Whether you're seeking a classic Christmas vacation filled with holiday traditions or a festive yuletide getaway without snow, you'll find it in these vacation destinations. To determine which spots offer the best Christmas vacations, U.S. News considered factors like culture, seasonality and entertainment options, as well as reader votes. Have a favorite Christmastime locale?
During December, the capital of the Czech Republic turns into a winter wonderland you've got to see to believe. Twinkling lights blanket the city's medieval architecture, and its Christmas markets are some of the best in the world. Plus, many of Prague's top attractions – including Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge – are free, so you won't have to spend a fortune to sightsee. Just keep in mind that Prague is a popular winter destination come Christmastime, so you'll want to book your tickets early and plan on sharing elbow space with other holiday visitors.
If your idea of the perfect Christmas getaway consists of sublime weather, luxurious accommodations, and gorgeous scenery, look no further than the Maldives. When you're not swimming with tropical fish or sunbathing on white sand beaches, unwind with a spa treatment in an overwater bungalow. As Christmas nears, several Maldivian resorts host Santa meet-and-greets (he occasionally arrives on water skis), Christmas markets, festive feasts and more to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, many offer all-inclusive holiday packages to help you get the best value out of your getaway.
Considered one of the best places in the world to view the northern lights, this Norwegian city doesn't see the sun in December. But don't worry – Tromsø's sparkling Christmas lights, cheerful atmosphere and vivid skyscapes create the perfect ambiance for a magical Christmas vacation. Visit Stortorget's famous Christmas tree, learn about the Sami culture on a reindeer sledding tour, see the city lights from Fjellheisen cable car or stay warm inside a cozy cafe. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, stay overnight in the Tromsø Ice Domes. Rebuilt every autumn, this attraction features a hotel, cinema, bar and restaurant that are completely made of ice.
Active travelers and relaxation-seekers alike will love celebrating Christmas in Aspen. This Colorado mountain town is a haven for skiers thanks to its nearly 100 runs and highly regarded après-ski scene. What's more, Aspen is home to multiple luxury resorts with cozy fireplaces and luxe spas for relaxing. For a dose of yuletide fun, make your way to downtown Aspen for the 12 Days of Aspen, an event that lasts for nearly two weeks and features free Santa meet-and-greets, ballet performances, caroling, cookie decorating and more.
Modified from USNews article by Elizabeth Von Tersch