Dreaming of the ultimate white Christmas destination?
Fall rolls in and you think of a white Christmas and twinkling lights. You hum Jingle Bells at odd times and long for the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine. Or maybe you aren’t into the whole Yuletide hullabaloo but can’t wait to get away on Christmas vacation? Here are our recommendations for making the most of the holidays.
Santa Claus heads for the ski resorts
The snow forecast for Canada predicts more of the white stuff than usual through the winter of 2019/20. This means it’s the perfect time to hit the slopes. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a sastrugi from a polycrystal, there’s a slope for everyone, no matter what age or shape you’re in. You’re guaranteed snow action when you opt to spend Christmas at any one of Canada’s many ski resorts.
Even if members of your party are too young, too mature or too exhausted to get swishy on the slopes, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone merry and bright – from Christmas light extravaganzas, tinkling sleigh rides, or a gentle turn on an outdoor skating rink.
And it’s not only Frosty the Snowman who’s coming to town. Santa’s also a ski Canada fan. You’ll spot him everywhere. In fact, if you want to get your white Christmas off to a jolly good start, head for British Columbia’s famous Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. On the Saturday before Christmas, the first 100 people who arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company decked out in full Santa or Mrs. Claus costumes are given a free day lift pass.
For spectacular skiing and breathtaking scenery, a Christmas vacation at Lake Louise ski resort is like falling into a snow globe. For the skiing enthusiast, Lake Louise offers more than 4,200 acres of skiable terrain and diverse skiing conditions, from wide-open bowls, steeps, and chutes, to groomed runs. Off the slopes, at the foot of the enchanting Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, lies a frozen lake that’s believed to be the world’s best skating rink. With an ice brick castle as a backdrop and a generous cup of piping hot cocoa in your hands, you’ll agree that it’s one of the best Canada vacations you’ve ever had.
At Air Charter Service, we’ve been flying people to dream vacation spots for many years and we think a private jet charter is still the best way to start and end your Christmas vacation. Why? You choose your own travel schedule. There are no frustrating delays spent in airports and queues that eat into your vacation time. You also get to choose exactly where you’d like your airplane to land. A private jet can, for example, take you directly to Banff Airport: an international private jet airport just two miles northeast of Banff and 40 minutes from Lake Louise ski resort. If you fly by commercial airliner, you will have to land at Calgary International Airport, 75 miles from Banff and two hours from Lake Louise. That cuts your travel time by one hour and 20 minutes, giving you more time to enjoy the Calgary snow.
Your private jet price includes a dedicated private jet charter expert who is available at all times to assist you with any requirements you may have, from arranging in-flight cuisine to making last-minute changes to your flights.
A very merry destination Christmas vacation
Christmas in the Midwest
If you want to stay in North America for your Christmas vacation, head to the U.S. Midwest where snow and Christmas traditions are celebrated with enthusiasm. Some of our favorites are Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village in Dearborn – Michigan’s outdoor living-history museum just 20 minutes west of Detroit. Christmas is all about tradition and here you get to step back in time for a taste of Christmas-past with carolers and entertainers in period costume, carriage and Model T rides, and delicious traditional holiday fare. Still in Michigan, the Bavarian-themed town of Frankenmuth puts on the cutest white Christmas with events throughout the season. Or for an experience to remember, hop on the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train that sets out from Montreal and stops at 171 communities across Canada and the Midwest. Whenever the train stops, music and Christmas celebrations start, and there’s also an opportunity to make donations to local food banks along the way.
Season’s greetings from Glasgow
As Scotland's industrial capital, Glasgow may not be your first choice of Christmas vacation, but there are two good reasons to head across the pond this festive season. First, there’s a good chance of blanketing snow on Christmas Day and, second, Glasgow goes all-out for Christmas. There isn’t a square inch of the city that’s not lit up with twinkling lights and scented with cinnamon, mellow oak-matured whiskey, and spicy Christmas pudding. If you haven’t made holiday plans yet, Glasgow’s theatre shows, pantomimes, and Christmas buzz make it one of our best destinations for a last-minute vacation.
Europe – the birthplace of Christmas
If you tend to visit Europe in the spring or summer, give winter a try. There’s no end to the choice of destinations where you can enjoy a memorable white Christmas. If you thought the City of Lights was romantic in the spring, the beauty of Paris’ architecture draped in white is extraordinary – and there’s no shortage of events, shopping, and Christmas lights.
Heading to Eastern Europe, you’ll find that the Baltic States know how to throw a good Christmas party – they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years! We love Tallinn in Estonia just a short boat ride from Helsinki. Tallinn’s quaint shops and cafés, its cobblestone Old Town, 13th-century Gothic Town Hall and remarkable St. Nicholas Church, make Christmas truly special. Another notable destination is the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius that lights up one of the 15 most beautiful Christmas trees in the world.
If Christmas is your favorite time of year, you’ll want to travel north of Europe to Lapland in Finland. Just don’t mention that you thought that Santa was from the North Pole. Fins believe he lives in the remote town of Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle. You can even meet him if you’d like – at Santa's Village, of course. Still not a believer? There are children baking gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, and an opportunity to enroll in Elf School or take a calligraphy class so you can write up your Christmas wish list with a traditional quill. Do well enough and there are seasonal vacancies at Santa's post office. If you aren’t too distracted, you might even spot the spectacular Northern Lights.
Best Christmas markets in the world
Vancouver Christmas Market
Whether you’re here to enjoy the Vancouver snow or you call Terminal City home, you won’t want to miss the Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza. Here you’ll get to explore 80 huts and their treasures. If you’re a festive foodie, there’s plenty to sample, from glühwein (mulled wine) and Austrian beer, to German sweet and savory delights. There are rides on the Christmas Carousel for the kids, a market-wide scavenger hunt, and holiday performances on the Flying Stage from Vancouver’s only Christmas Pyramid.
Toronto Christmas Market
Held in the Distillery District, the Toronto Christmas Market is a winter wonderland of seasonal foodie delights, gift shopping and Christmas entertainment. Explore the historic streets of the old district decked out in Toronto snow. Take a photo at the giant heart-shaped ‘Heart of Christmas’ or sip a hot chocolate while gazing at the 50-foot tree decorated with 40,000 lights, a kilometer of ribbon, and 800 ornaments. From mid-November to the last week of December, there’s no doubting – Santa Claus has come town! You can also head over to Christmas Glow at the Toronto Congress Centre for interactive light gardens, seasonal beverages, and sumptuous Christmas food, live music, and a gift market.
A Viennese spin on the traditional Christmas market
For a different take on the traditional Christmas Market, make sure you get to the heart of the Museums Quarter in Vienna this winter. There are modern versions of everything you’d expect of a Christmas market, along with a curling rink, pop concerts, and six ice pavilions that welcome shoppers inside with a cup of glühwein. For a more traditional market, head to Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps, where you can browse 180 stalls across six market venues around the city. All offer traditional foods, ales, and crafts, along with 400 concerts, exhibitions, and puppet shows.
European market crawl
Other recommended Christmas markets can be found in Copenhagen. The birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson transforms into a white Christmas fairy tale each year. The Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany draws two million visitors, with good reason. Strasbourg's themed Christmas villages of 300 timber chalets spread across 10 locations are set against the picturesque backdrop of Strasbourg’s towering cathedral. And the Netherlands’ Valkenburg Velvet Cave that houses sculptures and an 18th-century chapel, morphs into a market resplendent with mural drawings that date back to Roman times.
We understand that planning a Christmas vacation can be stressful with so many people flying at the time, scarce airline tickets, long queues, weather delays, and last-minute changes to your travel plans. Speak to our private jet charter experts about how we can take the hassle out of your Christmas travel plans. With so many private aircraft to choose from and our flexible, cost-effective charter solutions, all you’ll need to do is decide where to spend the perfect white Christmas.