‘Tis the season to travel! For many, a highlight of the festive season is not the gifts or the turkey feasts with family. It’s the thought of jetting off to sunnier – or snowier – climes to enjoy a little winter sun, comfort and luxury. From sipping spiced hot chocolate and enjoying the après by the slopes in the Swiss Alps to soaking up the sun on the deck of your private overwater bungalow in Bali on Christmas day, a luxury Christmas abroad is something else.
While plenty of destinations have their high season over the winter, you can often find a special offer on a last-minute cruise or spare rooms at luxury resorts over the festive period, perfect if you change your mind at the last minute and decide to go all out for the festive season.
Ahead, we offer 7 fabulous destinations where you can celebrate the season in style – if not this year, then next.
Snow and Northern Lights are some of the ingredients in a magical Norwegian Christmas. Cross the Arctic Circle in search of the Aurora Borealis, visit the Viking-era fishing communities of Nordfjord and see the striking Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, where you may also spot orca, humpback and sperm whales in its Arctic waters or go on a proper expedition cruise.
A dusting of snow can transform Lake Como into a quiet and serene wonderland in the winter. Explore the region’s forested shores, sip hot chocolate in quaint lakeside villages that shimmer under the snow-capped Alps and ride in the iconic red carriages Bernina Express railway which winds through the snowy mountains.
Nusa Dua, Bali
Famous for its white pristine sand, turquoise waters and great diving, the beautiful island of Nusa Dua, Bali screams quiet luxury. It’s a resort area that’s home to some of the island’s most luxurious hotels. Many hotels in Nusa Dua offer special year-end packages that include lavish dinners and fireworks displays.
With its soaring snow-capped mountains, delightful alpine villages and the shimmering glacial waters of Lake Geneva, the Swiss Alps are magnificent in winter. Take an exceptional escorted tour that includes first-class tickets for the Glacier Express and head to the festive markets for everything from traditional crafts to regional food.
Maui offers warm ocean breezes and lush verdant jungle backdrops. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is renowned for its natural beauty and the gorgeous scenery is the perfect background for a Christmas luau on the beach.
Germany is famous for its Christmas markets which overflow with copious helpings of mulled wine and shining Christmas lights. A river cruise is a great way to see the festive markets, with iconic snow-draped wooden chalets, twinkling fairy lights and the heady scent of glühwein.
With over a thousand small islands spread out across this stunning Indian Ocean archipelago, there’s something for everyone in the Maldives. Go for the sumptuous gala dinners on Christmas Eve to Christmas Day bonfires on the beach, followed by a sunset sail around the lagoon and the fiery tastes of traditional Maldivian cuisine.