The Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in the World

The 10 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in the World

The holiday season is one of the most enchanting times of the year when the world comes alive with twinkling lights, festive songs, and the spirit of giving. No matter how much you love your own Christmas traditions, it’s always fascinating to see how the rest of the world celebrates the holidays and discover new customs you can add to your own celebrations. 

Today, you’re invited to join us on a journey of festive wanderlust as we uncover the best places to celebrate Christmas in the world. From snow-dusted winter wonderlands to sun-soaked beachfront destinations, each of these magical spots offers a unique and heartwarming way to mark the season.

The best places to spend Christmas really go all out, from the fun-filled Christmas markets of Europe to the lively parades throughout the US and the spectacular light shows in Asia. Whether you dream of sipping mulled wine in a medieval town square or basking in the glow of fireworks on a tropical shore, these festive destinations are bound to get you into the Christmas spirit!

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The 10 Best Places to Spend Christmas 

1. Dublin, Ireland

Where to Spend Christmas: Dublin, Ireland

If spending your Christmas Eve cuddling up in cozy bars while sipping drinks and listening to live music sounds like a dream come true, Dublin is one of the best places to go for Christmas. The historic city boasts a fantastic “12 Pubs of Christmas” pub crawl, which includes iconic drinking spots like the Temple Bar and Flannery’s. There are several different route options, so you can tailor the pubs to your plans, too.

Drinking isn’t the only thing to do in Dublin at this time of year. The city also comes to life with Christmas markets (the Dublin Castle Christmas Market is our favorite), amazing Christmas lights on Grafton Street, and loads of Christmas concerts at the National Concert Hall. 

Explore Dublin during Christmas

2. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania USA

Best Places to Travel for the Holidays: Christkindlmarkt, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem in Pennsylvania certainly lives up to its name at this time of year. Undoubtedly one of the best places to spend Christmas, this little town boasts an incredible Christkindlmarkt at the SteelStacks with something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood to browse the 50+ stalls with artisan crafts, dance to all kinds of live music, or take part in special events featuring Santa himself, you’ll have a great time here.

Make sure you’re standing outside the Goundie House on Main Street at 5:30 pm at least once during your visit. At this time, a live advent calendar takes place, with a downtown merchant popping their head out of their store and rewarding everyone there with yummy treats every evening up until December 25.

3. Hong Kong

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Hong Kong

You don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve for a remarkable light show. Make plans to visit Hong Kong and you’ll be rewarded with the epic “A Symphony of Lights” show. 

Held every night at 8 pm, this illumination spectacle is projected onto over 40 of the city’s most iconic buildings lining Victoria Harbor. To make your evening more magical, sign up for a dinner cruise and watch the Symphony of Lights from the water!

There are plenty of other incredible things to do in Hong Kong during the festive season, too. Disneyland offers up gorgeous decorations and fun themed shows, Ocean Park boasts an impressive 40-foot-tall Christmas tree, and Winterfest promises a host of exciting activities throughout the town.

Take the Symphony of Lights Cruise

4. Kennebunkport, maine USA

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Kennebunkport

For quirky festivities, Kennebunkport is one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in the world. This tiny town in Maine takes its celebrations seriously with an 11-day event known as the Christmas Prelude. This one-of-a-kind extravaganza includes a host of activities and attractions, including a spectacular Christmas tree made out of lobster traps.

If you visit at the beginning of December, you may just be in time to watch Santa arrive on a lobster boat! The start of the event is also when you’ll catch the lighting ceremony in Dock Square, greetings from Mrs. Claus and Santa’s reindeer, and candlelight caroling. 

Where to Spend Christmas: Kennebunkport

Don’t worry if you visit later in the month – you’ll still have the chance to enjoy local wine tastings, seashore holiday trolly rides, and delicious lobster bakes.

5. Inari, Finland

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Inari, Finland

If you’re dreaming of the perfect winter wonderland with guaranteed snow, Inari in Finland is one of the best places to spend Christmas. This small village is located north of the Arctic Circle, where highs rarely exceed 22°F (-5°C) in December and snow is pretty much a sure thing. 

Here, you can turn all your childhood Christmas dreams into a reality. From seeking out the Northern Lights (Inari is one of the best places in the world to spot this natural light show) and zooming through the landscape on dog sleds to hand-feeding friendly reindeer and skiing down snowy slopes, it’s hard to imagine a better place for an epic winter vacation than this. 

6. Cape Town, South Africa

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Kirstenbosch

Want to avoid the early nights and cold weather that usually come with Christmas? Make plans to spend the holidays in Cape Town. Hidden away from the harsh winter weather in the Southern Hemisphere, this vibrant capital city is blessed with clear blue skies and oodles of sunshine throughout December. 

The city still embraces the holiday season – just not with quite as much excitement as other places in the world. There are Christmas markets where you can sip wine and browse stalls laden with all kinds of goodies, plus the official turning on of the Christmas lights, which usually takes place on the first Sunday of December. 

Best Places to Travel for the Holidays: Kirstenbosch

Visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden for the chance to watch carol concerts by candlelight, or unleash your inner child and visit Santa’s Village at the V&A Waterfront. 

7. Bruges, Belgium

Hot cocoa and Christmas are a match made in heaven. If you love the idea of strolling through streets of twinkling lights while sipping on the richest, most decadent hot cocoa you’ve ever tasted, Bruges in Belgium is one of the best places for Christmas. The Old Chocolate House is one of our favorite places for thick, velvety hot cocoa.

When your tastebuds have been treated, head outside and check out the Winter Glow light trail. This festive route stops by 10 unique illuminated installations scattered throughout the historic part of the city center. You don’t have to complete the whole trail if you don’t feel like it, giving you plenty of chances to seek out more delicious hot cocoa. 

8. Chicago, Illinois USA

Where to Spend Christmas: Chicago

If you can stand the cold – temperatures dip to 26°F (-3°C) at this time of year – Chicago is a magical place to spend the holiday season. In addition to its European-influenced Christkindlmarket absolutely bursting with stalls and the phenomenal Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Chicago also boasts a spectacular 55-foot-tall Christmas tree in Millennium Park that is always beautifully decorated. 

Lincoln Park Zoo is definitely worth visiting while you’re in the city. During the day, this popular attraction is the place to spot almost 200 fascinating species of animals. But return after sunset for the chance to be amazed by more than 2.5 million colorful LED lights illuminating the grounds. 

9. Paris, France

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Paris, France

When it comes to romantic destinations for spending the holidays, Paris is definitely one of the best places to travel for Christmas. At this time of year, pop-up ice skating rinks appear throughout the city, including one at the top of the Galeries Lafayette. No matter how many times you’ve been ice skating before, there’s nothing like gliding over smooth ice while enjoying exceptional views of the city down far below.

Paris is also an incredible destination to see Christmas lights. For an extra-special date night, grab your partner and stroll down the Champs-Elysées, where you’ll be wowed by incredible decorations and installations as far as the eye can see.

10. Dubai, UAE

Best Places to Celebrate Christmas: Dubai, UAE

Dubai may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about the best destinations for Christmas, but this glamorous city celebrates the holidays in a big way. Spectacular Christmas trees and sensational lights are put up all over the place, making Dubai seem even more dazzling than normal. But the activity that captures most people’s attention is the Santa Run. 

Where to Spend Christmas: Dubai, UAE

This race sees a huge number of people dressed like Father Christmas come together and run around Dubai Festival City, hoping they get first place. If you like the sound of joining in, you’ll be glad to hear that everyone aged 13+ is allowed to enter and you’re guaranteed a medal just for participating! 

That completes our list of the 10 best places to celebrate Christmas in the world! Where is your favorite place to celebrate the holidays? Comment below so we can add it to the list!

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our favorite travel books!



  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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