Discover 16 Winter’s Famous & Hidden Gems That Transform Into A Snowy Wonderland For Christmas

From charming alpine villages to breathtaking mountain landscapes...

by Tejashee Kashyap
Discover 16 Winter’s Famous & Hidden Gems That Transform Into A Snowy Wonderland For Christmas

Christmas season is a time of joy and festivity, and what better way to celebrate than in a winter wonderland covered in a pristine blanket of snow? From charming alpine villages to breathtaking mountain landscapes, the world offers a plethora of destinations that come alive with the spirit of Christmas.

Most Famous Destinations To Visit For Christmas

1. Switzerland: Zermatt

With its iconic Alps and charming villages, Switzerland tops the list of dreamy snowy destinations for Christmas. Zermatt, nestled at the foot of the majestic Matterhorn, exudes a magical atmosphere during the holiday season. The village is adorned with twinkling lights, and the surrounding peaks glisten with fresh snow. Visitors can indulge in winter sports, take a scenic train ride on the Gornergrat Railway, and immerse themselves in the festive ambience.

2. Austria: Salzburg

Austria, with its rich cultural heritage and Alpine landscapes, is a magical destination during the winter months. Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, transforms into a winter wonderland with its historic architecture and festive markets. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is adorned with lights and decorations, creating a fairytale atmosphere. Visitors can attend classical concerts, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, and savour traditional Austrian treats.

3. Finland: Rovaniemi


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Visit Rovaniemi (@visitrovaniemi)

For a truly magical Christmas experience, Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland is the place to be. Known as the official hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi offers a winter wonderland straight from a storybook. The Arctic Circle adds an extra touch of enchantment, and visitors can cross the line into the official residence of Santa Claus at the Santa Claus Village. The opportunity to witness the Northern Lights dancing across the Arctic sky adds to the allure of this unique destination.

4. Sweden: Stockholm

Sweden’s mix of urban sophistication and remote wilderness provides diverse options for a snowy holiday escape. Stockholm, the capital city, is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and cultural offerings. The Old Town, or Gamla Stan, is particularly charming during the holiday season, with its narrow cobblestone streets and festive decorations. The Christmas markets offer local crafts, delicious treats, and a joyful atmosphere.

5. Austria: Innsbruck

Innsbruck, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, is another Austrian jewel. The city’s medieval Old Town, framed by the towering Nordkette mountain range, becomes a picture-perfect setting for holiday celebrations. The Christmas market in the historic Market Square is a must-visit, offering handmade crafts, mulled wine, and the enchanting sound of carolers echoing through the air.

6. Norway: Oslo

Norway, with its dramatic fjords and Northern Lights, provides a captivating setting for a winter holiday. Oslo, the capital city, combines urban sophistication with natural beauty. The Royal Palace and Karl Johans Gate are adorned with lights, and the Christmas market at Spikersuppa offers a festive atmosphere. Visitors can also explore the Holmenkollen Ski Jump and the Viking Ship Museum for a taste of Norwegian history.

7. USA: Aspen

The United States offers several snowy destinations that are perfect for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Aspen, Colorado, is synonymous with luxury and winter sports. The town transforms into a snowy paradise during the holiday season, with festive decorations lining the streets and Aspen Mountain providing a stunning backdrop. Skiing, snowboarding, and the annual Torchlight Descent are popular activities during this time.

8. Germany: Munich

Germany, with its centuries-old Christmas traditions, is home to some of the most enchanting holiday markets. Munich, the capital of Bavaria, boasts a lively Christmas market in Marienplatz, where visitors can shop for handmade crafts, enjoy seasonal treats like roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, and take in the festive atmosphere. The city’s historic architecture, including Nymphenburg Palace, adds to the charm of a Bavarian Christmas.

Also read: Visiting London This Christmas? Here Are The Opening Dates Of The Famous Christmas Markets

Offbeat Snowy Destinations For Christmas

9. Japan: Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in the Japanese Alps, transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Famous for its traditional thatched-roof houses, known as gassho-zukuri, this picturesque village offers a glimpse into Japan’s rural past. The snow-covered landscape enhances the charm of these unique structures, creating a scene straight out of a fairy tale. Embrace the serenity of this offbeat destination as you explore the quiet lanes and historic architecture blanketed in snow.

10. Sweden: Abisko


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by valentinv (@valentinvillagrasa)

For a Christmas celebration under the Northern Lights, Abisko in Swedish Lapland is a captivating offbeat destination. Renowned for having one of the best locations in the world to witness the Aurora Borealis, Abisko offers a magical setting for winter enthusiasts. The Abisko National Park, with its snow-covered landscapes and frozen lakes, becomes a playground for activities like ice fishing, dog sledging, and snowshoeing.

11. Morocco: Ifrane


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Visit Morocco (@visit_morocco_)

Nestled in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Ifrane is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Morocco” due to its alpine architecture and snowy landscapes. While Morocco is renowned for its warm climate and desert expanses, Ifrane experiences a winter transformation that captivates visitors seeking an offbeat Christmas experience. During the winter months, Ifrane’s cedar forests and chalet-style buildings are blanketed in snow, creating a charming scene reminiscent of a European winter village. Ifrane’s offbeat charm lies in its unexpected snowy scenes amid the North African landscape.

12. Kyrgyzstan: Jyrgalan Valley

Jyrgalan Valley, nestled in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, offers an offbeat winter destination for those seeking adventure and snowy landscapes. Known for its summer trekking routes, Jyrgalan transforms into a snowy wonderland during the winter, providing a unique Christmas escape. The offbeat allure of Jyrgalan lies in its pristine wilderness, offering a winter adventure off the traditional tourist path in Central Asia.

13. Finland: Salla

While Rovaniemi might steal the spotlight as the official hometown of Santa Claus, nearby Salla offers a more tranquil and offbeat Christmas experience. Tucked away in Finnish Lapland, Salla is renowned for its pristine wilderness and tranquillity. Far from the bustling crowds, you can enjoy a silent night under the Northern Lights, marvelling at the dance of colours across the Arctic sky.

14. Poland: Zakopane


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Loreen & Konrad (@onionsontheroad)

Nestled in the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland, Zakopane is a hidden jewel that combines the charm of a mountain village with the allure of alpine landscapes. While the Carpathian Mountains might not be as famous as the Alps, Zakopane’s wooden architecture, lively local markets, and unique cultural traditions make it a perfect offbeat Christmas destination.

15. Austria: Abtenau


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ryan O’Hara (@shanghairyan)

While Austria is known for its classic winter destinations, Abtenau offers a more offbeat alternative away from the bustling crowds. Nestled in the Tennengau region, Abtenau is a charming alpine village surrounded by the Dachstein and Tennengebirge mountain ranges.  Abtenau’s authentic charm and tranquil ambience make it an offbeat gem for a cosy and traditional Christmas celebration.

16. Sweden: Jukkasjärvi

For a Christmas celebration like no other, consider the offbeat destination of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland. Home to the world-famous ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi offers a unique blend of art, ice, and festive magic. Visiting Jukkasjärvi during the Christmas season allows you to experience the ethereal beauty illuminated by the soft glow of northern lights.

From skiing and snowboarding to festive markets and Northern Lights, each destination has its unique charm at Christmas. So, bundle up, embrace the winter magic, and create lasting memories in these famous snowy destinations.

Cover image credits: Pexels

For more such snackable content, interesting discoveries and the latest updates on food, travel and experiences in your city, download the Curly Tales App. Download HERE.