10 places to avoid Christmas

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Anna Pollitt
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We wish you a merry…oh, forget it. Want to escape the festive overload? You're going to have to travel.

Here are 10 destinations where you can successfully swerve Santa.

Images: Rex Features

  • Luang Prabang, Laos

    For a truly festive-free zone, head to the northernmost area of communist Laos to explore the breathtaking scenery. Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you'll find luxury retreats, such as boutique hotel Satri House (pictured), set among golden-tipped temples and misty mountains.

  • Atlas Mountains, Morocco

    This Christmas, many of us will pay through the nose for a long, cramped rail journey, on which we're forced to sit on our luggage outside the toilets. Yes unnamed train provider, you know who you are. Instead, why not spend a few hours flying to Morocco to trek up the remote and beautiful Atlas Mountains (pictured), camel-trek through the Erg Chebbi dunes in the Sahara Desert, or barter for bargains in the markets of Marrakech? You can always get the Queen's speech on catch-up.

  • Istanbul, Turkey

    Skip the highs and lows of December 25 and head straight for the New Year's Eve party in Istanbul, where late December is all about preparing to welcome January. Take a cruise along the beautiful Bosphorus, enjoy an abundance of boutique local restaurants and authentic street food, and soak up the ancient treasures of the Old City. The world-leading Hagia Sophia museum is a must-see wonder.

  • Northern India

    Hate Santa and willing to travel? You could do certainly do worse than North India. Tourist-friendly Golden Triangle tours take in the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra, the vibrant cities of Delhi and Jaipur, as well as a smattering of serene medieval villages. Trips can be completed in four or five days, leaving time to make it back for the best of the January sales.

  • Algeria, North Africa

    With a majority Muslim population, Algeria is by and large, Christmas-free. Around five and a half hours from the UK by plane, it is a country rich in both natural beauty and fascinating history, with a visit to Timgad, aka the "Pompeii of Africa", arguably a more exciting option than the festive edition of All Star Family Fortunes.

    The FCO currently advises tourists not to drive around Algeria at night and to stick to coastal areas. It advises against venturing into the border regions.

  • Krabi Island, Thailand

    Blow the Christmas budget on boutique luxury in Thailand. December is one of the best times of year to visit, and the stunning province of Krabi has 150 kilometres of beautiful beach to enjoy. Whether it's basking in the sun on a swaying hammock, or taking advantage of the clear blue waters with snorkeling or scuba diving, it's a magnificent way to enjoy an un-traditional Noel.

  • St Petersburg, Russia

    If you'd like a snowy December without all the festive trimmings, head to St Petersburg, where Christmas falls on 7 January. Spend the 25th taking in its world-famous attractions, including the Hermitage, Winter Palace and St Isaac's Cathedral, to name but a few.

  • Kyoto, Japan

    Couples who dream of a romantic getaway without the Christmas fuss should head to the beautiful Japanese city of Kyoto for December 24 - which is considered the biggest date night of the year. On the 25th, browse the shops, eat out or head to the picturesque golden Zen Buddhist Kinkaku-ji temple (pictured), in the north of the city.

  • Lanzarote, Canary Islands

    Okay, you won't escape Christmas entirely in Lanzarote - this is a majority Catholic island after all - but you can swap a grey and damp Yuletide in Britain for a hot beach, cool cocktails and delicious seafood, without leaving Europe. As well as its natural beauty, visitors can appreciate the stylish aesthetic of the island's visionary son César Manrique, the influential architect who managed to stave off an influx of high-rise apartments.

  • Motuo, China

    If you're willing to go to extreme measures to cut yourself off from Christmassy goings-on, try Motuo, one of the remotest and most mysterious areas of Communist China. It's accessible only on foot, via 100-metre high suspension cable. But once you get there the locals are unlikely to even know what Christmas is.

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.