Christmas is just around the corner, so you’ve probably already thought about how to spend it. Some people prefer to celebrate at home with their family, as per tradition. However, there are also those who always try to do something alternative.
If you fall into the latter category, why not try to venture out to visit unique places? Let’s discover together some of the best holiday destinations to celebrate an original Christmas.
Best Holiday Destinations: Tromsø, Norway
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Then why don’t you go further and spend the holidays at the Arctic Circle?
The island town of Tromsø, although completely engulfed in darkness throughout the winter, comes alive in December.
The scent of clementines, spruce branches and gingerbread follows you every step of the way. The joyful sound of Christmas carols fills the magnificent atrium of the Arctic Cathedral. Locals pour into the Christmas markets and with so many temptations around you, it’s easy to give in. Try the traditional ingefærnøtter, a gingerbread biscuit in the shape of a ball, with a glass of ursina grape to warm you up.
A huge benefit of being in total darkness is that you might catch a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights. While you’re waiting for it, you can also enjoy the snowy landscape on a dog sled, cross-country skiing or starting a beautiful battle of snowballs.
In most of the world, people welcome Santa Claus with open arms. Küssnacht is one of the best holiday destinations to do that. Around 20,000 guests come here every year on 5 December to find Santa Claus.
The final act is called “Klausjagen“, the “Hunt for Santa Claus” and is one of the strangest Christmas celebrations in Europe. It also has ancient origins, since it began in the Middle Ages as a pagan tradition, when the communities tried to drive out evil spirits with unbearable noises. The event was so loud that it was banned in the 18th century and only a century later it was reintroduced into the new Christian form.
The parade lasts all night and sees the participation of hundreds of characters. 180 vigorous horn players accompany 200 men adorned with “iffeles”, giant bishop’s mitres lit by candles designed to look like bright stained glass windows, and 700 percussionists with cowbells. All together, they “chase” the rebel known as Santa Claus and his four dark elves out of town.
Kyoto is the true soul of Japanese Buddhism. So, as you can imagine, Christmas is a little different here. Without any strong religious ties to Christmas, the locals celebrate the season with an abundance of glittering decorations and a slightly retro atmosphere. Thousands of couples go out on Christmas Eve to enjoy the finest restaurants, bars and “love hotels”.
In any case, the Japanese also have a celebration on December 25th. It is the annual “O-minugui Shiki” cleaning ceremony of the Chion temple, a spectacular musical tribute to the birth of pure earth Buddhism.
As a predominantly Christian city, Livingstone is always joyful in the month of this happy occurrence. The locals welcome tourists with open arms to sing a Christmas song, watch a representation of the nativity or take part in gift distribution rituals.
However, the best Christmas gift you can give yourself is an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site in Zambia. That is, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park just outside the city. The park is home to a diverse wildlife, rainforest and majestic Victoria Falls.