12 Days of Christmas – the travel edition

Here’s my top pick for the best destinations around the world that I’ve been to that would be great at Christmas

1. New York, New York

Food tour New York

Food tour New York

Though I went a bit early at Halloween, New York at Christmas time would be fantastic. One of my particularly favourite things to do there was a food tour, but if I could combine that with ice skating, snow, festive light and Christmas displays I’d be an even happier traveller.

2. Bariloche, Argentina

Standing at Cerro Campanario

Standing at Cerro Campanario, Bariloche

Back in 2015 this was my Christmas destination. Staying in a penthouse hostel in the Lake District of Argentina gave me a warm-ish Christmas with beautiful lake and mountain views. Bariloche was utterly scenic.

3. Christmas Markets, Europe

Stuttgart Christmas Markets

Stuttgart Christmas Markets

Ngaire by Ritz Christmas Tree

Me by the Ritz Christmas Tree

Fancy the traditional European Christmas? Well, head over to Germany for the pick of the Christmas markets. Or if you head to another major chilly European destination look up their local markets. Even Prague in the Czech Republic has awesome Easter markets, so I’m sure their Christmas ones are fabulous too!

4. High tea in London

Well, if you’re going to treat yourself it may as well be for an incredible feast and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to high teas.

Lots of places have themes and a particular one that stands out to me was the one I had on Christmas Eve with my Aunt when she visited me. We went for the top dog and visited The Ritz. The decorations and architecture was beautiful and outweighed the food in fact!

5. Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

One year when I lived in London I thought I’d get away from all the Christmas celebrations and find a hot destination. Egypt was it! With plenty of day trips the one that stood out the most to me was the visit to the world wonder that is the Pyramids of Giza. Not photo can quite comprehend the sheer size of these constructions in the middle of the desert.

6. South Island Road Trip, New Zealand

Aoraki Mount Cook

Aoraki Mount Cook

This was me last year – road trippin’ around the South Island. Camping and hostelling my way around the South Island of my beautiful homeland in my trusty hatchback car. Seeing the true beauty in the natural landscapes and realising just how much it means to me to live in such a place. Aoraki, Mount Cook was one of my highlights — walking the Hooker Valley track, closely followed but the stunning reflective views in Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier.

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

7. Ultimate relaxing/beach hopping, Greek Islands

Agia Anna beach, Naxos

Agia Anna beach, Naxos, Greece

When you’re burnt out from a year of work and all you want to do is relax, then surely hopping around Greek Islands is the thing to do?

8. Patagonia, Argentina

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides, Argentina

Back when I was solo backpacking around South America I saw my first whale ever on the East Coast of Patagonia in Argentina, in an area called Peninsula Valdes. Patagonia really has so much to offer from marine life on one side and stunning mountains and hikes on the other around El Chalten. If you’re an adventure traveller then it’s the prime Christmas travel destination!

9. Orphans Christmas, London

Apple Market Christmas Baubles in Covent Garden

Apple Market Christmas Baubles in Covent Garden

Roll back a few years. When you have a bunch of Kiwi’s in London not travelling for some reason over Christmas, what do you do? You celebrate together the Kiwi way with as many traditional Kiwi Christmas dishes you can muster up and a tipple or two.

10. African Safari

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla, Rwanda, 2011

Both times I visited and travelled through Africa it was in October-November-December. I found this to be a great time of year to visit, lush and green without much rain. Shoulder season so not too many travellers and the best chance ever to see incredible wildlife roaming free. From Gorillas in Rwanda, Chimpanzees in Uganda, Elephants, Giraffes, Rhinos in Namibia, the addition of Leopards in Kenya, Lions, baboons and more… Africa really is a wildlife lovers ultimate destination.

11. Northern Lights, Norway

Northern Lights, Tromso

Northern Lights, Tromso

After a snowy white Christmas? Where can you be guaranteed that? Well, I’d say Norway. In particular Tromso. I visited one winter to check out the Northern Lights and was treated to a splendid view of greens dancing around in the sky.

12. Kiwi Christmas by the beach

Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand - one of my favourite spots

Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand – one of my favourite spots

Without a doubt the proper Kiwi way to spend Christmas is by the beach. You have your tree lite up inside and have a barbecue champagne breakfast you might head down the road to the sand and sea to break in that first swim of the Christmas season. Later in the day sunned up your return for the big Christmas Ham and/or Turkey with lots of roast vegetables and salads, maybe even the odd bit of seafood.

Sun, sea, food and family, that’s the Kiwi way.

Where are you travelling this Christmas?