It's begun. We are now officially in the holiday season, and you know what that means? Lots of holiday eating, lots of holiday drinking and lots of just being a holiday glutton. It's also a time for Christmas lights, holiday markets and general merriment.
Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to visit many places and witness how each does the holidays. From the festive coziness of the German Christmas markets to the breezy and sunny holiday cheer of the Caribbean, I'm a big fan of experiencing both different atmospheres and climates. Here are six great places to visit during the holidays:
London, United Kingdom
Perhaps it's because I recently visited London as the holiday lights were starting to go up, but my love of London during the holidays is currently unsurpassed. I LOVE London during the holidays (and in general). From Oxford Street to Regent Street to Covent Garden — the lights and decorations around the city combined with the crisp weather and cozy pubs (and accents) make you feel like you're in the sequel of Love Actually and/or The Holiday. It's brilliant. Simply brilliant.
The city of Brussels is beautiful on its own but during the holidays it feels just a little more magical. Also, the Christmas market is AMAZING. Seriously, I love this Christmas market so much. It's one of my favorite markets I've ever been to. There's ice skating, a Ferris wheel, lots of festivities and holiday tartiflette. How can one go wrong here?
Talk about a country that knows how to do the holidays. There are some places that people always talk about when it comes to Christmas markets. Germany is one of those places, and Cologne, in particular, is one of those cities. With its main holiday market set up right in front of the cathedral, it feels like it should be snowing and then you would be in the perfect snow globe. And then all that mulled wine just makes it all better.
El Nido, Philippines
Prior to visiting El Nido during Christmas, I never would've recommended this place as a holiday destination, but now that I've been I can say this is a fun and unconventional alternative to your typical cold Christmas. Christmas here is hot, tropical, relaxed and a nice escape from whatever it is you want to escape. While everyone else is freezing, you'd be the one tanning and sipping from a coconut, which is not a bad way to spend the holidays.
New York, New York
My city of New York is pretty fantastic during the holidays. In my opinion it's one of the best times to visit (though, in full disclosure, I think the best time is fall). Once the Rockefeller Tree is up, it feels like it officially becomes Christmas. The holiday markets are in full swing, there are roasted chestnuts everywhere, the 5th avenue lights are glowing and the city just feels softer and lovelier. This is all before my two least favorite months in New York: January and February aka hibernation time.
Jamaica, West Indies
I'm not actually sure where I've spent Christmas the most — Florida or Jamaica — but at this point it's safe to say I've spent significant time in both during the holiday season. This year I'll be in Florida, but I love being in Jamaica during the holidays. Similar to the Philippines, it's hot and tropical but there's also a lot of fun beach/island parties and activities going on if you're in the know. And then all that Jamaican food...you just can't lose here. You really can't.
Where do you like to travel during the holidays?