Where to go in December

If all you want for Christmas is some sunshine rest assured there is plenty to be had, or if you’d like a traditional white festive season, the ski resorts in the northern hemisphere will be well on track by the end of December.

The good news is that the Caribbean islands are no longer under threat of hurricanes and tropical storms come December, and are open for brisk business, offering top tropical fun in the sun. Among the Caribbean islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands are lesser known destinations, but equally beautiful, with pristine beaches and luxury holiday resorts. Cuba is one of the most exciting Caribbean nations and December is the busiest and liveliest season. The same goes for most of the other tropical destinations around the globe, including Thailand, where the holiday-makers flood in to enjoy a high time as high season kicks in – the Andaman coast enjoys sunshine with temperatures hovering around a maximum average of 27°C (80.6°F).

With the monsoon season ended, most of southern Asia opens up with sunny skies and relatively moderate temperatures. December is ideal for visiting India, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Singapore and Malaysia, with its mix of towering skyscrapers, natural wonders, beautiful beaches and some of the world’s greatest diving spots, enjoys superb weather in December, but being peak tourist season expect crowds at all the main attractions.

Christmas in the super south can be a novel experience. South Africa, for example, is enjoying the height of summer in December, with Santa sweating under his beard. The wonderful beaches of Cape Town and the Garden Route are sizzling – Durban and Kwa Zulu Natal can be wet and very humid in December, though. Barbecues on the beach are the order of the day down under in sunny Australia where Christmas is very much an outdoors affair, and in Sidney December marks the start of a summer of festivals and events of all sorts. New Zealand is another place to go down south and explore these islands, full of adventure activities and trekking routes.

North America is well under snow and few people look to travel there, outside of the popular ski resorts. However, Alaska is one place that truly comes alive in the heart of winter and the Northern Lights are among some of the major natural phenomena not to be missed this winter. In South America many regions are rainy in December, including parts of Brazil, but visitors are welcome to join the local Cariocas working on their tans on the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro, which has its own bit of tropical climate. Samba down to the iconic beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana and soak up glorious sunshine.

Further north in the Americas Mexico comes into focus as a top sun spot in December with relatively mild sunny conditions, ideal for beach-going or sight-seeing, right across from Cancun to Acapulco. The hurricane season is over in Costa Rica and the country opens up again for the tourist season.

Choosing where to holiday doesn’t have to always be about the weather – seasonal events matter too! In December opt for a traditional Christmas experience and jet off to Lapland to take the kids to meet Santa in his silent, snowy homeland. European ski resorts are great for a traditional Christmas with sleigh bells in the snow – to ensure good snow cover head for the high altitude Alpine resorts. Lech in Austria is known for its indulgent festive spirit and fun toboggan run for the little ones. France, Italy and even Portugal offer great ski holiday packages,  a great alternative to a summer holiday in the southern hemisphere.

Some other options for a fairytale white Christmas in Europe are wandering the warren of streets in the illuminated Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden, or delving into the delights of the Christkindlmarkt in Germany’s medieval Rothenburg. Berlin, Strasbourg, Salzburg and Copenhagen have some magical Christmas markets too. Sun and sand, or snow and ice – either way it’s crazy to stay home for the December holidays!