We believe that the heart of Christmas is in the pure emotion of spreading joy and spending time together with our most loved ones. Add to this, a touch of gorgeous flakes of snow and you will find a world enveloped in an enthralling white. The snowy landscape brings out those happy, child-like spirits, which as adults, we long to feel every once in a while! Read ahead as Ithaka gives you the perfect winter destinations to evoke this spirit that will inspire even the grumpiest of grinches! And then, from Austria to Switzerland, you’ll hear them merrily singing to the tunes of ’tis the season to be jolly…

 

1. Salzburg, Austria

 

Meander the snow-laden streets of Salzburg to look at majestic castles, from which chime sounds of carols and jingle of bells. Fresh green mistletoe abounds every corner, houses waft a delicious scent of fresh-baked cookies, and tree branches sway in the air releasing a flurry of snow chunks. Picture a Christmas night brought alive with the sound of music, where people spiritedly sing the Silent Night  – a carol inspired from the still, dark night, almost 200 years ago!

 

2. Grindelwald, Switzerland

 

Nestled in the shadow of the snowy peaks of the Alps, is the Swiss village of Grindelwald. Take the train bound for the Jungfrau region and you will be left speechless with wonder as you look outside the window panes! Here, the entire world seems sheathed in snow, the small town visible only by the hundreds of flickering Christmas lights in the distance. 

Grindelwald reminds you of a world in a fairytale, an enchanting and peaceful escape in the hills. The mountain air rustles past as you ride a toboggan or enjoy the bliss of a bumpy carriage ride. Or you could squeal in delight as the pearly snowflakes fall on the tip of your nose. Maybe even stretch out your tongue to taste a flake when no one’s looking!

 

3. Prague, Czech Republic

 

Christmas in Prague is like a rolling Disney movie. You will want to capture it in a timelapse, wishing to stay in it forever! The landscape is sketched with gothic buildings enveloped in  colourful tinsel and glimmering lights. Amid a thin film of falling snow, people weave in and out of street shops and admire skilfully cut wooden toys, gorge on fudgy pastries, and drink warm mulled wine. On Christmas Eve, the city gives out the radiance of a million stars, strung together to offer you the elegance, that is Prague.

 

4. Santa’s Village, Rovaniemi, Finland

 

Right in the arctic circle, Santa’s Village is touched by ole Frosty himself. This is a town where a sleigh is dragged around by real reindeer and adorable huskies bound across the icy countryside. 

The village is literally made for a magical Christmas. People dressed as elves receive Christmas mail and Santa hands out gifts to children! Beautifully sculptured ice lanterns are lit in the evenings, with their tiny orange flames flickering in the gingerbread-scented air. As for the streets, they are completely embedded in fluffy snow, perfect to start a snowball fight to be remembered for ages! 

P.S. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the northern lights in the night sky.

 

5. Quebec, Canada

 

Experience the Christmas spirit in the cold temperatures of Quebec, an old French Colony in North America! Come here to experience the simple pleasures of ice skating, tasting maple syrup candies, diving into a plate of sausages, and drinking spicy mulled wine.

During Christmas, the fresh falling snowflakes settle everywhere. They fringe the sides of streets, blanket slanting rooftops, and plonk upon the tops of pine trees. The icicle shaped lights and glittering baubles laid in the midst of this snow add flashes of gold and glitter to this wintry city.

 

6. St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Love the idea of celebrating a white Christmas again, after the New Year? Then, be sure to head to the cold landscape of St Petersburg on the 7th of January. The Russians follow the Julian Calendar, and like everything else, they celebrate this holiday on a grand scale. 

The gargantuan palaces and towering Christmas trees, all covered in strings of lights are a sight to behold. Pass under huge shining arches that crown the streets, as you sit on a carriage looking right up in wonder. All this, of course, if you can drag yourself away from platters of stuffed goose or a stuffed piggy head!

 

We’ve pared some of the best towns around the world for you to experience the joy of Christmas amid the magic of a snowy wonderland. People of these cultures celebrate this holiday in myriad ways, yet they are united in their spirit of spreading joy and cheer. It’s the spirit of Christmas that makes you squiggle childishly while making angels in the snow, sing hearty carols, and eat chocolatey cakes that melt in the mouth. We, at Ithaka, hope you enjoy all the hues of yuletide, finding yourself in the vast snow. Merry Christmas!

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