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Family Christmas Destinations: 22 of the Best Places for Christmas Cheer

Christmas is the perfect time of year for a little extra family time with a dash of extra magic. Around the world small towns and big cities are aglow with Christmas cheer, delicious treats, family fun activities, and plenty of local shopping opportunities. Whether you are looking for outdoor snow adventures, a traditional Christmas market, or a relaxing day in the sun, there are plenty of options around the globe for you and the kiddos to enjoy the Christmas cheer! Explore twenty of the best family Christmas destinations!

rain of snow in town painting
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Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Queenstown, New Zealand

Recommended by Jennifer Parkes from Backyard Travel Family: Active Family Travel Specialists in New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand is a great family Christmas destination. There are so many things to do in Queenstown with kids that you won’t run out of activities to do. From leisurely wine tastings, cycle trails, boat cruises and relaxing by the beach, to adrenalin filled ziplines, jet boating and white water rafting, there is something for everyone in Queenstown.

As a popular holiday destination, it is common to hire a holiday home, of which there are plenty.  One of the best things about Christmas in New Zealand, is that it is summertime, so find a great home with a lakeview to add some calm to the holiday period.  Queenstown also has a great international community, so if you are coming from overseas, check out the expat Facebook groups who are always putting on Christmas festivities for those away from home.  A typical kiwi Christmas is chilled, relaxed and includes beers and a bbq, an easy thing to replicate in your holiday house. Make sure you try a pavlova for dessert.

A great activity for the whole family, young and old, is the TSS Earnslaw Cruise.  A 1 ½ hour return journey on the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by dramatic mountains. It’s quite a sight.  The TSS Earnslaw is unique as it is a full running steamship. They often include a tour to Walter Peak Station where you will get to feed animals and even see a sheepdog display.  If you like a little more adrenalin, the K Jet boat ride takes toddler aged kids and older and is a great thrill ride for the whole family.  

TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise, family Christmas destinations
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TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise. Photo Credit: Backyard Travel Family

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Recommended by Tatiana from Family Road Trip Guru

Chicago, Illinois is one of the best family Christmas destinations in the United States. Not surprisingly, your favorite family Christmas movies such as Home Alone and Christmas with the Kranks are set in Chicagoland.

Lots of local attractions organize special holiday events for families from late November until and including the first week of January. There is a huge array to choose from: Zoo Lights at both zoos in town, Christmas trees festival in the Museum of Science Industry, Christmas festivals throughout the city, the most famous of which is the German Christmas market – Christkindlemarket, which opens on Friday after Thanksgiving and lasts till December 24. It is a big market with many vendors, delicious food, hot mulled wine and festive music and special surprises for kids. Also, don’t miss Chicago’s famous ice rinks in the Millennium Park and Macy’s holiday windows displays at their flagship store on Washington Street.

The best place to stay in Chicago during the holidays is either near Lincoln Park or close to the Magnificent Mile around which most of the holiday festivities are centered. Your only problem will most likely be not enough time to check out all of the fantastic things to do in Chicago at Christmas.

Chicago at Christmas
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Chicago at Christmas. Photo Credit: Family Road Trip Guru

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Recommended By Christian from Punta Cana Travel Blog

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a perfect family Christmas destination. Who can resist tropical drinks, a turquoise ocean, warm temperatures and a Caribbean vibe? Especially for families, it is a perfect place to go for various reasons. First, you have direct flights from over 40 cities in North America to Punta Cana, which guarantees a quick and smooth journey with your kids and toddlers. Second, there are tons of family-friendly all-inclusive resorts with kids club, special entertainment for children, family suites and huge waterparks, which is probably the best Christmas present for every child.

The all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana are also perfect for parents as they can relax a bit on the beach or the pool from the hectic pre-Christmas time while the kids are busy on the water slides or with building sandcastles. The third advantage is that there are many exciting excursions and day-trips to do in Punta Cana because being on Christmas vacation in an all-inclusive resort doesn’t mean you have to stay there all the time.

This part of the Dominican Republic offers stunning activities such as watching local wildlife at Los Haitises National Park, going snorkeling at Isla Catalina or exploring secluded waterfalls where you can swim in the natural swimming pools.  When venturing out to explore this part of the Dominican Republic, you can also stop at one of the local restaurants to try some Christmas-themed dishes, such as Arroz Navideño (translates to Christmas rice, which is usually prepared with raisins) or a slice of roasted pork.

Punta Cana, Family Christmas destinations
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Punta Cana. Photo Credit: Punta Cana Travel Blog

New York City, NY, USA

Recommended by Sally from Our3kidsvtheworld

New York City is magical throughout December, brave the cold with a thick winter jacket and get out amongst it all and experience one of the most beautifully decorated cities in the world. The atmosphere is incredibly festive with Christmas decorations and Christmas carols everywhere. Snow at Christmas is rare but not unheard of and seeing all those famous landmarks covered in the a light dusting of snow makes the experience all the more traditional, just like all the American movies we love. 

Visiting Bryant Park Christmas market is a must. I highly recommend the spiced apple cider to keep you warm while you wander around the Christmas themed stores. A quintessential New York City winter experience is ice skating, there are open air ice rinks at the Rockefeller Centre, Central Park and Bryant Park just to name a few.  Ice skating at the Rockefeller Centre with the iconic giant Christmas Tree as the back drop is definitely worth paying a little extra for. After skating you can take in the world famous intricately decorated window displays of Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows, strolling further along Fifth Avenue shops until you arrive at Central Park. Times Square is always amazing however it takes on a life of its own for the New Years Eve Ball Drop.

Christmas in New York City is expensive however it will be an adventure the family will never forget. There’s plenty of free things to see and do, mix that up with a few of main attractions like Top of the Rock and Empire State Building and you’ll have yourself an amazing holiday experience.  

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these great things to do in NYC in the Winter!

New York City, family Christmas destination
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Bryant Park Christmas Market. Photo Credit:

Krakow, Poland

Recommended by Karolina from Travel Poland Tours

Krakow is one of the best family Christmas destinations around the world. The dusting of white snow and the bright lights that illuminate its city center adds to the magic as the Christmas Market comes to life. It is here that one will find a winter wonderland with the traditional wooden stalls selling the best Polish food and other artisan products.

Located in Krakow’s 13th century Market Square with the Renaissance Cloth Hall and the towering St. Mary’s Basilica as its background, the illuminated facades of these architectural wonders contribute to the storybook setting of the Christmas Market. It is here that you will find beautifully crafted Christmas decorations and unique handmade items, like wooden serving bowls and kitchen utensils. One of the best buys here are the Polish slippers that will keep your feet warm.

The Krakow Christmas Market, which starts at the end of November to the 26th of December, is also the best place to taste some Polish favorites, like oscypek (the local highland cheese made from sheep milk), pierogi (Polish dumplings), grilled sausages, and ham. The local mulled wine, Grzaniec Galicyjski creates the perfect pairing to the melted oscypek with cranberry on top. And, with the sausages, have a nice hot, Polish beer.

Another reason why Krakow is the best Christmas destination is its proximity to the winter capital of Poland. Just 2 hours away and perfect for a day trip or an overnight stay is Zakopane with its snow-covered Tatra Mountains and traditional wooden houses. For extended stays, Zakopane is a gateway to natural wonders like the mirror-like waters of the Morskie Oko deep in the Tatra Mountains.

Krakow, Family Christmas Destinations
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Krakow. Photo Credit: Travel Poland Tours.

Prague, Czech Republic

Recommended by Veronika from Travel Geekery

Prague belongs to one of the most exciting destinations to visit year round and even more so at Christmas. There’s everything any family member could hope for, and more making it the perfect family Christmas destination.

The Christmas atmosphere is truly special in Prague. Every neighborhood in or close to the city center has its own Christmas market, where you can listen to Christmas carols, be merry and eat your heart out. Adults will enjoy a cup of mulled wine, hot mead or grog. Children will love roasted chestnuts and Trdlo, a delicious chimney cake originally from Transylvania. Many of the larger Christmas markets, such as those at the Old Town Square or Namesti Republiky, often feature a small petting zoo.

If you’re in Prague on the night of December 5th, you can witness St. Nicholas roaming the streets with his helpers – angels and devils. It’s a day when you can expect more events and performances at the Old Town Square Christmas market.

Apart from seeing all the Prague Christmas markets and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere, you can engage in another fun family activity – ice-skating! A small ice skating rink is usually put up right in the Old Town – at the Ovocný trh Square.

For a family, I’d highly recommend staying at an Airbnb apartment during Christmas time. You’ll be close to locals and might even get a glimpse of how Christmas is celebrated in Czech households.

Prague, Family Christmas Destinations
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Prague. Photo Credit: Travel Geekery.

Malága, Spain

Recommended By Paulina from Visit Southern Spain

Malága is one of the highlighted cities when you talk about Christmas. You should visit there during Christmas as the festive period shines the whole city with lights, Calle Larios being one of the popular ones. Malága offers world-famous sights of festival lights and spectacular sound shows. The city is famous for its and discovered atmosphere and stunning liveliness. 

Visiting there with family offers you a lot of things to enjoy including watching the illumination of the place, finding perfect presents from Christmas markets, trying out traditional Christmas sweets, and more. Whether you are alone or with your family, it is a must to try the traditional local celebrations to feel the Spanish Christmas spirit.

If you want to enjoy your family dinner, you must take into account that many restaurants in Malaga offer Christmas special dinner for families. You can enjoy Christmas specials at Parador de Gibralfaro which is one of the best restaurants offering a spectacular view. 

There are several spots where you can feel the festive spirit along with some mouth-watering treats. You can visit The Craft Gaur in the Parque de Malaga or Muelle Uno for a wonderful experience. It would be best to pre-plan where to stay in Malaga as you would love to be somewhere near these markets. One of the best options would be the Hotel Miramar.

The Christmas Lights of Malága, family Christmas destinations
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The Christmas Lights of Malága. Photo Credit: Yolanda on Flickr.

Melbourne, Australia

Recommended By Natasha from The Great Ocean Road Collective

For an unforgettable Christmas experience head to Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city. This metropolitan city offers everything from family-friendly events, outdoor activities, amazing food and drinks, as well as welcoming locals, making it a great family Christmas destination.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Melbourne is lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. Be sure to check out the displays at iconic landmarks like the State Library, Royal Exhibition Building, and Melbourne Town Hall. In December, Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD is transformed into Christmas Square, complete with a 16-foot tall Christmas tree and huge illuminated bauble. Kid-friendly activities include an outdoor cinema, free music performances, visits to Santa’s village, and Christmas markets, just to name a few. 

Another spot in Melbourne for some family-fun is the iconic Queen Victoria Market. This massive market is home to over 600 businesses, selling handcrafted goods and delicious food from around the world. Kids can participate in the market’s Christmas Trail, which includes a series of clues and prizes at the end. 

Another popular Christmas activity is visiting Epicure’s Gingerbread Village. Made from 600kg of gingerbread, the village depicts Melbourne and many of its sites like the Royal Botanical Gardens. While you’re there, enjoy some freshly-baked pastries with the entire family. 

After spending a few days in Melbourne, check out some of the iconic attractions along the Great Ocean Road where the family can enjoy some sunshine, pristine white sand beaches, and stunning coastal vistas. Regardless of how you spend the holiday, you’re sure to enjoy Christmas in Melbourne with the family.

Christmas in Melbourne
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Christmas in Melbourne. Photo Credit: Chris Phutully on Flickr.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Recommended By Kate From Our Escape Clause

With its penchant for excellent nightlife, unforgettable decor, raucous parades, and year-round festivities, it’s no surprise that New Orleans is one of the coolest family Christmas destinations. There is no shortage of fun things to do and–of course–great food to eat in New Orleans, and even a few days in NOLA is long enough to have an unforgettable Christmas getaway in the city.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the magnificent decor in the ritzy Roosevelt Hotel, go caroling in Jackson Square, enjoy the Christmas lights in beautiful City Park, attend the Festival of Bonfires, and of course, enjoy a holiday parade–there are more than enough to go around. Kids will love riding the Polar Express, and of course, no Christmas trip to New Orleans is complete without a plate of sugary beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Strolling past the mansions of the Garden District and the beautiful architecture of the French Quarter to admire the magical Christmas decor homes are decked out in also belongs on any list of what to do in NOLA in December!

With December highs that reach an average of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, leave your heavy coats at home and come prepared to enjoy plenty of festivities when planning a trip to New Orleans for Christmas!

French Quarter, family Christmas destinations
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French Quarter. Photo Credit: Our Escape Clause

Gippsland, Australia

Recommended by Mark from Wyld Family Travel

Gippsland is a hidden gem, located in Victoria Australia and it is the perfect place to enjoy Christmas with family. Blessed with amazing landscapes, mighty rivers, pristine beaches and some of the most amazing animals in Australia, Gippsland doesn’t have something for everyone, it has it all! Many people flock to Australia to enjoy a Christmas in the sun or to spend it by the beach and Gippsland is the perfect place for that.

You can decide to free camp in one of the National Parks, or you can pop up a tent on a beachfront overlooking the majestic 90-mile beach. You can pick a small town to have an Airbnb in and explore the region from there or you can town hop from hotel to hotel to maximize your time in the area. Whatever you chose you are bound to have an epic time in Gippsland.

As many of the seaside towns are based along the 90-mile beach there are carnivals for kids and activities like mini-golf to enjoy. They are ready for you to relax and enjoy the sun. Other towns in the countryside won’t have as many activities but at times you may find yourself alone, surrounded in peace and quiet.

Gippsland is also a foodies delight. Some of the tastiest food in Australia comes from this area and at Christmas time there is an abundance for you to enjoy.

Gippsland, Australia
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Gippsland, Australia. Photo Credit: Wyld Family Travel.

Rome, Italy

Recommended By Jiayi From The Diary of a Nomad

Rome, Italy is definitely one of the best family Christmas destinations. Not only is the historic center filled with gorgeous festive decorations; the Vatican is also the place to be during Christmas as it is the beating heart of the Catholic Church. Every year, there’s a big Christmas Eve mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, which is also the most-watched Christmas mass in the whole world. On Christmas Day, you and your family can also watch the Pope speak from St. Peter’s Square!

The ideal Rome itinerary would be incomplete without a stroll with your kids in the beautiful historic center, which is decorated with Christmas trees and lights in December. You’ll find the biggest and most beautiful Christmas trees in Piazza Venezia and next to the Colosseum. Be sure to also stop by Piazza Navona, a large square that’s home to the biggest Christmas market in the city. There’s a huge merry-go-round in the middle of the square, perfect for children to relax in. You’ll also find lots of sweets in the Christmas markets, as well as a big nativity scene.

One Christmas treat you absolutely have to try during your time in Rome is the panettone, a tall and fluffy sweet loaf dotted with raisins and candied orange. There’s a similar treat called pandoro, which is basically the panettone without the sweets inside it. Both treats are absolutely delicious and very popular among locals!

Rome, Italy
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Rome. Photo Credit: The Diary of a Nomad.

Moscow, Russia

Recommended By Lindsey From Have Clothes, Will Travel

Moscow during Christmas is simply magical and looks as though the city were plucked straight from a fairytale. There are many beautiful Christmas lights displays, as well as festive Christmas markets that begin in late November and run to the end of February. It is also important to note, Russia celebrates the Orthodox Christmas which takes place on January 7th – not December 25th!

Moscow’s most famous Christmas market is located in the heart of the city right in Red Square. This magical market is set against the magnificent onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral as well as The Kremlin and the beautiful GUM Mall, which is covered in strings of twinkling lights. Many of the best things to do in Moscow are located right by this market!

The market itself hosts a large ice skating rink, festive carnival rides for the kids and dozens of vendor stalls selling all kinds of traditional Russian gifts and treats. You can indulge in many kinds of grilled meats, blini (Russian pancakes), cookies and more. Be sure to also grab a glass of mulled wine to keep you warm and a hot chocolate for the kids!

If your budget and schedule allow, I also highly recommend seeing The Nutcracker ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre on the Historic Stage during the Christmas holiday. Buy your tickets as soon as possible, though, as The Nutcracker sells out within hours of tickets going on sale! This performance was our teenager’s favorite memory of Christmas in Moscow. 

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Moscow. Photo Credit: Have Clothes, Will Travel.

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Recommended By Kate From Lone Star Travel Guide

Featuring over 100,000 Christmas lights, beautiful historical sites, several festivals, and relatively warm weather, you can’t go wrong with celebrating Christmas with your family in San Antonio, Texas!

During the Christmas season in San Antonio, some of the best things to do include strolling along the beautifully decorated Riverwalk, checking out the San Fernando Cathedral, checking out the Light the Way Festival, and bringing the kids to ride Santa’s Railroad at the San Antonio Transportation Museum.

Kids will also love the holiday festivities put on at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and nearby Natural Bridge Caverns, and the whole family will enjoy a day trip to Fredericksburg, a classic Hill Country town that loves to show off its German heritage at Christmastime, including plenty of mulled wine and decor.

Tamales are a classic Christmas dish in San Antonio, so be sure to give them a try! From there, head over to Historic Market Square for a little Christmas shopping.

San Antonio’s Missions, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, also deserve to be featured when spending a weekend in San Antonio during Christmas–not only are they decorated beautifully, but the weather will finally be cool enough to enjoy them!

San Antonio in December reaches an average high of 64 degrees Fahrenheit, so you won’t need to bundle up much to enjoy the city’s best sights.

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Riverwalk Christmas Light. Photo Credit: Nan Palmero on Flickr.


Recommended By Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic

Christmas in Cuba is the perfect time to celebrate the holidays but still learn about local culture. What is interesting about Cuba is that after the revolution the country became atheist. While Santeria and other religions were still practiced, Catholicism was not as prevalent, and Christmas was banned until 1997 when the Pope visited Cuba. So most people did not grow up with Christmas traditions.

And so it has become a new holiday for Cubans, who are slowly adopting some of the traditions. But this is actually great news because it means you will see decorations and music, but it is not a holiday where everything shuts down and the streets are empty.

Cuba has some of the best beaches in the world, and so there’s no better day at the soft white sandy beaches. Resorts offer many different tours from snorkeling and scuba diving to exploring local caves and horseback riding.

Christmas Eve is the biggest celebration. While Cubans do not exchange presents, they will gather to have a big family meal and drink and dance. Some will go to midnight mass. In the town of Remedios there is a legendary fireworks competition that goes on until dawn.

While it is most common to eat a roasted pork dinner, many resorts will have turkey for those who prefer to stay traditional. And you can guarantee that somehow Santa will find an opportunity to make a visit to children at the hotel.

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Cuba. Photo Credit: Bacon is Magic.


Recommended by Bec from Poland Travel Expert

Not many people consider Poland for a family vacation but it is one place where Christmas comes alive every single year. Normally blessed with snow Poland is the perfect place to have a white Christmas with family.

Not only do the cities decorate their streets with twinkle lights and beautiful trees, you will find the smallest of towns beautifully decorated as well. Many of the larger cities like Warsaw and Krakow have Christmas Lights displays dotted around the city where you can easily take the children for a walk to see them. Christmas markets are everywhere with amazing food and an abundance of Christmas spirit. It is easy to pick up a cup of Grzane Wino (hot mulled wine) or some grilled Kielbasa (sausage) with bread and mustard. Families are out and about in the town squares with children singing and laughing. Everyone is welcome to join in with the Christmas cheer and the carols if you know the tune!

In Poland, it is traditional that the family gets together on the 24th of December for a 12 dish dinner so many places will be closing at lunchtime to allow people to get home to celebrate with their families. In larger cities where visitors are catered for this may not be a problem but if you are able to visit some of the smaller towns in Poland you will need to be aware that some places will be closing that afternoon.

Outside of the cities, you can find some amazing places to stay and enjoy the snow. Ski Chalets are a popular place for visitors to stay in when visiting Poland for Christmas. You can find a piece of your own to ski or have a snowball fight. Getting a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow is also a great Christmas memory to have from Poland.

Poland Lights
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Poland Lights. Photo Credit: Poland Travel Expert

Paris, France

Recommended By Elisa from World in Paris

Paris at Christmas time is a fun place to be, especially if you are visiting the city with the family. There are so many fun things to see and do that we recommend a minimum of 5 days in Paris so you can combine tourist activities with more Christmas themed activities.

In Paris, the main streets boast beautiful Christmas lights and decorations, the window shops along the Grands Boulevards become an attraction and the Christmas Markets are the place to meet with friends for a glass of mulled wine, the last Christmas shopping, or some comfort food like crêpes, fondue or tartiflette.

Some Christmas markets also have an ice rink and for a couple of months, ice skating with the family becomes a must activity at the weekend.  

The list of fun activities to do in Paris at Christmas time includes chocolate or pastry cooking classes, an evening bus tour to see the Christmas lights, or a visit to the amazing Musée des Arts Forains, a museum of vintage rides which only opens its doors on special occasions like Christmas time.

You can also organize a couple of day trips out of the city, to destinations like Disneyland Paris or Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, both with special Christmas events for all the family while the medieval city of Provins hosts a medieval market with all the inhabitants dressed up in medieval costumes.

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Paris. Photo Credit: World in Paris.

London, England

Recommended By Caroline From CK Travels

London is one of the most magical cities in the world for families to spend in the run up to Christmas. The capital is decorated with many festive and creative light displays and cute markets are dotted all around the city. The most popular family friendly venue to visit during the run up to Christmas is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – a large open-air market with heaps of fun things to do. Here you will find a large traditional German style market where you can shop for handmade crafts and gifts and enjoy delicious street food including raclette, bratwurst and and glühwein (mulled wine).

As well as a market there is an ice skating rink, Santa’s grotto, circuses, a giant observation wheel, fairground rides and shows. There is also a huge area called the Magical Ice Kingdom with ice sculptures of children’s film characters.

Nearby Somerset House and the Natural History Museum have beautiful ice rinks that pop up every year in winter, whilst Kew Gardens have an annual ‘magical light trail’. London’s South bank always has a riverside Christmas market with several traditional wooden chalets, as well as a two-story Scandinavian style house with traditional fire pits, serving authentic Swedish food and hot winter drinks. In the bustling west end, many of the department stores such as Hamleys have brilliant window displays, and is the go place to shop for childrens’ gifts and toys!

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London. Photo Credit: CK Travels.

Vienna, Austria

Recommended By Nadine From Le Long Weekend

The Austrian capital of Vienna is also the capital of Christmas come December. The entire city transforms into a festive fairytale that will delight the whole family. Spend your days walking from one Xmas market to the next, nibbling on warm Krapfen (sugary donuts) and sipping on punch (and the kid-friendly kinderpunsch) as you wander through the stalls. There are over 20 Christmas markets in Vienna, and many of them have rides, kid’s activities and family attractions to enjoy. Children will also be enthralled by the grand Christmas trees, lighting displays and cleverly designed shop windows featuring mini Ferris wheels and Santa trains.

Head to Karlsplatz to enjoy the quirky old-fashion carousel, the fun hay pit and the pedal carts, pop along to the university market which features pony rides, a Christmas train and a carousel, or take advantage of the children’s workshops and ice skating ring held at the Viennese Christmas Dream at Rathausplatz. In addition to the markets, events such as the Windermarkt at Riesenradplatz will keep you busy for hours, the imperial butterfly house is a hit with all ages, and little LEGO fans will love the second-hand LEGO store where you can buy one-of-a-kind kits!

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Vienna. Photo Credit: Le Long Weekend.

Sunshine Coast, Australia

Recommended By Melissa From Queensland Camping

For Aussies, there is nothing like Christmas on the beach and if you’re in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to be. With plenty of great family friendly accommodation, an array of stunning beaches to cool off and loads of great attractions in the area, it is perfect place for a family Christmas.

Get in early to book your accommodation, as the Sunshine Coast is a popular place to be.  There is plenty of options though, from stunning 5 star resorts, low key self contained apartments as well as plenty of great campgrounds on the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast is a fairly big place and incorporates various different beaches.  Some popular spots include Noosa, Caloundra and Coolum.  You really can’t go wrong wherever you choose – although I am pretty partial to Noosa, but Caloundra is also ideal and a little more central to some of the attractions in the region.

You could easily spend your entire stay exploring all the stunning beaches. Some of the best can be found within the Noosa National Park.  Put on some walking shoes, pack a bag with lots of water and a towel and go swimming in some of the most pristine beaches I’ve seen in the entire world!

If you need something other then the beach to keep the kids entertained there is plenty of other attractions.  Visit Australia Zoo, Sea Life, The Ginger Factory and Aussie World.  There is also the stunning hinterland which has stacks of great walks and gorgeous swimming holes which are the perfect place to cool.

Now when it comes to your Christmas feast, in Australia it’s all about fresh seafood.  If the family aren’t to keen on seafood then through a few snags on the barbie and you’ve got yourself a traditional Aussie feast!

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The Sunshine Coast. Photo credit: Queensland Camping.

Geneva, Switzerland

Recommended By Nisha & Vasu From Le Monde, the Poetic Travels

There is nothing like spending a holiday with your family and friends. It is also an opportunity for a nice family get-together. And if you decide to spend some festive season together it’s like icing on the cake. If the festival you are spending together is Christmas, then the best place to enjoy it has to be the Christmas in Switzerland. The best family Christmas destination would be Geneva in Switzerland.

To talk of Christmas markets, there are many Christmas markets in Geneva. You can visit as many as you want to but two of them are quite popular among the locals as well as with tourists. The best would be to stick to Lake Geneva region. The festival of Christmas brings many colors, and lightings. Set on Rue du Mont-Blanc is the most traditional-style Christmas market which starts in late November. But Parc des Bastions market is the largest one. Both markets are closer to each other and near to the lake as well. The streets are lit up with fascinating lights and the shops have the best traditional food. There are several activities for children which include plays both in English and French, ice skating rink, different kinds of rides, work activities, music concerts and so on.

Traditional Fondue, hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts are to be enjoyed and lots of shopping as well.

Among other things to do, explore the old town area on foot, and go to Cathedral de Saint Pierre. There are the world’s best elite brands for shopping. Palais des nation, Vielle Ville and Jet d’Eue, the Red cross museum, Ariana museum are some other places to visit. 

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Geneva. Photo Credit: Le Monde, the Poetic Travels

Alsace, France

Recommended By Norbert from France Bucket List

The historical region of Alsace, in Eastern France, is one of the best family Christmas destinations in France. The picturesque Alsace towns and villages are especially beautiful with the Christmas lights and decoration and they propose many Christmas-themed activities and events for locals and visitors.

The Alsace Christmas markets are something to see. Actually, some of the Christmas Markets in Alsace, are often on the list of best Christmas markets in Europe! Being closer to the border with Germany they share many characteristics with the German Christmas markets but at the same time, they are different.

Don’t miss the Strasbourg Christmas market (the oldest in France) or the Colmar Christmas market but also consider some smaller, less crowded ones. The vendors that populate the Alsace Christmas markets are carefully selected so you are sure to buy original quality local products.

Finally, Christmas time is a great opportunity to taste some regional Christmas specialties like bredeles (Christmas biscuits), mannele (brioche gingerbread men) and vin chaud (mulled wine) or other comfort food like tarte flambée, and pretzels.

If you want to visit Alsace at Christmas time, be sure to book transportation and accommodation well in advance. If possible, book also the restaurants for your dinners in Alsace: the most popular places are fully booked months in advance by the tour operators.

Alsace Christmas market, family Christmas destinations
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Christmas Market. Photo Credit: Image by Walter Bichler from Pixabay

Banff National Park, Canada

Recommended By Celine From Travel Banff Canada

Banff National Park is the perfect place for families to get in the Christmas spirit and spend the holidays. If the thought of Christmas conjures up visions of snow, horse drawn sleigh rides, Santa Claus and lights aplenty, that’s exactly what you’ll find in Banff. With so many things to do in the winter in Banff, the hardest part will be fitting it all in.

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a great place to treat the kids to all things Christmas. You’ll find plenty of Christmas themed events like photo sessions with Santa or bedtime stories with Mrs. Claus. For more Christmas activities, enjoy a ride up the Banff Gondola then let the kids be delighted in the Christmas cheer while they decorate cookies and get more pictures with Santa.

Fun winter activities for families also include a winter hike or a ride on a horse drawn carriage, either in Banff or at Lake Louise. Don’t forget to pack the skates for a fun outing at Lake Louise involving skating on the lake and hot chocolate. Finally, spend the remaining time having fun in the snow, with three world-class ski resorts nearby and plenty of opportunities to try nordic skiing or snowshoeing.

horse drawn sleigh rides, Banff Canada, family Christmas destinations
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Horse Drawn Sleighs. Photo Credit: Travel Banff Canada

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calm body of lake between mountains
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10 Christmas Destinations Around the World
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15 Cities Around the Globe to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Explore these destinations around the globe that are aglow with Christmas cheer, delicious treats, family fun activities, and shopping.
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  1. I want to go to Poland and take the carriage ride and go to Alsace! They look amazing. I have been to NYC numerous times during the holidays, but I’m not a big winter person so I didn’t go ice skating.

  2. Awesome list! I’ve only been to Paris and Rome. What about Asian countries? We are pretty good at celebrating Xmas. Bangkok has Christmas trees ALL over.

  3. In past years, we have often been away at Christmas. Often we headed to hot spots like Australia, the Caribbean or Cuba. But I love some of the cold weather spots you have included. A horse and carriage ride and Christmas markets would be a draw for me. NYC for the holidays was a treat with the city all decked out in holiday glitter.

  4. Such a great post. Last year I spent Christmas in New Orleans, and it was fabulous! This city is amazing with its vibrant atmosphere. But I want to see Chicago at Christmas. It offers so many attractions.

  5. I don’t skate, but NYC looks so beautiful during Christmas. The iconic giant Christmas tree and all the decorations are surely attracting people, including me. River Walk in San Antonio looks beautiful, too. I live about 4 hr drive from there, but we haven’t make it there yet. Alsace and Moscow are my dream cities, too, to visit during Christmas.

  6. These are some really beautiful destinations you speak about, some of which I have explored but not during Christmas. It’s my dream to spend Christmas in New York someday. I’ve been there in summer and fell in love with the city (how cliché, right?) but from all the pictures and your description, I can tell, I’ll fall in love just a little bit more if I went during the festive season. Also, Moscow is one city I’d love to visit during Christmas. I live in Dubai so I already have a warm, beachy Christmas here, I dream of going to cold, snowy destinations instead!

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