6 Best Christmas Vacations

#6 Prague

During December, the capital of the Czech Republic turns into a winter wonderland you’ve got to see to believe. Twinkling lights blanket the city’s medieval architecture, and its Christmas markets are some of the best in the world. Plus, many of Prague’s attractions are free, so you won’t have to spend a fortune to sightsee.

#5 New York City

The Big Apple knows how to get in the holiday spirit, bookending the season with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year’s Eve ball drop and celebration in Times Square. You’ll be enchanted with ice skating at Bryant Park, snapping pictures of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and taking in the elaborate window displays at Bergdorf Goodman.

#4 Taos, NM

For a twist on the traditional Christmas, consider spending the holidays in this small town 70 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Snow-covered adobe buildings dot the historic downtown, and handmade gifts are available at the Taos Folk pop-up store. The roster of unique events includes bonfires on Bent Street, which features traditional Aztec dancers.

#3 Vienna

This Austrian city teems with Christmas markets. For travelers, the most unforgettable market is Rathausplatz, which features the neo-Gothic city hall as its backdrop. While you’re perusing the market for unique gifts, look for snow globes – they were invented in Vienna.

#2 Reykjavik

While Icelanders do not believe in Santa Claus (the 13 Yule lads are the ones who dole out gifts to well-behaved children), their country’s capital is awash with holiday spirit every December. Travelers can feast on a seasonal meal of fermented skate, a particularly pungent fish dish whose aroma permeates the air on Christmas Eve.

#1 London

The list of holiday-related activities in London is endless. Travelers can experience a 19th-century Christmas by listening to a reading of “A Christmas Carol” at the Charles Dickens Museum, pick up some gifts at Camden Market, sing carols at the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral and meet Father Christmas at Royal Albert Hall.