The Best Places to Visit in December
December may be the last month of the calendar year, but it's certainly not last when it comes to great travel deals. December is the perfect time of year for a family holiday to Switzerland, or a sunny escape to Mallorca or beautiful Thailand. Here, you'll find cheap flights, hotels and holidays that allow for travel during the month of December. Not looking for a December break? Then check out our travel calendar for a guide to holidaying in every month.
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6 places for a hot December holiday to beat the winter blues
There's nothing like escaping the cold weather of the UK in December for something much warmer. Here are our favourite destinations for hot weather in December.
1. Cancun (Mexico)
Cancun is situated on the east coast of Mexico, the closest to the Caribbean meaning it offers a typical tropical climate. December is a great time to take a holiday to Mexico as the weather is cooler than many other months but still reaches around 30.4 °C which is a more bearable temperature than some earlier months that may be too hot to enjoy Mexico to the max. As well as stunning beaches, Cancun offers many water sports including snorkelling and scuba diving.
When looking for hot places to go in December, the Caribbean would definitely be on our list of places to enjoy some winter sun. December is a good time to visit and enjoy a getaway to Barbados as the rainy season will be coming to an end. Even though the heat could reach 29.6 °C, there will be a fall in humidity and winds to keep you on the cooler side. Things to do on your holiday in Barbados include many cave tours, glass bottom boat trips and rum tasting.
3. Sydney, Australia
To find some sun in December it is likely we need to travel far away, there are many places in Australia where you can holiday that will offer some well needed sunshine. December is the beginning of summer in Australia and the chance you will come across any cold weather will be at a minimum. Temperatures should reach over 25 °C and a visit to Sydney in December could offer up to 8 hours of sunshine a day. A holiday to Oz wouldn’t be complete without trying a spot of surfing.
4. Cape Verde
Cape Verde is made up of a group of 10 volcanic islands and lies off the west coast of Africa and offers a warm temperate throughout December. Heading to Cape Verde in the summer months can be too hot for some, so a holiday to these great islands in the winter months can be a winner. Although humidity may be high, a coastal wind should combat this and you can always take a dip in the sea to cool down. In Cape Verde you can enjoy full or half day sailing trips and turtle watching is also an option.
5. Cape Town
South Africa was on our screens for most of January and has risen higher on our list of places to visit. The temperatures should reach just under 20 °C making it a warm holiday to enjoy but not too hot and with a whopping 11 hours of sunshine most days throughout the month. An activity that is growing in popularity in Cape Town is wine-growing, visiting a winery is a perfect way to spend some time during a holiday in stunning South Africa. Head to Boulders Beach where you can see some gorgeous African penguins.
6. Dominican Republic
December is a great time to visit the Dominican Republic as it's a little cooler and less humid than in the summer. Punta Cana, a beautiful region looking out onto the Caribbean Sea, has an average temperature of 26°C in December. That makes it perfect for spending time on the beach or swimming in the sea. However, all this means that between December and April is the high season, so bear in mind that prices are not their cheapest and the resorts could be busy.
The top 5 December destinations
Whether you're looking for a break from the cold weather with a trip to the beach or leaning in to it to hit the ski slopes, our top 4 picks for December destinations have something for you. Relax with a drink in hand on the beaches of Thailand, or browse for gifts at the christmas markets of Berlin. Explore Montevideo or head over to Livigno, Italy for a chance to bust out your snowboard or skis.
Berlin may have notoriously harsh winters, but the Christmas cheer and cozy indoor spots make it a great place to spend time in December. Bundle up and venture out to one of the many neighborhood Christmas markets for a steaming mug of mulled wine and a plate of Kaisershmarrn, a type of German shredded pancake 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 many saunas to warm up like a local.
Take advantage of the reversed seasons in South America to get a little slice of summer in the middle of December. Walk through the pastel streets of the old town, eat a choripán at the indoor market, and sip mate on the local beach, combining a beach holiday with a city trip. The Uruguayan capital is also a great place to start a trip down the coast, which is dotted with sleepy little beach towns perfect for spending a couple days lounging on the beach with that novel you’ve been meaning to finish.
Although it is tempting to head off to a warm-weather destination, a staycation in the UK can be cheaper and easier, and makes for a more eco-friendly holiday than trips to far-off destinations like Turkey and Morocco. A popular place for a spot of sun in the summer, Cornwall is a surprisingly versatile destination for a winter minibreak as well. Take a walk near the cliffs, where you can see the wild storms out at sea crashing against the rocks, then head back to your cozy bed-and-breakfast for an evening sipping hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. If you catch a mild day, explore the underrated beauty of Cornwall’s best beaches in winter and check out the local shops in the small beachside towns to find unique gifts for loved ones just in time for the Christmas holidays.
For warm weather a bit further afield, head for the verdant greens and luxurious blues of Phuket. Lay on the beach getting some much-needed sun, or head into the surf for sea kayaking, kite-surfing, or snorkeling. For a different kind of unwinding, head into some of Phuket’s well-know party districts, like Patong Beach. If you have a good stretch of time in Thailand, book in a visit to some of Phuket's surrounding attractions, like the Phi Phi Islands.
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 different ski areas to choose from, you can have your pick of difficult levels, culinary offerings, and amenities (ski school for young children is available, giving parents with kids a well-deserved break to ski on their own.) And then there's the aprés ski activities, which go on long after the slopes have emptied. Livigno also has plenty to do besides skiing, making it a perfect place for mixed groups with different interests. Try ice climbing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or just relaxing at the spa.