Planning a pre-Christmas getaway? We’ve rounded up some of the best places to travel to in December to help get you inspired. Whether you’re looking to escape the winter blues with some far-off sunshine, or you want to indulge your Christmas spirit in a snowy locale, we have you covered with some wanderlust-inducing December holiday ideas.
Dates to be aware of:
Most schools in the UK break up for the Christmas holidays around the 23 December 2019, which can mean higher prices and busier resorts.
For Christmas Spirit:
Nothing will get you in the Christmas spirit faster than a traditional Christmas Market. One of the most popular destinations for them is Vienna. Throughout December, the city is taken over by festive villages, where you can sip mulled wine and browse local crafts among the stunning setting of one of Europe’s prettiest cities.
Another European Christmas destination is Bavaria, where the wintery woodland landscapes and picturesque villages look like something lifted straight from a Christmas card. Head to Nuremberg for their annual Christmas market, where a strict ban on modern and mass-produced goods means you’ll find nothing but traditional arts and crafts. Perfect for buying a few last-minute gifts.
Check out our post about the best Christmas Markets in Europe for more inspiration.
December is the perfect time of year for chasing that elusive light-show, the Aurora Borealis. Head into the Arctic Circle for the best chance to see it. While you’re there, indulge in a sleighride through Lapland and enjoy the idyllic winter landscapes. Or, you could simply rent a log cabin and stay home by the fire while the snow swirls outside! Just be sure to pack for some seriously cold weather.
For sleigh rides, make sure your travel insurance covers you for winter activities. You may need optional Winter Sports cover to include winter activities in your travel plans.
Kruger, South Africa
A traveller’s paradise all year-round, South Africa is just beginning its summertime in December so this is a perfect time to visit.
Kruger National Park is green and lush after the spring season, and the longer, warmer days make for excellent safari conditions. Over in Cape Town, December is also the season for the best views from the top of Table Mountain.
For Winter Sun:
If the long-haul flight doesn’t put you off, Melbourne is fantastic at this time of year. Temperatures hover at around 24°C, with cooling sea breezes making this a dreamy time to visit. The beaches along the famous Great Ocean Road come alive during December, or you can delve into the winelands of the nearby Yarra Valley.
Koh Lanta, Thailand
Krabi and the surrounding islands of Thailand’s Andaman Coast are the perfect winter escape; with dreamy temperatures and idyllic beaches. To avoid the backpacker hordes, head to Koh Lanta, which is more about fancy resorts than full moon parties. Alongside palm-lined white sandy beaches you’ll find plenty of fascinating Thai culture to discover, not to mention the incredible local cuisine.
Don’t fancy flying too far? The second-largest Canary Island is just a few hours’ flight from London, but has a very tempting average temperature of 20°C throughout winter. You’ll find gorgeous beaches across the island, from rugged coves to serene stretches of sand.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss the protected expanse of the Parque Rural de Betancuria for a glimpse of the local flora and fauna.
For Culture and Festivals:
In early December, the city of Lyon hosts the annual Fete des Lumieres (5-8 December 2019). Dating back from 1852, the festival has a beautiful origin story. The town was preparing to celebrate the installation of a statue of the Virgin Mary in a local chapel, when a violent storm cancelled the event. When it cleared, the residents all lit candles and lamps in their homes – giving birth to the festival of light. Today, over 70 light installations can be found across Lyon, washing the city with light and colour.