Where to Go in December
Winter is firmly underway now and you have two choices – escape it or embrace it. If you’ll be going in search of winter sun, you can’t go wrong with the laidback Caribbean island of Antigua or rugged mountains and rolling dunes of Oman. For those wanting to embrace the chill, our top picks are the winter wonderland of Swedish Lapland and the endless allure of the French Alps.
Below are our top picks for where to travel in December.
Choose a white-sand family Christmas
Relax into the slower-paced Caribbean lifestyle in Antigua, home to startling blue waters, picturesque coves and candy-coloured villages. But for us, it’s the island’s burgeoning foodie scene which is really putting Antigua on the map for luxury travellers. December in Antigua is a wonderful time to visit, when the island has been refreshed by the rains and the weather is dry and warm, without being too hot or humid. Direct flights from the UK and a lot of child-friendly resorts make it a popular choice for families looking to travel at Christmas.
Cooler temperatures but plenty of sun
From the wind-blown desert with its rolling dunes, to expansive mountain ranges dotted with traditional villages and golden swathes of beach on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is blessed with vast amounts of wide-open space. Whether you are in search of memorable family adventures or a romantic couple’s retreat, Oman has a humble charm, which gives it a unique edge quite unlike other Middle Eastern destinations. The winter months bring cooler, more manageable temperatures, but the sun is ever-present, making December in Oman a great time to explore. Pack extra layers as the mornings and evenings can get cold in the desert and mountains.
The ultimate festive escape
Welcome to Swedish Lapland, where reindeers roam the wilderness and people traverse the snow on husky-drawn sleds. Expect thick forests cloaked with snow, intercepted by thundering rivers and dotted with peaceful lakeside villages. Not to mention the utter magic of the Northern Lights, whose fleeting presence dances overhead like something out of a fairy tale. Plunge into nature in its purest form, where families can frolic to their hearts' content or adults can unwind and soak up the utter serenity. Never is this winter wonderland more enchanting than at Christmastime – so travel to Swedish Lapland in December for the ultimate festive escape.
Val d’Isère, France
Experience the charm of skiing at Christmas
There are few places we would rather spend the Christmas holidays than in the Alps. Imagine hitting the slopes in one of Europe's most iconic ski resorts, stopping up the mountain for a warming hot chocolate or steaming cup of vin chaud with a never-ending view. After an action-packed day, curl up in front of a roaring fire while looking out at the snow piled up outside your window. We love skiing at all times of year, but the French Alps have an extra sense of magic at Christmas.
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!
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.
Mafia Island, Tanzania
Snorkel with Whale Sharks
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.
New York, USA
This city transforms over Christmas
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.
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.