Countdown to Christmas

30 Christmas Destinations (PHOTOS)

By Simone M. Scully

September 27 2016 08:00 PM EDT

weather.com

A couple pose for photographs with the 'Christmas at Kew' lights in Kew Gardens in southwest London. The popular after-dark Christmas event returns for 2016-2017 with a new mile-long trail through the famous botanic gardens, lit up with more than 60,000 lights. The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are the most comprehensive botanical collection on earth. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
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London, England

A couple pose for photographs with the 'Christmas at Kew' lights in Kew Gardens in southwest London. The popular after-dark Christmas event returns for 2016-2017 with a new mile-long trail through the famous botanic gardens, lit up with more than 60,000 lights. The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are the most comprehensive botanical collection on earth. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

When calendars turn to December, cities around the world start celebrating the festive season with decorations and lights galore. Markets start selling delicious food, handmade ornaments and other traditional crafts in squares across the world, including Berlin and Reykjavik. Other cities set up ice skating rinks, build impressive lighted displays (Tokyo’s “Canyon d’Azur” is made up of hundreds of thousands of LED lights) and decorate enormous trees. 

Perhaps one of the most festive places in the world: Santa Claus’ Village, is located in the Finnish Laplands near Rovaniemi. Although open all year-round, there is no better time for children and adults alike to meet the legendary gift-giver than during the holiday season. Visitors to the village can meet not only Santa, but also his elves and his reindeer, as well as walk through ice sculptures and explore the town.

So, from markets to giant trees to lighted neighborhoods, here are some of this year’s most Christmassy places around the world that will make you want to advance your holiday plans and pack your bags right now.

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