What if we tell you there are places you could take a trip to this time of year without breaking your bank or dreams?
The year is drawing to a close, and you desperately want to take that vacation. But rising living expenses, sky-rocketing airfares, and long hours in the plane with children are putting you off. However, there are plenty of places to go to and things to do while putting all of those concerns out of your mind. Here are 6 holiday destinations perfect for celebrating Christmas in, either solo or with your partner or family, without having to spend your entire year’s savings.
Drina River House in Serbia.
Located in central Europe, Serbia offers you rich European traditions on a platter without the lofty prices of other European countries. This beautiful Balkan country is sure to be coated entirely in snow, so get ready to enjoy a magical winter wonderland as you land here. Serbia is the perfect mix of the ancient rural charm of forts and farms and the city sparkle of its capital Belgrade.
Things to do in Serbia: Enjoy the Christmas Market in Belgrade, explore the Saint Sava Temple, window shopping at Novi Sad, enjoy a long walk and hot chocolate at the Sargan Eight train station, visit the Stopich caves, the Belgrade Fortress, and the Studenica Monastery.
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 400 per person.
Average travel time: The air travel time from Dubai to Serbia is roughly 5.5 hours.
The waters of Musandam, Oman.
Most UAE residents are aware of and have been to the neighbouring country of Oman at least once in their lives. While not as snazzy or fashionable as Dubai, Oman, with its brilliant blue-green waters and huge mountainscapes, has its own unique appeal. If you’re someone who loves escaping into the wild and are a water-baby at heart, make sure to visit the region of Musandam to spend the winter by the beach and swim to your heart’s content with dolphins. The best part about Oman is that it is just a car ride away, so you can say goodbye to googling the ‘cheapest flight tickets’ every day!
Things to do in Oman: Visit the Pebble Beach in Muscat, go on a Dhow cruise in Musandam, snorkel in the waters of Wadi Ash Shab, explore the lovely Masirah Island, savour the lush greenery of Salalah, go walking through the forts of Niswa and Misfat al Abriyeen.
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 250 per person.
Average travel time: The average air travel time from Dubai to Oman is just over 1 hour. If you’re travelling to the capital by road, it will take you between 3 to 4 hours.
The beautiful capital city of Yerevan, Armenia.
While Dubai has everything, the one thing you can’t experience in the Middle East is snowfall. After a scorching year in the city, if you and your family want to escape to someplace cool, then Armenia is the place for you! Not only is Armenia quite cheap with regard to living expenses, but it is also one of the oldest seats of Christianity. This makes it exceptionally rich in its architectural legacy, as it has some of the oldest and most vibrant churches and spiritual centres. It is also famous for its minced meat dishes that are considered the epitome of comfort food.
Things to do in Armenia: Go wine-tasting in Arenia winery in Norovank, walk through the blinding lights of Republic Square, visit the Garni Temple and Vagharshapat, book a day trip through Yerevan, cruise along the banks of Lake Sevan, and visit the many museums in the city including the Yerevan History Museum, the National Gallery for the Arts, Modern Art Museum, and the Erebuni Archaeological Museum.
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 550 per person.
Average travel time: The average air travel time from Dubai to Armenia is 3.5 hours.
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkey is known to be a city of duality. It is where Christian architecture meets Islamic architecture, giving way to the most beautiful mosques and monuments. Who amongst us hasn’t wanted to visit the Blue Mosque at least once in our lifetimes? Maybe this winter could be your time. Turkey is a transcontinental country known for its bazaars, architectural wonders, and delicious sweet treats. This winter, roam through the magnificent streets of Turkey with your family without worrying about your bank balance!
Things to do in Turkey: Rediscover Byzantine architecture at Hagia Sophia and Kariye Mosque, take a walk and buy souvenirs at the spectacular Grand Bazaar, have a scrub at a Turkish Hammam, get delicious Turkish Delight at Hafiz Mustafa, go on a romantic hot-air balloon date over the Cappadocia with your partner.
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 500 per person.
Average travel time: The average air travel time from Dubai to Turkey is 3.5 hours.
Petra or the ‘Rose City’, Jordan.
If you’re someone who enjoys an interesting balance of the open air and nature as well as the beauty of man-made wonders, Jordan could be your winter destination! In fact, Jordan is so special that one of its cities, Petra – known as ‘Rose City’ – is one of the seven wonders of the world! For a taste of the Arab wilderness and the spectacular architecture and museums of this country, visit Jordan in the winter to escape the sweltering heat in the region. Jordan is known for its stunning sandstone buildings, cultural museums, waterbodies, forts, and monuments!
Things to do in Jordan: Visit the Jerash Ruins and the Siq, take a walk along the banks of the historical Dead Sea, explore Little Petra, visit Amman for its hand-crafted jewellery and fabric, and enjoy scrumptious Maqloubeh and Mansaf while in the city!
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 300 per person.
Average travel time: The average air travel time from Dubai to Jordan is 3 hours.
An evening drone view of Prague.
One of the most alluring parts about travelling to Europe in the winter is the lovely Christmas Market. During Christmastime, many Czech Republic countries take forth this tradition of opening a lovely large market in a town square., The Prague Christmas Market means streets done up in warm, twinkling lights, stalls selling hot chocolate, candy canes, candles, traditional jewellery, and other Christmas wares. These markets also sell a large variety of regional Christmas dishes to truly signify the beginning of the holiday season, like langoš, sweet dumplings, garlic flatbread, and a sugary sweet cake called Trdelník.
Prague is also famous for a variety of beautiful structures and monuments with rich cultural associations – the Prague Castle, St. Clement and St. Vitus Cathedral, the Dancing House, etc. It is known for being a relatively affordable European location offering all the cultural and historical cornerstones that you could possibly desire to see. The pastry scene here is also mouth-watering!
Things to do in Prague: Reconnect with your spiritual side at the St. Cyril ad St. Vitus Cathedrals, take a walk down the Christmas Markets at Old Town Square and Kampa Island, take your little one on a tour of the Prague Zoo, take a lovely boat cruise over the Charles Bridge, visit the majestic Prague Castle, eat to your heart’s content at the Prague Old town!
Average airfare rates: Starting from Dh 550 per person.
Average travel time: The average air travel time from Dubai to Prague is 7 hours.
These are the best spots that you can travel to from Dubai with your family on a budget. While wintertime in the city is chilly and wonderful, if you want to use up all your leftover annual leave and take a breather outside of the country this winter, then visit these countries for a magical holiday season. Booking at the right times and choosing the best accommodation options will further help you slash your costs and enjoy a stress-free vacation. Happy winter-ing!