Are you a Christmas home-body?
Or more of a did someone say ‘white Christmas’ type of a person?
Skiing Santas at Whistler, Canada. Credit: www.artofliving.summitlodge.com
Travelling overseas for Christmas isn’t everyone’s cup of eggnog, but there are wonderful wintery and festive experiences to be had in some of the world’s great destinations for those willing to dust off the musty winter woolies and swap the Australian summer for a snow-white holiday fairy tale.
So, if you’re thinking of loading up the sleigh and wrangling the reindeer for a Christmas adventure abroad, where should you go? We asked some ATAS-accredited travel agents for their favourite passport-necessary Christmas destinations.
A white Christmas wonderland. Credit: Oleg Magni via Pexels.
“The magic of a White Christmas is so different to sweltering Aussie beaches and the conditions we’re used to at home,” say Emily Warbrick, General Manager of Brisbane-based travel agency Snowscene Holidays.
“For me, that’s the appeal of being abroad at Christmas. I’ve woken to magical Christmas mornings in the Italian Alps, and ski resorts like Sun Peaks and Whistler in British Columbia,” adds Emily.
Many Snowscene customers head overseas at Christmas as the northern hemisphere ski season aligns with Australian school holidays and the promise of a white yuletide. “It ticks those three boxes and, for some, escaping the heat of the Australian summer is a bonus,” notes Emily.
Even though the Christmas period is typically high season in popular ski destinations, Emily’s position is that it’s well worth the extra investment for a truly magical family Christmas getaway.
Across the Snowscene office, Emily’s colleague, Sandi McConnell also loves a white Christmas escape. Her favourite destinations?
“Rothenburg, Germany, is a fortified 12th-century city of cobblestone lanes and charming half-timbered buildings—a wonderful step back in time into old-town medieval ambiance. It’s beautiful, and something that every child and adult should see in their lifetime,” says Sandi.
Sandi’s festive Rothenburg experiences. Credit: Sandi McConnell.
“Visit at Christmas and you’ll find yourself in the glow and sparkle of divine Christmas lights and markets. Don’t organise anything, just let Rothenburg’s Christmas magic wash over you. You won’t be disappointed,” Sandi adds.
She’s also fond of spending Christmas in Italy.
Sandi McConnell’s European Christmases. Credit: Sandi McConnell.
“Visit Venice at Christmas and you’ll feel like a local. With the peak tourist season long gone, you can cross the Rialto Bridge like you’re the only one there, and explore the city’s laneways without any of the chaos of the summer crowds,” says Sandi.
In nearby fair Verona, Sandi found Christmas to be equally irresistible.
“The ambiance of Verona is so welcoming at Christmas time—the lights, the history and—OMG!—the warmth of the locals. Be sure to hire a bike and explore the city on two-wheels, steal a kiss on Juliet’s balcony, make a wish and leave a letter to the young Capulet,” recommends Sandi.
For families, Sandi says it’s hard to go past Club Med resorts in the French Alps.
Club Med Grand Massif Samoens Morillon. Credit: Club Med.
“The crisp alpine air, Christmas decorations as far as the eye can see, few people on the slopes, spectacular food, and top-notch service from the staff. Not to mention the fresh powder under your skis, heated outdoor swimming pools and festive snow angels—it’s a family holiday never to be forgotten,” she recalls.
“London! What a wonderful place to spend Christmas,” says Carissa.
“I adore the Christmas decorations. In particular, Regent Street, Covent Garden, and the Winter wonderland in Hyde Park is simply magical,” she adds.
Christmas lights, Regent Street. Credit: VisitBritain
Carissa’s top tips?
“Dining options are endless, but I recommend booking in advance for Christmas high tea at a fabulous London hotel. And remember, it’s winter so you’ll have fewer daylight hours for sightseeing, so plan your excursions carefully,” she advises.
Fellow Sydneysider, Anna McMurtrie – Managing Director of ATAS-accredited Wentworth Travel, fondly recalls an Austrian family Christmas.
The McMurtrie clan on the slopes at Kühtai. Credit: Anna McMurtrie.
“Our Austrian Christmas was an amazing experience as we celebrated in European style in a lodge in Kühtai ski resort—Austria’s highest. The main celebrations started with a family dinner on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day was free for us to take to the lopes and spot the wonderful skiing Santas,” says Anna.
“It was so different to a hot and sunny Christmas Day at home. It is one we will never forget,” she adds.
Anna’s top Christmas trip tip?
“Festive holidays are the busiest time of year to travel, so you need to plan well in advance. Consider the age of your family and what activities you like doing together, then talk to your trusted travel advisor.”
Sage advice, indeed. If you’re considering a white Christmas escape, chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional for travel knowledge and experience you can trust.
Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Try these on for size: Festivals around the world in 2020; Is Greenland on your bucket list? And Glamping – What’s it all about?
Don’t miss our information for travellers, for tips and advice on what to do before you depart on your holiday.
ATAS travel agents recommend that Australia passport holders register for travel alerts before they travel.