As the cold, dark nights begin to set in, every city centre is crammed with people all trying to bag a bargain, and the familiar din of festive songs fills the air of every building you enter. So, why not take yourself away, spend some quality time with your family and relax in the warmer climates of exotic places? If you’re in need of a few destination ideas, here are our top four suggestions…
- Canary Islands
Canarians have dozens of traditions, just not the ones you’ll be used to, so it’s the perfect destination for culture-vultures. The first change has to be when it comes to cuisine, as you’ll have to swap your turkey and stuffing for fish, when you eat La Noche Buena on Christmas Eve. White asparagus and giant prawns in a Marie Rose sauce are popular here, with the traditional candy, turrón, to finish. Then you can take a stroll around town and photograph the many nativity scenes of Belén (Bethlehem). No matter where you’re staying, this is a hugely popular pastime, and you can finish off with a local Christmas concert.
For the religious side of Malta, start off with a spiritual evening at St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta, where they hold their annual candle-lit carol singing service. The baroque interiors decked out in stunning floral displays and festive decorations, is a memory that is sure to stay with you. You’ll find all the restaurants and bars in Malta bouncing with festive energy too, but unlike a lot of countries, Boxing Day is not a holiday here, so most shops will be open for you to do some retail therapy before heading home. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the yearly pantomime held at the Manoel Theatre, so head there for a throwback to your childhood.
Whether you want an exotic holiday with a hint of Yuletide, or you’re looking to completely escape Christmas altogether, Morocco is the enchanting city that can help. In the larger cities like Marrakech, you can visit the famous Souk markets with their local wares and delicious spices, whilst spending the afternoon touring sights like the Majorelle Gardens or Bahia Palace. Then, when you get a slight pang of mourning for Christmas, you can always pick up some traditional favourites like the buche de Nôel (Christmas cake) or have a Christmas lunch in one of the luxury hotels.
There are dozens of reasons to opt for a Greek Orthodox Christmas in 2016, but the first has to be the lure of idyllic blue-flag beaches, which you’ll practically have to yourself at this time of year! Christmas here is marked with a song and a dance, as villages display ancient processions with carols, called “kalanda”, which are customs dating back to Byzantine times. You can take part in the major festival and feast here too, held in Nicosia in Eleftheria Square, where the unusual custom of young swimmers diving for a cross takes place on 5th January.
Have you decided where you’re heading this Christmas? For further inspiration visit our Christmas deals section of website for more up to date ideas and special offers departing over the festive period.