Discover the World’s Most Iconic Christmas Trees
With the festive season fast approaching, for many countries and cultures nothing symbolizes Christmas quite like a tree. From traditionally decorated pines with lights and baubles or illuminated installations featuring modern lights, Booking.com has selected six destinations with some of the most iconic Christmas trees to discover around the world. Whether you fancy a city trip to bustling capitals like New York or London or prefer a tropical getaway to Rio or Taipei. 27%* of travellers say spending time with family is the main thing they want to achieve from their next trip, take a festive trip away with your family to gaze upon these incredible trees whenever it’s safe to travel.
Rockefeller Center in New York City arguably hosts the most famous Christmas tree in the world. For over 80 years, the annual lighting of the tree has become a quintessentially New York tradition cherished by the city and the world. It is estimated that 125 million people visit the beautiful 75 foot tall Norway Spruce every year. Featured in famous festive family films, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and symbolizes Christmas in the city. If you fancy branching out from trees but want to embrace more festive feels, enjoy a tour of the Christmas decorations in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. The houses in this New York neighborhood are decorated to the max with nutcrackers, nativity displays, lights, inflatable Santas and more.
Where to stay: Directly opposite the Rockefeller Center, The Jewel, a Club Quarters Hotel, is perfect for any guest who wants to be in a prime location near the famous tree. Set in the centre of Manhattan, guests have access to the Terrace Club featuring outdoor dining and cocktails overlooking the Rockefeller Center.
The lighting of the floating Christmas tree in Rio marks the beginning of December festivities in the Brazilian capital. A show of music and fireworks attracts locals and visitors to the beautiful inland lake at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas between Ipanema and the Botanical Gardens. Since 1996, the floating Christmas tree has symbolized a beacon of hope and light for the city and has faced the obstacles of economic slowdowns, storms and the pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the tree has broken the world record for the largest floating Christmas tree standing 278 feet tall with more than 3 million lights. This is the perfect festive attraction for a tropical Christmas trip away.
Where to stay: Offering an outdoor pool and stunning views to Sugar Loaf Mountain and Guanabara Bay, Gerthrudes Bed & Breakfast is located in the Santa Teresa neighbourhood of Rio and is a short drive away from the floating Christmas tree. Relax in the garden or the private terrace with a cooling drink in the hot weather or make use of the barbeque facilities and enjoy a Brazilian feast.
As the festive season comes round in South Dakota, the fresh scent of mountain pine fills the Capitol Rotunda, situated in the state capitol Pierre, as approximately 100 decorated Christmas trees fill the space. Throughout the year, cities, businesses and organizations apply to decorate one of the trees which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The centrepiece features South Dakota’s official tree which is often specially selected from the mountain range Black Hills and stands in the heart of the political building that transforms into this winter wonderland. The lighting ceremony commences the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (23 November in 2021) where carols and holiday music fills the air and visitors can enjoy a delicious slice of warming pie.
Where to stay: Located just a short walk from the South Dakota State Capitol and a short drive from the airport, the Club House Hotel and Suites offers a homely stay in Pierre. The hotel features an indoor pool and an Italian restaurant and is the perfect cozy trip to the Midwest.
The capital of Taiwan is illuminated by a dazzling array of lights and stunning art installations during the annual ‘Christmasland’ festival, which usually takes place between mid November to the start of January. During the festive carnival, the Christmas Eve concert includes performances from the country’s favourite musicians and comedians creating a buzzing atmosphere in Citizen’s Square. And to make it even more spectacular, Taipei’s Christmasland also features the tallest open-air Christmas tree in Taiwan. Stroll through the decorated courtyards and lit streets of the Xinyi District to celebrate the season.
Where to stay: The Caesar Park Hotel Banqiao is a luxurious stay for visitors travelling to Taipei to see Christmasland which is a short walk away. The property features an outdoor pool, fitness centre and a range of restaurants. It is also highly recommended to enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop bar which has exceptional views of the city. The hotel is just a short drive from the bustling Nanya Night Market which is a perfect opportunity to taste the local cuisine.
London is a charming city for the festive season full of cozy cafes, and an array of shopping options to choose that perfect gift for your loved ones. Coal Drops Yard is a great destination to pay a visit to and features some untraditional Christmas trees with a modern twist. Created by green-fingered geniuses, the 28 foot tall Terrarium Tree features 70 terrariums which each contain a unique individual live garden. These are illuminated at night and are displayed before being sustainably transformed into new tree designs for the year ahead. To feel fully immersed in the city, join the hidden secrets of London walking tour to discover the capital off the beaten path.
Where to stay: For a comfortable stay Mirabilis Apartments - Bayham Place is the perfect option located near Coal Drops Yard and Camden Market. With stylish, cosy interiors, guests can make themselves feel right at home in the apartments for a comfy stay on a winter evening.
In the Umbria region of Italy, the medieval town of Gubbio is home to the world’s largest ‘Christmas tree’ with a twist. Up the slope of Mount Ingino, multicoloured lights are lined with green bulbs to create a magnificent Christmas tree shape that lights up the whole town and can be seen over 30 miles away. Every year on the 7th December since 1981, the town celebrates the lighting of the tree in the Piazza Martiri in the city centre which the Pope has attended on a few special occasions. Discover more about the history of this city with a guided walking tour of the town, where you can immerse yourself with the local community.
Where to stay: The Residenza Di Via Piccardi is located in the historic centre of Gubbio and offers a comfortable stay with a traditional and authentic feel. The hotel also offers a spacious garden with a children’s playground, perfect for a family holiday. Enjoy a traditional sweet breakfast provided by the hotel each morning before exploring the medieval town.
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* Travel Predictions 2022 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who plan to travel for business or leisure in the next 12-24 months. In total 24,055 respondents across 31 countries and territories were polled (including 501 from Argentina, 1003 from Australia, 500 from Belgium, 1001 from Brazil, 500 from Canada, 1000 from China, 1007 from Colombia, 1001 from Croatia, 508 from Denmark, 1002 from France, 1000 from Germany, 1005 from Hong Kong, 1000 from India, 502 from Israel, 1003 from Italy, 1002 from Japan, 500 from Mexico, 501 from The Netherlands, 501 from New Zealand, 500 from Peru, 1000 from Russia, 1005 from Singapore, 1002 from South Korea, 1002 from Spain, 501 from Sweden, 501 from Switzerland, 504 from Taiwan, 500 from Thailand, 1000 from the UK, 1002 from the US and 501 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in August 2021.