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With Christmas approaching fast, an increasing number of people are opting to pack their suitcases and head off for foreign climes to celebrate the festive season in style. Taking a holiday abroad is an increasingly popular alternative to passing a traditional Christmas in the UK. And, whether you crave a sunnier location for the big day itself, or you just want to get into the festive spirit by visiting one of the many fabulous Christmas markets in Europe, there’s never been a better time to plan your trip.

A large proportion of holiday at this time of year are booked by those seeking a proper ‘White Christmas’. Many areas in Northern Europe are perfectly set up to offer this - with lots of snow and plenty of other atmospheric touches that makes a really magical Christmas practically guaranteed. One way to get the best of both worlds is take a weekend break shortly before Christmas, so that you can still spend the day itself at home with family and friends. Several European destinations are centred on yuletide charm in the month of December - including Prague, Tallinn, Bruges, Cologne, Vienna, Copenhagen Vienna and many more. These beautifully atmospheric cities have been the location of traditional Christmas markets for centuries so they are well versed at proving everything that visitors could possibly wish for - from beautifully sung carols to the perfect food and drink.

Another perennially popular trip for families at Christmas is one to Lapland to meet Santa himself. The main thing you need to remember is the need to book early, as these trips are incredibly popular and do get booked up pretty quickly. Lapland is an ideal destination for all the family - offering sledge rides, snowshoe hiking and even the chance to glimpse the famous and often elusive Northern Lights.

For those seeing a warmer festive holiday, there are plenty of great destinations to consider. For those looking for a short haul holiday, the Canary Islands are absolutely ideal, and with temperatures hovering at a balmy 21 degrees in December, you will be able to relax by the pool as you celebrate. Similarly, the Spanish Costa del Sol and Costa Brava are popular with holidaymakers travelling with children, or if you are feeling slightly more adventurous you could head to exotic Morocco, ageless Egypt or the wonderful Caribbean. Other ideas for bargain Christmas holidays include winter cruises (there are several good ones around the Canary Islands), never to be forgotten icebreaker voyages through the Arctic Circle for the more intrepid among you or, for keen skiers, a great break in one of many Alpine locations.

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