Five places to spend Christmas abroad

Harriet Meyer / 03 December 2015

Whether you are looking to get away to a winter wonderland or find some festive sun, we look at five popular places to spend Christmas abroad.

Christmas is celebrated in various styles around the world – whether in cold, snow or sunshine, there are plenty of appealing destinations where you can join in the festive season.

If you do plan on heading abroad, here are five destinations that are particularly popular:


Images of surfing Santas and building sandmen are just some of those that spring to mind when you think of Christmas Down Under. Perennially popular, it’s not hard to see why. It’s hot, and while it’s not Christmas as we know it, throwing a prawn on the barbie before heading to the beach can be a sublime experience. The city holds famous firework displays, Santa Fest and a variety of other festivities to make the season go with a bang.

Read Paul Lewis' guide to spending money abroad.

Reykjavik, Iceland


To the opposite extreme, there’s the magic of the Northern Lights in Iceland. Renowned for dark, beautiful landscapes and fascinating sights, a stay in Reykjavik holds great appeal. While cold, there are plenty of spas, and hot springs to indulge in to take the edge off. And this magic land has plenty of peculiar traditions, such as 13 Santas, known as the Yule Lads.

Planning on doing a bit of skiing? Find out about the travel insurance traps that could catch you out.

Central Park, New York

New York

Bright lights, big city; it’s the perfect time of year to visit NYC. The city lights up, turning into one big winter wonderland. Just think of the huge Christmas tree in Rockerfeller Center, ice-skating in Central Park, and all the festive films that are based in the city. Perusing the holiday window displays and taking in the atmosphere is enough to crack a big Christmas grin.

Did you know that Which? recommends Saga Travel Insurance? Find out more...

Bruges, Belgium


There are plenty of splendid Christmas markets around Europe, but Bruges is one that stands out from the crowd. From mulled wine to a multitude of pastries, you can meander the cobbled streets and canals for hours. The picturesque and cosy atmosphere helps to make it one of the most appealing city destinations to spend the festive season.

Read our guide to the best Christmas markets.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Stunning beaches, friendly people, and delicious food. For a total break away over Christmas, this is a great choice. Sri Lanka has some of Asia’s most beautiful beaches, and is a well-trodden tourist spot. This means there’s plenty of information on where to go and what to see. The majority of the population are Buddhists, but Christmas is still a public holiday for everyone – with decorated streets and plenty of Christmas trees around.

New Years Eve Fireworks over Funchal

Christmas on a cruise

Can't decide where you would like to spend Christmas? Why not try a bit of variety? A festive cruise to the Canaries allows you to spend Christmas Day onboard with delicious food and drink while enjoying overnight moorings in Gran Canaria and in Madeira. It also means you won't need to make those stressful new Years Eve plans, as you'll see in the New Year with a magnificent fireworks display over Funchal harbour. 

Find out more about our Christmas Holidays

For more tips and inspiration, browse our travel articles.

Try 3 issues of Saga Magazine for just £3

Subscribe today for just £3 for 3 issues...

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.