3 cities for a unique Christmas holiday

denny-ryanto-mAUVA00YgKE-unsplash

This winter, step off the beaten Christmas track and travel somewhere different, whether there’s snow or not. 

Cover photo: Denny Ryanto

 

Sapporo, Japan

Photo: Gresia Marthatiana

 

Head to the volcanic island of Hokkaidō in the north of the country. On the programme: onsens (Japanese hot springs with water that can reach 50°C/122°F), forest strolls and a visit to the Fushimi Inari temple. To combine pleasure and practicality, plan a trip to the Beer Museum. Make sure you try the local speciality: an oden, a Japanese stew containing tofu, hard-boiled eggs, daikon radish, konjac and fish cakes, all immersed in a soy-flavoured dashi broth. 

 

Budapest, Hungary

Photo: Krisztian Bodis, via @budapestimages

 

It’s impossible to get bored in this city, as bustling in winter as it is in summer. Make the most of the drastically colder weather December to take shelter in one of the city’s historic cafés. For example, the famous Café Gerbeaud, where you can enjoy a slice of dobos torta, a chocolate dream made of layers of sponge cake and buttercream. To warm up after a day exploring the snowy streets, head to the Széchenyi hot springs spa, the largest in the city. 

 

Logroño, Spain 

Photo: Daniel Acevedo, via @lariojaturismo

 

Nestled in the north of Spain in the autonomous province of La Rioja, this city reaps its riches from the surrounding vines. A few miles away in the Spanish Basque region, book a few nights at the Marquès de Riscal, a five-star hotel designed by Franck Gehry, which offers an unblocked view of the vines. For Christmas dinner? Iberian ham, some croquetas and a glass of Sangria (a wonderful alternative to the usual mulled wine).

 

AMV Journal is a space dedicated to encounters, discovery and travel. Every week, explore the musts, portraits and inspirations of American Vintage and its creation studio.