Where To Go For A Magical White Christmas

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, these destinations are the best places to experience winter snow, and fulfil your child-like fantasies of snowball fights, snow angels and snowmen. 


Home to the official town of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland is the ultimate white Christmas destination. The city is completely dedicated to Christmas cheer, in an unparalleled holiday experience that will fill you with unbridled festive joy. Santa’s village has hundreds of houses for guests, restaurants on-site, a husky park, and reindeer that pull sleighs, in a true winter wonderland. In Finland, you can also witness the spectacular Northern Lights dance in the sky, which for many is an enchanting once-in-a-lifetime experience. Adventure through the true north with activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling and ski excursions. There’s always time for relaxation in the sauna afterwards, where you’ll find soothing warmth before you lay down to rest. 


Another worthy white Christmas destination to add to your bucket-list, Switzerland is a gorgeous country with a variety of snow-covered cities to explore. For 20 years, Santa Claus has taken up residence perched atop the mountain at Rochers-de-Naye, where he looks forward to meeting visitors of all ages, none of whom leave without a gift. In Montreux, a Christmas festival is aglow, with 160 chalet stalls serving food, drink and crafts spanning one kilometre of the city’s lakeside promenade. Outside the Abbey of St. Gallen, you’ll find Switzerland’s tallest Christmas tree, decorated with over 5000 lights, and be welcomed with complimentary mulled wine to sip while listening to the melodic harmonies of Christmas carollers. Thrillseekers in search of tobogganing and skiing should head to Einsiedeln. 


For Christmas in all its traditional perfection, complete with snow-covered alpine roofs and Christmas markets in full swing, Austria is a dream destination. The largest Christmas markets can be found in cities like Vienna, Salzburg and Innsburck, but some true gems exist off the beaten path in smaller towns and villages. The Tyrol region is most likely of all to see snow by Christmas day, including the so-called birthplace of alpine skiing, St. Anton am Arlberg, the snow-globe-like village of Leutasch near Seefeld, and hiking haven Hinterhornbach in Lechtal Valley. Zell Am See is another worthy winter wonderland, with its lakeside charm, Christmas market fare, skiing, snowboarding and wellness escapes. 


Travelling all the way to Canada is worthwhile for a white Christmas, for a chance to enjoy gondola rides and horse-drawn sleighs in unbeatable snowy landscapes. Stroll around Banff, a picture-perfect resort town surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, just a short distance from the natural roaming grounds of bears, bison, cougars, wolves and elk. Get 360 degree views of the snow-covered paradise from the Sulphur Mountain rooftop observation deck, then perhaps take time to warm up in the steamy relaxation zone of Banff Upper Hot Springs. A short drive from Banff, you can witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the lakeside Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and further north, Jasper National Park is a wonder beyond compare, known for its scenic vistas, hiking, camping and its festively lit alpine town. 


For those longing for a white Christmas in Asia, there are few better destinations than Hokkaido, Japan. Although Christmas is not a public holiday here, there is no shortage of festive cheer, or snow! Christmas lights illuminate the streets of every town, giving each night a warm glow. Try something a little bit different, and experience the Ice Village at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, with an ice bar, ice furniture, an ice chapel and even ice hotel rooms! In Asahikawa City, you can find Japan’s northernmost zoo, where the winter attraction is an adorable “Penguin Walk” procession around the grounds. Roaming around Ningle Terrace’s tiny log hut village of crafts is also the perfect holiday activity, with snow-capped trees and twinkling fairy lights giving the forest a festive feel. 

Gourmet Traveller