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The best places to go for Christmas are unique, festive, and fun. These 7 destinations will make any Christmas shopping trip memorable, and getting there in style can make it extra special.

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Everyone loves Christmas shopping – lights, trees, hot coco under the mistletoe – but aren’t you tired of going to the same shops every year? Why not head for the skies and drop in to one of the 7 best places for Christmas shopping to make your festive fun a little more unique? Once you’ve chosen a location for your Christmas shopping, you could even make it extra special by chartering a private jet to take you there – just make sure your pilot watches out for traffic, as the skies can be busy around the morning of the 25th.

Vilius Radziukas, Head of Sales at Skyllence, agrees: “Christmas can be a chaotic period for even the most well-organized traveler. If any of the locations on this list tickle your festive fancy but you’re reluctant to travel because of the effort involved in putting together a trip, don’t worry – we’ve got you. Just get in touch via our website and we’ll make sure that your only worry is how much you’ll be bringing home!”

Paris

Paris is an achingly cool city, and it knows it. You might think that Paris’s attitude towards Christmas would be like that guy sat in the corner of a party, refusing to dance when everyone’s favorite song comes on. It will surprise you to learn, then, that when the festive period comes to town, Paris gets its dancing shoes on and boogies with the best of them. Fairy lights down the Champs-Élysées, markets along La Défense Esplanade – even the Eiffel tower is lit up like a beacon, broadcasting to the world: Paris takes Christmas seriously. What do you get, then, if you combine one of Europe’s best year-round shopping destinations with a sled-full of Christmas cheer? That’s right, the perfect destination for a serious Christmas shopping session.

Best places to go for Christmas: literally anywhere for the stomach – it would be quicker to list the bad restaurants than the good in Paris. You might start somewhere around Rue Cler, though, before heading to the Grands Boulevards for the shopping, and finishing at the Sacré-Cœur – or Notre-Dame when it reopens – for the soul.

Christmas shopping must-buys: anything from one of Paris’s famous pâtisseries – macarons are especially delicious, and durable enough to survive the journey home. Aside from that, the hundreds of artisan craft shops selling handmade tea, soap, chocolate, and crafts of all kinds ensure that even the pickiest gift-receiver will be happy on Christmas morning.

New York

If you’ve seen Home Alone, you can skip this section, as you know how magical New York is at Christmas. For the benefit of the two people who haven’t seen the film (seriously, go and watch it), The Big Apple’s long association with Christmas is well-earned. Like Paris, it’s a year-round favorite of shoppers and tourists from around the world. Unlike Paris, though, New York has a Christmas climate that frequently sees snow on or around the big day, which makes any festive experience that little bit more magical. Very few cities can fully justify the claim to have ‘something for everyone’, but the city that never sleeps is cursed with insomnia for that reason: there’s just always something going on. After an hour in New York, you feel like you could be anyone, do anything, go anywhere. You don’t, obviously – you go shopping for a few hours and then crash in your hotel room because of the jetlag – but the endless possibilities on offer in New York are something that everyone should experience.

Best places to go for Christmas: New York has one of the largest Chinese communities outside China, so Chinatown seems an obvious place for the stomach if you’re tired of traditional Christmas food. For the shopping, it would take a lot of effort to avoid retail in New York, but just in case, try SoHo, the West Village, and Greenwich Village. For the soul, you really can’t go wrong with St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Christmas shopping must-buys: mirroring Paris again, New York has some famous food that makes the perfect Christmas gift. Cheesecake, bagels, pastrami – it’s hard to go wrong if you’re near the big day and don’t have to worry about expiration. If you’re still a few weeks away from Christmas, though, everyone’s seen the classic I ♥ NY T-shirt, so why not pick one up direct from the city itself?

Edinburgh

There’s just something about a good castle. If shopping in the shadow of one of Europe’s finest appeals to you, then Edinburgh’s your destination. Shuffling through alleys in the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with the 12th-century battlements looming over you will give your Christmas shopping that feudal-medieval-peasant vibe; a welcome dose of humility after spending a month’s salary on a new watch. When you’re not shopping (perish the thought), Edinburgh’s renowned art galleries can attempt to fill the void that only retail can, and – crucial for when you’ve drained your account – they’re all completely free.

Best places to go for Christmas: the Johnnie Walker Distillery for the stomach (if you can keep it down), Princes Street for the shopping, and St Giles’ Cathedral for the soul.

Christmas shopping must-buys: if you’re at the Distillery anyway, it would be rude not to pick up a bottle for someone. Christmas-themed shortbread biscuits are always associated with Scotland, and while they’re a cliché it’s for good reason – they’re seriously tasty. If you’re buying whisky and shortbread, you’ve already committed to the stereotype and it’s too late to back out now, so you should really pick up something with tartan on it. You could even go all in and buy a kilt, just don’t wear it on the windswept tarmac on your way home!

London

Alright, I know, let’s not sugar-coat it: London’s taken a beating in recent years. Where once the prospect of a chartered private jet to the UK’s capital for a seasonal splurge might have had us giddy with glee, the events of late have taken the shine off a little. But a dented crown is still a crown, and despite the cringe on your face when you read its name, London has lots to offer for the deep-pocketed Christmas shopper.

Best places to go for Christmas: Borough Market for the stomach, Oxford Street for the shopping, and St Paul’s Cathedral for the soul.

Christmas shopping must-buys: go local with some jellied eels, pick up a custom-made suit from Savile Row, and be sure to get something, anything, from Harrods – even if just for the gift bag.

Amsterdam

We all know what Amsterdam is famous for, and it isn’t shopping. The Venice of the North might seem an unusual destination for Christmas shoppers, but with Amsterdam it’s all about the in-betweens. The little paths between shops that take you over antique bridges crossing frozen rivers; the town squares that break up the districts, each with a snow-tipped Christmas tree more picturesque than the last; and the breaks between shopping sessions, when the wood-paneled interiors of those famous cafes beckon you in to stop for coffee. Amsterdam will turn even the most humbug-chewing scrooge into the picture of Christmas cheer, but if you arrive already in the spirit, it’s everything Christmas shopping should be.

Best places to go for Christmas: pancake houses (yes, plural) for the stomach, the Kalverstraat and the Leidsestraat for the shopping, and the Oude Kerk for the soul.

Christmas shopping must-buys: the Dutch have the highest per-capita consumption of licorice in the world. If you have a relative that enjoys the aniseed-based snack (presumably one without a sense of taste), then this can make the perfect gift. Dutch clogs – wooden shoes – are a popular novelty, but the best gift is surely one of Amsterdam’s hundreds of unique cheeses.

Cologne

For many, Christmas shopping means Christmas markets: it’s not about malls, retail parks, or superstores, but those tiny stalls selling gingerbread reindeer manned by someone’s grandpa. Why not make that grandpa an Opa and head to Cologne – the home of one of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets? Most Christmas markets in other cities around Europe are German-themed anyway, so by heading to Cologne you can cut out the middle-man and get pure, uncut, unfiltered Christmas shopping at source.

Best places to go for Christmas: the Old Town for the stomach, the Christmas markets for the shopping (no great surprise there), and Cologne Cathedral – or any of the 12 Romanesque Churches of Cologne – for the soul.

Christmas shopping must-buys: the clue is in the name – Cologne is a classic Christmas gift, and where better to buy it than in the city after which it was named? If you don’t like the idea of buying someone a gift that essentially tells them “I’d prefer it if you smelled better”, then Lebkuchen – traditional German Christmas cookies – might be a better alternative.

Vilnius

Everyone’s heard of Vilnius, nobody can find it, but when you get there, it’s amazing – it’s not called the G-spot of Europe for nothing. If you love a good Old Town, you’re in the right place – Vilnius’s is one of the largest in Europe, comprising almost 1500 buildings. That’s a lot of shops. We all know that retail therapy is the true meaning of Christmas, but apparently there are also some people who like to go to Churches? It just so happens that they’re in luck too, as Vilnius has a lot of Churches. No, seriously, I don’t think you understand: there are 28 Churches in the Old Town alone, an area of just 3.5km. That’s one church per 125 meters, and there are 75 more dotted around the city! If that doesn’t convince you, maybe the fact that Vilnius was home to the most beautiful Christmas tree in Europe for the past two years will.

Best places to go for Christmas: the Old Town for the stomach, AKROPOLIS for the shopping, and Vilnius Cathedral for the soul – or any other church, it shouldn’t be hard to find one!

Christmas shopping must-buys: Lithuanian honey is internationally renowned, tree cake is a unique and delicious local delicacy, and the Baltic is home to the largest known deposit of amber in the world – all three make great gifts!

Now that you’ve heard about some of the great destinations on offer around the world, why not get in touch with Skyllence to charter your own Christmas shopping getaway? Our range of highly knowledgeable and experienced experts will tailor your trip, providing the perfect Christmas break and creating unforgettable experiences for you and your fellow travelers.

Igor Borzov, Head of business Development at Skyllence, has years of experience in catering for luxury travel to these destinations: “Paris, New York, and London need little introduction. These world-renowned cities are some of the most popular tourist destinations throughout the year, but they also make incredible Christmas shopping destinations by combining the virtues of their world-renowned culinary scenes with artisanal communities that ensure your gifts will be unique, memorable, and well-received. If you’re looking for a classic Christmas travel destination that’s still full of festive surprises, then look no further than these three cities.

Edinburgh, Cologne, Amsterdam, and Vilnius might surprise some with their presence on this list, but one visit to any of these incredible cities is sure to dispel any hesitation. Whilst they might lack the gravitas of the first three, these destinations have a quaint charm that can be hard to find in mega-cities. After Christmas shopping in Edinburgh, Cologne, Amsterdam, or Vilnius – as well as a sack full of truly unique gifts – you’re guaranteed to return home with enough stories to bore everyone to sleep after you’ve eaten your turkey!”

There are hundreds of other potential destinations that didn’t make this list, but could easily have been included. If you’ve got a unique Christmas getaway in mind then Skyllence can help by removing the stress of organizing a trip in an already chaotic period, taking the burden off your shoulders so that you can focus on what’s important – planning your purchases of course!