It may seem a little bit early to be thinking about Christmas already, but there really is no better time to plan a winter getaway than now. Summer is officially over and winter looms ahead – but it doesn’t have to mean that the holidays and fun stops. Why not change things up and plan a last minute Christmas break this year? Below we look at four alternative destinations well worth spending your Christmas in.
Quebec City, the capital of Canadian province Quebec, is the perfect destination to get you in the holiday spirit, with plenty of seasonal activities suitable for all ages. The French-speaking city is well known for its stunning architecture, natural landscapes and European inspired charm.
As far as the festive season goes, Quebec is a little winter wonderland in its own right. A visit to the bustling German Christmas Market is the place to go for those who want to treat their senses and quench their thirst for mulled wine – not forgetting the delicious German sausages, festive nuts and Christmassy crepes on offer.
For a more local Christmas experience head to the famous neighbourhood of Old Quebec, the charming Christmas village that quite literally looks like a scene from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – think fairy lights, snow, cosy bistros and Christmas trees galore. Each and every shop in the picturesque village is decorated for the season and a trip through the illuminated streets makes for an enchanting walk.
For those who are seeking a more adventurous Christmas break, do not fear: Quebec is also a popular destination for unique snowboarding and skiing experiences, boasting four different resorts to sink your teeth into. The Winter Carnival is a popular festival held in Quebec City, where you can enjoy ice sculptures, an ice castle and skiing.
If you’re looking for something a little less festive, there are plenty of other things to do too. A trip to Montmorency Falls Park is the perfect opportunity to marvel sweeping views of the St. Lawrence river, or, for the ultimate relaxing experience visit the Siberia Station Spa. Here you can unwind from the chaos of Christmas in steam baths, saunas, hot tubs and thermal waterfalls amongst pine trees, wilderness and nature.
Honolulu is a great choice of destination to spend a winter break as here you can manage the perfect balance between celebrations and relaxation. There might not be any snow, but there is plenty going on – and you can enjoy the festivities in highs of 28 degrees with white sand between your toes. Honolulu is home to the famous Waikiki Beach – a long stretch of white sand and turquoise sea lined with high-rise hotels and bars.
To experience the festive side of Honolulu during the winter period, the annual Honolulu City Lights is well worth a visit. The month-long festive extravaganza offers a show of beautiful lights, a tree lighting ceremony and Christmas parades to get you in the spirit. This year celebrates the 34th year of this joyous tradition.
If you are craving some snow then head to the Ala Moana Mall where live performances (including hula dances) are held regularly and it ‘snows’ every hour on the hour. Alternatively, ditch the typical festive traditions and replace snowmen with sand castles. Watch Santa arrive in a canoe onto Waikiki Beach in early December!
For a classical music experience, Blaisdell Concert Hall is the place to be. On the 28th and 29th of December the stunning sounds of the Honolulu Symphony Organisation team with the Oahu Choral Society for a breathtaking Beethoven’s Symphony masterpiece: “Ode To Joy”. This is a beautiful collaboration that is not to be missed – and will leave you with goosebumps.
Other Christmassy events include street food parties, performances of “The Nutcracker” and a Jingle Rock Run. If you need to escape the festivities for a while then have a go at the large range of watersports available, including turtle canyon snorkelling and parasailing. Failing that, grab yourself a cocktail and simply soak up the Christmas rays from a towel on the beautiful Waikiki Beach!
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas festivities entirely, then swap your pints at the pub for bottles on the beach on the beautiful island of Koh Samui. December is the start of dry season in Thailand and welcomes an extra hour of sunlight a day, making it the perfect time to plan a winter getaway, replacing Christmas trees and gifts with beach huts and sunsets.
Koh Samui is not shy of beautiful beaches. Instead of running around on Christmas morning trying to prepare a dinner for the whole family, slip on some flip flops and head down to the beach. The 25th December is not an official holiday in Thailand – so you won’t have Christmas Carols constantly ringing in your ears.
There are plenty of things to do in Koh Samui. Visit the famous Big Buddha made out of gold (one of the first things you’ll see when flying in due to its size!) or explore the stunning waterfalls set in luscious jungle. You can dive, hike, water-ski, kite-board, or there are plenty of towns and villages to explore.
If you really want to defy festive traditions, book a Jungle Jeep Safari tour for an authentic and fun-filled day of adventure, sightseeing and getting up close and personal with the wildlife. The trip includes a refreshing swim in the islands largest waterfall, zip line cable rides and rugged rides up the mountains to access the best viewpoints.
Ditch the pigs in blankets and put your culinary skills to the test by swapping traditional Christmas dinner with a Thai cooking class. There are plenty of delicious dishes to learn including phad thai, tom yam, Thai curries and stir fries.
For those who do want to be right amongst the festive celebrations, there is no better place to spend your Christmas break than in the magical winter wonderland that is New York City. There are endless things to do in the bustling city including a trip to Broadway, a visit to the Empire State Building and, of course, a walk through the famous Times Square.
Ice skating under the iconic giant Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center is a must, as well as a visit to the Bryant Park Winter Village: the huge holiday market with over 150 festive stands and food outlets. It is a great place to pick up some gifts including jewellery and artwork.
Christmas shopping is all part of the festive hype and there is no better place to pick up your presents than in New York. Fifth Avenue is a great place to go for a little bit of glamour shopping (think Tiffany and Co and Henri Bendel) or visit Macy’s for the ultimate Christmas shopping experience, where the famous Santaland is based.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art displays a beautiful 18th century Nativity scene and daily tree-lighting events, and the theatre at Madison Square Garden is running ELF The Musical from December 13th.
Of course, no trip to New York is complete without partaking in a few touristy (and less festive) activities. A trip to the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, a walk through Central Park or a lively ice hockey match are just a few things to get stuck into during your visit.
Make Christmas extra special this year and book your flights to any of the above destinations with Just Fly Business. We offer low-cost business and first class flights to exciting destinations across the globe, as well as top deals on luxury hotels. To book your perfect winter getaway today, simply visit our website and start browsing destinations straight away.