December may be the perfect time to book a holiday for a whole host of reasons. You can either escape the colder winter weather or fully embrace the cold and seek out adventures in the snow. You might want to explore December city breaks or take a chance to enjoy unique experiences, like seeing the Northern Lights.


Are you hoping to enjoy Christmas abroad? Do you want to experience an amazing skiing trip? Perhaps you are simply looking for the best holiday destinations in December to keep the winter blues away. Regardless, we’ll help you to find what you’re looking for. Here, we take a closer look at the best holiday
destinations in December.

Kiruna, Sweden

Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden and one of the best places to travel in December. It is, after all, the ideal base for seeing the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, to use the scientific name. This natural light phenomenon has captivated us for thousands of years, and seeing the Northern Lights is a great bucket list item.


One thing that makes the Northern Lights so enthralling is the fact that you need the right conditions to see the light trails clearly. The areas close to Kiruna are ideal because this region experiences a maximum of three hours of daylight during December. Often, 22 to 23 hours of the day are in darkness. This, combined with the lack of light pollution in areas away from the city, means the sky is sufficiently dark to see the aurora.


Of course, we aren’t suggesting you spend your entire trip looking for the Northern Lights. You can also try activities like cross-country skiing or dog sledging or go for a ride on a snowmobile. You may even wish to combine a trip to Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, with a Kiruna tour to see the spectacular natural light display.


Why not join us as we go on an adventure to photograph the Northern Lights? Our Sweden: Northern Lights and Lapland tour is perfect for travellers seeking holidays in December abroad that will live long in their memories.

The view of the Northern Lights in Kiruna, Sweden.

New York City, USA

New York City is known as “the city that never sleeps” — and for good reason. It’s an amazing option for a December trip if you want a city break that will keep you busy throughout your stay. There are plenty of attractions, landmarks, activities, cultural institutions and live entertainment venues to check out along the way.

In December, it always feels like there’s magic in the air in New York City, especially as Christmas approaches and as the excitement builds for New Year’s Eve. This excitement alone makes New York City one of the very best places to go in December, but it has so much more to offer during a visit.

Would you like to see iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty? Are you interested in seeing some of the world’s best entertainment at venues like Madison Square Garden or the Broadway Theatre? Are you hoping to sample New York’s unique food culture? And, of course, you can’t
visit NYC without going for a stroll around Central Park.

Want to take in the sights, sounds and experiences of New York City in December? Visit NYC with us! We’ll help you make the most of your trip by exploring Manhattan, Brooklyn and Harlem, taking in many of the best locations and attractions.

Broadway Theatre, New York

Thailand

If you want to escape bad weather and are primarily focused on finding hot countries in December, then Thailand should definitely be on your shortlist. Not only will you see plenty of sunshine, but you’ll get to experience a unique Buddhist culture, amazing local cuisine, stunning temples and unforgettable nightlife.

The only real caveat here is that Thailand’s east coast regions can experience heavy rainfall during the month of December. Nevertheless, in Bangkok, you can expect average daily temperatures of 25°C and above. Other parts of the country regularly exceed 30°C in December, including many of the islands in the south, which are especially popular with tourists.

Spending time in the capital city of Bangkok is highly recommended. The gateway to Southeast Asia offers everything from palaces, temples and great shopping to amazing bars, great restaurants and some of the world’s best entertainment venues. In Thailand, the best holiday destinations in December also include Chiang Mai in the north and the island of Phuket in the south.

Why not explore Bangkok with us on our Thailand 360°: Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai tour? Along the way, you’ll get to spend time in the capital city, as well as explore two of the country’s biggest tourist destinations.

Boats on the sea near the mountain during the day in Phuket.

Jordan

It’s actually rather difficult to briefly sum up everything that Jordan has to offer visitors. The ancient city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC. It’s largely carved into the rocks and is widely considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The incredible archaeological site was the very heart of the Nabataean Kingdom during Hellenistic and Roman times, and it remains an
incredible location to explore.

Wadi Rum, known as the Valley of the Moon, is a spectacular desert valley. This hot destination is popular among tourists for camping, rock climbing and photography. Visiting during December helps make the travelling experience more comfortable, with average temperatures hovering around 20°C. To put that into context, in summer, temperatures in Jordan average around 35°C.

During your trip, you can also experience the healing waters of the Dead Sea and check out the lively capital city of Amman. There are more than enough activities to keep you busy for over a week, even if you’re cramming in activities.

Looking to experience the very best Jordan has to offer? Our Jordan 360°: Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea trip is ideal. Over the course of eight days, we’ll visit the key sites in Amman, explore Petra and visit Wadi Rum.

Brown rocky mountain under blue skies during the day in Jordan.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul may not rank among the best hot destinations in December, as temperatures never go above mild. However, even though the nights can be cold and rain is frequent, it still deserves its place among the best holiday destinations in December. This is because of Istanbul’s unique traditions, Turkey’s wonderful blend of cultures and the many interesting places to visit.

Even the location of Istanbul is unique, as it spans the Bosphorus strait. This means that part of the city is in Europe, while the other part is actually part of Asia. Beyoğlu serves as a key cultural hub in Istanbul and is home to many museums and art galleries. Meanwhile, the shops on Abdi Ipekci Street are perfect if you
want to enjoy a little retail therapy.

Some of the top tourist attractions in Istanbul include the stunning Hagia Sophia Mosque and the lavish Topkapi Palace. Meanwhile, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s oldest, largest and most famous markets.

How about a December getaway with us as part of the Turkey 360°: from Istanbul to Cappadocia tour? Alongside some of the key Istanbul attractions we’ve already mentioned, this well-rounded tour will also allow you to take in the amazing landscapes of Cappadocia and the spectacular beauty of Göreme National Park.

Hot air balloons in assorted colours in Cappadocia.

South Africa

South Africa is home to two of the best holiday destinations in December, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Additionally, some of the region’s most incredible experiences are found just outside of the major cities — in the South African bush.

It is precisely this variety that makes South Africa one of the very best December holiday destinations. Table Mountain overlooks the city of Cape Town and can be climbed by more adventurous explorers. However, the summit can also be reached via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, making it easily accessible for everyone.

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa. Popular tourist locations vary, from the Johannesburg Botanical Garden to the Gold Reef City amusement park. If you’re a nature lover, a visit to Kruger National Park is also a must-do.

On our South Africa 360° tour, you’ll get to see Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. We’ll take an incredible 13-day road trip through the country, stopping off at key locations along the way. While in Kruger National Park, we’ll even be on the lookout for lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards.

Aerial view of Cape Town near the mountain during the daytime.

Mexico

If you’re looking for tips on great holiday destinations for December and where to go to get away from the cold, we’d certainly recommend Mexico. Daytime temperatures in Cancun, for example, can reach 28°C and are unlikely to drop below 20°C. On top of this, the country offers superb variety in terms of
experiences.

When you think of Mexico, you may be picturing anything from amazing food to ancient wonders like Chichen Itza. Are you fantasising about tequila-fuelled nights out or a relaxing trip to the beach? Maybe your interest really lies in exploring Mayan ruins and trying to unlock some of the ancient civilisation’s mysteries.

Few holidays in December abroad can provide the sheer fun of a trip to Mexico. Want to go trekking through a jungle? You can do that in Mexico. Hoping to get away from the cold weather and go snorkelling? This is the place to go for December fun in the sun.

Join us on our Yucatan 360°: Mayan ruins and Mexican beaches trip. Over the course of 13 days, we’ll visit Chichen Itza, enjoy the nightlife in Cancun, go snorkelling in Tulum and enjoy the beaches of Playa del Carmen.

Image of Chichen Itza.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Completing our list of the best holiday destinations in December is Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Sometimes dubbed the “Paris of the East”, the two French Quarters of the city include awesome attractions like the National Museum of Vietnamese History and the Hanoi Opera House.

For a December city break, Hanoi has plenty of interesting cultural locations to explore, including the iconic One Pillar Pagoda and the Huong Temple. The city’s Old Quarter is a great location for lively bars, thumping clubs and tasty restaurants. Other key attractions include the West Lake, the Presidential Palace and the Thăng Long Water Puppet Theatre.

The city is home to a large number of shopping centres, including Trang Tien Plaza and the Vincom Royal City Megamall. Hanoi is also the origin point of many of Vietnam’s national dishes, so it’s the ideal place to sample local cuisine.

You can visit Hanoi and the other best places to visit in December in Vietnam as part of our 13-day Vietnam 360°: from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City tour. Along the way, we’ll enjoy the natural landscapes of Halong Bay.

A train track through an alleyway in Hanoi.
WeRoad Team
Written by WeRoad Team
ì