“We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.”Laura Ingalls Wilder
Going to places like New York City or London for Christmas is an exciting experience but the downside of traveling to major cities and holiday hotspots is the amount of people you will be sharing that experience with. Don’t get me wrong; when I’m in the mood for that, there is nothing that keeps me away. However, this year I am feeling the low key side of the holidays. Here are a few cozy locations that aren’t or don’t feel like they’re packed to the brim with tourists.
Where: Rovaniemi, Lapland Region, Finland
What: Lapland is one of the most family-friendly holiday destinations you could possibly find. The city is a winter wonderland like nothing you have ever seen right in the Arctic Circle.
Reasons to Visit: Husky rides, romantic log cabins, snowmobiling, views of the Northern lights, deep snow, friendly locals, and Santa Park to only name a few. The town is the official hometown of Santa. Nothing says Christmas quite like that.
Where: Quebec, Canada
What: Few cities are as charming as Quebec in the Winter. Yes, it’s frigid, but the snowcapped landscapes and building make the perfect backdrop for a white Christmas.
Reasons To Visit: Snuggle up near a window with a good view of the city, hot chocolate or your drink of choice, and your significant other and enjoy a cozy night in. Quebec is a slice of Europe without the extra flights. Chateau Frontenac is a significant site to see but exploring the old city and eating at local favorites is the best part about this low key holiday destination.
What: No one does Christmas like the Germans. Explore major cities in Germany in style any time of the year, but Nuremberg in the winter is famous for Christmas.
Reasons To Visit: Christmas markets. Hundreds of local artists spend months preparing for these markets. There are so many types of items I cannot even begin to describe. I will say this; it is worth a trip to a foreign country just to see the town lit up at night with lights that makes it look like a city straight out of a fairy tale. Seeing another country’s artists at their best and supporting the local economy always has its benefits as well. To make it even better, you will have unique gifts for all of your loved ones.
Where: Isolated island in the southern Atlantic Ocean
What: This, until recently, rarely visited island is a one of a kind experience. What was once only accessible by a weeklong mailboat ride can now be reached by a 5-hour flight. It is most well-known for being the island to which Napoleon was exiled.
Reasons To Visit: The sheer remoteness of the island makes it a cozy and non-crowded place to visit. There’s a little bit for everyone no matter your interests or travel style. There are many historical sites to see, dozens of hiking trails, beaches, scuba diving opportunities, whale shark sitings, and the island is perfect for photographers, especially if they love landscapes or flower photography.
Europe’s Southerly Islands –Malta, Crete, and Sicily
Where: Mediterranean Sea
What: As you can see here, my love for Malta, specifically Gozo has no bounds. The 19 islands of Malta and the islands of Sicily (off the coast of Italy) and Crete (Greece) offer unlimited amounts of fun and a change of scenery for the holidays.
Reasons To Visit: While it won’t be warm enough to sun yourself on a beach all week, you can immerse yourself in the history and beauty of the islands during the off-season. The real perks of visiting during the holidays are the gorgeous weather and avoiding the hordes of crowds that normally plague the islands during the peak tourist season. There are tons of places to eat phenomenal food, have a romantic night in, or experience adventure together.
Spending the holidays at home with just your family or significant other can be just as cozy, romantic and enjoyable as going on a vacation. You can’t beat the prices or the company, and you even won’t have to leave your couch if you don’t want to.