Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, ski slopes or Christmas markets, December is a great month to plan a gateway. As a Canadian who’s not particularly fond of winter, I am always in search for the best places to travel in December for warm weather. Since moving to Europe, Christmas markets have become the theme of our winter weekend escapes. Either way, the following talented travel writers share the best December destinations along with some winter vacation ideas to be enjoyed all over the world.
December is the perfect time to visit Thailand’s beach paradise. The rain is simmering down to a drizzle, the sun is out, and even though it’s a predominantly Buddhist country, you can feel the festive season approaching. While the crowds do start to amass, December is just before the tourist peak season. So the beaches are still somewhat open, unlike in January and February when you’ll see more flesh than sand.
The party atmosphere is in full swing with celebrations being frequently held throughout Phuket. The best New Year’s Eve festivities in Phuket are definitely at the beaches. You’ll find Patong to be the most frenzied, but also the best organized with music and fireworks. Still popular, but not as busy are Karon, Kata, Kamala and Bangtao beaches. For those who still want a beach vibe but in a classier setting, beach clubs are probably the next best thing. Top choices for beach clubs in Phuket include Catch Beach Club, Café Del Mar Phuket and Paradise Beach Club.
Those who have visited Phuket know how debaucherous the infamous Bangla road can get. Yet it turns up a notch on NYE. The vibe is one of rowdy exhilaration in the packed bars and crowded streets. And just off Bangla Road are the clubs. They will surely be pumping and energetic with dress themes and special guest DJs. Try out Seduction, Illuzion, or White Room. LGBT travellers will have a fantastic NYE experience at Paradise Plaza, the heart of gay-friendly nightlife in Patong. Recover the next day by hitting Phuket Old Town or one of the islands that are scattered around Phuket like Phi Phi, Similan, Racha or Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. Read More…
December is winter in Japan, but Osaka is excellent during that time! The city is fully decorated for Christmas and winter, with lights, Christmas trees, snowflakes, and it's stunning!
Most shops and restaurants (including malls) are also decorated, and many places have special events, such as mini-concerts, shows, and characters, all ready for the season. Some restaurants offer seasonal Christmas-y food, and they are beautiful and most delicious!
Last year, we were there in December, and there was an awesome snow globe festival, with many stalls lining streets and selling food and other goods with snow globe theme!
It's also low season, so if you wish to visit Universal Studios Japan with a minimum crowd, avoid the Christmas week and give it a try! We were able to ride every single ride, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
My favourite thing, though, is that during winter, the sun sets a lot earlier and at 5 pm it was already dark. We would go out for dinner just to see the city lit up and the sky as beautiful as it can be.
It's cold, yes, but it's an amazing time to be in Osaka, for sure! Read More…
The region of Interlaken is one of the most beautiful in the world. Its beauty is beyond breathtaking, and no words or pictures will ever do it justice.
Well, that is my opinion, but I am pretty sure it is THE opinion. There are many, many reasons to visit this area in Switzerland and if you are in Switzerland and skip this area...you definitely miss out!
The region of Interlaken and Jungfrau have some of the best ski resorts in the world. People who like the snow and winter sports activities will feel like they are in heaven.
Snow covers this gorgeous area and whether you go snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding or want to do any other winter sport - you can do it all.
For people who are not into winter sports (aka me) the beauty will still amaze you and taking a stroll around the cute towns and villages in the region of Interlaken will make your heart jump for joy. At least that is how I feel whenever I am in this beautiful region.
While the area is a bit pricey in December, it is still worth every penny. Read More…
Weather-wise, India can be tricky and Delhi, the capital, is no exception. The summer season, from April to June, is very hot and while you will find cheaper hotel deals, you are hardly going to enjoy the city. Similarly, the monsoon season, from July to September, is rainy and very humid. The extreme humidity, heat, and monsoon rains take away the pleasure of the trip. Plus, humidity combined with pollution makes it challenging for travellers to enjoy the city during the hot months, especially for individuals with respiratory issues.
The best time to visit Delhi starts in October, but in my opinion, December is the most pleasant month. The coldest month of the year in the Indian capital, while in some parts of India it snows and rains, in Delhi winter temperatures are quite mild with some dropping early morning and late evening/night. It barely rains, and the weather is nice enough to get out of the house with a pair of trousers, a shirt, and a very light jacket.
In December, you can enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a feast of fireworks, concerts and colourful Christmas markets all around the city.
Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is a beautiful city to visit in December. Yes, it will likely be quite cold, and it does get dark early, but Germans don’t let that prevent them from enjoying the city, and neither should you!
One of the best ways to enjoy Hamburg in December is by visiting a Christmas Market. You’ll find some of the best Christmas markets in Germany and Hamburg is home to a few. They’re open all day and well into the evening until Christmas, and I recommend visiting at both times. Browse the stands selling wooden Christmas ornaments, candy, and other goods. Then head over to the food booths for a Bratwurst or mushrooms sautéed in a giant frying pan. And, of course, try a glass of Glühwein! This hot mulled wine will warm you up on even the coldest Hamburg evening. Keep the mug its served in, and you have a cute Hamburg souvenir (you’ll pay a deposit on the mug when you buy your Glühwein; many people don’t return them).
Downtown Hamburg offers great window shopping any time of year, and of course, there are cozy cafes and Kneipen (bars) on every corner. Other indoor options: visit the Miniature Museum, the Elbphilharmonie (great city views), the International Maritime Museum, the U-434, a Russian espionage submarine turned year-round museum or one of Hamburg’s art museums.
If you have a day transit pass, you can enjoy a DIY city tour. Hop on the U3 at the Rathaus, and ride it towards Kellinghusenstrasse, then take the ferry 62 from Landungsbrücken to Finkenwerder and back, and serendipitously ride a few busses around town. Of course, you can also opt for the HOHO city bus and harbour tour. Or do as the Germans do and go for a beautiful long winter walk around the Alster (or on the Alster if it gets cold enough to freeze over) or along the Elbe river (take the S3 to Blankenese)! Read More…
The beautiful Austrian city of Innsbruck is one of the best places to visit in December. Surrounded by the Tyrolean Alps, Innsbruck boasts an idyllic location, and it really comes alive in the lead up to Christmas.
Christmas markets are in full swing in Innsbruck in December, and the city has a real fairytale-like atmosphere. Twinkling fairy lights decorate the streets, and a giant Christmas tree takes pride of place near the Old Town’s famous Golden Roof.
Bands play, temporary ice rinks are constructed, carol singers spread the festive cheer, and a vintage Christmas tram takes passengers for a ride around the beautifully decorated city streets.
A great way to soak up the festive spirit is to mingle with the locals at one of the markets. Here you can enjoy traditional Christmas treats like gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine – the perfect way to warm yourself from the chilly outdoor temperatures.
If you’re looking for something a little more active, the nearby mountain slopes are within easy reach. A funicular ride from the city centre can have you on the mountain in just 25 minutes! Skiers, snowboarders and freestylers are all well catered for.
Dreaming of the best place to visit in December for a wonderful pre-Christmas experience? Innsbruck is your answer. Read More…
Bratislava is a perfect place to visit in December. So many people flock to Vienna at Christmastime, and I admit that I did the same thing. However, one of the highlights of my time in Austria was getting out and taking a day trip to Bratislava.
It’s a great city to visit at Christmas, because, like most cities in Europe, it has a Christmas Market. However, unlike Vienna or other large cities, Bratislava’s Christmas Market is small and sweet, easy to navigate in one afternoon. You don’t have to fight crowds instead, you simply get to enjoy the season.
The weather in early December is cold, but it’s not too cold to make you have to stay indoors all day. I was able to enjoy the city’s free walking tour and appreciate the city’s gorgeous architecture. I also found the Slovakian cuisine to be the perfect winter food. Their national dish, Bryndzové Halušky, is made from potato noodles, cheese, and bacon. This is a dish that practically begs to be eaten after a long day exploring the city in the early winter cold. My only regret during my visit was that I only had the day. I would definitely put it on any list of places to visit in December since it’s an underrated Christmas Market that deserves more visitors.
I hope you enjoyed this list of best December destinations and got a few winter vacation ideas to help plan your next getaway!
I’d love to know about your favourite places to go in December! Are you a sun chaser or do you prefer sipping on mulled wine and singing Christmas carols? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
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