Are you keen to get away this year or maybe looking to do something different for Christmas 2014? Check out five great ideas for Christmas holiday destinations for a very “un-British” festive experience.
OK, so maybe you don’t actually want to escape everything about Christmas but instead want to embrace it wholeheartedly. In which case, there can only be one place for you at this time of year: Lapland. The home of Santa Claus is a magical winter wonderland where you can ride in sleds pulled by huskies, meet Santa’s reindeer, go on a snowmobile, or even witness the amazing Northern Lights. The best part is, you can go to Lapland before Christmas, meet the man himself, then come back and celebrate again. Double Christmas! You might want to take the kids, but hey, it’s not compulsory!
If you’re just after a bit of Christmas sun and a laid-back break, Portugal’s Algarve offers year-round sunshine meaning that you could be on the beach on Christmas Day. The Portuguese have their main Christmas celebrations on 24th December and the 26th isn’t a holiday there. This means that resorts don’t completely shut down and there will be plenty going on. Stick to one of the larger resorts such as Albufeira and you won’t be stuck for places to celebrate. Remember to book your Christmas Day meal in advance, though, as not everywhere will be open or serving up festive fare.
If you still fancy the idea of snow at Christmas, just not the unpredictable and chaos-causing British kind, consider a skiing holiday in Bulgaria. With its 80 miles of sandy beaches, it’s wonderful during the summer months but come winter it offers fantastic and reasonably priced skiing. Enjoy your days on the piste before some traditional Bulgarian hospitality in the evening. On Christmas Eve, expect a traditional vegetarian dinner that always consists of an odd number of courses (typically seven or nine). On Christmas day, a huge meat-laden feast is prepared and wine is enjoyed. Soon to join the EU, travel to Bulgaria is set to become even easier.
Who doesn’t watch Home Alone every Christmas? Or maybe Home Alone 2? The second film in the series starring Macaulay Culkin is of course subtitled “Lost in New York” and the Big Apple is possibly the most Christmassy city in the world. Book a break here over the festive season and visit the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree or take a carriage ride through a wintery Central Park. Combine this with some amazing Christmas shopping and the sales appeal of world-renowned department stores and toy shops such as Macy’s and FAO Schwarz.
For the ultimate Christmas getaway, head to Thailand. You won’t find many traditional Christmas celebrations in this mainly Buddhist country but you will find some of the friendliest people on the planet, some amazing beaches and the perfect paradise to toast the season. Admire the bustle of Bangkok or head to the likes of Phuket for some relaxation. When it comes to the New Year, you can always head to one of the legendary parties such as the Full Moon party on Koh Pha Ngan. Bliss!