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Festive escapes, with my Travel Cash

Published on: December 16, 2015

If twinkling fairy lights, snow covered streets, ice rinks and carol singers give you that warm, festive feeling, then a Christmas mini break could be right up your street.

my Travel Cash has selected some of the best places that perfectly encapsulate the sparkle and magic of the season. Wrap your presents, send your cards, and then grab that special someone and escape to one of these fabulous locations for Christmas…

Lapland adventures have become popular in recent years, with couples and families alike. Many holiday companies now offer fully inclusive trips to Lapland, complete with visits to Santa and the Elves, reindeer safaris, husky sled-rides, views of the Northern Lights and overnight stays in cosy log cabins. Some tour operators even provide thermal suits and boots for holidaymakers, as temperatures can drop to minus 40.

Lapland covers the most northerly regions of Finland and Sweden, and straddles the Arctic Circle. Its thick snow and pine forests really do provide a magical backdrop for a Christmas escape, a real once in a lifetime experience.

New York
From Elf to Home Alone 2, so many Christmas movies have been set in NYC due to the city’s enthusiastic embrace of the festive season.

Manhattan’s famous streets twinkle with decorations, Christmas trees and fairy lights, while the big shopping centres such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales boast amazing displays.

Central Park’s two ice rinks are a seasonal delight, and attract thousands of tourists from all over the globe who want to enjoy gliding along the ice with the famous skyline in the background.

For a real Christmas treat, stay at one of the big, glitzy hotels such as The Plaza (Midtown East) or the Ritz-Carlton New York (Central Park, Midtown West). Take a spare bag or leave some room in your suitcase for those last-minute Christmas gifts for friends and family back home, and soak up New York’s holiday atmosphere in style.

Perhaps not as well known as some other European capitals for Christmas breaks, Dublin is sensational during the festive season. From the hustle and bustle of famous Grafton Street, where a world of Christmas shopping awaits, visitors without children in tow will love the Temple Bar area, where traditional Irish welcomes are waiting around every cobbled corner.

The focal point in Temple Bar is a famous watering hole called… The Temple Bar! This lively 160 year old venue is always alive with free-flowing Guinness and traditional Irish music. You can even order fresh oysters at the bar for a really authentic experience.

For incredible Irish cuisine, which will warm you up on a wintry day, try Gallaghers Boxty House, also located in Temple Bar. Serving traditional Boxty potato pancakes and Irish stew, this fabulous eatery never disappoints and truly captures the fabulous vibe of the city.

This year, Dublin boasts a huge Christmas tree with over 20,000 fairy lights. The tree forms the centrepiece of the “I Believe in Christmas” village, which provides festive fun for the whole family.

What’s more, Dublin is just 40 minutes away from the UK by plane.

The Hungarian capital is spectacular during the festive season. Set on the banks of the Danube, which also snakes its way through Vienna and Bratislava, this chocolate-box city is widely cited as one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Fusing many architectural styles including ancient, Gothic, Renaissance and even Byzantine, Budapest really is a stunning place to behold.

Christmas traditions are taken seriously here, and there are plenty of things to do to keep you occupied on a festive mini break. Budapest’s Christmas Market runs for the whole of December in Vorosmarty Square, and the Ice Rink in Budapest City Park is a must for tourists.

For a real cultural treat, book to see The Nutcracker ballet at the Hungarian Opera House – it runs for many dates during December and has become a festive tradition for many.