New York City's Rockefeller Centre (photo: Ferrantraite/iStock)

Top 10 Christmas Vacations Around the World

By Craig Moy

1 NUREMBERG, GERMANY
Nuremberg’s famed Christmas market dates to 1628. Today, it attracts millions with its gothic backdrop and legendary gingerbread. Sip mulled wine during the AMA Travel-hosted Go Solo Iconic Christmas Markets River Cruise (Dec. 5–15, 2019). The Yuletide journey includes three nights in Prague and a seven-night Nuremberg-to-Budapest cruise: call 1-866-989-6594.

2 ORLANDO, FLORIDA
The Magic Kingdom gets way more magical every December when Walt Disney World Resort is decked out for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Festive character shows and illuminations fill the stage and sky four nights a week. And as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, AMA’s Disney Specialists help you make the most of your vacation.

3 KITTS & NEVIS
December is truly hot, hot, hot in St. Kitts and Nevis. The National Carnival runs into the New Year and boasts all manner of soca and calypso fun. Christmas in St. Kitts’ capital, Basseterre, gives way to the frenetic J’ouvert parade (Dec. 26, 2018) and the Calypso Monarch competition (Dec. 29), whose winners become instant heroes in the island nation.

4 BANFF & LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA
A winter wonderland is a short drive away when Santa Claus parades down Banff Avenue under the festive lights (Nov. 17). Or get your silver bells a-jingling with a family sleigh ride at Lake Louise, followed by hot chocolate near a cozy hotel fireplace. AMA members save up to 20% and get a $50 dining credit at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Christmas Vacations Melbourne St Kitts Nevis
Holiday-season cricket in Melbourne and carnival in St. Kitts & Nevis (photos: PA Images/Alamy; Robert Harding/Alamy)

5 ROME, ITALY
Mediterranean cities like Rome are intriguing wintertime destinations—after the tourist rush, when seasonal temperatures in the Italian capital can still reach the balmy mid-teens. Christmas in the largely Catholic nation means lots of devotional pageantry, highlighted by huge Christmas Eve masses at St. Peter’s Basilica and the 2,000-year-old Pantheon.

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6 QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC
With a dusting of snow on its cobblestone streets, Old Quebec is a festive wonderland on par with any European capital—and one we Canadians can visit without a passport. A German-style Christmas market features yuletide treats and carol singers, while tour guides tell stories of Noël Québécoises and take visitors to the city’s best holiday-shopping spots.

7 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
It’s a sure bet that North America’s glitziest town goes all out to celebrate the season. Casinos ornament themselves with gargantuan Christmas trees, fake snow and showgirls in festive attire. The Linq’s promenade and High Roller Ferris wheel glitter with thousands of LEDs, and the Bellagio’s fountain does its colourful “dance” to beloved holiday songs.

Christmas Vacations Tokyo Santa Claus
Santa sighting in Tokyo (photo: Mauritius Images GMBH/Alamy)

8 MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Christmas can seem a little incongruous in the midst of the Australian summer. But in Melbourne, the festive spirit comes alive at the annual Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight concert at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl. Another tradition plays out across the Yarra River, as the Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts its Boxing Day Test—five days of elite-level cricket.

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9 NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
You’ve seen Christmas in the Big Apple on the big screen, but there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself. The season kicks off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 22). You can also skate beneath Rockefeller Center’s iconic tree or catch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Book tickets well in advance to get a good seat.

10 TOKYO, JAPAN
Christmas isn’t officially observed in majority Shinto and Buddhist Japan, but its biggest city does adopt many of the holiday’s Western trimmings, like dazzling light displays. Uniquely, Christmas Eve is akin to Valentine’s Day for Japanese couples— they exchange gifts and dine at upscale restaurants, or pick up a holiday feast of KFC (yes, that KFC).

BOOK WITH AMA
It’s never too early to plan a winter getaway! Visit AMA Travel online or call 1-866-667-4777.