Travel

Farrah Francis
Lifestyle Managing Editor
4 minute read
19 Oct 2021
9:00 am

Four quarantine-free Christmas destinations for South Africans

Farrah Francis

Four instagram worthy Christmas destinations South Africans can visit.

Traditional christmas market in the historic center of Frankfurt, Germany. Picture: iStock

As more and more destinations open up thanks to the Covid-19 vaccination programmes, planning a white Christmas over the festive season is no longer a distant memory. There are now various destinations to choose from which are quarantine-free and Instagram-worthy to make even the most cynical “catch flights, not feelings” gang turn green with envy.

Here’s our list of places where you can really enjoy the Yuletide, festive markets, touring and possibly even some skiing.

Remember to pack those coats and hats!

ALSO READ: UK red list: UK ticket sales in SA spike since green-listing

Germany

According to information from Schengen Visa Info, an “announcement of the Robert Koch Institute, which is the German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention located in Berlin and Wernigerode, the same has noted that Brazil and South Africa have been removed from the high-risk list.”

So what can you look forward to in the Western European country over the December period? Flight Center promises rich cultural heritage throughout the country such as the Cologne Cathedral and Reichstag Building.

Germany is the known the world over for its history and cold war era the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial, and former concentration camp sites can also be added to your list of site seeing.

The Neuschwanstein Castle located in southwest Bavaria, Germany, is a historical marvel to ad to your bucket list but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then the Christmas Markets located throughout the country will.

Buy souvenirs, food, Glühwein and even actual nutcrackers!

Ireland

While many South Africans will be flocking to its neighbour, England, over the December holidays, why not try something different?

You might just be in luck (see what I did there?) with an Irish Christmas which is filled with all the traditional food like roast potatoes and corned beef. While Ireland gets hardly any snow, the Christmas spirit is certainly there in terms of lights, decorations and shopping.

In Dublin, there is loads to do, including visiting Grafton Street, which has been described as “magical” over the festive period.

For those who enjoy a good tipple, the street is also perfect for the many pubs it offers.

If you’re more into nature then the The Cliffs of Moher are a must. These sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland, run for 14 kilometres and are simply breathtaking.

France

Let’s start with the food. For Christmas, some of the most common French traditions include smoked salmon and oysters with bran bread and (real) butter, foiegras (goose or duck liver pate), goose, capon or turkey stuffed with chestnuts. Servings of vegetables such as green beans cooked with garlic and butter and provincial herbs sautéed potatoes.

Complete this feast with La bûche de Noël (yule log), a sponge cake made of chocolate and chestnuts.

That alone should be enough to get you to book a ticket there, but if you need another reason, how about evergreen forests, gorgeous lakes and snowy capped mountains and you’re taking “dreaming of a white Christmas” to all new levels.

Ski resorts such as Chamonix, Val d’Isère, and Portes du Soleil are popular with tourists but if you don’t feel like skiing you can visit a quaint town nearby and just sit back and enjoy the postcard-worthy scenery.

Austria

The Austrians really kick things up a notch around Christmas and who could blame them? One of the most popular carols, ‘Silent Night’ was written in Austria in 1818.

Austrians usually spend ‘Heilige Abend’ or Christmas Eve lighting their tree for the first time.

In Austria, you can enjoy snow covered mountains, ideal for skiing for any level. In one area alone, Kitzbühel  offers 170 kilometres of slopes, 54 cable cars, and if that’s not your thing you can also try winter hiking or snowboarding.

If you want to stay indoors and still move, another option is the winter Viennese Ball, and while tickets are not cheap, it will be an everlasting memory to enjoy.

Aside from gorgeous Christmas markets, you can also enjoy touring the country’s many palaces and castles – one of the most iconic, located north of the capital city of Vienna, Burg Kreuzenstein.

For all Covid requirements, check with your airline or your booking agent to ensure you follow all protocol. All info correct at the time of publication