Whether you’re a backpacker or a holidaying couple, spending Christmas away from home is a break from the norm and is exciting and different. It is key to know what your destination is going to offer you in terms of holiday cheer and here are some top spots from around the world to spend the Festive Season.
New York, New York
The Big Apple has long been a hotspot for people looking to spend Christmas abroad and with very good reason. Here, you can take in all the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps, with the added bonuses of amazing Christmas lights and window displays, and perks like ice skating in Madison Square Garden, taking a walk around the frozen lake in Central Park or best of all – getting involved in the chaos of the Christmas sales on 5th Ave. The sights, sounds and hustle and bustle of NY in the snow make it a perfect Christmas destination – not to mention seeing The Ball Drop and ringing in the New Year on Times Square. It’s just like something you‘ve seen in a movie – only you’ll actually BE there! Make sure to book well in advance however, as prices rocket at this time of year for flights and accommodation.
If snow and winter coats aren’t your thing, you can’t get further away from that than by spending Christmas in Sydney. The festive season in Oz is perfect time to conform to some Aussie stereotypes – “put another shrimp on the barbie, mate” and turkey sandwiches on the beach are a must. Bondi beach is packed over Christmas so get down there early for relaxed surfer vibes and experiencing something that is literally a world away from the traditional Christmas. Sydney is the perfect destination for all age and price demographics, and has an excellent hostel and backpacker scene if you’re looking for somewhere to make mates and feel a bit more “homey” during the festive period. New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in the Sydney calendar and you’ll be among the first in the world to ring in the New Year with the AMAZING fireworks display on the harbour. It’s really a once in a lifetime experience so if you’re Down Under, get yourself to Sydney STAT!
Vienna is the living embodiment of what Christmas is all about. If you decide to spend Christmas here, you’ll be spending it in a fairytale. Expect to see very traditional depictions of Santa, reindeer, elves and everything associated with a “White Christmas” adorning every street and building. Wrap up warm as it often hits below freezing and go enjoy some traditional Austrian fare at the many Christmas street markets and then warm up with a delicious hot chocolate and some local beer to follow (of course!). The nightlife is excellent also, with plenty of apres-ski banter to be had. Vienna offers the type of Christmas most of us dream as as a child so it is the perfect place to be in if you want to be away from home over the holidays.
If you’re backpacking in South America, Cusco is an ideal place to spend Christmas, for more reasons than one. As it’s the home of Machu Picchu, most people will be making a stop off here at some point, and over Christmas is as good a time as any! The city is buzzing with backpackers over Christmas and it’s easy to get into the festive spirit. There are loads of markets seeling allsorts, including reindeer jumpers (well, they are actually llama jumpers but that is beside the point), festive stocking and loads and loads of weird and wonderful stocking fillers. The main square is packed with more stalls of locals selling manger scenes, bizarre Baby Jesus dolls and pretty much andything and everything you could imaine. Hostelwise, a good shout is Wild Rover, which offers tradional Christmas dinner (with a Peruvian twist) and a brilliant party vibe – just like being back at home! New Years in Cusco is surreal – all the inhabitants of the town dress in yellow items, which are readily available from the local markets (including yellow undies, if you don’t mind!) and descend on the main square to run around if 3 times for luck in the New Year. This is followed by an almighty free for all fireworks display, which is less Sydney Harbour Bridge and more war-torn Iraq, but it’s all in the name of good fun., Christmas in Cusco is unforgettable and you’d be foolish to miss it if you