You’ve worked hard all year round, and now, with Christmas just around the corner, it is time to make that dream trip come true. Although Christmas is popular for snowy days and cuddling up with your loved one by the fire, you can also choose to visit places that offer not only warmth in your heart but warmth on your body as well.
From festive corners clad with twinkling lights to snow-covered cities around the world, here are some of the best Christmas destinations that offer the holiday charm.
11. Taipei, Taiwan
Although Christmas isn’t a local holiday in Taiwan, Taipei still becomes festive, especially around the Taipei 101 area. The holiday spirit is very much alive during the Christmas season with festive decors installed in many shops in the area. Moreover, if you visit on New Year’s Eve, you can watch the fireworks show, which is one of the city’s biggest events of the year.
Another place you can visit during the holiday is Christmasland. The place is a full-on Christmas celebration with a market, a winter playground, and carolers performing famous Christmas tunes. In the vicinity, you can find the Mega City department store where you can shop for gifts. Christmasland is one of the most festive places in the city. It is decorated with twinkling lights with a giant Christmas tree at the center.
10. Seoul, South Korea
Christmas might be the best time to visit Seoul with your significant other. In the South Korean capital, romance is in the air because Christmas is usually more for couples. Therefore, Christmas Eve is the best time to go on a date. The chilly weather is reason enough to get closer to your loved one and to share warmth in the cold season.
Although eating street food is common in Seoul all-year-round, some food options become available only during the Christmas season. Christmas in Seoul means dining on chestnuts and sweet potatoes. Of course, drinking some soju might help you get warm amid the cold weather.
Another fun activity that you can do in Seoul is to head to Everland and ride on the huge sledding hill, Snow Buster. The amusement park offers the snow, the slope, and the sled.
9. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok’s skyline lights up at Christmas as shopping districts dazzle locals and tourists with eye-catching displays and amazing promos any avid shopper can’t say no to. Eat your way around the city during the holidays and party all night long.
A must-see in Bangkok during this season is its many buildings, bridges, and trees lined with Christmas lights. In some instances, even street food stalls and tuk-tuks are decorated with colorful lights.
8. Tokyo, Japan
This Japanese city is not one to hold itself back when it comes to lighting up the night sky. Tokyo is filled with scattered winter illuminations that are known for some memorable and sensational light displays. The good thing is, even if you miss traveling there in December, some of the winter illumination set-ups can last until February.
Even if you go outside of Tokyo, it is highly likely that you can find mesmerizing regional winter illuminations.
Tips when traveling in Tokyo:
- Pack a winter gear when traveling during the holidays. Bring a hat and earmuffs as they can come in handy when it gets windy. You can buy kairo or heating pads from convenience stores for your hands and feet for good measure.
- If you plan on going outside Tokyo via bullet trains, it is best to make reservations because this time of the year is peak travel season.
7. Rome, Italy
There’s no place like Rome during Christmas.
The ancient city is like a massive open-air museum that offers a look back to thousands of years of civilization. Travelers who have been here would say that you can spend a month exploring it and you have barely scratched the surface.
Christmas tradition envelopes the air in Rome. If you want a sacred Christmas experience then attend the Midnight Mass in many different spots in this scenic city.
6. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin has a lot to offer especially during the Christmas season. Ireland’s lively capital offers a dazzling line of shops and Christmas markets that can easily bring you into the festival spirit. As early as November, the Christmas lights are turned on in the city. The “Big Switch On” marks the start of Christmas festivities in the city where travelers can enjoy things like singing along to Christmas carols, walking around night markets, and gliding across the ice.
Even if you decide to travel solo, you have nothing to worry about because Dublin is one of the friendliest cities in the world.
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona has a romantic warmth that is perfect if you want to escape Christmas winter. The streets of this Spanish city are lined with spectacular lights. Almost every corner has a nativity crib and the air is surrounded by seasonal carols.
The festive tree-lined pedestrian boulevard of La Rambla offers the best Christmas parties hosted by local bars and restaurants.
Tips when traveling in Barcelona:
- Prices of restaurants along La Rambla may be higher. If you are looking for more reasonable prices, simply walk a few blocks and you can find restaurants that offer better deals.
- Since La Rambla is a tourist-packed place, pickpockets are common. It is recommended to bring only a little cash or carry a credit card instead. The Metrobank Vantage Card offers a fast and safe way to pay whenever you shop and eat during your trip. You don’t have to worry about fraud because this card has a chip that uses a unique code for each transaction. The embedded chip can protect you from credit card fraud due to cloning – an occurrence when your personal and account information is copied and transferred to a fake card.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
Like Barcelona, Cape Town offers another escape from the cold white Christmas because it is summertime on this side of the world at that time. In Cape Town, you have to trade the snowy city with white sand beaches but that does not mean you cannot have a festive Christmas celebration.
Photo from: capetown.travel
You can walk around jovial holiday markets in the city without worrying about having to wear a thick coat and a scarf. You can enjoy a great time as festive lights illuminate Adderley Street. Wait for the official turning on of the lights as it becomes host to a grand free street party.
3. Sydney, Australia
You have not seen a proper Christmas light show unless you have visited Sydney during the holiday. The city is known for “Sydney Christmas,” which is a month-long celebration of the joyful holiday. It is usually started with the tree lighting at Martin Place followed by continuous celebrations at Christmas markets. Nightly concerts are also a thing during this time of the year.
2. Rovaniemi, Finland
Located at the heart of the Arctic Circle, the Lapland region in Finland is known as the birthplace and home of Santa Claus.
If you want a Christmas experience that you will never forget, you should visit the Santa Claus Village amusement park in Rovaniemi. The ideal white Christmas can be experienced here. The place is filled with snow-laden cottages. You can try out riding a reindeer here or meet Santa’s little helpers.
Another once in a lifetime experience in Rovaniemi is to take a snowmobile ride and marvel at the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
1. New York City
At the heart of New York City Christmas, the Rockefeller Center offers a magical experience to everyone. Its massive Christmas tree is a tradition for locals and dream sight for travelers.
Radio City, which is just right across the street, hosts a yearly Christmas Spectacular that features the Rockettes.
Surrounding the southwest side of Central Park are stores with awe-inspiring displays. Shop ’til you drop or just enjoy the colorful shop-front decors when you walk on this side of the city.
Tips when traveling in New York City:
- Many museums and attractions are closed during Christmas Day and even the day after Christmas so plan accordingly.
- The city requires a lot of walking so make sure to dress warmly. New York City can get bitterly cold around the holidays.
- Many restaurants in New York City will only accept credit cards. This is clearly communicated on the menus but if you are not sure, ask before booking a table. Better yet, always bring your Metrobank Vantage Card with you.
Traveling this Christmas should be totally hassle-free and you can do it with your Metrobank Vantage Card. This card enables secure and faster paperless payments anywhere with a simple tap on any contactless-enabled card terminal with the contactless symbol. With this, transactions are quicker while still ensuring the security of every purchase. The chip used for this card can protect you from credit card fraud due to cloning.
As a frequent flyer, using your Metrobank Vantage Card lets you earn points that you can use to redeem premium items or air miles from Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, or Singapore Airlines. To know more about the rewards program, read here.
To know more about contactless payment, read about contactless card here.
To apply for a credit card or better understand the features and perks of Metrobank Vantage card, read how you can turn Vantage to real advantage here.