Icelanders know how to celebrate and the twelve nights of Christmas provide ample opportunity. In Reykjavik marvel at the beautifully illuminated Oslo Christmas tree in Reykjavik, hit the Ingólfstorg ice-skating rink and Christmas village and when you’ve had your fill of Jólaglögghen (Iceland’s take on mulled wine) head out of town in search of the Northern Lights. Iceland in winter provides opportunities for some of the best sightings of the Aurora Borealis. When the temperatures are low and the night sky is clear and black, the sky is lit up in varying shades of green, pink and blue sending out an eerie otherworldly glow. Outside of Reykjavik, subject to weather conditions, the raw landscapes provide the best opportunity of viewing.
A&K’s 7-day ‘Land of Fire & Ice’ journey is priced from $10,595 per person.
A&K gives guests the opportunity to get in the Christmas spirit early with a seven-day private journey to some of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets. The itinerary starts in Berlin, which has in excess of 50 Christmas markets, some which are magical and traditional and others more hip and happening. Driving from Berlin to Prague a stop is made in the Baroque city of Dresden where Germany’s oldest Christmas market, Striezelmarkt, is found. There’s plenty of time to wander through the bustling marketplace and taste traditional Saxon treats with the aroma of mulled wine and Christmas music all around. In Prague, the Old Town Square plays host to a festive market of brightly decorated wooden huts, selling Czech handicrafts, hot food and warm drinks and at 5pm every evening the beautiful lights of the Christmas tree are turned on.
A&K’s 7-day ‘Berlin, Dresden and Prague Christmas Markets’ is priced from $5,775 per person and valid for travel 1 November to 13 December 2016.
For the ultimate white Christmas take the family to the Antarctic Peninsula on board A&K’s Le Boreal and there’s still some cabins available for Christmas 2016. Unforgettable sightings include penguins in their multitudes, seal pups, cavorting whales and icebergs that defy descriptions. Working research stations are also part of the excitement as well as the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia. The ship makes landfall on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, remote British territories in the Atlantic, and guests visit the great explorer Ernest Shackleton’s final resting place.
A&K’s 17-day ‘Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands’ cruise is priced from US$14,845 per person (includes saving of US$3,000 per person) including charter airfare.
Christmas on safari
Make it one to remember on safari next Christmas. Head to Tanzania where conditions are perfect at that time of the year and the Great Migration finds itself in the south of the mighty Serengeti. What’s even more memorable is that you’ll bed down under canvas in the style of the early safari pioneers but with all the accoutrements you’d expect of an A&K private safari. Tanzania is captivating in every way with world class game viewing and quintessential African landscapes. The parks in the north of the country boast open savannah, umbrella trees and huge herds of game and some of the unforgettable sundowners to toast your Yuletide experience.
A&K’s 8-day ‘Tanzania Under Canvas’ journey priced from $10,965 per person.
Picture the onion domes of Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral with a dusting of snow, rugging up for a troika ride through Pavlovsk Park, fur hats and ice skating, vodka and lashings of caviar. All this plus ballet and opera performances, ice sculptures and a beautiful winter wonderland. Join in the festivities of the Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on 7 January 2017, and get cosy in Moscow and St Petersburg’s finest hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Moscow and Belmond Grand Hotel Europe.
A&K’s 9-day ‘Jewels of Russia’ journey is priced per from $8,995 per person.
A Rajasthani Christmas
Known as the ‘Land of Kings’, the Indian desert state of Rajasthan is the country’s most atmospheric. Full of splendid forts and historic palaces, vibrant bazaars and vast desert landscapes, it’s alive with colour. Marvel at the bright silk saris, turbans in all the colours of the rainbow, glittering jewels and cities painted in bold hues. On A&K’s private journey guests unearth all that this surprising region has to offer in just ten days from bustling cityscapes, dreamy lakes, rugged landscapes, markets and tiger country. There are iconic attractions aplenty – Delhi’s Red Fort and inimitable Taj Mahal, the Pink City of Jaipur and the lakeside charms of Udaipur.
A&K’s 10 day ‘Royal Rajasthan’ is priced from $9,575 per person. Christmas supplements apply.
Close to home, Vietnam is a top choice for a luxury Christmas abroad with the family. Though Buddhism is the dominant religion there, the festival commemorating the birth of Christ is still observed with great vigour and you’ll find much to offer: bustling cities, beaches, mountains, temples and lush countryside as well as several UNESCO World Heritage sites. Hotels are world class and a junk trip on Halong Bay one of the highlights. The cuisine is world famous with chances to participate in cooking classes or street food tasting.
A&K’s 13-day ‘Vietnam: A Family Adventure’ journey is priced from $6,425 per adult and $4,295 per child under 12 years. Christmas supplements apply.
Celebrate Christmas differently on an A&K adventure to Morocco. Experience the incredible beauty, silence and solitude of the Sahara Desert in the style of Lawrence of Arabia at A&K’s unique Bedouin camp, which is set up exclusively for guests in dunes near Erfoud on the edge of the desert. Nights are spent under canvas in Caidale tents decorated with warm earthy colours complete with thoughtful luxe touches – hot water, flush toilets, dreamy desert Sundowners, candlelit dinners and a crackling camp fire. All of this comes complete with camp staff, who are on hand to look after every Christmas need.
A&K’s 12-day ‘Kasbahs & Caravans’ includes a night in the A&K Desert Camp and is priced from $12,600 per person.