Arrivals & Departures Four ideas for Christmas getaways

Photo of Gemma Nisbet

Why not skip the hassle and head off on a holiday instead?

1. Europe's festive markets

The Christmas markets of Europe are a classic seasonal trip, with options ranging from river cruises to tours and more. One example is Insight Vacations' nine-day Alpine Christmas Markets itinerary, which travels from Munich to Zurich with stops in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland.

Among the highlights of the trip are visits to Christmas markets in Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Freiburg, Strasbourg (pictured above) and Zurich, a horse-drawn carriage ride in Innsbruck and scenic drives taking in the Austrian Alps and Lake Bodensee.

The trip has departures available from November 27 to December 14, and costs from $2675.

2. A Trans-Siberian adventure 

Perth-based Travel Directors' popular Legendary Trans-Siberian rail tours are an epic adventure at any time of year, but the Christmas and New Year departure, from December 15 to January 8, would be particularly special. 

Highlights of the 25-day tour include a sleigh ride through a snowy Siberian forest, a traditional Christmas with a local family and a New Year's Eve celebration in Moscow's Red Square. The trip also includes Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, St Petersburg and more.

It costs $17,100 per person, including flights from Australia, all accommodation and meals, a tour leader throughout, and more.

3. Christmas at sea

A festive cruise can be an easy way to have the whole family together over Christmas without anyone getting stuck with cooking, cleaning or organising activities. And there are plenty of options on offer.

For example, Holland America Line recently announced that its ship MS Maasdam will cruise from Australia from October, with its schedule including a 17-day Australia and New Zealand Christmas and New Year cruise. Departing from Sydney on December 16, the cruise will visit New Zealand's North and South islands, finishing in Auckland. It costs from $2199 per person.

It'll be the first time the 1259-passenger vessel has visited Australia. Its activities and amenities include cooking lessons, various restaurants and entertainment in the Rembrandt Show Lounge, plus an extensive Journeys Ashore program.

4. White Christmas in Canada

Australians in search of a snowy festive season often head to Europe, but North America can also provide the white Christmas experience.

Among the cruises, land and rail journeys in APT's Winter Wonderland 2016 brochure are a number of Canadian tours, including the Twelve Days of Christmas itinerary from Victoria on the west coast to Banff in Alberta from December 18.

The trip includes a white Christmas in Jasper, in the Canadian Rockies, with a special Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Lake Louise. It also visits Whistler and Vancouver, and incorporates a VIA Rail journey through the Rockies. The 12-day tour costs from $7495 per person twin share.

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