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December holidays: The best winter sun destinations

December may be the last month of the calendar year, but it's certainly not last when it comes to finding fantastic travel deals. No matter which type of holiday you're looking for, whether it's a warm-weather beach holiday or a cosy city break somewhere in Europe, your December break is bound to be a memorable one.

And, despite it being a pretty chilly month here in the UK, there are so many great travel destinations to choose from too. December happens to be an ideal time to take a family ski holiday to snowy Switzerland or a sunny escape to places like Majorca or Thailand.

Not sure where you'd like to go yet? Check out our cheap December holiday deals and our recommendations below for more inspiration. You can also take a look at our travel calendar for the best destinations for every month of the year.

The best warm-weather destinations in December

Can't think of anything better than escaping the cold and wet weather of the UK in December? Thankfully, there are many places that are much warmer at this time of year. So, put away those fluffy slippers and hot chocolate and get out those sunglasses instead.

Winter sun holidays are extremely popular in December and you don't always need to travel far away to get some warmth and sunshine. Although you may be tempted to hop on a plane to places in Asia or South America, you can also find warm spots in Europe.

Here are some of our favourite warm-weather destinations for December.

1. Cancun

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 25°C

Located on the east coast of Mexico, Cancun is closer to the Caribbean, which means it enjoys a tropical climate. December is a great time to visit; while the temperature is cooler than other times of the year, you can still experience highs of 30°C. Although you can get some rainfall in December, it's likely to pass as quickly as it arrives.

Apart from offering some truly stunning beaches, Cancun is also a great place to partake in some watersports, including snorkelling and scuba diving.

2. Barbados

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 27°C

When looking for warm places to go to in December, we'd be completely remiss if we didn't include the Caribbean. Barbados is one of our favourite Caribbean spots for some winter sun.

While temperatures can reach highs of 29°C, it's not as humid as other months of the year. And there are plenty of things to do in Barbados, so expect to have an action-packed trip. Some of the most popular experiences include cave tours, glass-bottomed boat cruises and rum tasting.

3. Cape Verde

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 24°C

Lying off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde is made up of a group of 10 volcanic islands that offer warm temperatures throughout December. While a summer holiday in Cape Verde can get way too hot for some, a trip in December features much more pleasant weather, which means you can make the most of your time there.

Although it can get humid, you can always take a dip in the sea to cool down. Some popular things to do in Cape Verde are sailing trips and turtle spotting.

4. Cape Town

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 25°C

You can't ever go wrong with a trip to South Africa, but this is especially the case when Cape Town's summer is in full swing! Temperatures can reach highs of 29°C in December, along with a whopping 11 hours of sunshine most days.

Live the good life and head off to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek to sample wines at some of the country's most beautiful vineyards. You should also check out spots like Boulders Beach, which is home to African penguins, and the V&A Waterfront for some retail therapy and tours to Robben Island.

5. Dominican Republic

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 26°C

December is a great time to visit the Dominican Republic as it's a little cooler and less humid than during the balmy summer months. If you're planning to visit Punta Cana, a beautiful region that overlooks the Caribbean Sea, you can expect average temperatures of 26°C in December.

This means that you can spend most of your December holiday at the beach or swimming in the sea. However, it's worth keeping in mind that the Dominican Republic's peak season officially starts in December, so you'll want to book ahead or get an early bird deal for the best prices.

6. Sydney, Australia

🌡️ Average temperature in December: 22°C

If you're happy to fly long haul, why not soak up the sun Down Under? There are many fantastic destinations to discover in Australia, but Sydney is one of the most popular. December is the beginning of Australia's summer, which means you'll get to see Sydney at its absolute best.

Temperatures can reach highs of 26°C, giving you the perfect conditions to enjoy the city's famous sights, like Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Taronga Zoo. It's even warm enough to check out the region's gorgeous beaches and try your hand at surfing.

Bucket-list December destinations

If you want to big this December and splash out on a bucket-list holiday, then we've got the ideal destination for every type of holiday. Whether that's the ultimate beach escape somewhere tropical or an over-the-top festive holiday to Europe's best Christmas markets - you can really find something special to round off the year in style.

And here are just four places that would make your December holiday an unforgettable one. Get ready to chill out on the beaches of Thailand, browse for gifts at Berlin's Christmas markets, go all out in Montevideo or head over to Livigno for a chance to bust out your snowboard or skis.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin may have notoriously harsh winters, but the Christmas holiday time cheer and cosy indoor spots make it a great place to spend time in December. Bundle up in plenty of layers and venture out to one of the many Christmas markets located here. Enjoy wintry treats like a steaming mug of mulled wine or Kaiserschmarrn, a type of German shredded pancake that's smothered in compote and sugar.

After a brisk walk by the old graffitied border walls of the East Side Gallery, shed your coat (and the rest of your layers) and pop into one of the city's many saunas to warm up like a local.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Take advantage of the reversed seasons and enjoy a toasty summer in South America in the middle of December. Montevideo happens to be an excellent choice for a long-haul city break.

Walk through the pastel streets of the Old Town, eat a choripan at the indoor market and sip mate on a beach. A trip here combines the best of both worlds, where you'll get a beach holiday and activity-filled city break in one go. Montevideo is also a great place to start a trip down the coast, which is dotted with sleepy little beach towns.

Livigno, Italy

This ski town in the Italian Alps, a stone’s throw from the Swiss border, is one of the best places to hit the slopes in Italy. With a couple of different ski areas to choose from, you can have your pick of difficulty levels, culinary offerings and amenities (a ski school for children is available, giving parents a well-deserved break and a chance to ski on their own).

And then there are the aprés ski activities, which go on long after the slopes have emptied. There are also plenty of other things to do in Livigno besides skiing, making it the perfect place for groups with different interests. Try ice climbing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or just relaxing in the spa.

Phuket, Thailand

For warm weather a bit further afield, head for the verdant greens and luxurious blues of Phuket, one of Thailand's most popular destinations. Lay on the beach to soak up some much-needed sun or head into the surf for activities like sea kayaking, kite-surfing or snorkelling.

For a different way to unwind, head into some of Phuket’s well-known party districts, like Patong Beach or visit one of the city's excellent night markets. If you'd like to linger on in Thailand and do some more exploring, hop on a boat to visit to some of Phuket's nearby big-ticket attractions, like the Phi Phi Islands and Phang Nga Bay.