December finally brings the beginning of the ski season in Europe. And with fewer crowds and off-peak prices, it can be a great time to go skiing. Alternatively, if you’re keen to get some winter sun before the festive season, or you fancy spending Christmas somewhere exotic, there’s a huge choice of destinations that are fabulous in December.
You could opt for hot, white sand and deep azure lagoons in Thailand, or sailing in the Caribbean. The wintry beauty of Finnish Lapland is wonderful too, as are many parts of Australasia. Or, you could go in completely the opposite weather direction, to the ends of the earth and an ice-white oblivion that’s both spectacular and unique: Antarctica. Christmas and New Year could be unlike any you’ve experienced before!
Sunny & perfect for families
An eclectic mix of legendary white sand beaches, warm people, gilded temples, chaotic cities and deliciously fresh Thai food. Thailand is famed for its beaches and with good reason; the east and west coast are lined with perfect white sands and there is some of the best scuba diving in the world. If you're looking for a sunnier place to spend Christmas, this destination ticks all the boxes!
Vibrant culture & mouth-watering cuisine
Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos...It's so hard to choose which is the prettiest at this time of year so why not visit all 3? Indochina is an enticing mix of fascinating history, mouth-watering cuisine and jaw-dropping scenery. From colonial boltholes in historic cities to elegant retreats in rural hideaways, from crumbling tea shops to shimmering golden temples, this is a trip of contrasts and this is the time of year to experience it.
Feels like spring but with excellent New Year Celebrations
Escape the winter chill with a trip Down Under; witnessing one of the world's most famous New Year's Eve firework displays is an added bonus. Our winter is Australia’s summer so visiting Australia is generally best between September and April, particularly when visiting the South. For those who are tight on time, or in need of some relaxation, we recommend just sticking with Sydney, The Blue Mountains, Uluru and if you want to unwind some time on The Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands or on Byron Bay.
Snorkel with Whale Sharks
Mafia Island, Tanzania
Tanzania is a firm favourite among first-time visitors and safari veterans alike. This is the Africa of your dreams where lions prowl the Serengeti and giraffes pop out from behind the trees. And yet Mafia Island remains a hidden gem; despite having the look and feel of any other Indian Ocean island, albeit a little more rugged. This is an island that really encourages you to hop in a boat and explore its offshore islands, stopping for refreshment in their sandy bars; this is a beach destination for the adventurous traveller. December brings whale sharks to mafia's sparkling coasts so you can snorkel with these gentle giants.
Meet Father Christmas!
Experience the magic of Finnish Lapland blanketed in snow. This winter wonderland looks straight out of a postcard, complete with lodge cabins overlooking the sea and the Northern Lights dancing above. Lapland is the ultimate winter paradise for families and couples alike, especially at Christmas. Come face to face with Father Christmas, delve into the icy wilderness on a snowmobile and get to know some seriously friendly huskies...this is the Christmas of your dreams.
This city transforms over Christmas
New York, USA
Explore the magic of New York over Christmas when snowflakes are projected onto towering skyscrapers, fairy-lights wind up icy trees and roasted chestnuts are sold on street corners. December sees New York's iconic landmarks transformed, making them all the more impressive. So jet out to New York, go ice-skating in Rockefeller Center where the city's show-stopping Christmas tree towers above you and see the new year in style in Times Square.
Snowy mountains are a magical place to spend Christmas
Val d’Isère, France
Imagine hitting the slopes in one of Europe's most iconic ski resorts, heading up the mountain for a steaming cup of vin chaud with a never-ending view then curling up in front of a roaring fire and watching the snow pile up outside your window…the Alps are a magical place to spend Christmas. If you are hitting the slopes with children we have a Scott Dunn Explorers kids' club in Val d'Isere so parents can enjoy some time off on holiday too.
Swap winter chills for a hot & sunny destination
December is the time to explore the best of sunny South Africa. This is the opportune moment to visit its vibrant capital, Cape Town, which has something for everyone: beaches, fabulous restaurants and inspiring views from the top of Table Mountain. If you need any more of an excuse to visit, it’s wine crushing time in Franschhoek; so head to the winelands for lazy days sipping wine and indulging in stunning food.
Try & spy the Northern Lights
December in Iceland isn't as cold as you might think - temperatures rarely dip below 0 degrees - yet, people don't seem to realise as you will find that this country's otherworldly landscapes are relatively under-crowded. And then there's New Year's Eve, Icelanders celebrate with fireworks and parties long into the night and at this time of year, there is a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
A great time to visit the Caribbean
Rainforests, plunging gorges and dormant volcanoes make Grenada a strikingly beautiful island and with plenty of unspoilt beaches to discover. But the real magic of Grenada is that it hasn’t sold its soul to tourism, yes there are visitors but it still feels authentic. End the year on a high, relaxing on un-crowded beaches where the diving is nothing short of excellent and exploring the beauty of the spice island.