Bethlehem, IsraelThis has to be the cliched one when we talk about the best places to celebrate Christmas. Bethlehem is a small city in Jerusalem where Jesus was born so indeed! This is the most lively place during Christmas. It’s a unique experience to be at the holy land on Christmas day, and I am sure Israel is on your bucket list too. The Christmas tree is already up at the Manger Square on 1st December, and there is already the lightning spark spread all over the city. The Novena of Christmas at St. Catherine will take place from 15th - 23rd December. The Christmas celebration in Bethlehem is stretched for an extended period as different denominations celebrate the occasion on different days. Greek, Syrians, and other Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 6th January, Catholics and Protestants celebrate on 25th December, and Armenian Christians celebrate it on 18th January. The best thing to do on the Christmas Eve is to join a group tour to maximize your Bethlehem Christmas Experience. The large stage in the Manger square and blissful festive activities will thoroughly soak you in the mesmerizing Christmas experience.
New York, USAHow can anyone in the world forget New York as a Christmas vacation option? Christmas is the time when the most attractive sights of New York turns into a festive land. The Christmas celebrations start on 1st of December within the city. You will find pop-up holiday markets outside almost every subway station that gives incredible gift ideas for friends and family. Not just this, there are more famous Christmas markets like Union Square holiday market, Grand Central holiday fair. Even here in New York, you will find a lot of Christmas walking tours that will give you an ultimate Christmas experience. For another magical experience, you can also go to Macy’s Herald Square to meet the Santa typically called Macy’s Santaland. It usually has a long queue so book your spot here. Highlighting it a bit: you will feel that you have entered North pole as you pass by twinkling lights and a forest of pine trees to reach the Santa Throne. It’s truly magical. And finally, this has to be the best: you will find a huge Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, and it will give you the most mesmerizing Christmas feel.
Vatican City, ItalyVatican City in Rome is where the Pope is, and the city is the most recommended place to spend your Christmas for the mesmerizing Midnight Mass no one would ever want to miss. Many people believe that Vatican city is the best place to celebrate Christmas for the most amazing ceremony that takes place here every year. The Vatican Christmas Tree is decorated at the Saint Peter's Square directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica. Since the Midnight mass at the Vatican city is the most watched ceremony in the world, let me tell you more about it. Regardless of religion, people gather here to celebrate unity and peace where Pope Francis delivers a mass to nearly 15,000 people present there. Though it’s called the midnight mass, it starts at 9:15 pm on 24th December, traditionally celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica. You are also recommended to book the Christmas Eve mass 2-6 months before; it’s free, but due to the vast crowd it requires booking.
Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, FinlandRovaniemi in Lapland, Finland may be the best place on earth to celebrate Christmas if you are a huge Santa admirer. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Finns argue that it makes a much likelier home for Santa than even the North Pole. So there is an incredible amusement park, the Santa Claus village that will blow your mind. This village is open for visitors to meet Santa and his elves. Here people can also send Postcards to their loved ones with Santa’s special postmark. There is a Santa Claus post office that has to be used for this purpose. Visitors can also shop for souvenirs and experience the Finnish Christmas traditions. You can also join Santa for breakfast and do a lot more activities here. Do check the options and make your visit to the Santa Village memorable.
Reykjavik, IcelandIf you are looking for the Christmas winter feel, Iceland is the place for you. Iceland is frozen during the Christmas, New Year season, and every hotel, hostel, homestay is booked over this time of the year. The stunning northern lights are much more visible that makes Christmas more memorable. And if you are lucky, you might spot a wild reindeer as well. While walking around the city, you will also come across many Christmas markets. Under 0°C, the best way to wander around is to hold a hot chocolate or a warm cup of mulled wine and explore the Christmas market. The Christmas market in Hafnarfjörður is the most famous in Iceland, and it’s about 10 Km south of Reykjavik.
Bruges, BelgiumBruges is one of the calmest cities of the entire Europe region and turns opposite during the Christmas season. The medieval town glows with sparkling lights, Christmas markets and gothic churches are shining brightly. At Bruges, shops sell the prettiest of Christmas decorations, and chocolate shops line the narrow streets. The Belfort at Bruges with its bell tower watches over the Grote Markt. It’s completely lit during the Christmas season. And of course! You cannot miss the chocolate shops at Bruges. It’s the best thing to explore I would say and so it makes Bruges one of the best places to celebrate Christmas.
Cologne, GermanyThis 2000-year-old city in Germany is a landmark of high Gothic architecture. Cologne is famous for its old town architecture and some great variety of Christmas markets. The most popular and the one that will give you an amazing Christmas feel is the market in front of the Cologne Cathedral. This market has nearly 150 stands, and the organizers of this market expect over 4 million visitors each year. Cologne has recently become an incredible option to celebrate Christmas for the craziest Christmas stands it has within the entire Europe region. So, this was my wish list for the Christmas celebration. Though I am home this Christmas, I am so excited to hear your experience at these amazing Christmassy cities. Wishing you and your fam a Merry Christmas! 😀 Oh! That's the younger version of me, from my school days.