There’s less than a month to go until the big man in the red suit shimmies his way down chimneys across the globe – but he’s going to find quite a few empty houses. For serial travellers like us, this time of year is the perfect excuse for some much needed adventure.
If you’re planning to go away this Christmas season, chances are you’ve got it well under control. But if you’re still sitting on the fence, umming and ahhing over whether to visit the relatives yet again or perhaps satisfy those feelings of wanderlust, Matt McMillan and Tim Farquhar from Eclipse Travel have a few ideas you may not have considered.
For a White Christmas
For an authentic White Christmas experience, McMillan suggests Norway or Finland, “Like many European countries, most Norwegian towns and cities offer Christmas fairs and markets that will help create the perfect mood for the festival season.”
“Tromsø in Northern Norway is voted as one of the best places on earth to spend Christmas and it’s only 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle,” he says. “What’s better than celebrating Christmas whilst seeing the spectacular Northern Lights with your loved ones?”
“If you’re taking the little ones with you, a visit to Santa’s office in the Finnish city of Lapland is a moment they will always cherish. Alternatively, head to Helsinki for the ultimate Northern Christmas ambiance – the city is breathtaking when draped in white snow and lit by Christmas lights.”
For an Island Escape Christmas
The Galapagos Islands are a stunning paradise where you can rub shoulders with a world full of unique wildlife. Blue-footed Boobies, Marine Iguanas, Whale Sharks, Galapagos Sea Lions, Flamingos and the signature Galapagos Giant Tortoise are all part of the experience to these unique islands.
“From black volcanic rocks and vast white sand, to lush green highlands and jewel-blue waters, the Galapagos Islands are filled with natural wonders and wildlife,” says Farquhar.
“The wet season generally occurs between December and May where you can expect picture-perfect sunny days and blue skies combined with showers. It’s great for those who are looking to spend a warm Christmas at an off-the- beaten-track destination.”
For a Tribal Christmas
Nowhere does diversity quite like South Africa. Home of the deserted Kalahari, the iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Kruger National Park’s wildlife-packed savannah… it’s one of those rare destinations that ticks all the boxes and then some.
You can spot a variety of wildlife including the Big Five in the Kruger National Park, discover the country in the most luxurious way by exploring the pristine white beaches at Cape Point, indulge in a little wine tasting at Cape Winelands, or hopping onto the famous 5-star Blue Train to spoil yourself with an round-the-clock personal butler service. The choices are limitless.
“With our excellent exchange rates at the moment, a South African getaway has become very affordable. It’s a great excuse to treat yourself with another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!” McMillan suggests.
For a Latin Christmas
Palm-fringed beaches, delicious spicy cuisine, colonial architecture and vivid blue skies, Mexico is the place to be for an exotic getaway during the silly season.
For a cultural fix, there are plenty of top-class museums and galleries for you to unfold the fascinating history of this beautiful country.
“You can also find vibrant pop culture from the underground dance clubs and street art in Mexico City, as well as interesting handicrafts made by indigenous people,” Farquhar recommends.
“And of course, you can’t skip the stunning beaches with their crystal clear water. If you are into sea creatures, don’t forget to book a diving or snorkeling tour for a chance to get up close and personal with coral walls, canyons, turtles, tangs, eels and even hammerhead sharks!”
If you still need a little more Christmas inspiration, visit eclipsetravel.com.au