Last updated on: Jan 1, 2022
Let’s face it—traveling during the holidays can be a big hassle. So, visiting unconventional places can provide a more authentic experience than popular tourism destinations, and often, more freedom to explore. Additionally, when visiting these unique holiday destinations, you can create one-of-a-kind memories, and perhaps, new holiday traditions.
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Its extreme northern position above the Arctic Circle makes Tromsø one of the best places to view Northern Lights during colder months. Take the Fjellheisen Cable Car to the mountain top for incredible views of the auroras and the landscape. This town of approximately 72,000 is known for centuries-old wooden houses and the iconic Arctic Cathedral. The town gets decked out during the holidays, so be sure to check out the holiday décor and Christmas Markets as well as try a cup of gløgg (hot chocolate).
Visiting the Southern Hemisphere for the holidays is sure to be a pleasant experience, especially since it’s summertime there. Using Queenstown as a base, rent a car and drive around the South Island, where the natural wonders are endless. Explore Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, numerous lakes, and hiking trails.
Approximately 80 kilometers northeast of Queenstown, Lake Hawea offers an adventurous mountain escape on New Zealand’s South Island with abundant lake activities, abseiling, and skydiving. Just south of Lake Hawea is Wanaka, another outdoor lover’s dream. Take a relaxing boat trip to Mou Waho Island, hike some beautiful trails at Mount Aspiring National Park, and go wine tasting at the stunning Rippon Winery.
Since New Zealand is one of the best places on the planet for a digital detox, turn off your phone and awaken your senses.
Did you know that Christmas in Cuba was outlawed until 1998? It was made a public holiday after a papal visit, so its relatively new reintroduction makes holidays in Cuba a bit different than other places. For one, the tropical weather is replaced with warm sunshine, al fresco feasts, and music in the streets. Secondly, since tourists typically stay in traditional Cuban houses called casas particulares, it’s easy to become immersed in daily life and have more interactions with local people.
On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the country celebrates Havana Day, a holiday deriving from the revolution. And it’s common to see locals pour buckets of water from doorways to wash away bad spirits. Since Cuba has long operated under a communist system, commercialization of holidays is mostly non-existent, and the apex of the holidays are the family meals and togetherness. As a result, Havana is easily one of the most unique holiday destinations you can visit.
Morocco, a Muslim country of approximately 37 million, has a large expat population. Since the cosmopolitan capital of Morocco has the highest percentage of expats in Morocco, it’s the one of the unique holiday destinations in Morocco.
Most expats in Rabat come from Europe, so holiday celebrations in Rabat have a European feel. Though there are no large Christmas markets in Morocco, popular areas of Rabat as well as international hotels often display holiday decor. In addition, hotels, restaurants, and expat groups regularly host holiday events, and bakeries offer holiday dishes such as buche de Nôel, a French cocoa cake shaped like a log.
Have you visited these unique holiday destinations? Tell us in the comments.
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