DEC 18 EDITIONTourism

Ideal Places to Spend the Yuletide

By: Bose Alonge

Christmas season is a fun and happy time for people all over the world. The season is often described as the most wonderful time of the year. During this period, most families would love to embark on a vacation in order to spend quality bonding time with their loved ones, have fun, meet new people and unwind while reflecting on the reason for the season. From glittering cities to tropical beaches and to snowy hideouts, if you looking at celebrating Christmas traditionally or an all rocky fun holiday or perhaps white Christmas or seeking to perform the New Year Eve rituals at some iconic places in the world. Ponder no more here are some of the world’s most magical destinations to spend the yuletide.

THE VATICAN, ROME, ITALY :    You can rest assured that the spiritual heart of Catholicism knows how to celebrate Christmas. Vatican pulls the largest pilgrims in the world, the Eternal city is magical at anytime ofthe year, but the yuletide has an extra quiver. One ofthe famous Christmas tree beautifully decorated to make you get the double excitement of festive cheer in Rome is the one at the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square. With roasted chestnuts sold at every corner, the panettone and a city drenched with Nativity scenes from St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, to Church of Santa Maria in Arecoeli on the Capitoline Hill, Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve or at noon on Christmas is an affair to remember. More to these attractions are the fantastic concerts, ice skating, incredible Christmas Markets like the one in Germany, taste of delicious Italian food and other fun activities that will make your holiday fantasy a reality

LAPITA DUBAI PARK AND RESORT, DUBAI, (UAE) : The Lapita Hotel is 45 minutes’ drive  away from Dubai International Airport, the Polynesian themed Lapita is the only hotel that is situated in the Middle East largest theme park and it is dedicated to serve those that wish to stay within a stone throw away from the endless number of activities offered by the Dubai Park and Resort.

Legoland Dubai

Guests get to have a full view of the resort and the Dubai theme parks while lounging in the rooftop bar of the hotel. Apart from the luxurious suites and villas, Lapita offers a range of luxurious facilities including Spa services where Moroccan bath is on the list of their offers, Fitness Centre, Kids and Teen clubs for ultimate family with children. Central to the aptness of the hotel is the easy access it grants the Dubai Park and Resort, with three Theme Park and one Water park namely: The Motiongate Dubai, The Bollywood Dubai Park, Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park where tourists with moderate pockets can discover and enjoy unlimited fun and adventure that will stun them.

TIME SQUARE, NEW YORK, USA : Nothing that is exhilarating as the Time Square Ball Drop, this iconic New Year’s Eve celebration is a global phenomenon which is often televised internationally with approximately one million spectators flocking into the square to witness the symbolic event that is to usher in the new year amongst dazzling lights, bustling energy and excitement as the ball drops. The celebration begins with the lighting and rising of the New Year’s Eve Ball atop one Times Square at 6pm there the countdown begins. Spectators are treated to various rocking entertaining New Year Eve performance and other forms of side attractions. Sixty seconds before the big moment, the New Year Eve Ball begins its descent. At the stroke of Midnight, the Ball’s lights on is off as the numerals of the New Year burst to light shining above the Times Square.

Times square, New York

The world-famous New Year’s Eve confetti is released from the rooftops of the building all through Square creating a celebratory whiteout of colourful confetti as spectators welcome the New Year accompanied by colourful pyrotechnic effects. The electrifying atmosphere and the euphoria of excitement spur series of life time commitments, ranging from Marriage proposals to exchange of martial vows, physical display of romantic gestures and new year resolutions Sheraton Hotel, and The New York Time Square Hotel right in the middle of the excitement of the New York’s City Times Square is a nice place to pitch your tenth in Lounging if you are considering this place as a holiday destination.

SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE, LAPLAND, FINLAND : The yuletide is the time of the year that visitors around converge on Napapiiri to visit the Santa Park and the Santa Claus Village in the city.

Santa Clause Village, Lapland

The touristy atmosphere is set by the deep wintertime snow and reindeer-dotted forest. Believed to be the “Europe’s Christmas capital” its traditional attractions include a tour of Santa Claus Workshop and a visit to the Santa Claus himself to milk him of all his worth. Apart from meeting the jolly man in red suits who is the most famous resident in the neighborhood  and crossing the magical line of the Arctic Circle Rovaniemi in Lapland, you can get to take a husky sledge-rides and Bear hill Husky’s dogs in the snow, a visit to Santa Claus’ home cave Santa park, exploring the sumptuous cuisines in a snow world of Ice Bar or in Restaurant Ensilumi. Santa Claus Village is located in Lapland in Finland, situated 8km to north of Rovaniemi towards Ivalo along high way 4, it can be accessed by local bus number 8 and by bus “Santa Express”. Deep pocket is needed here but you are most likely to leave with a smile and memorable experience.

SIDNEY OPERA HOUSE, AUSTRALIA : The Sidney opera house is synonymous with inspiration and imagination, this Dolphin shape structure is one of the most renowned buildings of the twentieth century. There is nowhere in the world like Sydney on New Year Eve and there is nowhere closer to the action than the Sydney Opera House, where a glamorous and memorable holiday is guaranteed. New Eve celebration at portside Sidney is a once in a life time experience, as Sidney puts on its bling and heels to show the world the true essence of celebrating the New Year in style and glam as the festival of fire branded rainbows explodes across the midnight sky, leaving its viewer in awe and thrilling excitement.

As the clock strikes midnight with the countdown, the blizzard of fireworks raining from the sky begins, this creates an electrified atmosphere charged with energized excitement as viewer start to hug, kiss amidst the exchange of pleasantries, sightseers are challenged to daring activity like planting a kiss on the next person to you regardless of who they are be it stranger, acquaintance, friend or lover. Tourist and spectators get to enjoy the greatest show on earth brought on display, brilliant theatre thrilling sports and vivid Sydney’s fiesta of light, music here as the Sydney Opera house stays open well past midnight fireworks. This beautiful destination is accompanied with luxurious Resorts and Hotels accommodation that will make vibrant memories that will last a lifetime.

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT, FLORIDA, USA : The Walt Disney World Resort is an entertainment complex in Florida United States of America near Orlando which is just 17 miles away. Nicknamed as the “World most magical place” it features four theme parks: Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studio. It also has two Water Parks- Disney Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon with over 20 hotels and resorts.

Disneyland Orlando Florida

The Interactive rides, animal adventures, magical attractions, shopping and dining with over 60,000 cast members performing in more than 3,000 different roles, a guest is sure treated to the magical feel ofthe Disney World in every visit. This destination gets a heavy extra dose of fun and magic during the festive season as the decorations make it assume a different look adding to its charm. A glimpse of a world covered in glitz and sparkles is breath-taking and beautiful to behold. The Holiday Theme Fun includes: Christmas Fantasy Parade, Fireworks, Candy Canes and Candle Light Procession amongst others. A suitable holiday destination for a  middle-class earner or more, at Disney World, one is guaranteed an unforgettable beautiful and fun filled holiday experience.

BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK :

Manager Square, Bethlehem

It’s hard to deny that the real meaning of Christmas is often forgotten and its essence seems lost, but for a fresher, nothing compares to a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Christmas in the ManagerSquare isthe most iconic place in the world to celebrate Christmas, the energy on the Square and in the Old City on Christmas Eve could light a forest  of Christmas tree. St. Catherine’s Church is a place to be for Midnight Mass as the clock strikes 12. Bethlehem is a located in the West Bank few minutes’ drive from  south of Jerusalem, when entering the church ofthe Nativity it’s surrounding is awash in the unique Christmas atmosphere

JERUSALEM : Christmas in the Holy Land is a true magic whilst there is no snow, it is most incredible time to experience the land where Christmas story began. Just six kilometres away from Bethlehem, Jerusalem is an unforgettable place to celebrate Christmas holiday with dozens of churches scattered throughout the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Visit to the historical and holy sites could cause a sober reflection that can awaken the zest for spirituality and change your perception of Christmas for years to come. Other attractions include: Jerusalem Christmas Carol and Concert, Advent Bazaar in the courtyard of the Dormition Abbey on Mouth Zion among others.

MOMBASSA AND MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE, KENYA : Kenya is a country popularly known for its beautiful Wildlife Parks and coastal beaches and it remains one of the foremost holiday destination in Africa. Mombasa, is a metropolitan region estimated to have about 3million people. Mombassa which is 4 hours’ drive away from Nairobi is known to have the best beaches in Africa and arguable the world. Thousands of tourists from all around the globe visit this destination to enjoy the aura of crystal clear water with white sandy beach and exceptional weather to accompany it. With its long stretches of beach, endless palm trees and cool breezes, you can conclude that Mombassa is undoubtedly blessed when it comes to beach attractions. Anyone who comes to the Kenyan coast is keen to get a firsthand experience of its beaches where there are countless activities to engage in like swimming, beach sport, diving, snorkelling, as well as boast rides with transparent glasses at the bottom that allows you see the aquatic marine life below.

The Lodges at this destination is the icing on the cake the experience is simply spectacular. Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya. It is located in the Great Rift Valley close to Narok, bordered by Tanzania and about 224 km from Nairobi in Kenya. It is regarded as the Jewel of Kenya’s wildlife and the finest wildlife in the World, viewing with total of 1.5 million animal migrations annually. There have been about 95 spices of mammals, amphibian, reptiles and over 400 birds recorded on the reserve. The park offers an opportunity for tourist to the the Big Five wilds namely: Buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino. In addition, there are cheetah, hyena hippo jackals, bat-eared foxes, baboons, crocodiles, gazelle, Zebra to mention a few to the viewing pleasure of tourist. More to the attractions in this destination are Game viewing, camping, night game drives, ballooning, bush dinner lunch and breakfast and a visit to cultural villages. The Reserve also offers an alluring accommodation for holiday makers.

SUNCITY RESORT, SOUTH AFRICA : SunCity Resort is one of the South Arica’s largest tourist attractions and is two-hour drive from Johannesburg. Often described as the Las Vegas and Disney of Africa, the Resort is a World within a City that pulls about 3 million visitors annually. The holiday complex houses a fantasy Lost City and is one of the world’s most luxurious Hotels ‘The Palace of the Lost City’. There is myriad of attractions for everyone, from the Valley Wave Water Park, where visitors are treated to a blasting fun water games, to exploring the Lost City, visiting the Big Five Safari, improving on your golf handicap at the two world class golf courses, going to the cinema or watching live extravagant shows, dining to gambling, the resort leaves its tourists with great things to do. What is more exciting about touring SunCity is that its luxurious lodges are quite affordable for tourists with both small and large pockets.

OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT, CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA :

Cable Car Ride, Obudu Cattle Ranch

The Obudu Cattle Ranch Hotel now Obudu Mountain Resort is one of the wonders of Nigeria and undoubtedly the best vacation spot for anyone seeking to enjoy a holiday in an environment that offers a perfect blend of nature and modernity.

The resort is found on the Obudu Plateau, close to the Cameroon border in the north-eastern part of Cross River State, approximately 209km away from Calabar. Obudu Mountain Resort is a top-class hotel and is a wonderful place for family vacation and resort getaway. It’s beautiful scenery and breath-taking views make it ideal for the lone adventurer, families on a reunion, young couple or a holiday group. It features a water park with water slide and a swimming pool, a golf course, night-time bonfires and horseback riding. It is a great place to bond with your families while enjoying great entertainment and quality food and drinks.

ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA : Zanzibar is extremely beautiful and serene, as life is all about beaches in this amazing island in Tanzania, East Africa. For some people, the choice for an ideal vacation is to sit back, watch and marvel at the starling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The old Stone town which is the capital and a historic hub of commerce and culture of the Island serves as the entry and the departure point for visitors. Zanzibar beach is truly one of Africa’s premier beach and leisure playground with beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water perfect for swimming and scuba diving; visitors from all over the world make this tiny paradise a getaway for all.

Front beach side, Zanzibar

More to the water sports and relaxing beneath the palm trees are the countless resort options that treat their guests to their desired pampering with their spa services, walking through the alleys and markets of Stone Town is like time travel. You can revel in ultimate peace and quiet in some of the island beach getaway resorts. This idyllic archipelago offers attraction like safari and game reserve as well Known as the birthplace of the Swahili and spice plantation, this old stone town remains a wonderful place to stay getting lost among the elegant ancient buildings adorned with gold, eating fresh fish in the smell, sights and sound of a truly Swahili Centre. Zanzibar is sure larger than life and a must-see spot for tourist enthusiast. Zanzibar is 85km (53 miles) from Dar Es Salaam, visitors may want to access the Island by air, ferry or bus, whichever way you plot your trip into the island you are sure to have a blissful holiday. One does not have to break a bank to have a feel of this wonderful World.

SENTOSA RESORT WORLD, SENTOSA ISLAND, SINGAPORE : This is an Asian premium lifestyle destination Resort where it is believed that a sense of adventure is second to none. This $4.9 resort is the third most expensive building ever constructed in the world. It is an integrated resort where visitors get to experience endless excitement with a variety of attractions and entertainment spots. Families are enthralled by the Universal Studio Singapore Theme Park. Water lovers will be thrilled by the Marine Life Park: The S.E.A Aquarium which includes the second world largest oceanarium, The Adventure Cove Waterpark, provides the wild and wet fun for waterslides and Dolphin Island where you can interact with friendly mammals.

Sentosa Park

The resort also has an exclusive Casino with other signature attractions like Asia’s Flagship Spa, the Maritime Experiential Museum, displays at the Lake of Dreams, fine  dining centers and crowned with  luxurious hotels that will add glamourto your holiday. The resort is located on the fourth largest island in Singapore with a distance of about 27 km from the Singapore Airport; a bus ride to the Sentosa is expected to take about 1 hour 40 minutes. Tourists seeking to explore this amazing resort will need to have a thick purse. Notable among other destinations you can visit around the world at this time of the year where you get to experience the true meaning of fun and excitement at its peak are Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Cancun in Mexico, Ibiza Resort in Spain. Quebec in Canada, Sydney, Australia; Glasgow, United Kingdom to mention but a few.

Giraffes in the Sentosa Resort

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