When it’s already October or November, people start to plan ahead where to spend their Christmas vacation. You may want to enjoy the outdoors as well and see other beautiful sites and experience other’s culture.
1. St. Petersburg, Russia
“It’s incredibly dreamy this time of year with the snow and the historic buildings,” says Jaclyn Sienna India, president and founder of the luxury travel firm Sienna Charles. She recommends buying tickets to the Russian ballets and catching a performance of the original Nutcracker at the Mariinsky, which is the theater that hosted the famed production’s world premiere in 1892.
2. Lapland, Finland
Is there anything more authentic than spending Christmas in the Article Circle? Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland in Northern Scandinavia, is known as the “Official Hometown of Santa Claus”—and it looks exactly like the Santa Claus’ village you grew up fantasizing about. Kids will encounter elves, play with Rudolf and his reindeer, and decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus; for adults, there’s snowmobile safaris, husky rides, and Northern Light hunting.
3. Tuscany, Italy
Traveling with kids? Look no further than Tuscany, where child-friendly holiday activities and eye-catching nativity scenes are abundant. One standout: Santa Claus’ Village of Montepulciano, which features a Santa Claus castle, a “Toy Factory” exhibit, and a mini pony ranch. Book a room at Il Castelfalfi, a new five-star resort located in a restored medieval village, or check out the equally luxurious Castiglion del Bosco, an 800-year-old Tuscan estate owned by the Ferragamo family. “Last year was the first year that the Ferragamos decided to keep it open for the holiday,” says Sienna India, of the hilltop resort. “It’s perfect for families—there’s exceptional food, and pizza and pasta-making for the kids.” And for adults, “What’s more cozy than enjoying Super Tuscans by the fire?”