Top 5 places to have Christmas

From the VIP November Newsletter

It’s that time of year again when you’ll hear “hark the herald angels” and “jingle bells” from every street corner, shops will be covered in tinsel and fake snow, your bank balance will get a work out with the presents you have to buy and your stomach will work harder still on all the food.

For those that either want to embrace the Christmas spirit, avoid it altogether, sit on a beach and have a real holiday or get in on the winter sports action of this type of year, you should find a destination in this month’s newsletter that should appeal to you. We’ve featured five from around the world from locations as various as the Americas, the Pacific, Europe and Asia.
And you’ve still got plenty of time to get your flights and head there – just make sure you’ve got your VIP membership card too for some trip savings! So pack your board shorts or bikini, your skis and poles or your Christmas presents and start planning now.

Sydney, Australia

Forget being cold on Christmas Day – bring your winter body downunder and thaw it out on a beach or two! Bondi Beach is the iconic Aussie location to spend December 25th and if you venture down here you’ll also be sharing the day with loads of other visitors too so there’ll be plenty of fun in the sun and on the sand. Have a swim, get a tan and laugh at the Santas roasting away in their outfits (although many get into board shorts too!)

Summer is also a fabulous time to visit Sydney. While you’re here make sure you get to Kings Cross for all the street action of its bars and clubs, shop at the Paddington markets or the historic Rocks district, eat out in New Town on cuisine as varied as Turkish and Italian, take a beautiful ferry ride across to Manly or do the bridge climb of Sydney Harbour. You’ll also want to stroll around Sydney Harbour and see the Opera House too.There’s simply so much to do here in summer and if you are around until New Year’s Eve you can also enjoy the famous fireworks in the Harbour.

New York

The Big Apple is a lovely place to spend Christmas. You may have already seen a lot of New York christmases at the movies but nothing beats having the roasted chestnuts, doing the ice skating or seeing the decorations yourself.

Some things to do here at Christmas include wandering through Central Park in the snow, enjoying any number of cosy bars and restaurants, joining the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 25th, seeing the enormous Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Centre and shopping in the Black Friday sales where 50-70 percent off is not unusual – this is held the day after Thanksgiving.

Phuket, Thailand

Fancy somewhere completely different for Christmas away from all the usual commercial trappings? If you want to avoid the hype and escape the traditional dinners and celebrations, then book yourself on a holiday to Thailand.

Thailand is a Buddhist country and so Christmas celebrations are fairly toned down, although the friendly Thais do make an effort to make sure visitors still enjoy the day. If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere and want to celebrate on the beach then Phuket is a good choice. There are fantastic beach resorts in Phuket to make the most of, lots of great restaurants where you can book in for your Asian style Christmas dinner, and plenty of places to chill out and spend a leisurely holiday week.

Calgary, Canada

Winter is all about snow, ice and cold in some parts of the world and if you fancy a real Christmas break with all the sports action that happens at this time of year then look no further than the winter funland of Calgary.

Here the tradition of winter sports is truly deep-seated. Thanks to Calgary’s location it’s literally a springboard into the Canadian Rockies. There are about 12 ski resorts all located within about 4 hours of the city. This means there’s busloads of options for winter sports. For example just 30km from the city is Bragg Creek where cross country skiing takes place, a further 45km west is the spectacular Kananaskis County district – a beautiful tract of land perfect for ice climbing and cross country skiing. Famous Banff National is just 125km northwest. So knock yourself out this winter in Calgary!

Prague, Czech Republic

While Prague is beautiful at anytime of the year, the fairytale city comes alive at Christmas time. It is truly a magic time with Christmas markets lighting up the city centre and creating much holiday spirit. These markets run daily throughout December in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Smaller ones operate at Havelske Trziste and Namesti Republiky.

Stock up on your Christmas gifts here, observe and eat traditional foods and drinks, enjoy the various musical ensembles and choirs and make sure you go to see the enormous Christmas tree shipped in from the Krkonose mountains – the lights are turned on most nights after 5pm and it’s spectacular set against the gothic backdrop of Prague.

READ THE REST OF THE NEWSLETTER HERE

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Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at blog@vipbackpackers.com

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