Top 10 places to go on vacation in December 2020

It doesn’t matter how you want to spend your December, whether it’s relaxing under sunny skies, discovering another culture or stepping into a magical snowscape, there’s a vacation to suit. Our most popular tours range from seeing the Northern Lights to, more unusually, spending time with tribes in Morocco. We’ve picked our top 10 December vacations, from dancing in Cuba to penguin-spotting cruises, to help you decide.

1. See the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights depends on clear skies, and there’s never a guarantee of good weather. But in December, when the nights are dark and very long, you’ve at least got time on your side. Northern Finland is a popular place to try and spot them, where Narnia-like landscapes make the few hours of daylight fantastic for snowshoe forest walks and exploring the fells by snowmobile.

Our top selling trip: Tailor made Northern Lights family vacation
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Northern Lights vacations
Read more:
Northern Lights travel guide and Finland family vacations guide

2. Spend Christmas in Cuba

2. Spend Christmas in Cuba Christmas is celebrated a little differently in Cuba – think delicious seafood and firework fiestas, rather than turkey and TV specials. If you’re looking for an alternative way to spend December, but still want to feel festive, come and enjoy Cuban hospitality with a stay at a family-run homestay – with a side order of colourful island culture and some exceptional rum cocktails.

Our top selling trip: Cuba cultural vacation
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Cuba vacations
Read more:
Cuba travel guide and Alternative Christmas in Cuba guide

3. Journey to the end of the world

If you’ve ever imagined yourself as an adventurer, it doesn’t get much more adventurous than this: crossing ice-packed oceans in search of penguins and seal pups on an expedition cruise in Antarctica. In December, the warmer weather (and lighter, longer days) have already melted enough ice for small ships to pass through and see the polar wildlife. Passengers can even embark on small sea kayaking and camping trips.

Our top selling trip: Antarctic Peninsula Cruise
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Antarctica vacations
Read more:
Antarctica travel guide and Expedition cruise guide

4. Dance away the December blues

Cuba is a fun-filled place to spend this time of the year – December is full of festivals, from fiery street parties to festive feasts. It’s cooler now, too, so what better way to experience the local culture than by dancing the nights away – with your own personal tutor to guide you. Live music and salsa beats will lift your spirits, and offer you an insight into Cuban life.

Our top selling trip: Cuba salsa dance vacation
See all our trips: Cuba vacations
Read more:
Dancing vacations guide and Cuba cultural vacations guide

5. A Finnish family vacation with Santa

Finnish Lapland is a magical December destination for a family vacation, and kids will love the winter scenery that looks like a scene straight from Frozen. Steer clear of the mass-market attractions with a tour that takes you on sleigh rides through quiet, snow-dusted forests and past herds of reindeer. What could beat a week spent sledding and cross-country skiing, followed by a family visit to see Santa?

Our top selling trip: Finland family multi activity vacation
See all our trips: Finland vacations
Read more:
Finland family travel guide and Winter multi activity guide

6. Set sail for Myanmar

Dry December is the best time to sail around the many beautiful islands of Myanmar’s remote Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago, stopping for snorkelling and exploring the coast. There are around 800 islands here, largely uninhabited and carpeted with lush foliage. Barely touched by tourism, the beaches here seem frozen in time, and are populated by the Moken, a nomadic seafaring community.

Our top selling trip: Myanmar (Burma) sailing vacation
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Myanmar vacations
Read more:
Myanmar travel guide and Myanmar small ship cruising guide

7. Discover a different culture

First time travelers to Morocco might find the country’s famous souks and tiny medina streets overwhelming – it’s hard to know where to look first. But a tour that takes you out of the most visited cities is the best way to get a real feel for the local culture. Cold December weather is often preferred for trekking in the Atlas Mountains, where you can keep warm in traditional Berber tents.

Our top selling trip: Morocco cultural tour
See all our trips:
Morocco vacations
Read more:
Morocco travel guide and Morocco culture guide

8. Take a walk on the wild side

Tours often start in San Jose, so you can sample some of the city life, but Costa Rica’s main attraction? Its animal inhabitants, which are easier to see in December when the rainy season ends. Take a boat trip through Tortuguero National Park, named after its resident green sea turtles, or try a canopy walk through the cloud forests; you’ll be above branches festooned with orchids and bromeliads – face to face with monkeys and colourful birds.

Our top selling trip: Costa Rica highlights vacation
See all our trips: Costa Rica vacations
Read more:
Costa Rica travel guide and Costa Rica wildlife guide

9. Speed through the snow on a husky safari

In your cosy forest cabin, you can curl up in comfort by a roaring log fire and listen to the sounds of the wild all around you. During the daylight hours, however, your vacation will pick up the pace, as you race through the trees on a husky safari. The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down – dark December means moonlit safaris through the silent night.

Our top selling trip: Husky safari vacation in Lapland
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Husky safari vacations
Read more: Husky safari vacations guide and Multi activity vacations guide

10. Visit an ethical elephant sanctuary

Two weeks in Thailand is sure to cure any of the seasonal restlessness that comes with spending a winter indoors. It’s the ideal December destination if you’re craving some winter sun, but want much more than just your average beach vacation. White sands aside, a tailor made tour of Thailand could include a taste of city life, adventurous activities and wonderful wildlife.

Our top selling trip: Thailand tailor made vacation
See all our trips:
Thailand vacations
Read more:
Thailand travel guide and Asia travel guide
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Paul Carroll] [See the Northern Lights: Pexels] [Dance away the December blues: Caledonia Worldwide] [Discover a different culture: Steven Hylands] [Visit an ethical elephant sanctuary: Christian Haugen]
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