5 winter wonderland destinations to make your dreams come true
What is it that makes the notion of a white Christmas so enchanting? The sound of crisp snow under foot? The sight of roofs and trees romantically blanketed in white? The cheery frolicking on sleds and skates in a quaint town square?
It’s a cultural experience that captivates our imagination, even though the only white in our Australian Christmas is the sunscreen and surf! If you are one of the many who dream of immersing themselves in the heart of a wintery white Christmas encounter, this list of five destinations may give you some inspiration to make it a reality. Of course, there is no guarantee of snow in any location, but these ones offer better odds than most.
Marienplatz is the old town centre in Munich and is the heart of Christmas festivities, including a traditional Christkindlmarkt that dates back to the 17th century. It’s a great place to take in the joyous carnival atmosphere and marvel at the glittering light display, while sampling the local sausages, gingerbread and gluhwein.
A 30-metre Christmas tree is the centrepiece, while the musical accompaniment of brass bands and choirs adds to the ambience. Munich’s magnificent gothic architecture provides an abundance of old world charm. Add a dusting of snow and you have the quintessential white Christmas experience. Find out more: muenchen.de
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Prague - Czech Republic
Across the border in neighbouring Czech Republic, Prague’s festive season launches as early as October and by November the city is festooned with an amazing display of sparkling lights, towering Christmas trees and extravagant decorations.
Of course Prague’s bridges, ancient monuments and the iconic Prague castle are transformed into a virtual fairyland once the snow adds its mystical touch to their inherent beauty. The Christmas markets come alive at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square to delight the crowds with rides, trinket stalls and delicious Christmas fare. Explore more at: pragueexperience.com
Edinburgh - Scotland
At the heart of Scotland’s ancient culture and heritage, Edinburgh provides a richly textured backdrop to its Christmas activities. The city centre hosts a spectacular market featuring a gloriously lit giant Ferris wheel, the Princes Street ice skating rink, carnival games and market stalls. Sample some hot haggis and wash it down with a mulled; and don’t be surprised if you spot a real live reindeer too!
Edinburgh’s cultural credentials are an added attraction, with music, comedy and other artistic shows held throughout the season. The crescendo is the holiday light show that features a stunning fireworks display. Extend your visit to the new year and you can catch the excitement of the Hogmanay festival. Details can be found at: edinburghschristmas.com
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Aspen - USA
The skiing capital of the USA, Aspen is a jewel set in the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a well-known haunt for celebrity types, ski enthusiasts and those who just want to soak up the festive atmosphere and glorious natural surroundings.
Aspen is a more energetic option for white Christmas wanderers and enjoys an average annual snowfall of 300 inches, combined with 300 days of sunny weather. Apart from superb downhill and cross country skiing there are a huge variety of outdoor adventure activities.
At Christmas time the “12 Days of Aspen” festival offers visitors a variety of art, performance and food experiences, as well as festive parties and fireworks to make it a white Christmas getaway to fill the senses and live in the memory. For more details: aspenchamber.org
Tromso – Norway
Perhaps the most magical of all white Christmas destinations is the quaint old city of Tromso in Norway. Nestled in snow covered hills and hugging a charming inlet, Tromso is so picture perfect when covered in snow that it could model for a snow dome. The premier attraction is nature’s own amazing lightshow, the Northern Lights. Tromso is known as a preferred viewing location and for the best vantage points, head out of town via dogsled, boat, snowmobile or reindeer sleigh – nothing could possibly say “white Christmas” more than that!
Feel like some exercise? Why not try the ski trail which takes you around the entire city – flood lit, of course, thanks to the long evenings at this time of year. The lack of daylight during December makes for a festive party atmosphere, with a marvellous selection of cafés and restaurants to sample the local seafood and other local delicacies. From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day everything closes down, creating a quiet and enchanting ambience, before the party re-ignites in the run up to the new year. For more details: nordnorge.com