Not everyone wants to be home for the holidays. During Christmastime, many tour operators, cruise lines, hotels, and destinations offer visitors festive experiences. For clients seeking celebratory travel this December, here are some of this year’s best Christmas-themed trips and places to visit.
Land tours get festive
Tour operators are getting Christmassy with their end-of-year products. Brendan Vacations’ Ireland’s Festive Adventure package is a 10-day journey exploring four of the country’s major cities from Dec. 20 to 29. Guests will travel city to city by railroad, stay at hotels of their choosing, and spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day in Killarney, where they’ll enjoy a cocktail reception, bountiful holiday dinner, and lowkey brunch, respectively. The trip also includes stops in Dublin, Limerick, and Cork, with visits to historic castles, the Irish Emigration Museum, and the Cliffs of Moher.
Sita World Tours is offering a Christmas version of its six-day Hidden Powers & Northern Lights package from Dec. 23 to 31. Travelers will see many of Iceland’s natural wonders, including its many waterfalls and scenic national parks. On Christmas Day, guests will visit the Lava Centre, walk along Iceland’s black sand beaches, and enjoy a festive Christmas dinner at their hotel. A tour guide will bring guests to find the best view of the Northern Lights during the evening with the clearest skies. What could be more magical on Christmas?
Travelers voted Charleston, South Carolina as the best U.S. city in Travel + Leisure’s 2023 World’s Best Awards. Now they can experience the city during Christmastime on Collette’s seven-day Southern Charm Holiday tour. Guests will choose from a walking tour or a Fort Sumter Cruise in Charleston. They’ll also see the James Island County Park holiday display, Christmas carolers, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, and Mercer Williams House in Savannah. The trip is from Dec. 3 to 9, a great way to kick off the holiday season.
Collette also has Christmas-themed trips planned in New York City and London, as well as Christmas markets tour covering Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in nine days and Germany and Austria in eight days. While none of Colette’s market tours fall on Christmas Day itself, there are several package options from November through Dec. 23.
Speaking of Christmas market tours, those are quite popular among tour operators. EF Go Ahead offers four extended Christmas market tours in Europe lasting anywhere from 11 to 18 days. Club Adventures has two different 8-day European market tours to choose from, and Classic Journeys is offering a 7-day Europe’s Christmas Markets Special Edition package.
Hotels deck the halls
Christmas cheer overflows at hotels across the world during the holiday season. If your clients are traveling to the popular Charleston, South Carolina this year, consider sending them to Hotel Bennett. For the second year in a row, this luxury hotel will feature a life-size gingerbread house on its first-floor lobby, where there will be elves serving hot chocolate for the season. There will also be a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 7, as well as tea with Santa on the weekends from Nov. 25 through Dec. 24.
For those traveling to Mexico, the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya has festivities planned for guests of all ages from Dec. 21, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024. The hotel and resort will immerse guests in local Christmas traditions with its décor, activities, and dining experiences. Children can participate in festive art classes or learn to make guacamole and chocolate Santa Clauses. Plus, Santa himself will make a poolside appearance at the hotel. Andaz Mayakoba will also offer a Christmas Eve buffet and brunch for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Those looking for Christmas cheer among more wintry weather can check out Vail Resorts’ several ski destinations in the United States. Noel Nights is returning to Northstar California’s Village at Northstar Ice Skating Rink. This festive, kid-friendly event happens for a few Fridays in December: Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. Also, Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado will host a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 9 and fun, festive events for families on Dec. 23 and 24.
If it’s the ambiance your clients are after, Four Seasons hotels get always decked out for the holidays. To see some special decorations this year, we recommend the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. Plus, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, Portugal and Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire are celebrating with festive dining options, and Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva, Switzerland will feature a Le Chalet des Etoiles, a Christmas Popup.