From epic light shows to open-air markets to historic mansion parties steeped in tradition, there’s a million ways the season of sleigh rides. Whether you’re planning a last-minute couples’ trip or infusing your family reunion with international travel, FlightHub has you covered. From central Europe to Asia-Pacific, we’ve gone far and wide to find the world’s most extravagant Christmas celebrations. Scroll on and pack up your suitcase: these are trips you don’t want to miss.
When it comes to Christmas, Austria’s biggest city doesn’t play around. Decked out in festive pine wreaths and golden bells, the streets of Vienna would make Saint Nick proud. It’s commonplace for Christmas markets to run until the early morning hours, so make sure your hotel is nice and quiet (or just get plenty of sleep on the plane).
In the way of cultural attractions, Vienna is virtually unmatched — there’s a host of public art collections, Renaissance tapestries, and solo exhibitions within the cobblestone confines of the city. And — just in case you’re itching to explore — the city’s central Europe location is fertile ground for road trip planning. Thanks to FlightHub’s convenient search options, you can filter results by layover city; start planning your holiday Eurotrip.
Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in the long shadows of Appalachia, this North Carolina town is in a world of its own. Marked by massive views of frosty mountain peaks and winding forest paths, Asheville is home to an unforgettable Christmas season. Close to North Carolina’s 500,000 acre Pisgah National Forest, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Feel the crunch of frozen leaves on a hike to Catawba Falls Trail: the route features a staggering view of the waterfall’s eight-foot drop. When you’re in the mood for history, there’s a festive annual celebration at the Biltmore Estate. Or, if you’d like to embrace the local lifestyle, book a stay when you buy a flight. FlightHub’s Asheville offerings include entire vacation homes.
Should you have a spare weekend in Asheville, it’s worth the brief jaunt over to see the light show in Carowinds. Just outside Charlotte, this North Carolina town goes all out with decorations. Take the children to see the white lights shine off tree branches and check out the town’s Winterfest.
For the real Jack Frost experience, there’s no place like Finland’s northern region. Lit by the ethereal Auroura Borealis, the snow-covered landscape is washed in cosmic beams of pink and green. As you might expect from a far-flung locale, you’ll need to book a plane ride to the regional airport in Rovaniemi, Finland. It’s a smaller airport than Toronto-Pearson, to be sure, but FlightHub’s trip planning tools offer seamless coordination. Although they can’t offer a red-nosed deer to guide the way, they’ll find the fastest route there — and for all we know, Rudolph is hiding up in Finland’s northern forest.
You’ve heard of marble statues, clay pottery, and ice statues, but have you ever met a light sculptor? The team behind Taipei’s holiday bash turns LEDs into works of art. Each year, the city core transforms into a dazzling show with technicolour rays beaming through the streets. The ground isn’t fluffy and white, but Taipei’s tropical palms fit right into the extravagance. Framed by green fonds, the snowflake arches feel extra special. If you’re on a couples’ trip, it’s worth a stroll down the Ji-Qing Christmas Alley. The neighbourhood display was voted one of Taiwan’s top-ten romantic attractions for good reason: local residents fill the alley with sparkling ornaments and lanterns that radiate with festive charm.
Prague, Czech Republic
For our final spot, we’re boarding the plane back to Europe. The Czech Republic’s capital city boasts no less than six daily markets during the holiday season. If you’re staying downtown, make sure to drop by Havel’s Market; dating back almost 800 years, the permanent city fixture goes all out for Christmas. In addition to regular offerings like fresh produce, vendors deck out their stalls with seasonal merchandise. Festive souvenirs spill over the stalls to harmonize with the market’s towering Christmas tree. Plus, the surroundings don’t hurt: Prague’s Old Town is jam-packed with regal stone architecture.