Where is the best place to vacation in December?
December is a month filled with festivities, a sense of closure, and the promise of a new beginning. For many, it is the ideal time to escape the daily grind and seek out new experiences, whether it’s basking in the sun, immersing in vibrant cultural celebrations, or exploring snow-laden landscapes.
So, where are the best places to vacation in December? Let’s journey across continents and climates to find the ideal December destinations.
- Bali, Indonesia
Why? December marks the onset of Bali’s rainy season, but don’t be discouraged. The rains are often brief and bring a lush, refreshed look to the landscapes. It’s less crowded, and the island’s temples, beaches, and rice terraces are more serene.
Highlight: The Ubud Traditional Art Market is a treasure trove for souvenirs.
Why? This paradise of over 1,000 islands offers crystal-clear waters, luxurious over-water bungalows, and world-class diving spots. December is dry and warm.
Highlight: Underwater dining at Ithaa, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant.
- Lapland, Finland
Why? The quintessential winter wonderland. Experience the ethereal Northern Lights, snow-covered forests, and husky-led sled rides.
Highlight: Visit Rovaniemi, the ‘official’ home of Santa Claus.
- Banff, Canada
Why? Nestled within the Canadian Rockies, Banff becomes a snowy playground in December. It’s a hub for winter sports enthusiasts, with skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating galore.
Highlight: Take a dip in the Banff Upper Hot Springs with snow all around you.
- Vienna, Austria
Why? Vienna’s Christmas markets are legendary. The city is adorned with festive decorations, and the air is filled with the aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
Highlight: The Schönbrunn Palace market with its baroque backdrop is a must-visit.
- Mexico City, Mexico
Why? The festive season is vibrant in Mexico City, with the celebration of Las Posadas. It’s a nine-night, city-wide party leading up to Christmas.
Highlight: Sample traditional ponche, a warm, fruit-based holiday drink.
- Patagonia, Argentina & Chile
Why? December is the start of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, making it the perfect time to explore Patagonia’s rugged landscapes.
Highlight: Trekking in Torres del Paine National Park.
- Queenstown, New Zealand
Why? Dubbed the ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown is perfect for adrenaline junkies. From bungee jumping to jet boating, there’s no shortage of thrills.
Highlight: Skydiving over the Remarkables mountain range.
- Reykjavik, Iceland
Why? Short days and long nights mean higher chances of witnessing the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. The geothermal pools and otherworldly landscapes add to its charm.
Highlight: The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, is perfect for relaxation.
Why? Escape the traditional and venture to Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot. December is the start of the wet season, which means fewer tourists and a landscape that’s coming to life.
Highlight: Explore the Avenue of the Baobabs, where these iconic trees create a surreal skyline.
Tips for December Travel
Budgeting: December can be peak travel time for many destinations due to the holidays. Plan and book in advance to secure better rates.
Weather: Always check the climatic conditions of your chosen destination. Pack accordingly, whether it’s swimwear or thermal layers.
Local Customs: If you’re traveling to a place with significant holiday celebrations, familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions.
December offers a plethora of travel experiences across the globe. Whether you’re chasing the sun or embracing the cold, immersing in cultural festivities, or seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures, the world is your oyster. Remember, the best place to vacation is not just about the destination but also about the memories you create. So pack your bags, set forth, and welcome the new year with a journey to remember.
Why? This Himalayan kingdom, known for its Gross National Happiness index, offers a unique blend of culture and natural beauty. December provides clear skies, offering spectacular views of snow-capped peaks.
Highlight: Visit the cliffside Tiger’s Nest Monastery, an iconic symbol of Bhutan.
- Faroe Islands, Denmark
Why? If you’re looking for solitude, this North Atlantic archipelago is an ideal choice. December is dark and dramatic, with wild seas and moody landscapes.
Highlight: Witness the traditional Faroese chain dance, especially around Christmas.
Why? An archipelago of 115 islands, Seychelles is a lesser-visited tropical paradise compared to Maldives. December is a warm month, suitable for beach relaxation and underwater exploration.
Highlight: Explore Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the rare Coco de Mer palm.
- Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Why? This UNESCO World Heritage site is an eco-friendly beach paradise with crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. Visits are restricted to preserve its pristine nature.
Highlight: Dive with sea turtles and spot spinner dolphins.
- Petra, Jordan
Why? The rose-red city, half as old as time. While Petra attracts tourists all year round, December offers cooler temperatures, making the exploration more comfortable.
Highlight: The Petra by Night experience, where the city is lit by thousands of candles.
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
Why? Home to the Angkor Wat temple complex, Siem Reap is a blend of historical magnificence and modern-day charm. December provides cooler and drier conditions, perfect for temple hopping.
Highlight: Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat – an ethereal experience.
- Tokyo, Japan
Why? December in Tokyo is illuminated. Literally. The city’s winter illuminations are world-famous, turning Tokyo into a glittering wonderland.
Highlight: The Shibuya Blue Cave illumination event, which lights up the streets in a mesmerizing shade of blue.
- Cape Town, South Africa
Why? This vibrant city is alive with art, music, and stunning landscapes. With December being a summer month in the Southern Hemisphere, Cape Town is perfect for both beachgoers and culture enthusiasts.
Highlight: Take a cable car ride up Table Mountain for panoramic views of the city.
Cultural Sensitivity: While visiting religious or historically significant sites, be aware of dress codes and etiquette.
Travel Insurance: Always ensure you have travel insurance, especially during peak times when delays or unexpected events might occur.
Local Celebrations: Engage in local holiday festivities. It offers deeper insight into a country’s traditions and is often a highlight for many travelers.
The magic of December is undeniable. Its universal appeal lies in the closing of one chapter and the anticipation of another. Whether it’s the soft glow of city lights in Tokyo, the surreal quietude of Bhutan’s monasteries, or the raw beauty of the Faroe Islands, each destination offers its unique blend of magic. Your perfect December destination is waiting. All you need is an open heart, a curious spirit, and a passion for discovery. Safe travels!