Dreaming of a white Christmas? You might need to swap your sunscreen for snow gear and head to where winter is in full swing. While Oz occasionally gets a snow sprinkle in places like the Snowy Mountains or Tasmania, you’ll probably want to look at booking a holiday in places like Northern Europe or Canada to better guarantee a white Christmas.
We’ve gift-wrapped some of our best places for a white Christmas, which offer a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and festive activities, all of which make them perfect places to create lasting Christmas holiday memories.
But before you get caught in a snowstorm of travel troubles, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance to ensure things won’t snowball out of control should your travels not go exactly to plan.
Visiting Switzerland during the Christmas season is like stepping into a winter wonderland straight from the pages of a holiday storybook. Cocooned within the heart of the Alps, Switzerland transforms into a winter wonderland, wrapped in a snowy blanket, adorned with lights that twinkle, and a festive atmosphere that truly captures the spirit of the season.
Picture-perfect Alpine towns like St. Moritz, Interlaken, and car-free Zermatt transform into snowy havens, painting a festive masterpiece against the backdrop of the majestic Matterhorn.
In Lucerne, admire the beautifully lit Chapel Bridge and Water Tower, creating an Instaworthy scene over the Reuss River. Explore Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich – a shopper’s paradise adorned with festive lights and decorations. Zurich’s Old Town hosts the Christkindlimarkt, a Christmas market extravaganza for your seasonal fix of treats and crafts.
Immerse yourself in Christmas concerts at the Basel Minster or experience the magic a winter wonderland at the Zentrum Paul Klee which transforms into a magical Christmas village with lights, music, and activities. Another must-visit spot is a leisurely stroll through the lakeside Montreux Christmas Market, surrounded by the breathtaking backdrop of the Swiss Alps.
For an extra thrill, consider adding winter sports cover to your travel insurance policy and enjoy a wide array of winter sports in Switzerland’s renowned ski resorts like skiing or snowboarding. And why not soar over the snow on the First Flyer Zipline in Grindelwald, where you’ll reach speeds of 80 km/h along an 800 metre-long cable.
While Christmas in Japan is not traditionally a religious celebration, the country has embraced the holiday spirit with its own distinctive flair. From the vibrant cityscape of Tokyo adorned with glittering illuminations to Hokkaido draped in snow, Japan during Christmas unfolds as a captivating fusion of ancient traditions and contemporary celebrations.
While it is often rare to see December snowfall in Tokyo, cities like Sapporo and Niseko on the island of Hokkaido are much more apt to offer visitors a white winter wonderland. You can explore Christmas markets in popular districts like Roppongi and Odaiba.
Marvel at Tokyo’s iconic landmarks, such as Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills, adorned with impressive Christmas illuminations. Do a bit of Christmas shopping in districts such as Shibuya and Ginza which are always beautifully decorated for the festive season.
For a dose of holiday magic, venture to Universal Studios Osaka, where festive-themed attractions and decorations abound during special Christmas events. Or, visit Nara Park to encounter free-roaming deer, often adorned with festive collars during the Christmas season.
If you’re up for winter sports, take advantage of the slopes and do a bit of skiing or snowboarding in Niseko’s world-renowned white powder or simply relax in an onsen in places like Hakone or Beppu where you’ll be surrounded by snow but still be kept nice and warm.
And who could forget the finger-lickin’ good Christmas tradition? Yes, you heard that right – it is a tradition to indulge in Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas.
Canada, the world’s snow globe during Christmas! Immerse yourself in the Canadian wilderness where cosy traditions meet breathtaking natural beauty. Picture yourself sipping hot cocoa while exploring lively Christmas markets, enjoying winter sports in the Rockies, or witnessing the northern lights in Canada’s northern regions – a visit to Canada promises a Christmas journey filled with warmth, joy, and the enchantment of a white winter holiday.
Banff National Park boasts world-class ski resorts like Lake Louise and Banff Sunshine Village. Oh, and don’t miss the Banff Christmas Market – it’s like Santa’s workshop exploded in the Rockies, with local artisans, seasonal treats, and enough holiday cheer to make elves jealous.
If skiing is your winter love language, head to Whistler Blackcomb for slopes. Vancouver, on the other hand, transforms into a sparkly dream with Capilano Canyon Lights, where the suspension bridge and treetop walkways are adorned with thousands of sparkling lights.
And what about Old Quebec? Its cobblestone streets and historic architecture are adorned with enchanting holiday decorations, turning every corner into a festive masterpiece. And the excitement doesn’t stop there – head over to Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville for the German Christmas Market, where local crafts and seasonal treats turn the square into a merry playground!
The adventure continues southwest towards Toronto where you will see the breathtaking sight of Niagara Falls, aglow with millions of lights during the Winter Festival of Lights – one of the most dazzling light displays in the world.
For the adventurous souls, grab your skates and hit the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world’s largest natural skating rink. Or take a walk on the wild side in Churchill, Manitoba, for a rare opportunity where you can observe snow-white polar bears rocking their winter coats on the tundra.
Nestled on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland transforms into a captivating winter wonderland around Christmas, often under a colourful glowing blanket of northern lights. From the lively city of Reykjavik to the untouched natural wonders of the Golden Circle and beyond, Iceland during Christmas is a unique celebration of nature, centuries-old traditions, and the magic of the holiday season.
Reykjavik’s downtown area gets adorned with festive lights and decorations. Picture strolling through the snow between continents in Þingvellir National Park or catching a glimpse of a semi-frozen Gullfoss Waterfall while cruising the Golden Circle route.
For a toasty escape, indulge in a soothing warm soak at the Blue Lagoon, surrounded by snow-covered lava fields. Or, hop over to Akureyri, the “Capital of the North,” where the local community comes together annually for festive performances.
Explore the fascinating natural ice caves of Vatnajökull, where the blue hues of the ice create a magical underground world. And if elves and Christmas spirits are your thing, take a guided Elf Walk in Hafnarfjörður, a town known for folklore about hidden elves and Christmas spirits.
Head to the heart of the Nordic region, where Finland transforms into a festive spectacle during the holidays, blending timeless traditions with the breathtaking beauty of its world-famous natural surroundings.
From the vibrant capital of Helsinki to the Lapland region which is known as the official hometown of the guy in the red suit, Santa Claus, Finland during Christmas offers both the warmth of Finnish hospitality and plenty of snow-covered forests.
Rovaniemi, Lapland’s capital, is Santa’s winter headquarters. Here, you can meet the jolly man himself, send letters from the Santa Claus Post Office (Elf-approved postage, of course), and dive into the winter magic of the Arctic Circle.
Visiting Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers the chance to stay in a glass igloo and if you’re lucky the chance to witness the northern lights right from the comfort of your igloo. Now, if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a husky safari or take a traditional reindeer ride through snow-covered forests. It’s like Santa’s sleigh ride, but with a bit more fur!
For a dose of festive charm, Helsinki’s Christmas markets are a must-visit. Senate Square transforms into a winter wonderland with artisan crafts and treats.
And if you’re up for a journey west, Turku’s annual Christmas Peace Declaration ceremony is like a time-traveling holiday extravaganza straight out of the Middle Ages. Turku Castle also hosts special Christmas events and exhibitions during the holiday season.
The Snow Castle of Kemi is another remarkable winter attraction located in northern Finland. This icy fortress, built entirely from snow and ice each year, has become a beloved annual attraction. And while not usually ready by Christmas, the construction typically begins in December and is open to the public from late January until April. For those eager to experience the enchantment year-round, the site’s SnowExperience365 exhibition room offers visitors to stroll through a winter wonderland 365 days a year.
Renowned for its grand scale, the Snow Castle often covers several thousand square metres, featuring rooms adorned with stunning ice sculptures. The Snow Hotel, another highlight of this icy wonder, provides rooms equipped with thermal sleeping bags, ensuring a warm and cozy winter retreat. It’s a winter dreamland that’s Instagram-worthy even in the North Pole’s standards!