These 4 spots are some of Santa’s favorites, but you’ll need to hurry if you’re going to book.
No one says that you have to spend Christmas at home. Why not gift the entire family with an international holiday vacation? These 4 once-in-a-lifetime destinations are sure to create holiday memories that you can reminisce about for years to come.
Why am I suggesting Ivalo, Finland, inside the Arctic Circle?! Because that’s where you’ll find Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, one of the most unique vacation spots on Earth. It’s also where you can book a glass-domed igloo, giving you views of the Northern Lights (if they decide to show themselves) from bed. Better yet, I suggest booking the Kelo-glass igloos - part glass-topped igloo, part cozy cabin complete with Finnish sauna. The possible activities here are as uncommon as the accommodations: ice fishing, reindeer sleigh rides, and dog sledding where you actually get to mush - just to name a few. But fair warning, you’ll be doing those activities in temperatures around -20°F.
On Christmas Eve, Santa makes a visit with one of his elves and reindeers. After all, Lapland is Santa’s home, and you’ll see his influences throughout the resort. And it was on Christmas Eve that my family and I were gifted with our only sighting of the Northern Lights. Magical.
Read more about Kakslauttanen including advice for dealing with the frigid temperatures by clicking here.
Advent season is a perfect time to visit Salzburg and its world-renowned Christmas markets. I can still smell the toasted almonds and mulled wine wafting through Cathedral Square. But the highlight for my family was the Sound of Music tour, as Salzburg and the surrounding area were the setting for the much-loved movie. And make sure to try one of my "favorite things" in Salzburg: Mozartkugel, delicious chocolate and pistachio marzipan balls. Yum!
Read more about other attractions in Salzburg by clicking here.
If you're head all the way to Salzburg for the holidays, extend your trip in the nearby ski resort area of Obertauern at the Sportsbotel Edelweiss. This is skiing the way that it was meant to be with ski-in/ski-out convenience, epic vistas, and a family-friendly après ski scene. Christmas Eve is a truly special night at the hotel. Guests share a traditional dinner with spirits and ciders, carols, Kris Kringle, and a candlelit reading of the Christmas story in German.
Take a look at this candy cane-wrapped hotel by clicking here.
If you’re looking for world-class skiing a little closer to home but still with an international flair, head to Whistler Blackcomb in Canada’s British Columbia. A trip here is more affordable than ever, given the strength of the U.S. dollar. I especially love Whistler because of all the off-slope activities. Be sure not to miss the area’s best-kept secret: Whistler Olympic Park (not Plaza) with snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, baseboarding, tobogganing, and fat tire biking. And did I mention the chance to fly down the death-defying Olympic luge run?
Need more convincing? Here’s 7 more reasons to spend Christmas at Canada’s premier ski resort.
Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah and her family haven’t spent a Christmas at home in… well, a really long time. Typically, the trips serve as the family’s gifts to each other.