10 best places to have a white Christmas
Stop dreaming of a white Christmas and make this year the year by spending December in one of these top snow destinations.
There’s something oh-so enchanting about spending Christmas surrounded by snow.
If you’re eyeing that magical moment when you’re surrounded by nothing but fluffy, white snowflakes gently collecting on your hair, shoulders and nose, these are the places that you need to go.
1. Lapland, Finland
If you’re going to travel halfway across the world to see snow this Christmas, you may as well go all the way and visit Santa while you’re at it.
According to the Fins, Santa lives in the remote town of Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle. Dubbed Santa’s Village, it’s a place where you can meet the man himself, pat reindeer and ride husky-drawn sleighs. Being in the Arctic Circle there’s a high chance of snowfall and a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Best ways to experience Lapland at Christmastime:
2. Montreal, Canada
Being located in the great white north, this city is known for its December snowfall and could likely see some this year on Christmas Day.
Located in French-Canada, Montreal has a romantic, European air about it. Spend your Christmas walking down the streets of historic Old Montreal, gazing upon the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica and indulging in a traditional Christmas yule log dessert.
Best ways to experience Montreal at Christmastime:
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
During winter, the temperature in Iceland’s capital drops to -2℃ at night, making it an ideal place to capture some Christmas snowfall.
Mind you, it’s also known to be quite windy during December so remember to bring good snow gear when you visit. Drive far north enough and you might even catch some Northern Lights activity as well.
Best ways to experience Reykjavik at Christmastime:
4. Salzburg, Austria
While many may opt to visit Vienna for Christmas, the smaller Austrian town of Salzburg is just as mesmerising… and just as likely to receive that sought-after snowfall.
Famed for being the birthplace of Mozart and the filming location for The Sound of Music, Salzburg lights up during Christmas as markets fill its main squares as well as the courtyard of the Hohensalzburg Castle. For guaranteed snow, take a trip to the dozen ski resort areas nearby.
Best ways to experience Salzburg at Christmastime:
5. Budapest, Hungary
With its frequent and gentle December snowfall, conditions for a perfect white Christmas in Budapest couldn’t be better if it tried.
The eclectic city of Budapest offers a unique Christmas for visitors. Brimming with ruin bars and thermal baths, you can spend days hopping from one to the other. When you’re done, immerse yourself in the festive spirit of the Christmas markets and outdoor ice rink in Budapest City Park or take a Christmas boat ride along the Danube.
Best ways to experience Budapest at Christmastime:
6. Tromsø, Norway
Tucked 350km north of the Arctic Circle, where snowfall can start as early as October, is the colourful port town of Tromso.
One of Tromsø’s biggest claims to fame is that it’s the northernmost town in the world with a popular over 50,000 - although it doesn’t feel like it. The city centre is extremely manageable on foot and often wears a thick coat of snow in late winter. The town itself can be reached by Hurtigruten cruise, plane or bus making it easily accessible for holidaymakers.
Best ways to experience Tromsø at Christmastime:
7. New York City, USA
There’s something a little bit magical about New York City at Christmas time.
From the colourful department store displays to ice skating rinks in Central Park and at the Rockefeller Centre, this urban jungle transforms into a winter wonderland come Christmas. There may not be blankets of snow to make angels in right in the city, but there’s a good chance of flurries making your evening skate a bit more enchanted.
Best ways to experience New York City at Christmastime:
8. Moscow, Russia
Layer up and prepare for snow when you plan to spend Christmas in Moscow. Throughout the month the highest temperature is rarely over 0℃ and snow flurries are common.
Russia is renowned for its white winters, so for a good chance of snowfall it’s the place to be. In December, Moscow’s famous Red Square transforms into an unforgettable Christmas market. However, the place to be between mid-December and mid-January is the nearby Manezh Square, which is where the Journey into Christmas festival takes place. It’s a traditional Russian Christmas fun fair with modern ideas that’s said to be the most picturesque festival in all of Moscow. It’s also one of the biggest New Year’s Eve festivals in the world.
Best ways to experience Moscow at Christmastime:
9. Tallinn, Estonia
Base yourself in Old Town Tallinn for a unique Christmas with a medieval feel.
Renowned for its cheap food and drink (compared to Western Europe) and its party atmosphere, Tallinn is one of the best places to celebrate the season, not least because of its high chance of snowfall. It’s also a short boat ride from Helsinki if you want to double down and see another European city potentially covered in snow.
Best ways to experience Tallinn at Christmastime:
10. Feeling lucky?
Want to spend Christmas in the big city? While there’s only a small chance of snow, Paris and London are popular locations for the silly season that should not be ignored. Even if that white powder doesn’t sprinkle down on the days you want it to, the cities are just as breathtaking decked in their Christmas lights and brimming with Christmas cheer.
Best ways to experience big cities at Christmastime:
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Find deals on tours departing within the next couple of months.