The holidays are an exciting time to explore different corners of the world to experience new places as they celebrate the seasons through the lens of their traditions. Our list of the 10 best holiday destinations for 2023-2024 explores diverse options that are perfect for any type of traveler.
Whether looking for iconic streets blanketed with snow or eager to indulge in white-sand beaches and the Southern Hemisphere’s golden sun, interested in premier hiking opportunities for stunning panoramic views or lured by the possibility of listening to traditional, seasonal songs by a roaring fire, you can embrace new ideas for your perfect holiday-season trip.
Interested in traveling to a country not included on this list? Submit a Trip Request and our Travel Care team will connect you with a destination specialist for advice on where to best experience the holidays in your preferred location.
Italy is always an alluring destination and one of the best places for Christmas travel, with elaborate traditions that differ across the country’s various regions and landscapes.
Vibrant Christmas markets spring up around popular piazzas in famous cities and the cool weather welcomes the seasonal ambiance. The diverse range of celebrations provides an enticing array of inspiration combining light, art, and custom for an elaborate mixture of past and present.
From the world-renowned nativity scenes in Naples to delicious seasonal cuisine, enticing shopping opportunities to celebrations that extend into the New Year, Italy has become an iconic Christmas destination, crowned by the opportunity for visitors to celebrate Midnight Mass at the Vatican.
Highlights: Celebrate Christmas with Midnight Mass at the Vatican • Sample delicious seasonal cuisine • Visit the elaborate Christmas markets • View the artisan nativity scenes in Naples • Cruise the Venetian canals to witness the alleyways decorated with lights
Italy Holiday Trip Idea
Experience the iconic celebrations of the peninsula with our Christmas in Italy: 14-Day Luxury Celebration that combines local customs, private traditions, and the notable opulence that makes Italy such a popular destination.
Learn more: Italy Tours & Vacations • Italy Travel Guide
Austria is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas as it unfolds in a charismatic winter wonderland. Across the country, the holiday season takes shape in aromatic winter treats, snow-covered rooftops, and Christmas markets twinkling with lights.
In Vienna, the sounds of Mozart fill the concert halls with holiday greetings, while in mountain towns like Salzburg, snow caps the surrounding peaks and the streets fill with the scent of mulled wine. From skiing to scenic train rides, enjoying a crackling fire to winding through a snow-covered forest, Austria can feel like a holiday destination of storybooks and fairytales.
Highlights: Enjoy elaborate Christmas markets • Sample delicious seasonal treats • Ski at famous Dolomite resorts • Witness the grand architecture of the Hapsburg dynasty • Find alluring concerts featuring famous Austrian composers
Austria Holiday Trip Idea
Snowy Alps and Emerald Countryside: 15-Day Tour of Austria and Switzerland embraces the seasonal charisma of the mountains and cities, allowing you to explore cultural history, indulge in charming heritage, and wander through celebrated nature.
Learn more: Austria Tours & Vacations • Austria Travel Guide
Ireland is one of the best places to spend Christmas, as it connects the beauty of the winter season with the charms of local culture for a traditional holiday experience. Festive markets and fairy lights around the cities and towns create a welcoming ambiance, turning the streets into villages.
Families return home for the holidays, turning the greater mood across the country jovial, accentuated by cozy countryside pubs. Indoor activities become a special way to embrace old customs and new experiences, from Dublin to Galway, while the landscape takes on an untouched quality, perfect for exploring on cool winter days.
Highlights: Enjoy lively Christmas markets • Visit jovial Dublin and High Street • Experience the traditional horse races on St. Stephen’s Day • View the customary Light in the Window • Listen to the traditional caroling procession • Visit Ireland’s largest Christmas festival in Waterford
Ireland Holiday Trip Idea
Explore nature and indulge in traditions on our Magnificence of Ireland Luxury Tour: Cultural Charm to Natural Beauty for a discovery accentuating Christmas traditions in connection to the island’s diverse wonders.
Learn more: Ireland Tours & Vacations • Ireland Travel Guide
Germany is the embodiment of an exciting winter escape, becoming one of the best Christmas destinations to visit during the holiday season. Cities and towns fill with festive ambiance with snow often blanketing the countryside and joyful lights keeping away the mid-winter darkness.
Christmas markets help create the charming ambiance with a history dating back to the 17th century, and vendors continue filling plazas with the aromas of freshly-baked bread and visions of handmade decorations or comfy wool clothing. The sounds of choirs fill the church halls and streets, roads glow like beacons with decorative stars, and the spiced aromas of mulled wine may drift through the lanes. The celebration combines contemporary customs with unforgettable traditions, making the festive season iconic across Germany.
Highlights: Visit the artisanal Christmas markets • Listen to the melodic holiday choirs • Enjoy the ambiance of snow blanketing the landscape • Enjoy horse drawn sleigh rides • Sample customary Christmas recipes and cuisine
Germany Holiday Trip Idea
Christmas in Germany: Picturesque Villages and Enchanting Castles reveals the essence of a cozy winter getaway, where the scent of mulled wine fills the marketplace, snow blankets the ground and trees, and holiday customs add endless charisma among the villages, towns, and cities.
Learn more: Germany Tours & Vacations • Germany Travel Guide
Celebrating the holiday season in India can feel very different, but the diverse opportunities during the festive ambiance can make it one of the best holiday destinations to visit. The country is majority Hindu, but centuries of trade and imperialism have brought Christmas celebrations across India.
Outside of accommodations helping to celebrate the holiday with traditional spices that meet European flavors, certain cities glow with seasonal Christmas festivities, including Goa’s gorgeous holiday demonstration in Portuguese-style churches. Carolers sing, Midnight Mass creates a communal ambiance, and Christmas decorations adorn houses and streets from Kolkata to Mumbai.
Find surprising yule log cakes or enticing mulled wine while exploring the staggering wonders of the country.
Highlights: View decorations combining traditional and regional perspectives • Sample unique, traditional holiday flavors • Experience Midnight Mass • Enjoy a large community feast
India Holiday Trip Idea
15 Days Golden Triangle with Vineyard Tour is a discovery of India from different angles, revealing the distinctive beauty of ancient cities, captivating architecture, and surprising delights that connect to the beauty of Christmas celebrations across the country.
Learn more: India Tours & Vacations • India Travel Guide
It is hard to decide where to spend Christmas, but Argentina’s mixture of private holiday traditions and community-oriented celebrations make it a fabulous destination to visit for a Christmas vacation.
Located in the Southern Hemisphere, the warm weather adds to the welcoming ambiance across the country, which is great for wandering the boutiques of Buenos Aires decorated for the holiday or finding specialized chocolates in Patagonia that are perfect for a Christmas treat.
Take part in traditions celebrating the variety of holidays surrounding Christmas, during which you can watch fireworks from rooftops, indulge in a traditional barbecue at a family-run estancia, or ranch, embrace an alluring tango show, or view the stunning decorations decorating the country’s cities.
Highlights: Take part in the lighting of lanterns on Christmas Eve • View the Christmas decorations in Buenos Aires • Watch seasonal fireworks • Participate in the traditions of the December holidays leading up to Christmas Day • Enjoy a customary Christmas meal
Argentina Holiday Trip Idea
Delight in passion, seasonal summer flavors, and the grand expanse of famous landscapes with our Patagonia and Tango Adventure in Argentina to embrace the country’s celebrated flavors, scenery, and legends intertwined with seasonal festivities.
Learn more: Argentina Tours & Vacations • Argentina Travel Guide
The entire country emanates joy during the holiday season, making Colombia one of the best places to spend Christmas. A combination of dancing, family, celebratory meals, and the temperate weather of the equatorial country provides a unique and exciting experience.
The festivities take place throughout December, beginning with the Day of Little Candles, when streets and homes glow with warm light. Medellin features a dazzling light show, small villages offer picturesque views and enticing traditional dishes, and Cartagena erupts with tropical celebrations to bring in the New Year.
Whether looking for a gilded beach escape or cultural connection within the Andes, Colombia is an exceptional place to visit at Christmas.
Highlights: View Medellin’s traditional Christmas light show • Partake in the Day of Little Candles • Visit the traditional Andean villages and estates around Medellin • Enjoy tropical beaches along the Caribbean coast
Colombia Holiday Trip Idea
Tailored 2-Week Luxury Colombia Tour is a grand way to explore the charming colonial structures, enchanting scenery, and welcoming culture, while enjoying the exciting ways to celebrate the holiday season with local and personal traditions.
Learn more: Colombia Vacations & Tours • Colombia Travel Guide
The heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, the promise of lush scenery, and a view of stunning water help make New Zealand one of the best countries to visit at Christmas. Instead of the traditional winter wonderland, New Zealand’s islands celebrate the warm weather with a customary barbecue lunch on Christmas Day.
Native plants become the holiday symbols, featuring ferns and flaxes alongside customary mistletoe. Traditional hangi cooking methods may fill the countryside with aromas of roasting lamb and potatoes, while Auckland celebrates with a Santa Parade down Queen Street or carolers enchant as they parade by candlelight.
The festive season brings families and friends together as they travel around the islands on summer break, eagerly enjoying the company and exciting activities, from hiking to kayaking, beach-going to wine tasting.
Highlights: Enjoy a traditional holiday-season barbecue • Embrace the summer weather with active exploration • Trek the stunning landscape • Hear the atmospheric music of traditional carolers • Witness the combination of old-world and new-world holiday customs
New Zealand Holiday Trip Idea
Focusing on the treasures of summer, our Marvels of New Zealand Tour in Three Weeks is a celebration of the islands, contemporary, and historic culture across the country, and a perfect way to connect with local Christmas traditions.
Learn more: New Zealand Tours & Vacations • New Zealand Travel Guide
Australia can feel like a tropical getaway or cosmopolitan immersion during the holiday season and the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. The warm weather welcomes decorative lights, trees, and ornaments connected to western European tradition, while also bringing in localized customs revealing native flora.
Carolers fill the nights with candlelight and song, the beaches invite locals and visitors to cool down in the pristine water, barbecues fill the air with mouthwatering aromas, and the country’s streets host festivals and parades.
From the fringes of the Great Barrier Reef to the vines of the celebrated wine growing regions, Christmas in Australia can reveal festive markets in Sydney or coastal escapes in Perth for a range of possibilities perfect for any type of seasonal traveler.
Highlights: Enjoy the festive ambiance accentuated by holiday lights • Visit Christmas markets • Embrace the beach ambiance across the country • Celebrate Australia Day alongside Christmas and New Year
Australia Holiday Trip Idea
From famous beaches to idyllic vineyards, the edges of the Great Barrier Reef to wildlife and scenery on a rugged island, Australia Highlights to Off-the-Grid Discoveries Tour provides a marvelous landscape in which to uncover local customs and share your holiday traditions.
Learn more: Australia Vacations & Tours • Australia Travel Guide
Zanzibar is one of the best places to spend Christmas on the beach. Celebrated for its white sands and crystal-clear waters, flavorful cuisine and cultural history around Stone Town, Christmas in Zanzibar is a completely different experience. Instead of snow, you can enjoy snow-white sand, and instead of pine trees, you can enjoy palm trees.
Shops, resorts, and private homes are decorated with lights and ornaments to retain the festive ambiance, but with a traditional twist that focuses on the beauty of the island and its long history.
Enjoy carols sung in Swahili and English, explore the vibrant streets of Stone Town, or connect your exotic Christmas getaway to an equally wondrous safari in Tanzania for a unique way to indulge in the holiday season.
Highlights: Enjoy the warm weather and world-class beaches • Indulge in the quiet ambiance of secluded sands and waters • Take part in water activities • Listen to the great combination of languages in carols • Combine Zanzibar with a safari experience
Zanzibar Holiday Trip Idea
Kenya to Zanzibar: Pure Wildlife and Seaside Escape is a joyous representation of culture and conservancy, where panoramic views of elephant herds can meet the intimate ambiance of a lodge’s Christmas tree, and the white sand of Zanzibar brings to mind a snowy landscape during a fabulous tropical escape.
Learn more: Zanzibar Vacation Packages • Tanzania Safari Guide
The holiday season offers endless charm and wonder, with festive markets and lively music, quiet retreats and jovial cultural celebrations during the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer or the serene nights of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter.
From snowy Lapland to sunny Australia, the pristine beaches of Zanzibar to the dramatic castles of India, working with a travel specialist can help you perfect your holiday-season trip using these ideas or ideas you can find in last year’s edition of the best holiday destinations for 2022-2023.
Find more possibilities for great destinations during the holiday season with our list of the 15 best places to travel in December. You can also enjoy more inspiration on where to travel during the season with our winter 2023 vacation ideas. Discover more options with our sample itineraries focused on holiday season travel vacations and tours, through which you can personalize every detail to create your preferred experience.