Christmas is a magical time of year: a time for getting together with the family, for relaxing, and for enjoying some great food. But why do we have to do all of this in the grey, dreary setting that is the United Kingdom in the depths of December? Surely there’s a more attractive alternative! We’ve put together a list of the top 10 Christmas holiday destinations that are sure to excite the entire family. From magical journeys into Santa’s back garden to winter wonderlands closer to home, there’s something for everyone!

1.     Lapland, Finland

Where better to visit this Christmas than the home of Santa Claus himself: Lapland! While it’s guaranteed to be a lot colder than your typical English December, you won’t have to suffer the rain, sleet and sludge – instead, you’ll get white Christmas. While you’re there you can treat the kids to a range of fun activities, including husky-driving, tobogganing and even viewing the Northern Lights, giving them a holiday experience they’ll never forget.

Visit Lapland’s official tourist site:

2.     Zermatt, Switzerland

An idyllic mountain ski resort all-year-round, Zermatt is especially beautiful during the Christmas period. Not only do the Swiss embrace the Christmas spirit wholeheartedly – meaning that there’s more than enough food, decorations, and mulled wine to go around – there are a wide range of activities for you and your family to partake in. The biggest draw, undoubtedly, are the ski slopes, so for those of you who want to burn off the Christmas calories with a run down the mountain, Zermatt is the ideal choice.

Visit Zermatt’s official tourist site:

3.     Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg plays host to one of the world’s most famous Christmas markets. Dating back to 1570, kids will delight in the delicious food and shimmering decorations, while the vin chaud (that’s mulled wine with added spices and fruit) is sure to go down a treat with mum and dad. For a traditional Christmas destination, there are very few better options.

Visit Strasbourg’s official tourist site:

4.     Prague, Czech Republic

If you haven’t seen Prague in the snow, you haven’t really seen Prague. Sure, it might be a little bit too history-heavy for younger kids, but the stunning Old World backdrop provided by this ancient city makes it an ideal Christmas destination for those with teenage children. Plus, the Christmas markets are absolutely unmissable. Be sure to check out the Old Town Square as well as Wenceslas Square – that’s where all the action is!

Visit Prague’s official tourist site:

5.     Copenhagen, Denmark

As one of Europe’s most kid-friendly cities, Copenhagen doesn’t disappoint when it comes to festive holiday destinations. The Tivoli Christmas market is a must-see (that’s a bit of a running theme!), while there’s plenty for the little ones to see and do. Copenhagen boasts two of the oldest amusement parks in the world, and there are lots of beautiful parks dotted throughout the city.

Visit Copenhagen’s official tourist site:

6.     Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt – attracting millions of visitors every year – is probably one of the most festive events in the world. There’s a massive range of wooden-stalls to explore, and kids will love the traditional Nuremberg Plum People – tasty little figures made from prunes!

Visit Nuremberg’s official tourist site:

7.     Colmar, France

From the labyrinthine Christmas markets to the luminous backdrop of the Old Town, Colmar is a winter wonderland that’s just as magical as it is little-known. Be sure to take the kids to Place Rapp, where you can enjoy a memorable evening ice-skating.

Visit Colmar’s official tourist site:

8.     Tallinn, Estonia

A fairy-tale setting in every sense of the word, Tallinn at Christmas-time has something for everyone. From carousels to Christmas delicacies, dancers to dazzling lights, this little-known winter wonderland is a perfect sojourn for more adventurous families.

Visit Tallinn’s official tourist site:

9.     Aachen, Germany

The Aachen Christmas market is one of the most famous in all of Germany, and an ideal spot to spend your festive destinations. Known for its friendly atmosphere, there’s a huge range of activities for kids and adults to enjoy, from carousels to regional mulled wine. For the foodies amongst you, be sure to check out Aachen’s ‘spekulatius’, gingerbread and marzipan bread.

Visit Aachen’s official tourist site:

10.  Home Sweet Home

This might be a cop-out, but sometimes there really is no substitute for curling up with the kids, sticking on a classic Christmas film, and tucking into a warm mince pie.

What’s been your favourite Christmas holiday destination? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!