December is the perfect time to travel, whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland or a sunny escape. With so many amazing places to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to go. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the 15 best places to travel in December, and help you decide which one is the best holiday destination for you. From big cities to pristine beaches, there’s something for everyone on this list.
So get ready to pack your bags and start dreaming of your next winter getaway!
New York City, USA
New York City comes alive with festive spirit in December, with twinkling lights and holiday decorations adorning the city’s streets and landmarks. Iconic experiences include ice skating at Rockefeller Center, sipping hot cocoa in Central Park, and witnessing the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Explore the enchanting holiday markets at Bryant Park or Union Square for unique gifts and delicious treats.
Nearby cities offer their own holiday charm: Boston’s historic sites and Philadelphia’s Christmas markets are just a short road trip away!
London transforms into a magical wonderland in December, with twinkling lights adorning its historic streets. Visit Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park for ice skating, delicious treats, and Christmas markets. Explore Buckingham Palace’s holiday decorations and marvel at the iconic Tower Bridge and Big Ben illuminated at night.
Take a delightful day trip to Oxford, where you can explore the world-famous university, stroll through charming streets, and visit quaint bookshops. Bath, another picturesque option, welcomes you with its Roman baths and stunning Georgian architecture, all adorned for the holiday season.
In December, the City of Lights transforms into a winter wonderland, with the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées dazzling in festive lights. Savor hot chocolate and pastries at a charming café, or explore world-class museums like the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, which takes on an ethereal beauty during the holiday season.
Venture to Strasbourg, known as the “Capital of Christmas,” for its enchanting Christmas markets offering handmade crafts, delicious treats, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Alternatively, visit the medieval town of Bruges, Belgium, where you can stroll along picturesque canals, sample exquisite chocolates, and soak in the charm of its historic architecture.
Rome in December is a delightful mix of ancient charm and festive cheer. The Eternal City takes on a special allure during the holiday season, with its historic landmarks beautifully illuminated, and the aroma of Italian cuisine filling the air. Explore the Colosseum and the Roman Forum while avoiding the summer crowds. The Vatican City is a must-visit, where you can admire the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at the intricate nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square.
Explore nearby cities by car: Tivoli, home to the breathtaking Villa d’Este with its stunning terraced gardens and mesmerizing fountains. Alternatively, venture to Florence, a city of art and culture, where you can visit the renowned Uffizi Gallery and immerse yourself in Renaissance history. The picturesque Amalfi Coast, with its stunning cliffs and charming villages, is just a few hours away.
Barcelona’s festive spirit shines as brightly as ever in December. Start your journey with a visit to the mesmerizing Sagrada Familia, where the stunning architecture and holiday decorations create an enchanting atmosphere. Wander through the charming Gothic Quarter and enjoy the twinkling lights that adorn the narrow streets.
Take a fantastic day trip by car to Girona, a picturesque town with well-preserved medieval walls, colorful houses, and a delightful Christmas market. Alternatively, explore Tarragona, known for its ancient Roman ruins and beautiful coastline, where you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach and savor fresh seafood.
For a taste of Catalonia’s rich culture, drive to Montserrat, a stunning mountain range with a breathtaking monastery perched atop rugged peaks. The views are simply awe-inspiring, and you can also enjoy a performance by the renowned Montserrat Boys’ Choir.
Amsterdam’s picturesque canals and historic architecture take on a magical quality when adorned with twinkling lights and decorations. Begin your Amsterdam adventure with a visit to the world-famous Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum, where you can marvel at priceless art in a cozy, intimate setting.
Don’t miss the charming Christmas markets in Dam Square and Museumplein, where you can shop for unique gifts and savor Dutch treats like oliebollen and stroopwafels. Ice skating at the iconic Museumplein rink is a must for a quintessential winter experience.
The city’s central location in Europe makes it an ideal starting point for incredible road trips to nearby cities. Just a short drive away, you’ll find Utrecht, a charming city known for its historic canals, unique boutiques, and delightful cafés. Rotterdam, with its modern architecture and vibrant cultural scene, is also a short car ride away and offers a captivating contrast to Amsterdam’s old-world charm.
Berlin comes alive with festive spirit in December, blending its rich history with a warm and welcoming holiday atmosphere. Visit the iconic Brandenburg Gate, adorned with twinkling lights and holiday decorations. Stroll through the famous Christmas markets, such as the one at Gendarmenmarkt, where you can savor traditional treats like bratwurst and glühwein while shopping for handmade gifts.
Also, you can venture to nearby cities for even more festive fun, such as Dresden, home to the Striezelmarkt, one of the oldest and most charming Christmas markets in Germany; and Leipzig, famous for its musical heritage, vibrant arts scene, and delightful Christmas markets.
Dubai in December is a wonderland, with its futuristic skyline adorned in stunning lights and iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa transformed into dazzling masterpieces. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at the Dubai Mall, where you can shop for high-end gifts, admire the breathtaking Christmas tree, and even hit the indoor ski slopes! The Miracle Garden also transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, offering a whimsical escape.
Take advantage of Dubai’s central location for fantastic day trips to nearby cities by car. Drive to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and marvel at the grandeur of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. Explore the rich culture and history of the city, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the historic Qasr Al Hosn. For a taste of desert adventure, venture to the beautiful Al Ain Oasis, known for its lush palm groves and ancient forts.
Tokyo in December is a captivating blend of tradition and modernity, offering a unique holiday experience. The bustling metropolis takes on a warm and festive vibe, with dazzling lights and decorations in Shibuya and Ginza. Shop for exquisite gifts and savor delicious street food, or visit the iconic Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea for enchanting parades and breathtaking light displays.
Tokyo’s strategic location allows for amazing day trips to nearby cities by car or train. Consider a journey to Nikko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its breathtaking natural beauty and historic temples and shrines. The vibrant city of Yokohama is also a short ride away, offering stunning waterfront views, captivating museums, and delightful Christmas markets.
For a more tranquil experience, visit Hakone, a picturesque city with hot springs, stunning views of Mount Fuji, and a serene atmosphere.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul in December is a captivating blend of tradition, modernity, and holiday cheer. Explore enchanting palaces illuminated for the season such as Gyeongbokgung, savor street food at bustling markets like Myeongdong, and take in a traditional performance at the Namsangol Hanok Village. Don’t miss the dazzling light displays at the Cheonggyecheon Stream and Seoul Lantern Festival.
Seoul’s central location offers fantastic day trips to nearby cities by car or train. Visit Suwon’s UNESCO-listed Hwaseong Fortress for stunning lighting displays, Gyeongju’s ancient temples and burial mounds, or Pyeongchang’s winter landscapes and ski resorts.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio in December is a vibrant, sun-kissed paradise with warm weather and a festive atmosphere. Start your adventure with breathtaking views from Christ the Redeemer. Experience lively beach parties and music at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, and dance to samba rhythms in Lapa’s nightlife.
For fantastic day trips, head to Buzios for pristine beaches and relaxed vibes, or explore Paraty’s historic cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and lush green mountains. For nature enthusiasts, Ilha Grande is a must-visit, with crystal-clear waters, pristine rainforests, and hiking trails leading to hidden waterfalls.
Sydney in December is a sun-seeker’s paradise, with warm weather, blue skies, and laid-back beach culture. Soak up the sun at Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, and enjoy the festive spirit with stunning Christmas lights and decorations adorning the city’s landmarks like Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. For a magical experience, take a Christmas lights cruise on the harbor.
Sydney’s strategic location offers fantastic day trips to nearby cities and natural wonders. Drive to the Blue Mountains for lush rainforests, hiking trails, and panoramic views. For a coastal escape, head to the Central Coast for pristine beaches, seaside towns, and abundant wildlife.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este in December is a hidden gem for a holiday escape, with pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and a relaxed atmosphere. Unwind and soak up the sun at breathtaking beaches like Playa Brava and Playa Mansa. Enjoy the festive spirit with outdoor markets, live music, and vibrant street art. Be sure to visit the iconic sculpture “La Mano” on Playa Brava, and “Casa Pueblo”, , an architectural masterpiece and former home of artist Carlos Páez Vilaró.
Take a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site with cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and a romantic riverside promenade. For a taste of the countryside, venture to the wine region of Canelones, known for its vineyards and picturesque landscapes. If you’re a nature enthusiast, a trip to Cabo Polonio National Park is a must. This pristine coastal park offers unique flora and fauna, sand dunes, lighthouses, and the natural beauty of Uruguay’s coastline.
Cancun is a tropical paradise with warm weather and a festive atmosphere in December. Sink your toes into the soft sands of Playa Delfines or Playa Norte, and snorkel or scuba dive in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Sample the local cuisine, from fresh ceviche to delicious tacos. Cancun’s festive spirit comes alive with holiday decorations, lively mariachi bands, and vibrant markets.
Take a day trip to Tulum, a coastal town with ancient Mayan ruins perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Explore the ruins, swim in cenotes, and soak up the Mayan culture. For an adventure into nature, visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site with diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, wetlands, and lush jungles. Go birdwatching, kayaking, or wildlife spotting.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana in December is dreamy with warm, sunny weather and pristine beaches. Enjoy the golden sands of Bavaro Beach or Playa Macao, and soak up the tropical sun and swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters.
The Dominican Republic’s lively and friendly atmosphere is perfectly complemented by its vibrant holiday spirit. Festive decorations adorn the resorts, and you’ll often hear the joyful sounds of merengue and bachata music drifting through the air. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Dominican dishes like mofongo and sancocho at local restaurants or indulge in fresh seafood by the sea.
Frequently asked questions
What are the best places to travel in December for warm weather?
If you’re seeking warm weather destinations in December, consider the tropical paradises of the Caribbean, such as Punta Cana, or the picturesque beaches of Punta del Este in Uruguay for a South American escape. Alternatively, head to the blissful shores of Punta Mita in Mexico, or explore the sunny coastal towns of Australia, like Sydney or the Great Barrier Reef region.
The Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa, also offer pleasant temperatures and sunshine during this time of year, making them a fantastic warm weather option in December.
What are the best places to travel in December on a budget?
If you’re looking to travel on a budget in December, consider destinations like Budapest, Hungary, known for its stunning architecture and affordable prices. Prague, in the Czech Republic, offers a magical winter atmosphere with reasonable costs.
In Asia, Vietnam is a budget-friendly gem, with delicious street food and affordable accommodations. Mexico’s Playa del Carmen offers a mix of culture, beaches, and budget-friendly options. And don’t forget about the charm of Lisbon, Portugal, where you can explore historic neighborhoods and enjoy delicious cuisine without breaking the bank. These destinations provide an excellent combination of affordability and memorable experiences for budget-conscious travelers.
What is the best place to visit in December with the family?
For a family-friendly December getaway, it’s hard to beat the enchantment of Orlando, Florida. Known as the theme park capital of the world, Orlando offers a multitude of attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and LEGOLAND Florida Resort, all decked out in festive holiday decor.
These parks provide magical experiences for all ages, from meeting beloved characters to enjoying thrilling rides. Plus, the pleasant Florida weather makes it ideal for outdoor activities. Beyond the theme parks, Orlando boasts family-friendly shows, entertainment, and a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget, making it a top choice for a memorable family vacation in December.