While vacationing is fun any time of the year, taking a holiday trip is even more enticing. It’s great to explore other cities or countries during the holidays and find out what others do to make the holidays the best time of the year.
Below is a list of amazing vacation destinations for the holidays — whether you’re craving some sunlight or want to hit the ski slopes.
Svetlana Choi, Warburg Realty
I highly recommend going to Vienna during the holiday season. It is such a special city in general, but even more festive during the holidays, beautifully decorated, with lots of holiday markets on the streets.
It’s very uplifting with music, food and a generally happy spirit all over the city. Your welcome begins at the airport that is decorated with art from its many museums.
There are wonderful concerts with fantastic orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna State Opera and Ballet. Then there are the amazing museums and palaces.
As far as museums, I recommend the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Albertina, and the MAK (the museum for applied arts, with wonderful art nouveau). The best palaces are Schoenbrunn, the Hofburg and both the Upper and Lower Belvedere palaces.
The Hofburg Palace boasts crown jewels and rare Kunstkammer objects, along with a fantastic library. Schoenbrunn also has a botanical garden and a zoo with pandas.
And finally, the food and wonderful restaurants, even in the museums. Have coffee and breakfast at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, lunch at the Albertina and dinner at the MAK, not to mention an afternoon break at a cafe for a Wiener Melange (the Viennese version of a cappuccino) and amazing pastries, including the world famous Sachertorte.
And if you stay until New Year’s Eve, you can take waltz lessons and attend a ball, followed by fireworks at midnight.
Lauren Feldesman, Compass
Montreal is beautiful for the holidays. Although I love the beach and warm weather, the holidays aren’t quite the same without snow, hot cocoa and being cuddled up by the fire.
Montreal has incredible food tours and Christmas-themed attractions. It’s also lots of fun to go ice skating at Parc La Fontaine.
Matthew Breitenbach, Compass Real Estate
I just bought a condo in Vermont and take my family there for the holiday season. We ski, hang out, relax and go snowmobiling together.
Nicole Beauchamp, Engel and Völkers
I usually go to Hawaii right before Christmas — I combine attending workshops or company retreat with some R&R and year-end planning and reflecting and fun with friends and clients.
And my failsafe — going home to PR or Miami where I have property. Often my clients are from overseas but come to the states and NY around the holidays, so I try to combine my R&R with some client appreciation. Varies by year. I also love being in Europe for the holidays.
Cabo San Lucas
Jay Thompson, real estate veteran, formerly with Zillow
Cabo San Lucas has become a preferred retreat. Why? It’s just a super-chill little beach town where you can do a lot, a little or nothing at all. Great place to escape the gray Seattle winter. And the fishing is hard to beat.
Steve Palmer, Berkshire Hathaway
Day hiking in Southern Utah, preferably in and around Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks. Unbelievable scenery and landforms, peace, quiet and solitude.
Jim Weix, The Keyes Company
Why leave Florida when I am already in paradise? I will stay home but get some extra deep sea fishing in. Stuart, Florida, is the self-proclaimed “Sailfish Capital of the World,” and it lives up to that name. Also, grouper season closes Dec. 31, so it is my last chance to fill the freezer.
Hot and cold destinations
Alexander Boriskin, Douglas Elliman
For holiday destinations, there are so many different options. If you’re living in a cold region and would like to escape to the warmth, try Miami, The Bahamas or St. Barts in The Caribbean.
For hitting the slopes, Aspen or Switzerland are great. Prague is also beautiful in the wintertime. Oh, and if you want to hit the blackjack tables, there’s an option for that as well — Las Vegas.