SOME TOP SPOTS: (clockwise from left) Paris, San Juan, Sydney and New York.
SOME TOP SPOTS: (clockwise from left) Paris, San Juan, Sydney and New York. AAP IMAGES

Make Christmas merry

WITH the holiday season about to kick off, it is tempting to take a well-deserved break overseas to celebrate the silly season this year.

Flight Centre has compiled a list of its top destinations for those dreaming of heading around the world this year to drink Vin Chaud, get merry and sing Feliz Navidad.

1. New York City

NYC is transformed into a winter wonderland during Christmas with the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree, adorned with more than 30,000 lights, marking the beginning of the holiday season. When visiting the tree, enter Rockefeller Center from Fifth Avenue and walk through the horn blowing angels towards the tree - insiders say this is the best viewing experience. Why not give ice skating a go at the same time - this has been running since 1936. Window shopping in NYC over the Christmas period takes on a whole new meaning as Manhattan's most celebrated department stores unveil their annual holiday window displays.

2. Paris

It may not be snowy white, but the City of Lights lives up to its name as the city's trees get covered with strings of lights and the Eiffel Tower fills the skyline. The best place to check out the holiday lights in Paris is along Champs-Elysees, in the windows of the big department stores including the well known Galeries Lafayette and at the Notre Dame Cathedral where you can also witness Paris' giant Christmas tree.

3. San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican view of the Christmas season is not so much a sprint as it is a marathon with festivities lasting from early December to Three Kings Day on January 6, incorporating fantastic traditions along the way. If you can't get enough of Christmas carols then San Juan is the place to be - from mid-December churches have dawn masses rich with Christmas carols, while carolers travel house-to-house.

4. Nuremberg, Germany

Often described as medieval, Nuremberg with its imperial castle towering over the city is definitely worth a visit at any time of year, but starting in November and running until Christmas Eve, the famous Nuremberg Christmas market turns the city into a winter wonderland.

5. Sydney

Sydney really gets into the festive spirit with decorations up from late October including more than 1500 street banners, decorations and lights, and with the giant Christmas tree on display in Martin Place. You can enjoy carols with some of Sydney's best a capella groups in Darling Harbour - every Thursday to Sunday from 7pm, until New Year. Carols in the Domain is on December 17.

>> Read more travel stories.

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