As we get closer to Christmas, I have been thinking about my last Christmas – when we had a white Christmas in Europe in beautiful Switzerland. As much as I love Australia, there is something magical about Christmas in the snow.
This has me dreaming of a white Christmas again. To help me find the best place for a white Christmas, I asked my blogging friends where to go for a white Christmas. Below are some of the best white Christmas destinations in the world so you can have awesome white Christmas holidays as well!
I can’t think of a more perfect place for a Christmas in the snow than in Kirkenes, Norway. Located at the Northernmost tip of mainland Norway just a few kilometres from Russia and Finland. It is also further north than the famous Lapland, Finland!
During Christmas season, Kirkenes turns into a winter wonderland. The temperature is between 0 to -10 Degrees Centigrade during daytime and in the evening, the temperature can drop as low as -20! Everything is covered in snow and ice as expected in the northernmost latitude of the world. So be prepared to wrap up warm and wear good snow boots during your visit.
On my visit to Kirkenes, I stayed in the ice hotel. Part of their service was getting picked up by a dog sleigh from the Kirkenes airport as the transfer to the hotel. Such a fantastic welcome and it only gets better from there.
The novelty of the experience is indeed something you would treasure for a lifetime and would make Christmas extra special.
When one thinks of travelling in Winter, NYC tops the list of travel destinations. When it comes to the best place to have a white Christmas, NYC again wins hands down. Thus, the Big Apple remains the only winter destination you need, particularly if you reside in a country that doesn’t get snow at Christmas time.
Whether it is the many Christmas markets on offer, the ice skating in Central Park, the over-sized Christmas decorations around the city – from the Rockefeller Tree, to the giant Jingle Balls on 6th Ave (across from Radio City) or the way many storefronts get all decked out with giant ribbons and sparkling lights – New York is a Christmas lover’s paradise this time of year.
The weather is cold – especially if you get snow leading up to Christmas so be sure to buy some fuzzy ear muffs, drink mulled wine every chance you get and stay central to all the action.
My go-to hotel is the POD chain (they have a 51st and 39th street location in Manhattan). And it wouldn’t be a New York City stay without a stop and Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3.
If all of this doesn’t inspire a Christmas visit to NYC, every Christmas movie shot there will!
If you are looking for the perfect European white Christmas holiday destinations where a white Christmas is almost certainly guaranteed, then look no further than Tallinn, Estonia.
The fairytale charms of Tallinn’s medieval Old Town and the affordable prices that come with travelling in Eastern Europe, all make the Estonian capital an excellent destination to add to any trip to the Baltic countries. However, most choose to visit in the warm summer months and completely ignore this beautiful city at Christmas time.
Though temperatures can drop well below freezing in December, the Old Town looks especially beautiful under a dusting of snow and it is sure to put you into the Christmas spirit. Tallinn is also home to one of Europe’s best and most authentic Christmas markets, where you can sip hot mulled wine, eat traditional street food, and browse for unique holiday gifts for your friends and family.
All in all, if you don’t mind braving the cold and want to experience a cosy and beautiful white Christmas, then Tallinn, Estonia is the perfect destination for you!
After spending too many Christmases basking in the sunshine in the American Southwest, we now make a concerted effort to seek out wintery locales for the holidays. Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit better than breathing in crisp air with a cup of warm mulled wine in our hands and watching snow as it gently falls around us. We found our perfect winter wonderland in the Eastern European city of Krakow, Poland. Blanketed in snow, the historic old town is like a fairytale.
The days are cold, but far from frigid, making is possible to explore the city sights and intriguing neighborhoods on foot. That being said, winter coats, boots, hats, scarves and gloves are a necessity! The entire old town is decorated for Christmas – including the numerous churches and the landmark Wawel Castle.
In the evenings, the main square, Rynek Square, is filled with holiday cheer as booths churn out sausages, pierogis and other local fare that is cooked over open fires. A gigantic Christmas tree stands at the corner of the market, near the iconic bell tower of St. Mary’s Basilica, and bright lights decorate the narrow, pedestrian-only streets that lead away from the square.
Unlike other popular European destinations, visiting Krakow can be quite affordable. City center accommodations and holiday apartments are offered at budget prices – which means there will be plenty left over to spend on homemade gifts from the Christmas market.
Banff is a small town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The first snow of the season is in November or early December. Average daytime temperatures in December reach a chilly -5 degrees C. These factors combined mean a pretty much guaranteed White Christmas.
The resort town is a popular destination for skiers due to its close proximity to a number of ski resorts including Sunshine, Norquay and Lake Louise. But it is a great place to visit even for non-skiers as there are plenty of other fun things to do including snow shoeing, sledding, ice skating and window shopping.
At Christmas time, the streets and stores are covered with decorations and lights and carolers entertain those braving the cold for some shopping.
Many hotels in town offer a decadent Christmas lunch, including the luxury Banff Springs Hotel. Even if you don’t dine here, the luxury hotel is worth a visit just to see the spectacular foyer area with enormous fireplaces, Christmas tree and sumptuous decorations.
Don’t forget to plan a day trip to Lake Louise while you are in Banff. Depending on how cold it has been in the lead up to Christmas there are ice sculptures, sledding, and it may be possible to walk out onto famous Lake Louise.
Outdoor skating rinks, frozen lakes, snow laden trees, a choice of ski resorts and mountains of snow. Banff is the perfect destination for a white Christmas.
So, where is one of the best places for a white Christmas in Europe? It has to be Zagreb. Advent In Zagreb is where it is at, want to know why? Because it’s won Europe’s Best Destination For Christmas – 3 years in a row!
I, for one, love this time of year in Europe. It’s snowing and it is so cold that it’s the perfect excuse to head to the cooked wine stalls. If you’re in Zagreb look for the signs that say ‘Kuhano Vino’ – that’s the delicious cooked wine you’ll need to keep you warm inside and out.
Zagreb is an enchanting place during the Christmas as it turns into a winter wonderland. The city comes to life with various concerts and musicals, performances, and workshops for every kind of traveller, including kids.
Be sure not to miss trying roasted chestnuts as you wander the top stops at Advent in along Zagreb. My two favourite sights are the Ice Park At King Tomislav Square, as well as the musical events at Zrinjevac Park.
Oh, and if you’re hanging around until New Year’s Eve in Zagreb, this is also the best place in Croatia to welcome the new year.
With global warming putting a damper on many people’s dreams of a White Christmas in Europe, the Stubai Valley in Austria is one place where you’re guaranteed snow at Christmas.
Only a 15-minute drive from the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck, the Stubai Valley is filled with picture-perfect Alpine villages. The five ski resorts lining the valley aren’t just for skiers. The lifts are a gateway to sled runs, cosy mountain hut restaurants, winter hiking trails, and adventure sports such as paragliding.
Even if there’s no snow down in the valley at Christmas, you’ll find heaps of it on the Stubai Glacier. While the many blue runs of the Stubai Glacier ski resort make for a great family ski holiday over Christmas, you can also visit an ice cave or let your eyes roam over 109 snow-capped mountain peaks of over 3,000 m from the Top of Tyrol viewing platform.
If you’re staying in one of the villages in the Stubai Valley, you’ll also witness many local Christmas traditions. Imagine wrapping your hands around a hot mug of Glühwein at a Christmas market stall or listening to Tyrolean Christmas music.
The Stubai Valley is easily reach by public bus from Innsbruck. In addition, all public buses within the valley are free for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts. The village of Neustift is a good base, but if you fancy a ski-in-ski-out experience you can consider staying at the Alpensporthotel Mutterberg at the base of the glacier.
What better place to spend a White Christmas than a traditional mountain town nestled in the foothills of a National Park? Bansko is Bulgaria’s largest ski resort and is located just 2 hours from the country’s capital of Sofia, which is served by major and low cost airlines. Christmas in Bansko gives you much more for your dollar than other ski resorts – it’s just been named as Europe’s cheapest ski resort. Again.
As a ski resort you can expect a guaranteed white Christmas, with sunny days and chilly nights – all the better for keeping the snow conditions perfect. Ski, snowboard, snowshoe or take rides in horse drawn sleighs – Bansko at its heart is a family resort and the Bulgarian sense of community here will welcome you in.
There’s amazing scenery here, a forgiving ski mountain and a great Bulgarian food scene that includes traditional mehanas and international options.
At the end of the day, there are great choices of natural hot spring spa pools to relax in from a few euros to the ultimate luxury at the slope side 5 star Kempinski Hotel, which we of course recommend – this might just be the cheapest 5 star hotel you can enjoy and it doesn’t stint on the luxury! Be sure to check out the beauty spa and splurge on treatments for a fraction of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Europe.
While the city of Yellowknife might not be at the top of most people’s list for a white Christmas locations, it really should be. Sure, it’s cold. In fact, it’s not rare for temperatures to drop to -40C during December. It’s definitely remote, with winter travel to Yellowknife usually requiring a stopover or two.
But, Yellowknife is one of the best places in the world to experience the Northern Lights. The chances of seeing them in December are so high, that if you stay for 3 days or more, it’s practically guaranteed.
And if you’re looking for snow, Yellowknife has LOTS of it. In fact, the winter here is so incredible that the rivers freeze over and, come December, the locals use them as roads to connect to otherwise remote villages outside of town.
And Yellowknife is no slouch in terms of offerings either. There is a burgeoning food scene in the city, as well as fantastic local breweries serving the plane loads of Asian tourists that have already discovered Yellowknife as a Christmas travel destination.
While you’re here, you can either stay in town and one of the many hotels, or opt for one of the glassed roof accommodations at the Aurora Village where the dark skies are sure to put on a show.
Last year we decided to take the kids to one of the best white Christmas destinations. After much consideration, we decided the USA would be the best choice as we wanted it to be part of a wider extended holiday. We were in the USA for 7 weeks and we decided the best option for us would be to locate ourselves in Boston for Christmas Day.
I knew this was going to be a gamble. Boston has a 60% chance of snow and they were odds I was willing to chance. If it wasn’t snowing, it would still be freezing and have the Christmas atmosphere we were seeking anyway. It turned out to be a fantastic choice, it started to snow at 8am on Christmas morning and snowed until 11am.
Boston delivered about 4 inches of snow and we had an absolute cracking time, just enough snow to play in and not enough to stop us doing everything we wanted to do. We returned to our hotel at 11pm that night exhausted but had the most amazing day.
We stayed at the Eliot Hotel on Commonwealth Ave and I highly recommend it. We were upgraded to a suite for our stay and the extra room was very welcomed. It is within walking distance of Boston Common, Fenway Park and downtown Boston. We walked everywhere from this location during our stay.
Boston was perfect for our White Christmas experience. It also enabled us to do something else I’ve always wanted to do, New Years Eve in New York City!
Through my twenties, I spent a good share of my Winters working and playing in the French Alps. Some of the steepest runs I have ever snowboarded are there, which makes them exciting and fun, and its ski domains are way less crowded than other ski resorts across Europe.
Christmas is an excellent time to visit them. Snow starts falling in October and November and by December, the pistes are usually open and ready to enjoy.
But there’s a lot more to those ski resort towns than the skiing and snowboarding. For starters, they are usually built with care, with wood everywhere which makes them cozy and beautiful. And nowadays, they have all the comforts one could wish for without the need of breaking the bank as in the past.
From world-class parties and music festivals to spas, restaurants, and even budget supermarkets; the French Alps is an excellent region to visit during these special dates.
I spent four years living in Oslo, Norway and I have never experienced such a serene and beautiful Christmas anywhere else in the world. Oslo’s calm demeanor, accessible nature, and cold climate lends itself to a gorgeous Christmas and more often than not, a white Christmas.
Oslo has Christmas markets that line the main streets of the city. While the rest of the city is typically covered in snow, the sidewalks are heated and easy to maneuver about on. While the city looks completely picturesque buried in snow, be sure to take the t-bane (metro) outside of the city a bit to Frognerseteren and the Holmenkollen area where you can go skiing, snowboarding, or even sledding. There are walking trails and cross-country skiing trails there, too, which many Norwegians take advantage of during the Christmas holidays. You will feel like you have the forests and mountains all to yourself but you can easily overlook the Norwegian capital city.
A white Christmas is not an anomaly in Oslo… but many are shy to head there during the winter months. Daylight hours are short, but the smell of waffles, burning wood, and other Christmas delicacies while enjoying the snow and holiday music more than makes up for it!
It may not be warm out in Minnesota for Christmas, but a Minnesota Christmas will warm your heart! Having lived in the wintery Midwest USA for most of my life, I can 90% guarantee you a white Christmas in Minnesota. On occasion, it’s too cold here for snow, but fortunately for the most part, if you’re looking for the best places to go for a white Christmas with a classically Christmas atmosphere, Minnesota will deliver!
Get into the spirit with the annual Holidazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis, or wander the snowy city sidewalks of St. Paul in search of a mug of hot cider or chocolate. Head up to the Lake Superior shore for a holiday wilderness retreat, or rent a cabin in the big woods for an old-fashioned “snowed in” Yule.
Shop for gifts in charming 19th century towns like Stillwater or Excelsior to call up the nostalgia of days gone by. Sing along with Handel’s Messiah or dance in the aisles at a performance of “The Nutcracker” in one of the Twin Cities’ gilded vintage theaters. Rent a limo to take in the best winter wonderland and holiday light displays. Drop a fishing line through a hole in the ice and see what bites!
Come prepared for fun adventures in Minnesota and cold temperatures with snow boots, mittens, hats and puffer coats. If you’re driving, make sure you have a blizzard kit in your car: blankets, candles, extra snacks, and kitty litter for traction if you get stuck! Don’t worry, though, soon enough a friendly Minnesotan will come along and help!
Zermatt is *always* a good idea and even more so at Christmas time! This picture postcard village, set against the backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn, is located in the Swiss Alps and is a must visit during the festive period. The magic starts as soon as you embark on the journey up the mountain from Tasch. You’ll be mesmerised by the stunning scenery and you’ll know you’ve arrived somewhere special when you reach the Bahnhof Platz.
Think snow-capped mountains, the smell of roasted chestnuts, elaborate Christmas lights – this place exudes festive spirit. There is something for everyone – skiers and non-skiers alike – and it’s a great family friendly place to visit. Sledging, ice-skating, skiing, snowboarding, a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, walking, shopping and more.
We’ve been going to Zermatt for years and always stay in self-catering accommodation as it gives us the flexibility we need when travelling with our children. Our absolute favourite is The Mischabel apartment as it’s right in the centre of the action, a 2 minute walk to the closest supermarket and a short walk to all the ski lifts.
Christmas time in Sofia, Bulgaria is a beautiful mix of traditions and fun. Snow can start falling as early as late November, which means that it comes in time for the Sofia German Christmas Market. While a white Christmas isn’t guaranteed here, as snow comes and goes throughout the winter, you can always find it when you go skiing on Mount Vitosha in the southwest corner of the city.
One of the things I love about Christmas in Sofia is that even though the nation is Eastern Orthodox, Bulgaria’s Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on December 25th. However, you can observe Christmas in the Orthodox style on January 7th at the stunning onion-domed Russian Church, giving you multiple opportunities to enjoy a white Christmas here.
Some of my other favorite activities to do in Sofia in winter include a visit to Sense Rooftop Bar, a glass-enclosed roof bar with amazing views of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral from above. You can even stay at the Sense Hotel and enjoy the views from your room.