Best places to go on vacation in December

For many, December is a month we associate with snow and, if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you might be looking for where’s best to go for winter activities like sledding, snowshoeing or reindeer sleigh rides. Northern Europe will be enveloped in snow, but days are short and dark during the winter solstice. No problem if long nights spent watching for the Northern Lights, warm in a log cabin in Lapland, sound enticing. But if you want to see winter wildlife, you might try further south, where expedition cruises are now crossing the ice fields of Antarctica.

If the thought of icy landscapes leaves you cold, you don’t have to wait until spring for some sun. Good weather in December can be found in Asia and Central America, where the rainy season is ending and temperatures are pleasantly warm. Remember that December can be a busy time to go on vacation, especially over Christmas when, in some destinations especially, you’re likely to be competing with crowds. Prices can rise, and tour places sell out quickly. So if you’re looking to travel, make sure you book early.

Read our guide to the best places to travel in December to find out more.

December vacation activities

Northern Lights

Now is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights, when the nights are at their longest, giving you the most time to spot this elusive natural phenomenon. Of course, it’s not ideal for seeing the landscapes during the day – sunlight is minimal in December. This means you’ll have to make the most of the darkness with night-time husky safaris beneath the glittering, star-speckled skies.

Small ship cruises

Take a break from the usual Christmas madness and hope aboard an expedition cruise to the end of the world: Antarctica. This is not a vacation for the faint hearted; the environment is cold and harsh, and you’ll need a good level of fitness to enjoy the more challenging activities, but the rewards are the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife.

At the other end of the scale, you have blissfully relaxing, small ship sailing cruises in idyllic destinations like Myanmar. Many of the islands here are also untouched, and uninhabited, but sun, snorkelling and turtles take the place of ice and penguins.

Our top Best places to go in December Vacation

Amalfi Coast walking vacation, Italy

Amalfi Coast walking vacation, Italy

Walk in lemon groves and hillside villages

From US $1649 to US $1949 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 19 Dec
2021: 20 Feb, 6 Mar, 27 Mar, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 24 Apr, 8 May, 15 May, 22 May, 29 May, 5 Jun, 12 Jun, 19 Jun, 3 Jul, 10 Jul, 17 Jul, 24 Jul, 31 Jul, 7 Aug, 14 Aug, 21 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 11 Sep, 18 Sep, 25 Sep, 2 Oct, 9 Oct, 16 Oct, 23 Oct, 30 Oct, 6 Nov, 13 Nov, 20 Nov, 23 Dec, 30 Dec
2022: 12 Feb, 19 Feb, 26 Feb, 5 Mar, 12 Mar, 19 Mar, 26 Mar, 2 Apr, 9 Apr, 16 Apr, 23 Apr, 30 Apr, 7 May, 14 May ...
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Best places to go in December or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Husky safaris

A husky safari is an exciting way to see some of the world’s last true wildernesses in winter and, without the noise of snowmobiles, you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings without having much of an impact either. To give the dogs a break, most tours will also offer other activities too, such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Festivals

At this festive time of the year, you’ll find celebrations in many colourful forms. In Cuba, it’s all about feasting and fireworks; the Parrandas de Remedios parade on Christmas Eve is a wild, carnival-style street party, while New Year’s Eve is a time for families to get together.

Wildlife watching

Costa Rica’s rainy season is just coming to an end in December, and temperatures are starting to fall, making tropical wildlife easier to spot with forest walks through well-watered foliage. The window for wildlife watching is short at the very southern end of the world, but December sits right in the middle of it. You’ll catch the last of Antarctica’s seal breeding season but be right in time for the first penguin chicks, while whales are starting to arrive too.
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Paul Carroll] [Intro: Derek Oyen] [Northern Lights: 12019] [Husky safaris: skeeze] [Wildlife watching: FINTANOBRIEN]
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