Top 10 Christmas Breaks - Part 1

Image for Olga Fahey Olga Fahey
Head of Operations

Ahough its still September and the UK is in the middle of a welcome Indian Summer our minds have turned to the festive season and the joys of Christmas breaks abroad and the life-changing experiences couples and families can enjoy during December and January.

Christmas provides us with a multitude of opportunities to experience luxury holidays abroad to some of the world’s most inspiring destinations. From the beaches of the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean to the Christmas markets and Ski slopes of Europe plus touring holidays through the beautiful scenery of Asia - at ITC Classics we offer our clients seasonal experiences guaranteed to inspire and excite!

We have used our 40 years of luxury travel experience to create a top 10 list of Christmas holidays hbroad that comprise some of the best experiences in the world. Here's part 1.

1. Christmas Markets of Europe

Christmas Markets of EuropeIncluded in the ITC Luxury Travel portfolio of luxury European destinations are some of the best locations to experience the wonder of the Christmas markets of Europe. Countries such as France, Spain and the Czech Republic host some of the continent’s most enchanting and inspiring markets.

A stay in Prague at one of the city’s two centrally located and picturesque hotels the Four Seasons Hotel Prague and The Augustine can be combined with a visit to one of Europe’s most popular and atmospheric markets, located near Wenceslas Square (as in Old King Wenceslas) in the Old Town. Prague in December resembles a winter wonderland and the Czech food and drink that can be sampled at the markets are must to be sampled.

For an alternative to the northern European markets why not visit the Spanish coastal city of Barcelona. Not immediately renowned for its Christmas markets it does play host to the Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas market that has been held around the Barcelona Cathedral since 1786. Hotel Arts and the W Barcelona hotels featured in the ITC Luxury Travel portfolio are the perfect places to stay to experience the seasonal delights of Barcelona.

2. Caribbean Beaches

Caribbean Beaches The Caribbean have some of the world’s most luxurious and idyllic holiday destinations and their uninterrupted, white sandy beaches play a big role in what makes them such firm favourites for Christmas Holidays Abroad.

In the Caribbean three of the most popular islands with some of the best beaches are Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia. All three can be reached by direct flights from the UK so you could be relaxing on a Caribbean beach during the festive season within 8 hours.

The beaches of Barbados are some of the best in the Caribbean and are suitably varied to appeal to those looking for adventure as well as rest and relaxation. Beached such as Mullins beach on the west coast of the Island or Gibbes Beach are some of the most popular as the waters are calm and offer various watersport opportunities to visitors.

Antigua boasts 365 beaches – one for each day of the year – and so is rightly renowned for its sun-drenched, white-sandy beaches and turquoise seas. The Christmas season is the ideal time to visit the beach heaven of Antigua as the climate is at its best – ideal for experiencing beaches such as west-facing Dickenson Bay with its bustling beach bars or half moon bay located on the east of the island and renowned for its peaceful white sands.

3. Skiing Holidays in Europe

Skiing Holidays in Europe Some might say a Skiing holiday in the French Alps or the dramatic Swiss mountains represent the most delightful Christmas Holiday Abroad Experience. European skiing holidays combine awe-inspiring views of the world’s most iconic mountains such as the Matterhorn with fine dining and après-ski and not forgetting the most exciting and entertaining slopes available.

ITC Luxury Travel offer bespoke skiing holiday itineraries for both Val d’Isere in the French Alps and Zermatt in Switzerland. Located in a picturesque valley Val d’Isère offers slopes suitable for both experienced and novice skiers as well as a lively and entertaining nightlife ideal to enjoy the Christmas holidays abroad. Included in our portfolio of French Alp properties are numerous luxury chalets, ideal for groups or families as well as penthouse suites suitable for romantic couple’s escapes.

The Swiss resort of Zermatt has developed into a popular winter Ski resort and benefits from some of the most striking mountainous vistas. Zermatt is car-free and as such has a magical atmosphere ideal for winter Christmas holidays and with properties as luxurious and stylish as the Chalet Tortin and Haus Gmatchi available through ITC Luxury Travel a perfect festive escape is almost certainly guaranteed.

4. New York New York

New York New York From ice skating at the Rockerfeller Center to shopping at Macy’s, New York offers an atmospheric and movie-set-perfect location for a memorable Christmas break. During December the city will often lie under a blanket of white snow giving the buildings and sights a romantic and festive feel.

A stroll or a horse drawn cart ride through Central Park provides a wonderful romantic experience and for an out of midtown experience a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to take in the powerful and iconic panorama of the New York skyline is an opportunity not to be missed.

New York also boasts some of the world’s most stylish and iconic hotels including the Mandarin Oriental and The Peninsula along with many other properties included in the ITC Luxury Travel portfolio. From these upscale locations views of downtown New York are available and from their location in mid-town the whole city is within easy reach.

Another New York tradition that occurs during the festive season is the Times Square count down to midnight. Every year the eyes of the world focus in anticipation and wonder at the scenes conjured at the New York landmark and to be a part of the crowds at this iconic event would represent a memorable experience for even the most well travelled.

5. The Ashes in Australia

The Ashes in Australia For England cricket fans and luxury holiday enthusiasts what could be a better way to spend the festive season abroad then enjoying the spectacle that is the oldest rivalry in Cricket – The Ashes.

Fresh on the heals of this summer’s Ashes in England, won in dramatic fashion by a confident England, this winter the rematch in Australia will commence on 21 November and include the famous Boxing Day test in Melbourne and culminate in the first test of 2014 in Sydney. This 5 test series will represent the second half of a unique 10 test run of matches between the Auld Enemies and promises to be the most exciting in years.

Australia will be looking to reverse this summer’s result and the Australians reaction to Stuart Broad’s refusal to walk when appearing to nick a ball makes this a much anticipated series.

What better way then to experience this significant cultural event than on an ITC Sports luxury tour? Staying in some of the region’s most luxurious hotels with a dedicated tour manager and including celebrity hosted dinners and functions an ITC Cricket tour is renowned as the best way to experience test match cricket and also represents a unique and memorable Christmas holiday abroad.

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