≡ Menu
Vagabond Journey

5 Must-Visit Destinations during the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us. What an excellent time to travel!

The season of loving, giving, and resolutions is quickly approaching. Are you looking for the perfect location to spend it in? Well, lo and behold. We’ve got an awesome list for you! Just because Christmas and New Year is all about family, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home. There’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than in a foreign and whimsical destination.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Image credit: aboutbrasil.com

Not a fan of cold weather? Aching to spend the holidays in a tropical destination? Then, Rio de Janeiro is perfect for you! Christmas, in particular, is absolutely joyous. You will see beautifully decorated Christmas trees everywhere and feel the widespread and genuine good vibes of the locals. During Christmas Eve, you can experience the Midnight Mass or Misa do Galo in a church. After that, feast your eyes (and stomach) on a grand and traditional Brazilian dinner! I recommend heading to the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where you will be able to see the world’s tallest floating Christmas tree.

Just like every other place during New Year, Rio has its own fireworks display. But since this destination is renowned for its lively atmosphere and festivals, expect to see something spectacular during New Year’s Eve. So what are you waiting for? Come on over to Rio, make new friends, and celebrate with your entire family!

Dubai, UAE

Image credit: NBC News

Yet another sunny destination, Dubai will not disappoint you this holiday season. It is certainly the essence of lush and festive. During Christmas, you will be able to have the usual Santa and reindeer experience, plus fake snow and ornamental lights. But if you want to make the most of your stay here, you simply must visit the Winterland Festive Village at Atlantis, The Palm. It hosts an annual brunch that serves a grand feast with plenty of treats. And of course, who can forget about the three-day Dubai Christmas Festival? You will experience a combination of music and singing, as well as Christmas markets, where you can shop ‘til you drop!

Then during New Year’s Eve, you have many options to choose from. Witness the jaw-dropping fireworks display at Atlantis or board one of Amwaj Al Bahar’s luxury yachts for an even more fantastic view. Dine in style in the famous Burj Al Arab or marvel at the entire city below by going all the way to the 122nd floor of the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. For a truly unique experience, you can always head to the desert and have a Bedouin-style celebration.

The Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Image credit: snowmagazine.com

Now, let’s head on over to a destination that is the epitome of a winter wonderland. There’s no better place to have a white Christmas in Europe than the Swiss Alps! There are plenty of luxury resorts for you to choose from, in locations such as St. Moritz and Zermatt. Once you’re done deciding which place to stay in, you can enjoy the thrill of skiing or snow-shoeing in the area. Not only that, but there are also fun Christmas activities like sleigh rides.

Whether you prefer to party your socks off or just revel in the amazing fireworks display before your eyes, a New Year’s celebration in the Swiss Alps is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. And if you’re up for it, the best time to go skiing would be during New Year’s Day itself. The slopes are going to be empty, so I encourage you to make the most of this experience.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Welcome to a gorgeous destination that will never fail to impress, Snæfellsnes Peninsula! With its pristine natural landscapes, Snæfellsnes Peninsula is certainly the place to be. And if there is anything in Iceland that will make your holiday season experience truly unforgettable, it’s witnessing the Northern Lights. Just imagine chasing this natural wonder during Christmas, whether you’re with your family or friends. Not only that, but you can also explore the Vatnshellir Cave, the Skarðsvík White Sand Beach, Kirkjufell Mountain, and many more!

If you’d rather see the Northern Lights during New Year’s Day, this is also more than possible. On New Year’s Eve, you will be able to experience the wild party scene of Iceland and the unique New Year Bonfire. There are only certain areas where the bonfire is lit though, so you may have to rent a car and drive to the assigned places. Don’t miss out on this magical experience, gathered around a warm bonfire, surrounded by awesome people, and at the same time, marvel at the elaborate fireworks display just above you!

Hokkaido, Japan

Image credit: hokkaido-sightseeing.com

Everyone talks about Japan and how beautiful it is during cherry blossom season. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit during winter? Then, come on over and enjoy the serene vibes this destination will most certainly offer. Hokkaido, in particular, is a hotspot for those seeking some peace and quiet. It is also said to be the best place to ski and snowboard on Earth! You can spend most of your time during Christmas here on the slopes, if you’re into staying fit and active. If not, you can always marvel at the expansive and incredible natural landscapes Hokkaido has. Plus, Hokkaido is renowned for its natural hot springs, so dip in and relax to the fullest!

New Year, on the other hand, is quite unique here. You will be able to see many locals visiting shrines or temples at midnight. And your visit to Hokkaido will not be complete without getting a glimpse of the beautiful Blue Pond in the quaint town of Biei. This artificial lake has astoundingly blue waters, said to be aluminum hydroxide, and dry, slim trees that perfectly exude an enigmatic aura.

Visiting Japan don’t miss out on delicious dishes. The country’s food is notoriously nutritious and packed with flavor, making for a unique cuisine that continues to develop over time. Controversially, did you know that due to the raising popularity of Western fast food networks, eating at KFC became a Christmas tradition Japan?

Final thoughts

So, what do you think? Would you rather spend your holidays somewhere sunny and vibrant or crisp and magical? Would you rather pick a destination where you can fully rest and relax or a place where you can stay fit and active? Whatever you choose, I guarantee that you will be able to make memories that will last a lifetime. After all, we’re only going to be living in this world for a short while, we might as well make it a fun and incredible ride.

Author’s bio:

Nina Tambal

Recently bitten by the wanderlust bug, Nina’s dream is to explore the world for what it truly is while spreading her love for food, the environment, and all animals.

Filed under: Travel Guide

About the Author:

has written 141 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

1 comment… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Ayurveda Course March 6, 2019, 1:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing information for Holiday Session.

    Link Reply