Best views from Santa Claus’s sleigh

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Slide 1 of 21: When Santa Claus flies out on his reindeer-drawn sleigh to deliver presents to the world in December, he has the best seat in the house. From his airborne perch he gets a view of the snow-wrapped world awaiting his arrival, ranging from Scandinavian winter attractions, like the Lofoten Islands, to a variety of European Christmas markets, and from Japan winter light shows to a traditional Chicago Christmas scene. Buckle up and enjoy the drone’s-eye view with Santa.
Slide 2 of 21: After Santa leaves ground zero, his workshop at the North Pole, he crosses the ice-locked Arctic Ocean before hitting open waters, in the North Atlantic, with its massive icebergs—some as large as small countries. However, it’s the smaller, hard-to-see ones that ships have to watch out for. Santa’s sleigh is OK though, high in the sky.
Slide 3 of 21: Santa always loves his flight over the stunning Lofoten Islands, with their spectacular views of the Northern Lights, midnight sun, quaint fishing villages under majestic mountains, deep fjords and beaches where some brave souls even go surfing. The largest Viking Age longhouse was discovered here and reconstructed as a living museum.
Slide 4 of 21: Santa can enjoy a nice bratwurst on a bun here. The Germans love their Christmas markets. One of the most fun to fly over is the Gendarmenmarkt, centrally located in Berlin, with its lights, skating rink, large crafts tents, culinary offerings and a varied entertainment program provided by jugglers, fire eaters, choirs, and jazz or gospel ensembles.
Slide 5 of 21: Christmas markets in Vienna go way back to the Middle Ages when, in 1298, Albrecht I granted Vienna's citizens the right to run a December “Krippenmarkt.” Today, more than 20 official Advent markets offer a huge variety of seasonal gifts, culinary temptations, international choirs singing carols, giant Christmas trees and much more.
Slide 6 of 21: Zurich’s Old Town, the historical heart of the city, is not only picturesque but has one of the country’s most famous shopping miles and highest concentrations of nightclubs—in case Santa wants to get down. He just has to watch that he doesn’t get lost in the twisting narrow lanes and medieval homes of the area.
Slide 7 of 21: In Paris, the illuminated Eiffel Tower presides over the city’s Christmas spirit, with area attractions such as a skating rink and special holiday markets, which offer a variety of decorative objects and produce. During Christmas, and all year round, the Tower puts on a sparkling, five-minute light show, with a multitude of glittering white lights, at the top of the hour.
Slide 8 of 21: Český Krumlov is a Czech city in southern Bohemia, dating back to the 13th century and boasting one of the largest castles in the country. The UNESCO Heritage Site draws crowds in the summer to enjoy its Renaissance and baroque architecture. In winter, though, blanketed with snow, it becomes a quieter, more enchanted place.
Slide 9 of 21: The industrial city (known for a while as Stalinogród) dating back to the 19th century offers a traditional Polish Christmas Fair with skating rink. To keep warm, Santa can have a liquid treat like mulled wine, hot beer and a variety of other spirits, or eat a hearty bowl of Hunter’s Stew (Bigos). Handmade toys, traditional ceramics and other goods are also on offer.
Slide 10 of 21: As Santa flies over Kiev, the Olympic Stadium catches his eye—it’s the country’s largest stadium, holding more than 70,000 spectators to watch soccer played by the national team and Dynamo Kiev. The city is also home to a Christmas market, the gold-domed churches of Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra, and Maydan Nezalezhnosti, a square for socializing and social unrest.
Slide 11 of 21: If Santa were to fly over St. Petersburg on December 25, he would be disappointed. That’s just another working day in Russia. But he knows he has to fly back for Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 6, after the tremendous firework displays of New Year’s, when families enjoy a festive feast of 12 dishes commemorating the 12 apostles.
Slide 12 of 21: In Hong Kong, it’s over-the-top Christmas lights, decorations and piped-in music as various malls try to outdo each other in festive spirit. Santa can also admire the giant Swarovski crystal tree in the city center and fireworks. Once his Christmas mission is done, the jolly fellow is advised to return here for an even bigger traditional family celebration—Chinese New Year.
Slide 13 of 21: Frigid Harbin embraces its “Ice City” label with gusto. Every year it hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, the largest snow festival in the world. The Chinese event is spread on both sides of the Songhua River, which supplies giant blocks of ice used for the spectacular sculptures. The fireworks, however, do make reindeer nervous.
Slide 14 of 21: Flying over Japan is particularly rewarding for Santa, since the country has taken to doing massive winter illuminations, typically displayed in November and December. One of the largest-scale displays, Nabana no Sato, near Nagoya, not only features a tunnel of light but the region’s cute Kumamon bear mascot.
Slide 15 of 21: As the oldest and largest town in Colorado’s Summit County, Breckenridge presents a warm, welcoming sight to incoming sleigh riders. The former mining town twinkles beneath the massive mountains, with more than 250 buildings on the National Historic Register. Breckenridge Ski Resort boasts four mountain peaks and 2,358 acres of skiing pleasure.
Slide 16 of 21: Park City is a family Christmas favorite, with the 13-foot-tall gingerbread house made with 11,000 cookies, the torchlight parade led by Santa down a mountain slope and its two resorts—Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort—as well as the Utah Olympic Park.
Slide 17 of 21: While some people fear Chicago winters, Christmas in the Windy City is always magical. Kris Kringle nods with approval as he flies over Christkindlmarket, the city’s largest open-air market; the Christmas tree in Millennium Park; holiday carolers at Cloud Gate; and the 50 acres of festive lights at Morton Arboretum’s huge tree-scape.
Slide 18 of 21: Niagara Falls always presents a riveting flyover show. The tremendous volume of falling water keeps the flows all year long. However, the tumbling water and resulting mist can produce ice formations along the banks, resulting in mounds of ice as thick as 50 feet. If the winter is severe enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form an “ice bridge.”
Slide 19 of 21: New York always brags about having the biggest and best of everything. Certainly this must seem true with the enormous Christmas tree towering over skaters in Rockefeller Center. Up to 150 skaters can glide their way under the tree famously lit in November, with millions watching the live broadcast.
Slide 20 of 21: Flying into Vancouver, British Columbia, Santa should start to get that Left Coast vibe, with the striking skyline framed by the mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean lapping on its other. Ski mountains within striking distance are hard to beat. Area attractions include a festival of lights, a Christmas market and skating.
Slide 21 of 21: The capital of the province of Quebec is a destination that will “sleigh” you with its picturesque Old Town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow, centuries-old cobblestone streets and soaring church spires. The city’s Quebec Winter Carnival is also one of the largest events of its kind, attracting thousands to enjoy a snow bath, night parades, ice sculptures and much more.

Best views from Santa Claus’s sleigh

When Santa Claus flies out on his reindeer-drawn sleigh to deliver presents to the world in December, he has the best seat in the house. From his airborne perch he gets a view of the snow-wrapped world awaiting his arrival, ranging from Scandinavian winter attractions, like the Lofoten Islands, to a variety of European Christmas markets, and from Japan winter light shows to a traditional Chicago Christmas scene. Buckle up and enjoy the drone’s-eye view with Santa.

Best winter views – Iceberg, North Atlantic

After Santa leaves ground zero, his workshop at the North Pole, he crosses the ice-locked Arctic Ocean before hitting open waters, in the North Atlantic, with its massive icebergs—some as large as small countries. However, it’s the smaller, hard-to-see ones that ships have to watch out for. Santa’s sleigh is OK though, high in the sky.

Best winter views – Lofoten Islands, Norway

Santa always loves his flight over the stunning Lofoten Islands, with their spectacular views of the Northern Lights, midnight sun, quaint fishing villages under majestic mountains, deep fjords and beaches where some brave souls even go surfing. The largest Viking Age longhouse was discovered here and reconstructed as a living museum.

Best winter views – Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany

Santa can enjoy a nice bratwurst on a bun here. The Germans love their Christmas markets. One of the most fun to fly over is the Gendarmenmarkt, centrally located in Berlin, with its lights, skating rink, large crafts tents, culinary offerings and a varied entertainment program provided by jugglers, fire eaters, choirs, and jazz or gospel ensembles.

Best winter views – Advent Market, Vienna, Austria

Christmas markets in Vienna go way back to the Middle Ages when, in 1298, Albrecht I granted Vienna’s citizens the right to run a December “Krippenmarkt.” Today, more than 20 official Advent markets offer a huge variety of seasonal gifts, culinary temptations, international choirs singing carols, giant Christmas trees and much more.

Best winter views – Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich’s Old Town, the historical heart of the city, is not only picturesque but has one of the country’s most famous shopping miles and highest concentrations of nightclubs—in case Santa wants to get down. He just has to watch that he doesn’t get lost in the twisting narrow lanes and medieval homes of the area.

Best winter views – Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

In Paris, the illuminated Eiffel Tower presides over the city’s Christmas spirit, with area attractions such as a skating rink and special holiday markets, which offer a variety of decorative objects and produce. During Christmas, and all year round, the Tower puts on a sparkling, five-minute light show, with a multitude of glittering white lights, at the top of the hour.

Best winter views – Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Český Krumlov is a Czech city in southern Bohemia, dating back to the 13th century and boasting one of the largest castles in the country. The UNESCO Heritage Site draws crowds in the summer to enjoy its Renaissance and baroque architecture. In winter, though, blanketed with snow, it becomes a quieter, more enchanted place.

Best winter views – Katowice Christmas Fair, Poland

The industrial city (known for a while as Stalinogród) dating back to the 19th century offers a traditional Polish Christmas Fair with skating rink. To keep warm, Santa can have a liquid treat like mulled wine, hot beer and a variety of other spirits, or eat a hearty bowl of Hunter’s Stew (Bigos). Handmade toys, traditional ceramics and other goods are also on offer.

Best winter views – Kiev, Ukraine

As Santa flies over Kiev, the Olympic Stadium catches his eye—it’s the country’s largest stadium, holding more than 70,000 spectators to watch soccer played by the national team and Dynamo Kiev. The city is also home to a Christmas market, the gold-domed churches of Kyevo-Pecherska Lavra, and Maydan Nezalezhnosti, a square for socializing and social unrest.

Best winter views – St. Petersburg, Russia

If Santa were to fly over St. Petersburg on December 25, he would be disappointed. That’s just another working day in Russia. But he knows he has to fly back for Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 6, after the tremendous firework displays of New Year’s, when families enjoy a festive feast of 12 dishes commemorating the 12 apostles.

Best winter views – Hong Kong, China

In Hong Kong, it’s over-the-top Christmas lights, decorations and piped-in music as various malls try to outdo each other in festive spirit. Santa can also admire the giant Swarovski crystal tree in the city center and fireworks. Once his Christmas mission is done, the jolly fellow is advised to return here for an even bigger traditional family celebration—Chinese New Year.

Best winter views – Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, China

Frigid Harbin embraces its “Ice City” label with gusto. Every year it hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, the largest snow festival in the world. The Chinese event is spread on both sides of the Songhua River, which supplies giant blocks of ice used for the spectacular sculptures. The fireworks, however, do make reindeer nervous.

Best winter views – Nabana no Sato, Nagoya, Japan

Flying over Japan is particularly rewarding for Santa, since the country has taken to doing massive winter illuminations, typically displayed in November and December. One of the largest-scale displays, Nabana no Sato, near Nagoya, not only features a tunnel of light but the region’s cute Kumamon bear mascot.

Best winter views – Breckenridge, Colorado

As the oldest and largest town in Colorado’s Summit County, Breckenridge presents a warm, welcoming sight to incoming sleigh riders. The former mining town twinkles beneath the massive mountains, with more than 250 buildings on the National Historic Register. Breckenridge Ski Resort boasts four mountain peaks and 2,358 acres of skiing pleasure.

Best winter views – Park City, Utah

Park City is a family Christmas favorite, with the 13-foot-tall gingerbread house made with 11,000 cookies, the torchlight parade led by Santa down a mountain slope and its two resorts—Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort—as well as the Utah Olympic Park.

Best winter views – Chicago, Illinois

While some people fear Chicago winters, Christmas in the Windy City is always magical. Kris Kringle nods with approval as he flies over Christkindlmarket, the city’s largest open-air market; the Christmas tree in Millennium Park; holiday carolers at Cloud Gate; and the 50 acres of festive lights at Morton Arboretum’s huge tree-scape.

Best winter views – Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls always presents a riveting flyover show. The tremendous volume of falling water keeps the flows all year long. However, the tumbling water and resulting mist can produce ice formations along the banks, resulting in mounds of ice as thick as 50 feet. If the winter is severe enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form an “ice bridge.”

Best winter views – Rockefeller Center, New York City

New York always brags about having the biggest and best of everything. Certainly this must seem true with the enormous Christmas tree towering over skaters in Rockefeller Center. Up to 150 skaters can glide their way under the tree famously lit in November, with millions watching the live broadcast.

Best winter views – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Flying into Vancouver, British Columbia, Santa should start to get that Left Coast vibe, with the striking skyline framed by the mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean lapping on its other. Ski mountains within striking distance are hard to beat. Area attractions include a festival of lights, a Christmas market and skating.

Best winter views – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

The capital of the province of Quebec is a destination that will “sleigh” you with its picturesque Old Town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow, centuries-old cobblestone streets and soaring church spires. The city’s Quebec Winter Carnival is also one of the largest events of its kind, attracting thousands to enjoy a snow bath, night parades, ice sculptures and much more.

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