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Top holiday travel destination Annecy

Old town: Annecy, France

“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”

Anybody who’s ever seen the movie A Christmas Story remembers that line. All Young Ralphie wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB gun. His mom thought he was too young. His dad thought, “boys will be boys.” And throughout the course of the film, Ralphie stated that he wanted that Red Ryder BB gun more than 25 times. Ralphie was a dreamer. He knew what he wanted, visualized it, said it out loud and, in his mind, already had that Red Ryder BB gun long before Christmas or his winter holiday ever arrived.

Growing up, my friends teased me by saying that I was the Black version of Ralphie. Nerdy, coke-bottle, brown-framed glasses, and born in Indiana. Yup! I was the Black Ralphie.

Nerdy me Ralphie

Although I never asked for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, I was like Ralphie in other ways. I, too, have always been a dreamer. I’ve always visualized what I have wanted, over and over again, until the goal has been attained. Like Ralphie, my manifestation produces the end result I desire even before the day arrives.

Last year, I had the opportunity to see one of those visualizations come to life—I visited a European Christmas Market. The beauty of the small, alpine village of Annecy, France was enhanced by the festive nature of the season. And the “Venice of the Alps,” turned into Santa’s playground once the sun went down, lights turned on, and the wooden chalets opened their doors for business.

Annecy Christmas market

Wooden chalets of the Christmas Market

mulled wine

Mulled wine stand

Light show projection on town hall

Light show projection on town hall

 

So with the winter season fast approaching again this year, here is my holiday travel wish list:

 

Top 3 Winter Holiday Travel Destinations

Finland

Dark winter day (and night) skies become illuminated by the Aurora Borealis in the northernmost region of Lapland, Finland. Head there for the abundant snow, to learn about the indigenous Sami people, or for the once in a lifetime experience of sleeping in a glass igloo under the stars at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

kakslauttanen glass igloos

kakslauttanen glass igloos

Quebec City

Like Finland, you’ll find plenty of snow in Quebec. But the city also offers winter holiday visitors a chance to experience some of the most authentic European-style Christmas marketsoutside of the European continent. In addition to the markets, visitors who stay long enough to ring in the new year will experience one of the world’s liveliest New Year’s Eve Celebrations (which is sure to be even bigger this year as America’s little brother to the north celebrates its 150th anniversary).

Aerial view of Old Québec in winter

Aerial view of Old Québec in winter

Quebec festival

Quebec City knows how to party

Belgium

The land of chocolate, beer, and French Fries topped with mayo. If that’s not enough, a stay in Brussels also awards the opportunity to visit the fairytale-like medieval town of Bruges; stop off and experience the city of Ghent; or catch a bus/train to one of the neighboring well-connected countries for a day-trip.

One of many chocolate shops in Belgium

One of the many chocolate shops scattered about Belgium

Bruges

Bruges

What countries/destinations do you have on your holiday travel wish list?


67 Comments

  1. Tiffany H. says:

    I love Christmas so all these destinations look great! (Although I’m not a big fan of snow, Its pretty just don’t want to be in it). Out of the 3, I would want to go to Finland to see the lights and to sleep in a Igloo. My second destination would be Belgium just for the waffles.

  2. Kasi says:

    These three all look like great winter vacations, love the pictures. Usually I’d want to go somewhere warm during the winter, but I’m definitely intrigued by the European Christmas markets.

  3. Danasia says:

    I’m dying to visit Finland! I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about it.

  4. One of the countries on my list of places to visit is Finland. I’d love to travel there one day with my two children.

  5. Bernetta says:

    Wow! I’d be opened to visiting all of these locations. I want to travel outside of the country more in the next few years and experience different cultures.

  6. Mimi Green says:

    I’ve never left the country, but these pictures looks beautiful. I love the lights and the big fan fare that comes with the Christmas season.

  7. Eva says:

    In 2018, the plan is to travel more. I gotta go to warm places though… BUT Quebec city looks like it would be amazing.

  8. Stacie says:

    The black Ralphie, that’s too funny! These places all look like love holiday destinations but I like to stay home during this time of year.

    • EG III says:

      Well, with new year’s fast approaching…you could always think about a place to getaway to after the holidays have passed!

  9. Natasha says:

    I’ll be in Quebec City next year for a travel summit, and I can’t wait! Everything looks so beautiful and out of a storybook there. I do want to do the Christmas market in Germany before I turn 40, so here’s to dreaming!

    • EG III says:

      I’m sure you’re gonna LOVE Quebec city…so much culture. And I’m cheering for you to hit that Christmas market before 40!!

  10. Each one of these destinations are on my bucket list. I have plans to visit Quebec in May 2018. I so excited, as it’s my first time 🙂

  11. These all look great! I definitely have to add these to my travel list!

  12. Tiina A says:

    You have chosen fantastic winter destinations! It’s a bit funny or actually kind of sad that I am fro mFinland but never been to Lapland in winter time, only visiting there in the midsummer when it’s light all day round.

  13. Maria says:

    These are really great destinations! Actually, almost all are part of my personal travel bucket list to visit or something like that. Sadly, in our country, we only have summer/sunny and cold/rainy weathers. I actually am looking forward for your posts in case you have travelled to these places already. 🙂

  14. I know it’s summer for most part of the world especially in North America. But, this post caught my attention. Having born and taised in a tropical country, I am fascinated with those dreamy white Christmas holidays which I was reminded by this post. I had a chance to experience it only in my second home Canada where my family is and would love to explore other cities and countries during winter too.

  15. Tamshuk says:

    Definitely Finland for me even though the other two look equally good. Can’t resist the Northen Lights and those igloos surrounded by the snow all around.

  16. Lye down in a cozy glass igloo and watch the stars through that glass at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland is like my dream comes true. This is in my bucket list since the time I read an article about the place but lets see when my actual visit will get happen?

  17. Ami says:

    Bruges was always my favorite winter scene… Rather bucket list one. Now you have added Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. That is just magical…. Loved all ur pics….

  18. Shane Prather says:

    I honestly wasn’t sure which cities to expect after reading the title. I would also add Switzerland for the beautiful snow, really feels like the holidays!

    • EG III says:

      After having the opportunity to visit Switzerland in the winter, spring and summer this year…some parts can feel like holidays nearly all year round haha!

  19. Ana says:

    All these destinations look breathtaking for celebrating Christmas and New Year. I’d love to visit any of these destinations! Last year, I went to Vegas during Christmas and totally loved it!

    • EG III says:

      Christmas isn’t the first place that springs to mind when I think Christmas (Reno perhaps), but Vegas knows how to put on a good show so I can imagine it was pretty spectacular.

  20. Janine Good says:

    I cannot agree more with your choices. The experience in Finland looks incredible. I have researched it quite a bit. I have been to Finland in the summer and I absolutely loved it. Quebec City is about 9 hours from where I live and I have been a couple of times. However, I would love to go back during the winter festival and see the iconic Bonne-Homme!

    • EG III says:

      I admit, that trip to Finland is pretty high on my bucket list! And it would be awesome if you could make it to Quebec during the winter festival.

  21. Alberto C. says:

    Very good choices, I visited Quebec during summer and it’s still today one of my favourite cities in the world. I’m sure the ambiance is even more special during winter!
    Those iglus in Finland have been on my bucket list for a while now, such a pity that staying in them is SO expensive! Hopefully one day 🙂

    • EG III says:

      I agree. Although I’ve found igloos elsewhere…For me, there’s just something special about those ones in Finland.

  22. Bruges is a very nice city! I haven’t visited during the holiday season though. One place I’d love to visit during that time, it might sound a bit cliché, but it’s New York City!

    • EG III says:

      Not cliche at all…I’m right there with you on that one! I’ve wanted to go there for Christmas ever since seeing the movie “Home Alone 2.”

  23. suanlee says:

    Since seeing this post, Finland and Lapland are on the list! i was recently watching a travel show called Getaway and the host visited a few placed you have mentioned here as part of her winter christmas special, it was truly a sight to see and these images and your words echo that! Being in Australia the christmas is usually incredibly hot and not a snow flake in sight so its a lovely change to read about all of these places to visit to truly embrace winter.

  24. I’ve driven to Belgium in the winter, passing by their major ski resorts, and it’s absolutely lovely. I imagine it would be even better around Christmas. I’d love to visit Finland too, but maybe not in winter 😀 I am not the best with cold.

  25. Komang Ayu says:

    Winter Holiday Travel Destinations which you mentioned above are all good. But I can not stay in a cold place. I’m not strong in cold, it got cold and pain. But I want to play snowballs 🙁

    • EG III says:

      Haha, I understand. I only like the cold weather in very small doses. Playing in snow can be quite fun if it’s not too cold though!

  26. blair villanueva says:

    I think celebrating White Christmas in Quebec City will be spectacular! Its like in a movie 🙂

  27. Carmy says:

    Quebec City is a drive away! I didn’t know they would throw such a fun looking party! Maybe I need to make a visit.

  28. Anju says:

    Oh wow those glass igloos and northern lights looks fantastical! Would love to spend an evening in that Quebec party scene! These winter destinations are sure to be magical.

  29. Sarah Harvey says:

    I’ve never been on a winter holiday!! I really want to go on some though, its just one things leads to another and I find myself at home with my family.

  30. Lea says:

    I’ve always loved Winter time because of Christmas markets (among other things). When I’m on holiday in winter, particularly in a city I don’t know, I always go to a Christmas market, I love the ambiance so much! And I’m actually trying to find flights to see Aurora Borealis!

  31. Joanna says:

    If you love Christmas Markets I would add to your list Austria, with its amazing market from Vienna. Actually, the entire city transforms and at every corner of every street you will find a small wooden house selling mulled wine and sausages. I will definitely add Vienna to your list.

    • EG III says:

      I love Vienna and, now that you mention it, I’ve never been there in winter but I’m sure it’s quite beautiful as you say!

  32. verushka says:

    I love Christmas markets in Europe they are just so festive. Winter always adds the feeling of Christmas. I went to Belgium and loved their Christmas market. Everytime I read a new blog I keep adding to my ever growing bucket list.

  33. We have been to Bruges and its no less than a fairytale. Staying in those Igloos and watching the northern light is a dream. Hope to turn it into reality soon 🙂

    • EG III says:

      Well, you guys helped me to decide on Bruges this winter holiday so I’m looking forward to experiencing that fairy tale firsthand.

  34. Indrani says:

    Yes Belgium is a wonderful destination and Brugges is most romantic! I have this dream of going to Finland but that will be in summers not winters. Need to study more of Quebec.

  35. Gabi says:

    Bruges is, according to me, one of the most perfect places on Earth to spend your Winter holidays! I must agree with you…
    I’ve never been to Finland though, so I can’t really tell. The photos have really captured my attention, so… Why not give it a try?

    • EG III says:

      That’s the spirit! You never know, after Finland Bruges may become the “2nd most perfect place” for Winter holidays! 🙂

  36. You’re getting better and better with every new post! I just read this and found myself searching for flights 🙂 Great recommendations!!!

  37. Bettyyim says:

    Actually, I can’t stand the cold but since we can’t control the weather, we should find some ways to enjoy the cold weather? In addition, cold weather usually means it will be Christmas soon! I can’t wait!

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