The holiday season is almost upon us. Soon, the TV screen will be swamped with festive ads, the radio will be jingling with holiday tunes and presents will be wrapped.
For some, the holidays mean gathering the family together and leaning into a storybook vision of Christkindlmarkts, Santa, caroling, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. For others, it's a chance to flee to sunnier climes, recalibrate and reflect before the ball drops again.
Time waits for no one, so if you want to travel during the peak season, it's wise to sort out your plans now. Or, you can even plan ahead for your 2024 holiday adventure.
Whether you are looking for a cozy white Christmas combined with world-class skiing at a U.S. ski resort, a European city where timeless traditions fill medieval streetscapes, or just looking to use up your vacation days with a dose of exoticism, here are a few festive getaway ideas to get you started.
One of Europe's most romantic capitals, Vienna is a city where music, art, food and architecture are all steeped in glories past. Opulent Hapsburg palaces, impressive museums and elegant parks line the banks of the Danube, and tradition underpins even the most vibrant and cutting-edge neighborhoods.
Vienna is also home to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. At Rathausplatz City Hall Square, the city's annual Christkindlmarkt takes place this year from Nov. 19 to Dec. 26. More than 100 stalls purvey everything from arts and crafts to traditional holiday fare, like roasted chestnuts and gluhwein (mulled wine); there will also be a Nativity path, Ferris wheel, carousel and reindeer train.
For 2023, the city's famed Spittelberg Market — evocatively set within the neighborhood's revitalized 19th-century alleyways — will focus on sustainability with eclectic, eco-friendly arts and crafts and organic culinary delights.
Where to stay: For the pinnacle of luxury in Vienna, splurge on a stay at the Rosewood Vienna, where old-world ambience, seasonal decorations and festive culinary experiences make it the perfect place to lean into the holiday spirit. Its Old Town location on historic Petersplatz square places it within walking distance of the city's seasonal markets as well as major museums and attractions, including the Albertina and the Musikverein concert hall. Rates start from around 800 euros per night ($856).
Breckenridge is known for its holiday festivities, which take place not only along its charming Victorian-era streets but also on its world-class slopes. As one of the highest-elevation ski areas in Colorado, it's also one of the best places to ski early in the season.
The festive fun begins the first weekend in December when hundreds of Santas race each other down Main Street. This is
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Norway, Sweden, and Denmark offer stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities that entice travelers from around the world. From the dramatic fjords of Norway to the forests of Sweden and the picturesque Danish coastlines and cycle routes, opportunities for outdoor activities in Scandinavia abound.
Forget the traditional holiday mall crawl and the awkward Santa lap-sit; this year, one hotel is during the festive dial up to eleven. Welcome to Hardy's Holiday Village at Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania, where the usual holiday cheer is swapped for something akin to a Broadway-level extravaganza. It's over-the-top, it's dazzling, and it's everything you didn't know you needed this festive season.
Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany known as the "cradle of the Renaissance" (la culla del Rinascimento) for its monuments, churches and buildings.
Described by BBC Radio as “the best jazz festival on the planet,” the annual EFG London Jazz Festival, created by international music producer Serious, provides the ideal antidote to November’s dreary weather and shorter days. With over 300 shows across more than 70 venues, including some stellar free gigs, this month’s festival attracted a live audience of over 100,000. The ten day, citywide event featured big names and major concert halls like Sergio Mendez at the Barbican and The Symphonic Music of Wayne Shorter at the Royal Festival Hall but perhaps the pure joy for jazz fans was the discovery of rising stars and lesser known musicians at more intimate locations. Here are few of the many highlights from this month’s festival and musicians to seek out at future gigs.
Nature’s Playground unveils its tantalising festive programme, with traditions wrapped up in island style and uniquely Niyama intrigue. Throughout the season, guests are invited to give in to indulgence, with daily tantalising culinary experiences, expertly paired with award-winning wines from our selection, spa bliss & holistic treatments with visiting practitioners from around the world.
With warm, sunny weather and plenty of tropical pre-holiday cheer, now’s a great time to visit the Florida Keys and Key West. From Key Largo to Key West, the 2023 holiday season features spirited events such as lighted boat parades, only-in-the Keys frivolity, sparkling waterfront celebrations and other island festivities. Here’s what visitors to the island chain can expect in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.
“Let it Glow” at Discovery Park of America is a seasonal exhibition that illuminates the park with a vibrant and enchanting display of lights and installations. The park transforms into a magical wonderland, where intricate light arrangements and dazzling spectacles captivate visitors.
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