Travel Story Escape the Christmas stress with festive trips

Photo of Gemma Nisbet

Whether it's Europe's Christmas markets, an epic adventure or a laid-back cruise, it's not too late to plan a festive getaway. 

Regardless of whether you consider it the most wonderful or the most unnecessarily stressful time of the year,  Christmas is only four months away. And if you’re keen to escape the inevitable arguments about whose turn it is to host lunch, there’s still time to make some travel plans. 

Europe’s Christmas markets have become a quintessential festive travel experience, and can be seen on a river cruise or a tour. For example, Uniworld’s eight-day Rhine Holiday Markets river cruise along the Rhine between Basel and Cologne includes a number of festive markets, along with special seasonal treats aboard. There are departures in late November and December, with spots available (at the time of writing) on the December 19 cruise from $4599 per person twin share. 

Fellow Travel Corporation company Insight Vacations has some land-based Christmas markets itineraries. You could, for instance, enjoy a white Christmas and visit the markets on its nine-day Winter Wonderland tour through Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Departing round trip from Frankfurt, it visits Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck (pictured above), Lucerne and more. Departure dates include December 19 and 21, with the former priced from $2875. If you’re keen on a white Christmas, other destinations to consider include Iceland and North America.

Or for something completely different, Travel Directors has a 26-day Legendary Trans-Siberian escorted tour that takes in the epic rail journey from Beijing to St Petersburg. Departing on December 14, it includes Christmas in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, complete with a horse-drawn sleigh ride and Christmas lunch with a local family, and New Year’s Eve in Moscow’s Red Square. It costs $17,250.

A low-stress alternative closer to home, is Astor’s five-night Christmas Cruise from Bali to Fremantle. It departs on December 23 and includes savings of up to 20 per cent plus a buy one, get one half-price deal. Prices start from $1919 for the first person and $959 for the second in a Standard Plus twin ocean-view cabin. On land, Villa Carlotta Travel has a number of festive tours in WA and beyond, including a five-day Christmas in Walpole trip with  a Nornalup inlet cruise, from $1930.

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