World's Top 6 Places to Celebrate Christmas in Luxury

World’s Top 6 Places to Celebrate Christmas in Luxury

Spice-laden glühwein, colourful Christmas market stalls and twinkling fairylights above quaint cobblestone streets – a Christmas in Europe is simply magical. However, it’s not just Europe that oozes with festive wonder and Christmas cheer. Canada’s winter wonderland, Antarctica’s sea of white icescapes and South East Asia’s tapestry of colour and culture all make incredible Christmas getaways. 
Longing for a different kind of Christmas away from the sun kissed beaches and barbequed prawns of Australia? Here are six of the world’s destinations to consider for your next Christmas escape.

1. Christmas in the Rockies, Canada

Experience a white Christmas with all the trimmings as you revel in Canada’s winter wonderland. Enjoy a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride passing snow-dusted trees, cosy up as the adorable, yet athletic huskies pull your sled and test your balance as you ice skate over the spectacular frozen Lake Louise against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. For a natural phenomenon, head to Abraham Lakes to witness the ice bubbles trapped within layers of ice or journey to Whitehorse, one of the best locations in the world to admire the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Rug up, keep your fingers crossed and cameras close by for a dazzling display of light as a sea of green, yellow and violet dances across the blanketed starlit sky.
Travel to Canada during November to peruse the Banff and Vancouver Christmas markets. A celebration of all things merry and bright, sip on a mug of mulled wine as you shop for local artisanal produce from the Bow Valley and gifts for your loved ones back home.
Alternatively, time your Canadian Christmas holiday for late December and enjoy an authentic Christmas Day brunch at either the 5-star luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs or Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, complete with lavish festive decorations. In Jasper, toast traditional s’mores over the fire pit as you warm up with a mug of steaming hot chocolate and later settle down in your Junior Suite at Jasper Park Lodge and watch the glowing flickering flames of your fireplace.
Christmas in the Rockies - Lake Louise Ice Skating

2. Christmas in Germany

Nowhere does Christmas quite like Germany. Steeped in old age traditions, arrive from late November to December to shop for gifts for home and for your tree. Cologne is home to the largest tree in the Rhineland, a 25 metre Nordmann fir standing proud and decorated with 50,000 sparkling lights. Wander through the bustling Christmas Markets outside the magnificent Gothic Cathedral, home to 160 red-roofed wooden pavilions selling everything from glass baubles to ceramics and woodcarvings. 

Journey along the Romantic Road to historic Rothenburg, home to half-timbered houses, stone walls studded with towers and narrow cobblestone streets. Rothenburg’s Reiterlesmarkt dates back to the 15th century with cute archways lined with wooden booths and twinkling lights. Sample the ‘white’ mulled wine, and taste the old German Christmas pastries as you shop for handcrafted souvenirs. For more Christmas cheer, browse Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Shop, home to the largest selection of German Christmas decorations worldwide – every Christmas aficionado’s dream.
Regensburg Christmas Markets, Germany
For one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Bavaria, visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Regensburg and explore the Romantic Christmas Market within the courtyard of the Thurn and Taxis Palace. Be guided by twinkling candlelight, lanterns and torches as you arrive at an atmospheric carved out village, ready to stroll by the wooden houses. Look out for traditional craftsmen such as blacksmiths, wood turners and the famous ‘Hatter at the Cathedral’ for inspirational gifts, whilst tasting the delicacies on offer including the mouthwatering spit roasted wild boar.

3. Christmas in Austria

Just like Germany, Austria is renowned for its historic Christmas markets. Dating back to 1298, Vienna was first granted a December Market “Krippenmarkt” by Albrecht I. Today, Austria’s capital city is home to more than 20 Advent markets, with the main Viennesse Dream Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) positioned infront of the charming City Hall, set with festive Christmas illuminations. Be sure to explore the Schönbrunn Christmas Markets, against the elegant palace backdrop. Featuring handmade arts and crafts, peruse the 80 stalls for gourmet produce such as Schnapps, cheese and salami as well as locally made intricate items by potters, glassblowers and candlemakers.

For a smaller Austrian town, travel to Salzburg, the City of Mozart, home to the Christkindlmarkt set at the foot of Hohensalzburg Fortress near the Cathedral. Dating back to the late 15th century, sample the giant pretzels, festive-spiced gingerbread and ofenkartoffel (baked potato), as you stroll through the maze of cute laneways in this charming World Heritage-listed Old Town.
Vienna Christmas Markets, Austria

4. Christmas in France

Arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Strasbourg, home to the Christkindelsmärik, one of the largest markets in Europe. Often referred as the ‘Capital of Christmas’, Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik is the oldest Christmas market in France dating back to 1570 with more than 300 wooden chalets to explore. Be tempted by colourful sweets, oozy strawberry filled doughnuts and the delicacy foie gras, whilst warming up with a Christmas spiced mulled wine or two. Go ice skating, listen to carollers and stroll the illuminated streets to complete the festive experience.
Christmas in Strasbourg, France

5. Christmas in Antarctica

For an unforgettable white Christmas like no other, journey south to pristine Antarctica on board the ultra-luxurious Scenic Eclipse. Enjoy the festive season as you journey to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands for Christmas. Be greeted by a sea of white icescapes, towering peaks and an abundance of wildlife. View vast colonies of penguins, seals and pods of whales as you explore by Zodiac and kayak or enjoy guided walks onshore with the expert Discovery Team.

The festivities continue as you are immersed in the pristine and awe-inspiring regions of the untouched icescapes, mountains rising from the sea, and incredibly diverse wildlife that will take your breath away. Celebrate New Year’s with the Antarctica in Depth voyage to make memories to last a lifetime.

With only 200 guests on board Scenic Eclipse, The World’s First Discovery Yacht™, you can enjoy access to the broadest range of landing sites in each region and trace the history of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous journey across South Georgia. Celebrate the festive season in spectacular style as you enjoy dinner and a celebratory drink among newfound friends in one of the many on board restaurants, bars and lounges including Koko’s, Elements and Lumière.
Christmas in Antarctica

6. Christmas in South East Asia

For an exotic Christmas featuring a tapestry of colour and culture, South East Asia is brimming with ancient temples, floating markets and spiritual sights. Encounter the treasures of the Mekong as you enjoy spectacular views over the mighty temples of Angkor Wat from a tethered balloon, indulge in a Vespa foodie night tour of Saigon and be wowed by the mystical themed Gala Dinner at an Angkor Temple with Apsara Show.
Alternatively, cruise along the Irrawaddy River to witness the magnificent temples of Bagan, partake in an oil lamp lighting ceremony at Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda and enjoy Burmese tea in a colonial house built in 1906.
Journey along the Mekong or Irrawaddy rivers in 5-star luxury on board the boutique vessels, Scenic Spirit and Scenic Aura. Featuring luxurious one-bedroom balcony suites throughout, unwind in the resort-style pool, sip cocktails at the outdoor bar and indulge in specialty regional dishes for a Christmas to remember.
Christmas in South East Asia

Top Christmas Cruises & Tours