Best places to travel in December

The Top 10 Places to Travel in December

December may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s also the one with the most festive holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah! That means there are plenty of places to travel in December that will allow you to enjoy a long weekend or an entire week away during the winter season while still being able to celebrate and experience these holidays when they come around. If you’re looking to plan your best holiday vacation yet, this list of the top 10 places to travel in December can help! Read on to find out more about each destination and decide which one is right for you!

1) New Zealand
Known for its incredibly diverse landscapes, Auckland and Queenstown are two of New Zealand’s most desirable destinations. In addition to being filled with natural beauty and wildlife, both cities boast vibrant nightlife, a variety of cuisines, and plenty of things for travelers to see and do. A visit during summer is highly recommended—for those who can stand it. If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday destination or just want to escape from winter’s chill, these spots should be on your shortlist. Before booking a ticket, check out our travel guide for first-time visitors!

2) Portugal
When most people think of Christmas, they imagine snowfall and cold weather—not blistering sunshine and Portuguese villas. But Portugal’s temperatures are surprisingly mild during winter months, making it a popular travel destination for those looking to stay warm without sacrificing their tan. It’s also a great chance to learn about Christmas traditions abroad: Portuguese children enjoy gifts on Epiphany (January 6), while adults celebrate with elaborate dinners and family time on New Year’s Day. Porto, Lisbon and Vila Nova de Gaia have some of Europe’s best food cities, too; stop by Feitoria Foz or Mercado da Ribeira if you want an authentic taste of Portugal. Pack your bags now and plan an adventure that will last all year long!

3) Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is a diverse and stylish city, offering both cutting-edge technology and timeless traditions. The former capital of Japan is also home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in Asia. Although Tokyo’s weather isn’t particularly remarkable, its famed New Year’s festival, featuring fireworks and a massive temple fair on Sensoji Temple grounds, may entice you to visit during December. There are various other exciting festivals throughout Tokyo at different times of year—the most famous being March’s cherry blossom festival, which attracts hordes of tourists eager for beautiful hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnics beneath fluttering pink petals.

4) Spain
This country has so much going for it—from its beaches, mountains and blue skies to delicious food and wines, it’s no wonder that over 13 million tourists visit Spain each year. If you plan on traveling to Spain in December you’re in luck: The weather is still nice and mild (with an average temperature of 55°F) while most Spaniards have taken their annual vacations by now. Enjoy your trip!

5) Nepal
The mountainous beauty of Nepal is ideal for all seasons, but it’s especially great during wintertime. With its snow-covered mountains and glaciers, you can ski your heart out while still appreciating breathtaking views. If that doesn’t sound like your style, don’t worry: The weather allows for some great hiking opportunities as well. There are many hotels that have opened up here in recent years, so even if Nepal isn’t on your radar right now, now may be a good time to start considering it.

6) Iceland
It’s cold, but it’s Iceland; you’re probably used to that. Now that summer is over, what better way to stay warm than seeing all of Iceland’s beautiful sights? Especially its famous landmarks like Thingvellir National Park and Geysir geothermal area. If you’re planning a trip there soon, be sure your passport is up-to-date. As of 2016, Icelandic citizens can travel without a visa for 90 days—but if you’re not an Icelandic citizen, be sure to check out their website for more details about their entry requirements . Want proof? Here are some gorgeous photos from photographers who’ve been there: 15 Gorgeous Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Iceland .

7) Costa Rica
With its mild climate, year-round appeal, and lush rainforests, Costa Rica is a great destination for a December getaway. The last month of 2012 sees an average high temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius), which makes it warm enough to swim but not so hot that you’re stuck inside your hotel. The rainy season ends by October and doesn’t start again until mid-May, making winter one of the best times to visit Costa Rica. There are no tropical cyclones during that time either.

8) Thailand
Although Christmas time may not be quite as hot and humid as other months, there are still plenty of interesting things to see and do. The Yule Festival, which takes place on Dec. 15 at Sanam Luang, can be seen by tourists for a fee. Other festivals include Loy Krathong—which marks the end of Thailand’s rainy season and is celebrated with beautiful displays of handmade boats—and Bun Bang Fai, which takes place from Dec. 25-31 and features fireworks competitions. There are also New Year celebrations on Jan.

9) Australia
It may be winter in Australia, but that’s no reason to stay home. The country’s summer sports and outdoor activities are available year round, as are its fabulous festivals and pristine natural wonders. On top of that, Australia is home to some of the most luxurious hotels around—many with fireplaces for cozy nights by a crackling hearth. Even if it’s not summer Down Under, it still deserves a spot on your list of places to travel.

10) Croatia
Croatia is a destination that should be on every traveler’s wish list. You’ll find great places to stay and equally fantastic food, wine and people. With all four seasons represented year-round, you’ll discover green hills and forests in spring, blue skies and quiet beaches during summer, colorful foliage in fall, and snowy winters perfect for skiing or snowboarding. It has everything you could want from a winter getaway with plenty of affordable lodging options to choose from as well as its own style of luxury accommodation called agritourism. Plan your trip by checking out sites like Visit Croatia or reading travel guides that are written specifically for Croatia such as Moon Handbooks Croatia or Lonely Planet Guide: Croatia.

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Best places to travel in December

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