Best Places for Christmas Magic Around the World for Families

A young girl wearing a red dress looks up at a lovely Christmas tree.

From enchanting European cities to picturesque snow-covered landscapes in Canada, the best places for Christmas magic around the world for families are a true delight! Families can visit Lapland, Finland, to explore Santa Claus Village, experience an authentic reindeer sleigh ride, and meet Father Christmas himself. Or, for those seeking traditional charm, head to Strasbourg in France, which boasts over 300 years of festive tradition with its famous Christkindelsmärik. Whether you choose Europe, Asia, or North America as your family getaway this holiday season or venture even farther abroad, these best places for Christmas magic around the world offer something truly special for all ages. In this article, we’ve rounded up the best locations for holiday magic, tips for enjoying this festive season with kids, and even where to stay in some places. Keep reading to plan your next winter escape! 

Best Places for Christmas Magic in Europe for Families

For families looking to experience the ultimate Christmas enchantment, there’s no better place than Europe. Brimming with centuries-old traditions and a whimsical atmosphere, it offers an abundance of magical destinations that cater specifically to families. Here are some of the best places for Christmas magic around the world for families! 

RELATED: Best Christmas Markets in Europe For Families

Paris

A young girl enjoys a Christmas market in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world.

Paris is one of the most famous places to visit in Europe for some Christmas magic, and it’s easy to see why! This scenic city becomes even more spectacular during the holiday season, from its famous landmarks illuminated with dazzling lights to special French Christmas treats that everyone will surely love.

Wander down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to browse the various market stalls selling trinkets and tasty treats like crepes and hot chocolate from late November through early January. Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris’ most famous department stores, also boasts wonderful window displays and a beautiful Christmas tree inside. So does Place Vendôme, which showcases stunning Christmas lights and decorated window displays throughout the luxury stores. Of course, don’t miss a chance to see the iconic Eiffel Tower illuminated by the night sky! Families can also go ice skating at Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville or stroll through Le Marais or Montmartre to discover charming boutiques selling holiday gifts. 

And, if you want a unique experience, head outside the city to Disneyland Paris, which comes alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and holiday-themed parades with favorite characters like Mickey Mouse! 

Where to Stay in Paris with Kids

Wondering where to stay in Paris with kids? We suggest staying at Hotel Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris if you want a convenient location just steps away from the Champs-Elysees with views of the Arc de Triomphe. It has an indoor swimming pool for kids, plus a spa for parents.

Opposite the Jardin Tuileries, we suggest Le Meurice, which has a kids’ club, an on-site pastry shop, and more family amenities. Other family favorites include Le Bristol Paris, Hotel Brighton, and Four Seasons Hotel George V. Finally, read our list of where to stay in Paris with kids to learn more! 

London

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Jamie Davies, Julie Fran, Deep Trivedi

London transforms into a winter wonderland each holiday season, making it the perfect place for families! Considered one of the best places for Christmas magic in Europe for families, this vibrant city doesn’t disappoint when it comes to captivating children of all ages. 

First, visit Trafalgar Square to admire the iconic Christmas tree. Kids will also love the carnival rides, outdoor ice skating rinks, and Christmas markets selling treats and unique gifts at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Kew Gardens boasts an illuminated trail, known as Christmas at Kew. Walk through glittering trees, sparkling tunnels, and colorful installations that’ll leave you mesmerized! Then, Covent Garden’s iconic Christmas market features festive decorations, making it an ideal spot for some shopping. Or, browse the different stalls at Leicester Square, which transforms into a bustling market for its Christmas in Leicester Square.” Families can also stroll down the famous Oxford Street to marvel at the window displays and twinkling lights. Plus, for amazing views of London in all its holiday glory, ride the London Eye

Of course, kids visiting London on Christmas shouldn’t miss a trip to the iconic Hamleys Toy Store on Regent Street!

Where to Stay in London with Kids

Families who want to stay in Central London will love Ham Yard Hotel, which is just moments from Mayfair, the Piccadilly Circus tube station, and the National Gallery. Or, overlook Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews at The Rubens at the Palace! Looking for a typical city experience? Stay at the Shangri La at the Shard, located inside the famous Shard skyscraper. Some other kid-friendly hotels near the best attractions in London include the Hilton London Bankside, The Dilly, and The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Need more ideas? Read our list of where to stay in London with kids for more information! 

Colmar/Strasbourg

Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

Strasbourg, aka the Capital of Christmas, offers an incredible experience for families seeking holiday magic! It’s known for hosting one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, the iconic Christkindelsmärik, which features over 300 stalls and vendors. Kids will love browsing the authentic Alsace ornaments, seeing the huge tree in Place Kléber, or enjoying the spectacular light shows projected on the historic buildings. Don’t forget to wander down Rue des Juifs in Strasbourg’s old Jewish quarter to browse other specialty shops filled with toys, sweets, and more festive goodies! 

One kids ride an amusement car at a Christmas market in Colmar, France, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

In nearby Colmar, children can wander through the Old Town’s narrow streets to appreciate the festive decorations, light displays, and whimsical ambiance. There are also several traditional Christmas markets throughout the town, including The Colmar Christmas Market in the historic town center. The Little Venice neighborhood also showcases quaint houses with a holiday twist, plus the Unterlinden Museum features intriguing art exhibitions, including their famous Isenheim Altarpiece.

Prague

Old Town Prague, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world, lit up with Christmas lights, with a decorated tree in the center.

With its fairytale-like architecture and festive atmosphere, Prague stands out as one of the best places for Christmas magic around the world for families! Stroll through the Old Town Square, featuring a Christmas market brimming with festive goodies like gingerbread cookies, hot mulled wine, and handmade ornaments. Kids will love the brightly lit Christmas tree at the center of town, towering above everyone with its elegant ornaments and twinkling lights. 

Don’t forget to stroll the decorated Charles Bridge, which leads to Kampa Island and its Christmas market. Prague Castle is also a must-visit, since families can immerse themselves in centuries of history while enjoying a festive atmosphere throughout the pathways. Plus, holiday puppet shows at venues such as Divadlo Minor are sure to ignite your children’s curiosity!

And if you have any aspiring musicians in your family, consider attending a concert showcasing traditional Czech carols held at gorgeous historic churches like St. Vitus Cathedral or St. Nicholas Church. Or, hop on the historic funicular to Petřín Hill for incredible views over the city (there’s also a carousel for kids to ride!) 

Reserve your stay in Prague through Booking.com here!

Budapest

A Christmas market in the center of Budapest, lit up with lights, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world.

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is one of the best places for Christmas magic in Europe for families! With its illuminated streets and numerous festive events, this city becomes a wonderland during the holiday season. 

Visit one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe at the renowned Vörösmarty Square to sample traditional Hungarian delicacies such as chimney cake or buy unique handmade gifts. For more outdoor fun, head to City Park, featuring a picturesque ice rink surrounded by snow-covered trees. Then, take a stroll along Andrássy Avenue—the city’s grand boulevard – to see more light displays. Near St. Stephen’s Basilica, families can also witness an impressive Christmas light show projected onto its façade while sipping warm cocoa from one of many charming outdoor cafes. To escape the winter chill, you can also check out Széchenyi Thermal Bath for warmth and relaxation amidst majestic surroundings!

Another one of the best things to do in Budapest with kids is to ride Budapest’s Children’s Railway. In December, this special train – famously run by elementary school students – offers a special Santa Claus train featuring the big man himself! 

Use Hotels.com to reserve your stay in Budapest now!

Lapland

Photo Courtesy: Megan Tucker

If you’re seeking the ultimate winter wonderland experience, there’s no better place to visit than Lapland during Christmas. As one of the best places for Christmas magic in Europe for families, this picturesque region nestled within the Arctic Circle in northern Finland offers an array of unforgettable activities and sights.

Children will adore the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, where they’ll encounter Father Christmas and his merry elves. At Joulukka – or Santa’s Secret Forest, kids can also visit an Elf Village and enjoy a thrilling dog-sled ride! Or, travel via snow train to Lampivaara Amethyst Mine to learn about the amethyst from local experts. Families can also explore Ranua Wildlife Park for an incredible opportunity to admire Arctic animals up close. Plus, at the Levi Ski Resort, you can even embark on an epic reindeer sleigh ride through the beautiful forest!

Additionally, Christmas is a wonderful time to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights as they dance across the Lapland sky. Whether you book a tour or see them from the comfort of your own accommodation, there’s nothing like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket while enjoying this ethereal spectacle! 

Click here to read our Finnish Lapland Itinerary For Families!

Where to Stay in Lapland with Kids

Wondering where to stay in Lapland with your kids? For a unique stay, The SnowVillage in Kittilä offers ice sculptures, ice hotel rooms with cozy sleeping bags, and lots of things to do with kids! Families also love Golden Crown Levin Iglut, the Aurora Queen Resort,  and Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. For more suggestions, check out our list of 14 Remarkable Hotels in Finland For Families!

Bavaria 

A young child wearing red, looks at Christmas treats through a window, while exploring Munich, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world.

When it comes to experiencing the ultimate Christmas magic in Europe with your family, few destinations rival Bavaria. With its charming towns and festive atmosphere, this enchanting region in Germany is home to three must-visit cities: Munich, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Nuremberg

In Munich, families can explore the sprawling Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz. Browse the beautifully decorated stalls offering tasty treats like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) or warm roasted chestnuts. Kids can also enter a Christmas tree height guessing competition – the huge, illuminated tree is one of the most photographed sights here! Or, write a letter to Christkind (the child of Christmas), ​​go ice skating at Karlplatz, and make your own holiday crafts at the Himmelswerkstat (Heavenly Workshop).

Rothenburg ob Der Tauber is a fairytale-like village straight out of a storybook! Families can roam cobblestone streets illuminated by twinkling Christmas lights while munching on delicious roasted almonds at the Rothenburg Christmas Market in the Old Quarter. With the year-round Christmas Village and Christmas Museum, there’s lots to see and experience. Plus, the town is famous for its wooden handicrafts called “Reiterlesmarkt,” which you can browse at the market. Don’t miss visiting Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village, filled with unique decorations from all over the world! 

Nuremberg is also renowned for its Christkindlesmarkt, one of the oldest and most traditional Christmas markets worldwide (dating back to 1628!). It takes place in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and features all kinds of toys, ornaments, and other handmade gifts. Kids will especially love marveling at the intricately crafted Zwetschgermännle (figures made from dried prunes). In addition to great food, the Nuremberg Market has a special Children’s Market portion that features a massive carousel, a train ride, and fun games for kids.

Use Expedia to reserve your stay in Bavaria here!

Best Places for Christmas Magic in Canada for Families

Canada is renowned for its stunning landscapes and friendly people, but it’s during the festive season that this country truly comes alive with Christmas magic! Whether you want a cozy mountain retreat or a bustling city environment, Canada has something to offer every family in search of wintertime cheer. Keep reading to find out the best places for Christmas magic in Canada for families! 

Looking for options in the United States? Read about these Magical Christmas Towns in the U.S. for Families!

Quebec City

A snowy street in Quebec City, decorated with Christmas lights.

Quebec City, nestled in the heart of Canada, is certainly one of the best places for Christmas magic around the world for families! With its enchanting snowy landscapes and charming European-inspired architecture, this historic city comes alive during the holiday season. 

Explore a real Christmas village straight from a Charles Dickens novel in Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site with twinkling lights and festive decorations. On Rue de Petit Champlain, shops offer unique gifts and delicious treats like maple taffy on snow – a true Canadian delicacy! For something more traditional and reminiscent of European Christkindlmarkts, don’t miss Place d’Youville’s German-inspired Christmas market. There’s also a free ice skating rink so kids can enjoy playing against this historic backdrop.

Another highlight during Christmas is seeing the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac dressed up in all its glory! At nearby Terrasse Dufferin, there’s also a toboggan slide that kids can zoom down. Meanwhile, Parc Aquarium de Québec offers interactive exhibits featuring arctic marine life like polar bears and seals. 

Plan your trip using our Fun 4-Day Itinerary for Quebec City with Kids!

Whistler

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Whistler, nestled in the majestic Coast Mountains of British Columbia, is not only a world-renowned ski resort but also one of the best places for Christmas magic in North America for families! Whether you’re searching for adrenaline-pumping ski opportunities or cozying up by the fireplace with hot cocoa, the holiday season transforms this quaint alpine village into a winter wonderland that appeals to all ages. 

Explore the charming Whistler Village to enjoy the light displays and festive decorations. At Whistler Olympic Plaza, you’ll find an outdoor skating rink surrounded by majestic scenery. Wintersphere, an annual pop-up held throughout the town, also organizes family-friendly events like Santa meet-and-greets, kids’ crafts, a holiday cafe, and more. For incredible views, ride the magical Peak 2 Peak Gondola as it glides above the sparkling valleys. Outdoorsy types can also head to Whistler Blackcomb – home to the largest ski area in North America – and indulge in skiing or snowboarding. Additionally, the Bubly Tube Park is a family favorite! Whistler also hosts events in January, like the Fire & Ice Show or Afterglow, where Whistler Olympic Plaza illuminates with glowing lights. 

After working up an appetite outdoors, treat your taste buds to seasonal delicacies like gingerbread pancakes or hearty hot chocolate topped with whipped cream! 

Reserve your family’s stay at Whistler here with Booking.com!

Banff/Lake Louise

Photo Courtesy: Shannon Martin/Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Enjoy an unforgettable Christmas in the Canadian Rockies when you visit Banff and Lake Louise! From horse-drawn sleigh rides to skiing down exciting slopes, these stunning destinations offer a variety of activities that will make your holiday season truly magical. 

Downtown Banff transforms into a festive haven with twinkling lights and snow-blanketed streets during Christmastime. Families can browse the local shops on Banff Avenue for unique gifts or visit one of the cozy cafes serving hot cocoa and warm treats to escape the cold. (Banff even has a holiday hot chocolate trail where families can stop and try various specialty hot chocolates from different locations!) There’s also a Christmas market held at Warner Stables featuring vendors selling food, gifts, and more. Plus, don’t miss In Search of Christmas Spirit at Banff National Park, featuring holiday light displays and live storytelling. 

For another enchanting experience, head to Lake Louise, nestled amidst the snow-capped mountains. Families can go ice skating on the lake at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which provides family fun against an unforgettable backdrop. If you’re staying at the hotel, your kids can also partake in an array of holiday activities, including Santa’s Workshops with letter-writing, decorating gingerbread houses, family trivia nights, etc. Skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and other winter sports are also available for thrill-seekers. Plus, there’s nothing like enjoying panoramic wintertime views of Lake Louise, Banff, and the surrounding six mountain ranges on the Banff Gondola!


Research your lodging options in Banff or Lake Louise with Booking.com now!

Best Places for Christmas Magic in Asia for Families

Between awe-inspiring winter wonderlands, vibrant cultural celebrations, and tranquil coastal towns, Asia offers lots of destinations where families can create unforgettable memories together during this festive time. Stay tuned to find out the best places for Christmas magic in Asia for families! 

Need some US ideas? Plan a trip to one of the 18 Magical Christmas Markets In The United States For Families.

Singapore

Photo Courtesy (L-R): Paras Kapoor, Paras Kapoor, Scott Hew

Singapore is one of the best places for Christmas magic in Asia for families, offering various activities that will leave children wide-eyed with wonder! With its vibrant atmosphere and countless activities, this bustling city-state showcases a wonderful holiday experience for all ages.

Kick off the festive season with a visit to Gardens by the Bay. In December, this family-friendly park presents an incredible Christmas Wonderland replete with dazzling light installations, an ice playground with an ice slide, carnival games, and more fun! Kids also can’t miss Universal Studios Singapore, which transforms into a winter wonderland every December. Witness snowfall on a New York street, meet your favorite Universal characters dressed in holiday costumes, and more festive experiences for the whole family! Then, Orchard Road also showcases stunning Christmas displays at every turn while carolers spread joy throughout the street. Plus, even though Singapore has a tropical climate, you can still enjoy real snow and snowy activities, such as building snowmen at Snow City.

Sentosa Island also boasts beachside celebrations complete with Santa appearances, live music performances, and firework displays!

Where to Stay in Singapore with Kids

Wondering where to stay in Singapore with kids? There are plenty of family-friendly options from Sentosa Island to downtown. Firstly, families love PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay for its playroom, pool, and on-site dining. Then, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, offers a kids’ playroom and program, as well as on-site dining and a luxury spa for parents. On Sentosa Island, families love Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. Finally, consider Grand Park City Hall, Shangri-La Singapore, or Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. You can find more recommendations by reading about the 10 Best Hotels In Singapore To Stay At With Kids.

Japan

Two people stand in front of a Christmas tree in Tokyo, Japan, one of the best places for Christmas for families in the world.

Families in search of an unforgettable experience during the festive season in Asia should consider Japan. Known for its unique blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology, this spectacular country doesn’t disappoint as one of the best places for Christmas magic around the world for families! 

Tokyo has a beautiful array of winter illuminations that change annually, including the ones near the Roppongi Hills complex along Keyakizaka Street. Tokyo Disneyland is also one of the best places for Christmas magic in Asia for families. Enjoy the festive decorations on Main Street surrounded by beloved Disney characters dressed up in their holiday best! At Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, there are thrilling rides and entertaining events like “Universal Crystal Christmas.”

For something a bit more traditional, visit the picturesque Shirakawa-go village nestled among Japan’s snow-covered mountains. Almost resembling gingerbread houses, its UNESCO World Heritage-listed gassho-zukuri farmhouses are a must-visit, as you sip on warm cups of amazake (a sweet rice drink). Plus, you can go sledding or soaking in open-air hot springs at the nearby Gero Onsen.

Finally, in Nagasaki, stroll through Huis Ten Bosch. This theme park transforms into a European winter village, complete with ice skating rinks and magical parades! 

RELATED: Best Ski Resorts In Japan For Families

Happy Travels!

A young girl waves from a reindeer and slide ride at the Colmar Christmas Market.
Photo Courtesy: Gunjan Prakash

We hope you liked this list of the Best Places for Christmas Magic Around the World for Families! From European Christmas markets to skiing in Canada’s stunning Rocky Mountains, there are endless possibilities for family fun this winter. Enjoy your next holiday escape with your kids! 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.