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A sunset cruise in Aruba.

Courtesy of Aruba Tourism

A sunset cruise in Aruba.

Amex names top 10 holiday hotspots

American Express names holiday destinations reachable by air or sea

Planning a holiday escape by sea or land? If you'd like to know how your destination stacks up among others in the world, check out this top 10 list from American Express Travel.

It shows the year-over-year increase in bookings for Q4 based on American Express Travel’s internal booking data for flights and analyzed by Amex travel experts.

Aruba, unaffected by September's Caribbean storms, beckons with its warm, crystal waters and Dutch vibe.
Courtesy of Aruba TourismAruba, unaffected by September's Caribbean storms, beckons with its warm, crystal waters and Dutch vibe.

Aruba

If you’re going on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean, you can't do much better than the adorable Dutch island of Aruba. I’ve been there during the holidays when Christmas trees are decorated and lights twinkle all over town. The island was unscathed by the recent hurricanes, and its white sand beaches are intact and waiting to welcome visitors. (Year over year increase in bookings: 31%)

 

El Tajo, the historic bridge in Ronda in Spain's province of Málaga.
Courtesy of Tourist Office of SpainEl Tajo, the historic bridge in Ronda in Spain's province of Málaga.

Malaga, Spain

Malaga, on Spain's southern coast (Costa del Sol), offers visitors a blend of Roman and Baroque architecture, rich Mediterranean cuisine and the famous Christmastime lights to add to the city’s romantic ambience. (Year over year increase in bookings: 164%)

 

The upper pool at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.
Paul VanDerWerf / Creative Commons BYThe upper pool at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon

Located near the border of Washington and Oregon, laid-back Portland continues to grow as a holiday tourist destination with its hip vibe, trendy craft beer scene and a lengthy list of Christmas parades, shows and a Holiday Express Train that will put every visitor in a festive mood. (Year over year increase in bookings: 31%)

 

A carriage ride in the evening in Montreal.
Stephan Poulin / Courtesy of Tourisme QuebecA carriage ride in the evening in Montreal.

Montreal

Montreal, a favorite destination of luxury ships from Seabourn and Crystal, among others, is famed for its magical ambience during the holidays, especially Christmas. It’s also celebrating its 375th birthday this year. If you're going on a cruise that lands here, you’ll see several Christmas parades and holiday-themed events. (Year over year increase in bookings: 59%)

 

A view of the Plaza de la República and the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, a national historic monument and icon of Argentina's capital.
Jesus Alexander Reyes Sánchez / Creative Commons BYA view of the Plaza de la República and the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, a national historic monument and icon of Argentina's capital.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Boasting rich architecture, creative energy and stylish citizens, Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires is a hot destination this holiday season, with travelers visiting to experience the Argentine Christmastime traditions – a unique blend between European and South American – all in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere's summer. (Year over year increase in bookings: 28%)

 

Alte Oper (Old Opera), a concert hall and former opera house in Frankfurt, Germany, was destroyed by bombs in 1944. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1981.
Stadtlichtpunkte / Creative Commons BY-NDAlte Oper (Old Opera), a concert hall and former opera house in Frankfurt, Germany, was destroyed by bombs in 1944. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1981.

Frankfurt, Germany

The 2,000-year-old metropolis of Frankfurt, Germany, is one of the most unique in Europe, with skyscrapers that sit next to historic Gothic buildings, an incredible beer scene and a world-famous Christmas market that boasts elaborate, creative stand decorations. A huge Christmas tree adds to the holiday spirit. (Year over year increase in bookings: 47%)

 

A tunnel of water as public art in Lima, Peru.
Dom Crossley / Creative Commons BYA tunnel of water as public art in Lima, Peru.

Lima, Peru

I’ve been to Peru's capital of Lima by ship and even overnighted and love this vibrant Spanish-style city with its unrivaled food scene that blends native Incan traditions, colonial cuisine and modern takes. Lima is steeped in a rich culture like no other. Travelers can immerse themselves in Peruvian holiday traditions such as La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)  and indulge in traditional Peruvian foods such as lechón and panetón. (Year over year increase in bookings: 23%)

Geneva, Switzerland

Bundle up around the fireplace with authentic fondue this winter in Geneva, Switzerland’s second-most populous city. A global center of finance and diplomacy, Geneva offers snow-capped mountains, vibrant green landscapes and traditional European Christmas markets for travelers to fully immerse themselves this holiday season. (Year over year increase in bookings: 60%)

Incheon, South Korea

A metropolis in the midst of a real estate revolution, and boundlessly optimistic despite the scary headlines of late, the South Korean port city of Incheon provides an untraditional yet unique holiday experience by blending Western Christmas traditions with the local Korean culture. Expect to find Christmas decorations and celebrations across the city during the holiday season. (Year over year increase in bookings: 87%)

Reno-Tahoe region of Nevada

OK, you won’t be going there by ship, but if you’re heading to Lake Tahoe or nearby Reno, Nev., this season, you'll find this area to be the perfect place for cozying up for the holidays. It's at the center of Nevada’s craft beer movement, boasting eclectic cafes and gastropubs throughout the midtown district, surrounded by stunning snow-topped Sierra mountains and some of the best skiing out West on Mt. Rose, Homewood, Diamond Peak and Squaw Valley. (Year over year increase in bookings: 78%) 

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday season!

Patti Pietschmann
I'm the LA Travel Diva and national cruise correspondent for Examiner.com and spend time cruising with first mate Richard, traveling the world, reviewing fine restaurants, going to plays, movies and events. It's the good life.

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