Monday, November 5th, 2012
To inspire you and help you discover the world in all its glory, we have scoured the globe to fashion a series of World’s Top lists.
This week, as the festive season draws closer and closer, we bring you our top five Christmas destinations.
Munich | Germany
Every November Munich transforms in to a winter wonderland. The historic city is strung with glittering lights, dotted with spectacular Christmas trees, and home to some of the world’s most magnificent Christmas markets – including the famous Christkindl Markt (in Marienplatz); a market that dates back to the 14th century, selling traditional and handmade Christmas gifts, stocking fillers, gingerbread and hot spiced wine. The city even features a fairytale-like Christmas Village, hosted in the Residenz courtyard.
Flights to Munich: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Munich, from Sydney and Melbourne.
Hotels in Munich: Our hotel partner, HotelClub offers great hotel deals in Munich.
Moscow | Russia
Moscow at Christmas time must be seen to be believed. Draped in snow and lights, the city turns into a charming fairyland, spilling with Christmas fairs, markets and winter sports – namely ice skating, sledding and skiing. While many Russians celebrate Christmas on 25 December, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates on 7 January, and rings in the New Year on 13 January, making the festive season a drawn-out splendid affair. Throughout the season Moscow enchants with horse-drawn carriage rides, ringing church bells and performances of Russian classic, The Nutcracker.
Flights to Moscow: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Moscow, from Sydney and Melbourne.
Hotels in Moscow: Our hotel partner, HotelClub offers great hotel deals in Moscow.
Dublin | Ireland
The Irish like to celebrate, and celebrate they do at Christmas time in Dublin. A city renowned for its high spirits, Dublin comes alive with seasonal cheer and a vibrant variety of merry events. In a tradition known as ‘The Big Switch On’ the city’s Mayor lights up the streets and a 15 metre high Christmas tree. The cobbled lanes of Smithfield fill with ice skaters. Kids post letters straight to Santa via special Santa post boxes. The famous Temple Bar fills with Christmas carols. While Dublin’s Docklands transform into the 12 Days of Christmas Market.
Flights to Dublin: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Dublin, from Sydney and Melbourne.
Hotels in Dublin: Our hotel partner, HotelClub offers great hotel deals in Dublin.
New York City | USA
Like a scene from a movie, New York provides a mesmerising backdrop for the festive season. Snow blankets the streets. Fifth Avenue is adorned with exquisite window displays. Ice skaters glide across the Central Park rink. Rockefeller Plaza glows with a thousand light, strung high from the city’s tallest Christmas tree. Carollers inundate the street singing yuletide favourites. And Radio City Music Hall comes alive with its annual Christmas Spectacular. Christmas in New York City is truly magical… the stuff dreams are made of.
Flights to New York City: Together with partner airlines Delta Air Lines and Virgin America, Virgin Australia operates flights to New York City, from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Hotels in New York City: Our hotel partner, HotelClub offers great hotel deals in New York City.
Sydney | Australia
Christmas in Sydney is a far cry from the northern Hemisphere’s winter setting. Christmas Eve is spent at the local pub or RSL. Temperatures reach 40°C. Santa arrives on a jet ski on Bondi Beach. Prawns are pealed and consumed by the kilogram. The barbecue is lit up for lunch. And the day is punctuated with an afternoon nap. While Christmas Day is anything but traditional, the traditions of Christmas aren’t overlooked. In the lead up to 25 December, carollers take to the parks, the streets are draped with lights and wreaths, and the department store windows are frosted with faux snow and decorations.
Flights to Sydney: Virgin Australia operates flights to Sydney direct from all Australian capital cities and most major regional ports, and from international destinations such as Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi, Nadi and Bali.
Hotels in Sydney: Our hotel partner, HotelClub offers great hotel deals in Sydney.
Friday, May 6th, 2011
Fly V Australia (along with our partner Etihad) and Russia in style!
With the Cold War ending some time ago, countries like Russia became available to those that wanted to explore a lesser travelled country. Now is a great time to start thinking about seeing sights such as The Kremlin, Red Square and the Lenin Mausoleum!
GUM at Red Square
Moscow’s best shopping:
Head to GUM at 3 Red Square for Moscow’s best (and most expensive) retail therapy. Burberry and Hermes grace its architecturally designed halls and the food market boasts something from every corner of the world.
If high-end fashion doesn’t appeal to you (or your budget), the building itself (once used by Stalin as the headquarters for his Five Year Plan) is steeped in history and incredibly beautiful. If visiting on a weekend, expect to see more than one bridal party stopping at the shopping mall for opulent wedding photos.
Moscow’s best historic site:
Directly opposite the GUM shopping precinct in the Red Square is Lenin’s Mausoleum. Made of polished black stone, be sure to check when this popular site is open -you can reduce your time spent queuing by arriving (really) early. Security guards patrol the lines so ensure you behave appropriately and leave bags and backpacks at home as you won’t be allowed to take them in. Once you make it through all the protocol (and it is worth it) you are ushered through in groups of 12 to 15 to view the body. Regardless of whether you have a firm grasp on Russia’s communist history, this is still a moving experience.
Moscow’s best gallery:
O2 Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton
The Tretyakov Gallery is dedicated to fine Russian art. With more than 150, 000 pieces featured in the collection, the paintings, sculptures and graphics depict more than nine centuries of Russian art history. Most of the exhibition includes English translations. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the gallery is located at 10 Lavrushkinsky Lane, metro station Tretyakovskaya.
Moscow’s best views:
The O2 Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton is the place to see and be seen. With sweeping views of the Red Square and beyond, this upmarket bar, come sushi restaurant and dance floor should be at the top of every visitors list. The lounge itself is a contemporary fusion of glass, cream leather, steal and wood with a few Faberge egg inspired chairs thrown in for good measure. Along with an extensive cocktail and champagne menu, it also serves Moscow’s best sushi and sashimi. In summer a sizzling grill serves succulent seafood and steak but don’t be fooled by the bbq. A relaxed rooftop lounge during the day – after dark you dress to impress. You can find the Ritz-Carlton at 3 Tverskaya Street.
Flights from Sydney to Moscow from $1885* – Available for a limited time only – visit the vaustralia.com website for more details