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Festive Destinations: Season's Greetings From Around the World

  • Melanie Danko
Dec 13, 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. No matter where or how you celebrate the season, here are some global places with the most merry and bright Christmas celebrations.

Looking to try something different this holiday season? Try traveling the world for the most wonderful time of the year to visit these many festive destinations, from Australia to Santa Claus, Indiana (yes, there's actually a town called Santa Claus!) and peek into the magic of Christmas internationally. 

 

Orlando, Florida

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Of course it comes as no surprise that “The Happiest Place On Earth” is one of the best places to be for the holiday season. Orlando is home to many world-famous parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios which, naturally, go all out decking the halls for the holidays. From live entertainment and holiday parties at Disney World, lit with fireworks and holiday parades to a delightfully Dr. Seuss “Grinchmas” at Universal, families and people of all ages can delight in the Christmas festivities of Orlando’s celebrated attractions and theme parks.

 

Hyde Park London: Winter Wonderland

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Have yourself a very British Christmas in Hyde Park London's Winter Wonderland. Join London's winter festival which hosts ice skating, an ice kingdom, live shows, an ice bar and more. The best part? Entry to Winter Wonderland is completely free. 

Budapest, Hungary


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Budapest Christmas Market by St Stephen's Basilica is one of the most famed Christmas markets worldwide. The Christmas Market features unique craft products for sale, delicious local food, drinks and entertainment. In the heart of Budapest, Vörösmarty Square hosts a Christmas Market complete with every kind of imaginable sugary Hungarian holiday treat alongside beautiful illuminated ice skating. A must-see for anyone traveling to Eastern Europe for the holidays, but vegetarians, brace yourself for lots of carnivorous treats at these traditionally Hungarian holiday festivities. 

 

Santa Claus, IN

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This town in Indiana named Santa Claus is naturally going to be a place you’ll want to see around the holiday season. Cheekily named "America's Christmas Hometown," Santa Claus is full of Americana delights of Christmas in the Hoosier state, with Santa Claus as the star. Located in the heart of Indiana, this town features all kinds of homey and wonderful Christmas celebrations. The favorite? Drive through and relive the story of the famous red-nosed reindeer at, you guessed it, Lake Rudolph. Enjoy this classic and famous Land of Lights drive with your family. 


Sydney, Australia

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Spending the holidays "down under"? Sydney is well-known for their extravagant light displays around the holiday season, particular in the famed Sydney Town Hall building. Martin Place showcases a decadent illuminated Christmas tree and the Town Hall transforms into a festive light display complete with light projections. Around the holidays, Sydney also hosts Santa Festivals, fireworks and Christmas concerts galore

 

Finnish Laplands

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Okay, so we know that Santa Claus has a few homes at this point. But, as the story goes, Santa Claus’ original home lies in the mysterious Korvatunturi (“Ear Fell”) in Finnish Lapland. Since the precise location is top-secret only known to a chosen few elves and Christmas insiders, Santa set up an office in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, in 1985. In 2010, Rovaniemi was officially dubbed the Official Hometown of Santa Claus. Santa Claus Village is Lapland’s highest regarded attraction and tourist spot. It is home to a variety of shops, restaurants and cafés. Complete with husky and reindeer rides, snowmobile tours, design items and souvenirs, ice and snow constructions, and an igloo hotel, Santa Claus Village is a must-see for enthusiasts of Christmas.

North Pole, Alaska

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Have you ever wanted to visit the real North Pole? You’re in luck … provided you’re willing to take the trek to Alaska. The very best part of all? You don't even need to visit during the Christmas season to enjoy some holiday spirit. With the motto, "Where the spirit of Christmas lives year 'round," this small Alaskan city is chock-full of holiday delights. The elaborate ice park is the central and most prominent feature of this small Alaskan town, featuring holiday-themed sculptures and life-size ice slides for families to play on. Plus, Santa Clauses abound. Even the president of the local chamber of commerce legally changed his name to Santa Claus. 

 

 

Strasbourg, France

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Strasbourg is home to the most historic Christmas celebration in France, which has been taking place since 1570. Located in the cathedral square, the Strasbourg Christmas Market is the oldest Christmas market in France and one of the largest European Christmas markets. With over 300 different stalls in this cheerily lit, historic Christmas wonderland, it's no wonder it's called The Capital of Christmas.


Tokyo, Japan

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While Tokyo is not necessarily known for their all-out Christmas celebrations per se (businesses are still open and the holiday is celebrated rather casually in Japanese culture), something they are known for is their light displays! This Japanese city goes all out with elaborate light displays, natively referred to as "illuminations." The Roppongi Hills (one of Japan's largest integrated property developments, located in the Roppongi district of Minato, Tokyo) illumination hosts a Christmas Market complete with hot chocolate, mulled wine, German grilled sausages, and handmade ornaments. You can also find a Christmas Market in Hibiya Park with festive illuminations as well. 


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