Top 9 Places to Visit for Christmas and New Year

Travel Tamed

If you’re looking for a non-traditional way to spend the holidays this year, why not plan a Christmas or New Year vacation? You may be thinking it would be hard to celebrate so far from home, but the reality is both of these holidays are widely observed around the world. So you will have no problem finding one that’s suitable for you and allows you to get the most out of your seasonal vacation. In this article, we’re going to highlight just a few of the best places to spend Christmas and to ring in the new year and what you can expect from each locale.

Top 9 Christmas and New Years Vacation Destinations.

New York City

Christmas in New York City

Christmas in New York City

Source – dennissylvesterhurd

New York City is an ideal place to spend either (or both) of the upcoming holidays. For Christmas, the town is transformed into a holiday wonderland with live performances throughout. Parades, department store Santas and life-like window displays of ornate buildings add a magical touch for the season, which people come from all over the world to see. Of course, there are also very special events like ice skating and the lighting of the tree in the famous Rockefeller Center. New York City is also Ground Zero for the ringing in the new year with a world-famous and widely anticipated live event in Times Square and the dropping of the ball. This New Year celebration is televised live to millions of people around the world.


Christmas in Rome

Christmas in Rome

Source – romecabs

Christmas in Rome is a very holy event. Nativity scenes abound and actual Christmas trees are quite rare. You probably won’t be seeing old Santa Claus, either. A novelty of the Roman holiday is La Befana – The Christmas Witch. She goes about the towns and villages on Christmas Eve reminding children to leave their shoes out so she can fill them with Christmasy treats. On Christmas Day, Christmas Mass is celebrated in Vatican Square, where the Pope gives his seasonal blessing. Millions of Catholic pilgrims come from all over the world for this once-a-year holy event.

Rome is also a happening place to ring in the new year as well. The event is marked by eating a local variety of pork sausage with lentils for good luck. At midnight, fireworks are set off around the city to mark the beginning of the new year as well as to drive out the evil spirits from the old year – according to Roman legend.


Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris

Source – twitterimage

The French celebrate Saint-Sylvestre on New Year’s Eve. The event includes lots and lots of French food – a proverbial feast, which people usually partake in, in restaurants. The French also include a good luck kiss in their Saint-Sylvestre celebrations, just like other New Years celebrations do, but they change things up a bit by kissing under the mistletoe, which is what most Western cultures do during Christmas.


Christmas in Vienna

Christmas in Vienna

Source – brcak

Christmas carols are a major part of any holiday celebration. Where on Earth could be more Christmasy than the very town that brought us the number one Christmas carol of all time, Silent Night? For the Christmas season, Vienna is transformed into a shoppers holiday wonderland, with market after market lining the streets. A variety of Christmas trees are erected throughout the town, each depicting a different theme. The city’s skyline twinkles like the brightest star in the universe at night, due to the number of lights that are used in the holiday displays.

Berlin, Germany

Christmas in Berlin

Christmas in Berlin

Source – _sk

The New Year’s Eve celebration that transpires in Berlin easily rivals that of New York City. Each year more than a million people flock to the city’s center for a giant street party that stretches for miles. Live performances, music, dancing and all kinds of other holiday revelry are readily available at your fingertips during this all-inclusive end of the year celebration.

American Samoa and The Christmas Islands

Christmas Islands

Christmas Islands

Source – diacimages

American Samoa and The Christmas Islands aren’t usually on the list when people think of neat and interesting places to ring in the new year. But visitors to these tiny island nations can experience something that no other place in the world can offer. American Samoa is the very last place on Earth where the clock officially strikes midnight. Alternately, The Christmas Islands is the very first place on Earth where the clock strikes midnight.

San Antonio, Texas

Riverwalk in San Antonio

Riverwalk in San Antonio

Source – 26686573@N00

The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas is a fabulous place to visit any time of year, but the area really comes to life during Christmas. It’s a man-made river that meanders through the heart of the city along a walking path where all kinds of business and restaurants open onto it via courtyards, bridges and hidden alcoves. During the Christmas season, it’s adorned with more than 120,000 lights and 6,000 candle luminaries float in the river. Don’t miss Las Posadas – a Spanish re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s trip into Bethlehem.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans - Louisiana

New Orleans - Louisiana

Source – harshlight

Christmas in New Orleans is unlike Christmas anywhere else in the world. The French Quarter comes alive with candle-lit caroling excursions, open air jazz performers, local market stands, holiday displays, costumed performers, parades and traditional Cajun cuisine. The entire city goes all out for the holiday, from the tiny little cottages to the antebellum mansions. All is done in anticipation of a visit from the local Santa, known as Papa Noel.

Before you go:

  1. Make sure your plans are firm because a lot of last-minute tickets and accommodations that are sold during the holiday rush are non-transferable and non-refundable.
  2. Be prepared for delays and flight cancellations. With more people traveling that time of year and changes in the weather, set backs are common and very likely.
  3. Be flexible in your schedule. Sometimes if your travel dates are negotiable, the airlines and travel agencies are able to offer you exponentially better deals than if you paid for your trip during other times of the year.

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Hello, my name is Uttoran Sen and am the founder and editor of Travel Tamed.

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One Response to Top 9 Places to Visit for Christmas and New Year

  1. Iknowthatone says:

    ‘Silent night’ is not from vienna, it is from Oberndorf near Salzburg;
    Still Austria but 300 km to the west.

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