For a unique and unforgettable Christmas, consider heading overseas to immerse yourself in the festive spirit of a different culture.
While we brace ourselves for a sweltering holiday season, in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the most magical time of year is about to begin.
There is something delightfully captivating about a white Christmas – and planning where to spend one is all part of the fun.
In western Canada, framed by the iconic Rocky Mountains, Mother Nature turns on a stunning wonderland of frozen lakes, outdoor skating rinks and towering snow-capped peaks that sparkle under the winter sun.
Add horse-drawn sleigh rides, the Northern Lights and the chance to ski some of the world’s best mountains and Canada is hard to beat.
Join the locals in the tradition of hitting the slopes on Christmas Day at one of the three major resorts of the region, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay.
The famous Vancouver Christmas Market touches a sense of nostalgia with its myriad delightful stalls selling traditional sweets, treats, crafts and treasures. Running from late November to Christmas Eve, it’s also the perfect opportunity to find last-minute, handmade gifts.
On Vancouver Island, just outside Victoria, one of Canada’s most famous Christmas attractions is gorgeous Butchart Gardens. What began as a labour of love to cover up the eyesore of an abandoned mine over a century ago, the Gardens have become one of the world’s most celebrated, and stunning Christmas displays, pictured below, are an annual showpiece.
To the strains of local carollers under beautiful festive lights, the Twelve Days of Christmas display is something to behold.
To explore stunning Canada in all its Christmas glory, visit the fabulous options from the experts at Scenic.
Across the Atlantic in western Europe, Christmas celebrations have remained virtually unchanged over centuries in thousands of villages and town squares and again, Scenic has spectacular cruises and tours that include the best.
Whether it’s the intoxicating aromas of a brewing pot of mulled Gluehwein, or the roasting chestnuts crackling over an open fire, or maybe even the sweet smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, few holiday experiences are as evocative as strolling a Christmas Market in a medieval city.
The Vienna Magic of Advent is one of the most popular in Europe.
Located just outside the city’s ornate Neo-Gothic city hall, the Rathausplatz (above) is transformed into a joyous winter playground bursting with Christmas lights and decorations.
Strasbourg’s Christmas Market (below), spread across the Old Town in 11 themes, is the oldest in France starting in 1570. From live music and events, to a living Nativity scene, more than 300 food and craft stalls and local artisans demonstrating traditional skills, this Christmas market is as much a celebration of Alsatian culture as it is a festive event.
If you are not really a fan of cooler climates and/or travelling too far to enjoy something completely different at Christmas time, perhaps consider visiting an Asian country where you’ll really get away from it all.
Many of South-East Asia’s most significant historic and cultural sites can be found along the banks of fabled rivers and tributaries making a cruise the ideal way to unwind amid the Christmas mayhem back home.
Aboard a 5-star boutique Scenic ship, travel where few westerners venture with a cruise along the mighty Mekong or Irrawaddy Rivers. Taking in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, these journeys offer a fascinating insight to ancient cultures.
From Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the 13-day ‘Treasures of the Mekong’ is as far removed from a traditional Christmas holiday as you could imagine.
Meander along the Mekong and drift by the lively floating boats of Cai Be, learn about Vietnam’s French-influenced past, soak up the melting pot of cultures that is Phnom Penh and discover the vibrant communities embracing rural river life along the Tonle Sap River.
Flowing north to south from its source high in the Himalayas, the Irrawaddy River is the lifeblood of Myanmar.
Stretching across the country toward the Indian Ocean, the river has long been a source of inspiration for travellers, artists, and poets alike.
Explore all the magical options on offer from Scenic by browsing their Christmas 2020/2021 brochure – click on the cover.