Enchanting Christmas Escapes

The city’s famous canals become sparkling ice passages, where skaters can navigate the city guided by twinkling Christmas lights and ambient classical music.

Quebec City | Canada

Christmas in Quebec City is magical. The city’s 400-year-old walled quarter, Old Quebec transforms into a fairy-tale village, where snow covers the cobblestone streets and 16th-century stone houses are decorated with captivating displays of lights and wreaths. Charming and atmospheric, the Canadian hub exudes festive cheer, guaranteed to convert any Grinch into a Christmas enthusiast. 

  • Flights to Quebec City: Quebec City is located approximately 4 hours’ drive northeast of Ottawa.  Together with partner airline Delta Air Lines, Virgin Australia operates flights to Ottawa from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Brussels | Belgium 

Christmas is a very special time in Belgium, so much so that locals celebrate it twice: once on St. Nicholas' Day (December 6) and again on Christmas day (December 25). Every year the country’s capital, Brussels evokes cheer and joy with the world-famous Brussels Christmas Market. Spanning for two kilometres, the market exudes a festive atmosphere, with colourful lighting, attractions like merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels and an ice skating rink, and quaint wooden shopping chalets.  

  • Flights to Brussels: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Brussels from Sydney and Melbourne.

Amsterdam | Netherland 

Amsterdam really makes the most of the holiday season. Christmas festivities begin in November with a parade of floats and boats that celebrate the arrival of Sinterklass (Santa Claus). The impressive Museumplein turns into a Christmas Square, boasting markets and craft-making displays. If the temperature drops low enough, the city’s famous canals become sparkling ice passages, where skaters can navigate the city guided by twinkling Christmas lights and ambient classical music. 

  • Flights to Amsterdam: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Amsterdam from Sydney and Melbourne.

Cotswolds | London 

The Cotswolds at Christmas are mesmerising. The air is filled with a palpable festivity as the countryside’s frost-covered villages host regular Christmas markets, sparkle with blinking lights, and entice visitors with a charming array of country pubs that offer a holiday-themed beverages and roaring log fires. Local manors, rentals and bed and breakfasts provide the perfect settings for Christmas morning gift giving and Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. 

  • Flights to Cotswolds: The Cotswolds is located just under 2 hours’ drive northwest of London.  Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to London from Sydney and Melbourne.
Words by Alice Nash - Published 18 November 2013
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