set the stage for Christmas markets with artisan goods, fine foods, and holiday festivities. Many of the city’s attractions are decorated for the occasion, giving you a new experience at the iconic landmarks.

Aspen, Colorado is Christmas for the family

If skiing and snowboarding are your idea of a winter vacation, Aspen is one of the best places for a Christmas trip. The famous mountain town offers a variety of ski resort areas, luxurious accommodation, and après-ski activities. The alpine environment becomes even more enchanting around the holidays, complete with the 12 Days of Aspen festival that features Christmas carols, ice skating, holiday treats, and other Christmas-themed experiences.

Maldives is great for couples

If you prefer the tropics to the snow, venture to the exotic Maldives for a holiday retreat. The luxurious islands are one of the top places in the world for a beach trip, complete with white sands, turquoise seas, overwater bungalows, and plenty of water sports. On land, you could find Santa meet-and-greets, holiday food markets, palm trees with Christmas lights, and other fun Christmas-themed activities.

Honolulu, Hawaii with family or friends

For a combination of beach fun, warm temperatures, and plenty of holiday cheer, visit Honolulu for Christmas vacation. Places like Chinatown and Honolulu City have holiday window displays, Christmas lights, and a tree-lighting ceremony to get into the holiday spirit. Along with enjoying the yuletide excitement, winter in Hawaii is the best time to surf the big waves and take a whale-watching tour to catch a glimpse of humpback whales on their migration.

Boston, Massachusetts is a winter wonderland for the whole family

Boston transforms into a Christmas wonderland during the holiday season. The cobbled, old-world streets are dusted with snow, and the buildings and trees are decorated with lights and garland. Boston also has numerous holiday activities, such as ice skating in the park, seeing the Blink! Light display at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and watching live performances of the “The Nutcracker.”