Best Places to Enjoy a White Christmas
If you’ve been dreaming of a “White Christmas,” here are some places where you’re likely to find snow, sightseeing, and plenty of holiday spirit.
For travelers who love the great outdoors and breathtaking scenery, Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies, is a great option. The area is full of wintertime pursuits, from skiing and snowboarding to skating, sleigh rides and dog sledding. When you need a break, the towns of Banff and Lake Louise offer dining and shopping. Two luxury hotels, the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, have lots of fun Christmas activities, including tree decorating and Santa’s workshop, as well as festive holiday meals.
History buffs might want to consider a journey to St. Petersburg, Russia. The Russian Orthodox Christmas falls on Jan. 7, but the city will be celebrating in the month leading up to the holiday. A Christmas market runs from Dec. 16 to Jan. 10, with vendors selling traditional food and crafts and nightly entertainment including Russian folk music. The port city on the Baltic Sea was Russia’s imperial capital for two centuries and remains a cultural center. The Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace, once home to Russia’s royal family, are must-sees for visitors.
You’ll be sure to see snow and get in some skiing in Zermatt, a village at the foot of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. It’s a popular destination, especially around the holidays. Take a trip on Zermatt’s cog railway to view the highest peaks of the Alps. The main Bahnhofstrasse, lined with shops and restaurants, will be brightly decorated with Christmas lights. And the historic 19th-century English Church, with its plaques dedicated to mountaineers, traditionally holds a Christmas Eve service.
Travelers who have yet to cross Alaska off their 50-state bucket list may want to visit Fairbanks and its suburb of North Pole. Fairbanks is about two hours from Denali National Park, a beautiful place to explore any time of year. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding are great ways to see the park in the winter. Twenty minutes from Fairbanks, the city of North Pole keeps the Christmas spirit alive year round. Drive around to spot streets with Christmas-themed names, like Kris Kringle Drive. Visit the Santa Claus House for gifts and Christmas decorations. Next door, Christmas in Ice runs through Jan. 8 and features holiday-themed sculptures, slides and a maze, all made of ice.
Christmas is a festive time in Norway’s capital of Oslo. A holiday market in the city center runs through Dec. 20, with food and crafts for sale, entertainment, children’s workshops and a Ferris wheel. Stroll through the houses on the grounds of the open-air Norwegian Folk Museum to see how Christmas has been celebrated in Norway through the years. Whether you’re a fan of classical, jazz or rock ‘n’ roll, you’ll find a Christmas concert to suit every taste in Oslo. Many of the classical concerts are held in the city’s historic churches.
For help planning a Christmas getaway, contact Travel Leaders COS at 800-273-0793, or locally at 719-597-0004.