Home may be where the heart is, but at Christmas it’s often nice to escape. This Christmas, be like the Three Wise Men and travel for your best festive season ever. Adrian Flux Insurance Services – which offers tailor-made travel insurance for every jet-setter – finds 10 great places to spend Christmas.
Boston: Full of old-world charm and New England cosiness, Boston celebrates Christmas with extra enthusiasm, remembering the dark days when the Puritans outlawed seasonal festivities for 22 years.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that Christmas became fashionable in Boston following the ban, but today it’s a hive of festive activity with plenty of Christmas markets in the snow-dusted squares. Back Bay streets are bright with holiday lights, the famous Feneuil Hall tree sparkles and there’s world-class dining and shopping to enjoy.
Edinburgh: Close to home but offering you Christmas with a Highland twist, Edinburgh was recently voted the best place in the UK to enjoy the festive season. From the stunning Big Wheel to the traditional German market, the city’s streets come alive with an incredible atmosphere. Enjoy ice-skating, join hundreds of jogging Santas as they sprint round Princes Street Gardens or simply settle down in front of a log fire with an eggnog and soak up the spirit of Christmas.
Vienna: Filled with twinkling lights and boasting three outdoor Christkindlmarkts, which open long into the evening, Vienna is filled with old-fashioned warmth. Enjoy a glass of gluhwein – spiced mulled wine – while listening to the angelic voices of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, who give free performances throughout December on Sundays. With spectacular restaurants and shopping, Vienna’s quaint cobbled streets, glittered with frost, are the perfect place to wander hand-in-hand with your beloved on Christmas Eve.
Malmo, Sweden: The Swedes are very serious about Christmas and celebrate in style. In Malmo, St Lucia’s Day on December 13 – the festival which banishes darkness – sees locals vote for their own St Lucia who is then paraded through the city in a horse-drawn carriage. Filled with sparkling lights and Christmas markets, make sure you leave herring – rather than a mince pie – out for Santa on December 24.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Add a dash of fiesta to your festivities by visiting one of the rising stars of the Caribbean and a city which embraces Christmas in style. This Spanish gem is packed with culture and comes to life every December. Visit the giant Christmas tree in the main square, El Jardin, spot the colourful piñatas hanging in windows and marvel at the huge life-size nativity scene which is put in place every year in the centre of the city. There are fireworks, live music, dancing and re-enactments of Bible stories to see, although make sure you’ve booked Christmas dinner: many establishments close on December 25.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand: More of us than ever before are cheerfully swapping snow and hot toddies for sun, sea and cocktails at Christmas with a break that guarantees good weather. In New Zealand, you can enjoy a barbecue on the beach for Christmas dinner, and summer in December. There’s holiday spirit in abundance, but none of the chilly temperatures.
Munich: Atmospheric Christmas markets, outdoor carol singing, shopping streets decked with decorations, an open-air ice rink and all with the romantic backdrop of the snow-capped Alps – Munich is the perfect place to celebrate the festive season. Like a scene from an Advent calendar come to life, Munich is a picture-perfect place to enjoy a traditional Christmas.
Tromso, Norway: The shorter, darker days make Christmas in Norway feel very cosy, and Tromso has been voted one of the best places in the world to spend Christmas. The capital of the Arctic, the polar nights from November 21 to January 21 mean you’ve got a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights, and the opportunity to try exciting new sports such as dog-sledding, reindeer sledging and alpine skiing.
San Juan, Puerto Rico: If you love Christmas, you’ll feel at home in San Juan where they begin celebrating in November and keep going until mid January. Forget the 12 days of Christmas, in Puerto Rico it’s more like the two months of Christmas. Attend a dawn mass, celebrate Nochebuena on Christmas Eve and then enjoy a reenactment of the nativity scene at midnight. If you manage to hold out until New Year, make sure you eat 12 grapes for luck before you take part in a free-for-all party hosted by…the government.
Reykjavik: Celebrate Christmas Viking-style in Iceland’s stylish capital city. Local folklore sees not one but 13 Santas bearing gifts at Christmas: the jolasveiner (literally ‘Yule Lads’) come into the city from December 12. Nearby is the Christmas Village at Hafnarfiodur, known as ‘the home of elves’ and on Christmas Eve expect to start your festivities in style when Reykjavik fills with the sound of bells ringing in December 25.
* Give yourself peace of mind during the season for peace on earth by making sure that before you leave home you’re covered for eventualities such as lost luggage, cancellations, medical expenses, personal accidents and the loss of your passport. Adrian Flux can offer a host of benefits for a surprisingly low price and offer you the peace of mind you need. Call specialist broker Adrian Flux on 0800 369 8590 or visit adrianflux.co.uk for the right cover, at the right price.