14 magical places to have a white Christmas
Make your white Christmas dreams come true.
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There's something oh-so enchanting about a Christmas surrounded by snow. But with it being peak summer in Australia, you'll have to travel to get it.
Luckily, there's plenty of deals that can get you to our favourite white Christmas destinations (probably even for less than you'll spend on this year's presents!).
Our top 14 places for a white Christmas
The City Of Lights is already on our bucket lists as one of the most romantic cities on earth. What could make it that much more so? Visiting it when it's covered in snow.
While the possibility of catching a snow-drift in the city is pretty low for Christmas Day the forecast is suggesting a light flurry around a week before.
Cross all your fingers and all your toes. If nothing else, it'll still be an enchanting trip.
- Budget: Paris is as pricey as it is romantic. Expect food, drinks and accommodation to be in the higher price brackets. However, you can save money on transport as the city is very walkable.
- Best for: Couples. Famously dubbed as the city of love, Paris is the perfect getaway for you and your other half. Spend your days wandering the streets of Parisian architecture or pick one of the many corner cafes to see the Eiffel Tower light up as the sun goes down.
- Local events: If you're spending the holiday season in Paris, you can't go past the Xmas in Paris city centre event. Indulge in over 50 market stalls where you can get your hands on an array of French food or some artisan gifts for a friend (or yourself).
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.
- Budget: Budapest is a very budget-friendly destination to spend your holidays. You can enjoy a wide range of bars and clubs at very reasonable prices and the famous ruin bars have no entry fee. You can discover everything the city has to offer without breaking the bank.
- Best for: Solo travellers. The Pest side of the city has a vibrant nightlife, and with walking tours available, it's perfect for those ready to mingle.
- Local events: Budapest hosts the Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square and the Christmas Fair at Basilica. These traditional festivals will fulfil all your Christmas market dreams, both running from November to January.
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 a bit more enchanted.
- Budget: Spending the holidays in New York will cost you more than most. The popularity of NYC means that flights and accommodation are rarely cheap.
- Best for: Families. New York is a very walkable city and between the Christmas lights and the Central Park ice skating rink, there's something to keep everyone in the family entertained.
- Local events: For those of you after something a little more relaxed, the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights walking tour is the perfect mix of Christmas and exploring New York City. Taking part in Brooklyn, it's a two-hour tour of the best lights in the city.
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, visit reindeer and ride husky-drawn sleighs.
- Budget: If Lapland is on your bucket list, prepare for higher costs. Food, accommodation and your general stay won't be budget-friendly.
- Best for: Families. If you're organising a trip the kids won't forget, Lapland is your next holiday this Christmas. With plenty of Christmas markets, light displays and a meeting with Santa himself, you can't go past this destination.
- Local events: As the official headquarters of Santa Claus, you can't go past the Santa Claus Village in Lapland. The kids can meet Santa and enjoy the snowfall.
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 and one of North America's last remaining fortified cities, Quebec City has a romantic, European air about it. With colourful buildings, narrow cobble-stoned streets and French being spoken all around you, you'll feel a lot more like you're walking down a street in France than you will in Canada.
Do it right, join a walking tour to learn more about Old Quebec.
Just a few hours from Montreal (where you're more likely to find a flight deal to), it's the perfect place to experience the charm of French Canada.
- Budget: Quebec City is perfect for the annual getaway, with reasonably priced food, accommodation and activities. Cheaper hotels and stays can be found outside of the city centre.
- Best for: Families. With an array of activities to keep you and the kids entertained, including ice canoeing, skiing and snow tubing, it's no doubt Quebec City is the next family holiday.
- Local events: Pop by the Marché de Noël de Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, and find yourself in a 10-night Christmas market with over 40 artists and craftsmen. It's guaranteed to be a night of entertainment for everyone.
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.
- Budget: If you've been dreaming of getting away without breaking the bank, then Russia is for you. Prices for spending a day in Moscow are mid-range, but you could easily make this trip budget-friendly.
- Best for: Couples. Want a romantic getaway without the massive crowds? Moscow will sweep you off your feet with endless gardens, the Tretyakov Gallery and bathhouses across the city.
- Local events: Take a seat and enjoy the Christmas Ballet Gala in Moscow. With the stars of the ballet industry coming together for this event, this one's not to be missed. The two-hour performance is an annual occasion that makes for an unforgettable experience.
Japan may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think Christmas, but its proximity to Australia, (literally) mountains of snow and the affordable flight price, thanks to budget carriers like Jetstar and AirAsia, make it our top contender.
A long-time favourite destination for Australian snow bunnies, Japan's north and Alps are some of the snowiest places in the world during the winter months - which fall over Christmas and New Year's in that part of the world. They're also a great excuse for a snow trip.
- Budget: Prices are fairly reasonable in the Japanese Alps, restaurants cover a broad range of price points from budget to expensive. The Alps have some of the top resorts, but cheaper accommodation is available.
- Best for: Couples. Traditionally, Christmas Eve is the most romantic day of the year in Japan. So where better to spend your holidays than in the Alps on the Japanese Valentine's Day.
- Local events: The Japanese Alps is an event in itself, stay at one of the many resorts located in the mountains and enjoy an endless amount of skiing and sledding.
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.
- Budget: If you're thinking of travelling to Iceland, keep in mind that it won't be cheap. Prepare to pay extra for food and accommodation compared to what you would pay in Australia.
- Best for: Solo travellers. With an abundance of bars in Reykjavik, you won't be short on social opportunities to mingle with other solo travellers.
- Local events: Over the holiday season, check out the Reykjavik Christmas Special. Join a guided walking tour of the Christmas lights, which includes traditional Icelandic cuisine and a visit to the Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss Waterfall.
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.
- Budget: Although Austria is considered to be a more expensive destination, you can enjoy a trip here without completely breaking the bank. Restaurants and accommodation can be found on the lower spectrum of Austrian prices.
- Best for: Couples. If you're after a Christmas getaway with your significant other, you can't go past Austria. With plenty of seasonal markets around, you're sure to find something you both enjoy.
- Local events: The Adventmarkt Christmas Market Schloss Fuschl is guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit with homemade gifts, traditional wines and local delicacies. Enjoy an evening with visits to St. Nicholas, the Austrian Krampusse and Perchten.
10. 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.
For something seasonal to do, why not tuck into a reindeer sledding experience with dinner and the chance of catching the Northern Lights?.
If you're willing to head a pinch further north (and in theory increase your chances of catching the lights) Alta is home to the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel which is exactly what you think it is.
- Budget: Norway doesn't tend to be one for budget trips as it's one of the most expensive countries in Europe. If you're looking to save a few dollars, book hostels for accommodation instead of hotels.
- Best for: Solo travellers. Although it's quite a small city, it's the perfect destination for solo travellers looking to meet new people with an array of bars and seasonal events.
- Local events: If you're after a bit of fun this Christmas, stop by the Ugly Christmas sweater party. Located at SkyBar, you can enjoy free entry (great money saver) and endless Christmas music.
11. Berlin, Germany
Renowned for its famous Christmas markets, Germany offers an array of options. With everything from old town villages to big cities, no matter the market, you'll get the full white Christmas experience.
The German winter lives up to all your snowy dreams, with temperatures normally dropping below zero degrees, so pack your boots because you'll need them.
- Budget: Berlin can be enjoyed on a budget with a variety of hostels that offer rooms that won't break the bank. It's renowned for its budget-friendly food, accommodation and nightlife.
- Best for: Solo travellers. An abundance of hostels and bars makes this the perfect place to mingle during the holiday season.
- Local events: If you're in Nuremberg during December, you can't go past the Silvestival/ Klarissenplatz. Enter a world of jazz and creativity with this city-wide festival. This event occurs every two years, so we recommend checking in advance to see if it's on while you're there.
Immerse yourself this Christmas in everything Copenhagen has to offer. Your chances of catching a white Christmas are quite high, with the snow season starting late December and continuing until February.
Enjoy the royal residence of Amalienborg or eat your heart out in the pastry-filled city, your days here will be jam-packed with things to do.
- Budget: Just like the rest of Western Europe, spending the holidays in Copenhagen will cost you a pretty penny. If you are trying to save, you can save a few dollars here and there but expect prices for food, transport and accommodation to be high.
- Best for: Couples. With the markets providing an array of shareable dishes, you'll have your date night sorted.
- Local events: Taste & Experience Danish Christmas is a must-do if you want everything Denmark has to offer at Christmas. Indulge in an array of traditional dishes and desserts including Danish æbleskiver (Christmas doughnuts), mulled wine and plenty of gingerbread.
With its old-town feel, Zurich is an ideal getaway if you're after a European escape. With an array of cathedrals, high-street shops and the Alps, there's something for everyone in Switzerland.
To catch the first of the snowfall, we recommend heading over during the beginning of December.
- Budget: If you're trying to save some dollars while overseas, Zurich probably isn't the destination for you this Christmas. Switzerland is known for its higher priced food, transport and accommodation.
- Best for: Couples. Zurich provides plenty of events and festivals that are perfect for anyone looking to get away with their partner. We were thinking a romantic day trip in the Alps.
- Local events: Zurich hosts the Fraumünster Christmas concert that includes a variety of hymns and choirs. Alongside the performers, it's enough to get anyone in the Christmas spirit.
Enjoy the endless historical sites this Christmas in Scotland's southern city of Edinburgh. If you're after the full winter experience, then look no further. With temperatures averaging around 1.5°C, the people of Edinburgh are no strangers to the snow.
With numerous Christmas events running throughout the city, this isn't one to miss.
- Budget: Although Edinburgh can be done on a low-cost budget, the cost of visiting the city is very mid-range. Edinburgh can be explored on foot, so money for transport can be spent elsewhere.
- Best for: Families. Alongside its very homey feel, Edinburgh offers a variety of events to keep the kids happy.
- Local events: Christmas at the Botanics is a must-see event. Watch the trees of Edinburgh light up and sparkle after dark. Providing another world experience, the Royal Botanics Garden Edinburgh hosts an annual light show that is a treat for the whole family.
Top tours to consider for a white Christmas
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