Each year, Travel+Leisure Magazine compiles their list of the best places to spend the holiday season.
From traditional white Christmas destinations to locales that are more off the beaten path, Travel+Leisure said it lists places that break "the habit of staying home" and will "reward you with a Christmas you’ll never forget." The list includes everything from places that are characterized by rich cultural history to tropical or Southern Hemisphere destinations that flip Christmas on its head with warm weather.
So, what are the best places to spend Christmas this year? Click ahead to find out!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 18 Dec 2009
Located in Northern New Mexico, Travel +Leisure has identified Taos as a prime place to spend Christmas due to its mix of cultural traditions and magical beauty throughout the holiday season. Major sights to see include Ledoux Street and the American Indian Christmas Eve celebration. The Taos Ski Resort is a mere 18 miles away, but you could also settle a little closer to the center of town at the El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, suggests the magazine.
A Spanish colonial town in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, features dancing in the main square,posadasreenactments, and seasonal Christmas foods from the region. Travel+Leisure suggests Casa Sierra Nevada, which is one of six recently renovated 16th to 18th century Spanish colonial mansions welcoming guests. As for the food, they suggest La Capilla, which is located in a centuries-old chapel serving seasonal delicacies.
For a more traditional snowy Christmas, Travel+Leisure suggests the island of Tromso in Norway, where you can view the northern lights between 6 pm and midnight. The area offers everything from dogsledding to a mountaintop cable car, and the magazine suggests the Clarion Hotel for accommodations. The hotel has a rooftop Jacuzzi, perfect for catching views of the night sky. Although the day is only several hours long, going to the arctic circle for Christmas promises to be an unforgettable experience.
The popular vacation spot is also a bustling place to stay over the holidays, says Travel+Leisure. Warm temperatures and holiday cheer, mixed with a poolside Christmas breakfast in one of the island's historic hotels makes this area a prime holiday destination. The magazine suggests that you have your holiday dinner at Nine One Five, which mixes tapas with seafood entrees.
According to Travel+Leisure, Chrismas in Chicago is pushed "to the max." With holiday lights strung along the Magnificient Mile, an outdoor German crafts market called "Christkindlmarket," a holiday - themed amusement park and a towering handmade Christmas tree, the Christmas spirit is all around in the country's third largest city. The magazine suggests Hotel Monaco Chicago for your stay, and the eatery at Bin 36, which serves locally sourced menu options.
If you want Christmas tradition, Vienna is the place to be. Travel+Leisure descibes the city as being enveloped with "old-fashioned warmth" during Christmas, with choirs singing, traditional markets selling ornaments and and the aroma of spiced mulled wine filling the streets. Suggested locations are the Ring Hotel, along with its acclaimed restaurant, Eight, which offers four- and five-course Christmas menus.
For another snowy Christmas site, head over to Quebec City. The 400-year-old town offers a European feel around the holidays, says Travel+Leisure. The magazine suggests a former 19th-century stone warehouse, Auberge St. Anoine, for a place to stay. For holiday dinner, try the 17th-century French recipes served up at Aux Anciens Canadians.
A half day's drive from Rio de Janeiro is a Southern Hemisphere location that features well-preserved Portugese colonial architecture and easy access to rainforests and pristine beaches.Travel+Leisure suggests you stay 20 minutes from the town's center at the Bambu Bamboo hotel, which offers access to the natural wonders of the area and serves breakfast on the banks of the town's river. They also suggest Voila Bistrot for Christmas dinner, which is considered they area's top restaurant.
Another great place to spend Christmas is Castleton, England, says Travel+Leisure. The tiny stone village in the island's southwest region is dotted with Christmas trees and features candlelight carolers throughout the holiday season. They suggest the Losehill House Hotel and Spa, which offers special Christmas packages, including an eight-course Christmas meal that begins at 1pm with champagne.
You won't see a Christmas reindeer, but you might catch a glimpse of sperm whales, fur seals, dusky dolphins, pilot whales and albatross in Kaikoura Bay. This Southern Hemisphere Christmas destination features the Hapuku Lodge and Tree houses, which is an eco-tourism destination of cedar-covered buildings and six tree houses that overlook the bay. The hotel also features a menu of local delicacies, including diamond-shell clams and fava-bean salad. Not the traditional Christmas fare, but this destination promises to be unforgettable, says Travel+Leisure.