Wizards, sorcerers, princes and goblins. This maybe the stuff of fairy-tales but you can bring magic to life this Christmas! Visit a breath-taking wondrous destination and live out your own travel fantasy!
Whether it’s royal palaces, enchanted forests or a deep dark lagoon, traveling the world can make your festive season even more memorable. So grab your wand, mount your white horse and take a virtual journey through the Wonder List’s most magical places.
1 – Wizards’ Town, Ghent, Belgium
Once medieval Europe’s second largest city, over the past century this unsung treasure of a town has developed a strong artistic dent, and is now one of the best places in Europe for culture. There are many fantastic museums and galleries, and more listed buildings than any other Belgian city.
Ghent’s architecture is elegant and imposing, with the Graslei harbor, medieval cathedrals and the Gravensteen castle. The city centre of Ghent is the largest car-free area in Belgium. And when you soaked up enough architecture, there are many welcoming bars and cafes along the banks of the canal.
One of the great things about this city is that it’s managing to reinvent itself at the edges. Parts of the city centre are now awash with rib joints and places offering the waterzooi chicken soup – the famous local speciality that nobody actually makes at home – but young people are starting up new bars and clubs in outer neighbourhoods such as Sint-Amandsberg, Gentbrugge and Muide.
Ghent has retained its strong character, and a lot of the new spots are the same old places but with new, young owners.
2 – Prince Charming’s Castle, Switzerland
Gstaad must be the inspiration for snow globes, such is the perfection of this stunning Swiss alpine village, with its white-capped mountains, gingerbread ski chalets, charming cobblestone pedestrian town center replete with a central outdoor ice rink and immaculately groomed horse-drawn carriages.
Dotted about the village are top designer boutiques (think Chanel and Cartier), sparkly Swiss jewelers, contemporary art galleries and Michelin-star restaurants. No wonder Gstaad has charmed celebrities and royals from Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy to Prince Charles and Madonna, but this is not a place for posers and paparazzi as discretion is the theme in Gstaad, where the uber wealthy come to relax.
3 – Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
A romantic, evocative and historically significant ruined Castle, perched on a giant conglomorate on the edge of the North-Sea. Once seen – never forgotten.
Visit Dunnottar Castle for an unforgettable experience and discover the importance of Dunnottar – an impregnable fortress that holds many rich secrets of Scotland’s colourful past. The dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in the land.
William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II have graced the Castle with their presence. Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels, the ‘Honours of Scotland’, from destruction.