Champagne amid snowy scenery, travelling through frosty landscapes, and having your Christmas lunch served to you in luxury, there's no Christmas and New Year quite like the one you'll experience when on a festive trip. But some places do the celebrations better than others and some destinations just seem to embody the season. Here's our pick of where to spend Christmas and New Year.
Yes, Italy is a beautiful country to visit in the summer months, but it has a certain charm at Christmas you won't find at any other time of year. The Italian Alps are stunning in winter and cities like Venice and Milan take on a winter wonderland character that makes Christmas feel extra magical. Lake Garda's lake towns twinkle with fairy lights in the evenings and the Christmas markets offer an authentic festive experience. Take an escorted tour for Christmas in Italy and spend New Year in Austria where you'll see in the new year in Innsbruck with some white mulled wine.
Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, might be best known for its New Year celebrations, but Christmas in Scotland is an experience in tradition, the beauty of the landscape, and some intriguing myths and legends. An escorted tour of Scotland at Christmas takes in the Edinburgh Christmas markets where you can wander the many stalls, sip some mulled wine, and take a ride on the big wheel for incredible views of the city, Loch Ness for some Nessie spotting, and Fort William where you'll spend Christmas day. Carol singing is called 'wassailing' in Scotland and people often dress up and go from door to door, singing as they go. Don't forget to leave out a drink and a mince pie for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Switzerland shares many Christmas customs and traditions with Germany, like Glühwein and pretty Christmas markets, but it does also have some of its own Christmas traditions. Switzerland loves a Christmas parade and even on Christmas Day people parade through the towns banging drums and shaking cow bells. It depends which town you are in as to which parade you'll see, but in some towns the children go 'star singing' which is a form of carol singing and on New Year's Eve you might see a procession of people in strange costumes and masks. On the Classic Glacier Express at Christmas tour you'll spend Christmas day in Chur, an historic Swiss town with a lot of traditions.
A rocky, rugged, winter wonderland awaits you in Canada at Christmas. It's one of the most breathtaking scenes you'll see anywhere at this time of year, as the snow falls and the mountains sparkle in a frosty vision that's like something from a movie. An escorted tour of Canada and the Rocky Mountains brings you right into the scenes and takes you through the heart of this Christmas picture postcard. Christmas in Canada is a traditional affair, with Christmas stockings hung on fireplaces, wreathes on doors, and Trimmed Christmas trees everywhere you go.