If you’re after a really festive winter break, New York has got to be up there with top places to visit. There’s nothing more magical than snow falling in Central Park, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoying the Christmas windows or counting down during New Year’s Eve in Times Square. With so many movies set in New York at Christmas, you’ll feel like you’re on a film set with cold weather and blue skies. The celebrations start at Thanksgiving so the ‘Holiday’ period is well drawn out and will undoubtedly get you in the festive spirit. Don’t miss the ‘Holiday Walk’ on Fifth Avenue where the shop windows of Macy’s, Sak’s and Bloomingdale’s are spectacularly decorated with a coordinated theme. For ice skating there’s the rink at the Rockefeller Centre but the rink in Central Park is the best for atmosphere in the iconic park setting. To visit New York and the USA refer to our page.
Christmas markets in Berlin
Another wonderfully festive city is the German capital of Berlin. Again due to the cold weather, the tradition of festive lights and wonderful smells of food and drink on every street corner mean that Berlin becomes a winter wonderland. Renowned for its Christmas markets, there are plenty to choose from and are a great way of seeing around the city. There’s the famous Weinachtszeit behind Alexanderplatz which is a wonderful place to soak up the Christmas spirit along with the aromas of roasted almonds, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Every weekend in Advent the Renaissance Palace of Jagdschloss Grunewald makes a fairy-tale backdrop to a traditional market selling arts and crafts and traditional toys. You’ll need to wrap up warm as Berlin gets so cold that the lakes freeze over – head to a cosy café and warm yourself with a delicious apple strudel.
Iceland for the Blue Lagoon
If you fancy more of a relaxing spa-like break, what about a weekend in Iceland where you can visit the famous Blue Lagoon? With its therapeutic milky blue waters and plenty of spa treatments on offer, you’ll keep warm from the naturally heated saltwaters and benefit from the natural minerals whilst surrounded by snow! Although unpredictable, an added bonus is that being mid-winter heightens your chances of seeing the Northern Lights too, so keep your fingers crossed for a clear night and you might be in for a treat! If the weather is not complying, head into the capital of Reykjavik for boutique shopping around Skolavordustigur and visit the nearby impressive church of Hallgrimskirkja. The city is also a great place to celebrate New Years Eve – it’s not jam packed like New York so you can enjoy some bubbles out on the streets at midnight and not have to stand around for hours penned in massive crowds.
Sweden for the Ice Hotel
What about visiting the world’s first hotel made entirely of ice and snow? Re-made every year 200km north of the Arctic Circle, the Ice Hotel is all sculptured by artists who make it different and original every year. You can stay in your own suite, have drinks at the Ice bar and enjoy the creativity of a truly unique experience which is probably Sweden’s most extensive private art hall too. Again you might also be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights here too – one way to make your search even more memorable is to go dog sledding in search of the of the Aurora Borealis – and with a team of Huskies pulling you along you will be in need of a sauna to warm you up afterwards!
Dubai – for some warmth!
If you’ve had enough of cold weather and your ideal winter break is actually to escape the wintery feeling, then head for some guaranteed sunshine in Dubai. With average daily temperatures of 25 degrees you can lie in the sun, swim in the sea and enjoy pristine beaches without your toes being cold. You can shop till you drop without the need gloves and scarves and you can play your favourite sport in the sunshine – there’s everything imaginable on offer here! Don’t miss Old Dubai where you can walk along Dubai Creek, enjoy the lanes of the arty Bastakiya quarter and explore the textile souks before taking a dhow boat back over the creek.