Updated: January 11, 2024
Whether you wish to celebrate in the snow at Italian Christmas markets, explore traditional towns in mainland Greece, escape the crowds on a festive trip to Peru, celebrate the New Year in Cuba, or see the Northern Lights in Iceland, do not delay putting your plans in motion.
With an increased demand for holiday season travel seen worldwide, our top travel specialists have noted that these places are among the best to plan to visit over the 2024/2025 festive season.
This list can help you finalize your holiday plans for 2024/2025, so connect with us now to start planning ahead for your end of year celebrations!
Iceland may not be top of mind when considering a Christmas vacation, but the combination of stunning frozen landscapes, chilly evenings around the fire, and the array of winter adventures make it a top contender for a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
Festive season celebrations in Iceland run the length of December into early January, and the towns dressed in decorative lights are a shining beacon of joy during the days of limited sun. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend Christmas in Iceland, experiencing the melting pot of cultural traditions that culminate in the top places to visit.
Whether chasing the Northern Lights or unwinding in the geothermal pools, ice-skating or tasting local seasonal dishes, Iceland invites travelers to savor special moments during the season.
Highlights: Chase the Northern Lights • Snowmobiling • Glacier hiking • Ice cave expeditions • Boat tours on glacier lagoons • Experience unique Christmas traditions • Relax and unwind in geothermal pools
Iceland Holiday Trip Idea
From majestic glaciers to fiery volcanoes, our Adventurer's Tour of Iceland's Volcanic and Glacial Landscape offers an awe-inspiring backdrop for intrepid explorers. Traverse the dramatic terrain, where icy glaciers meet bubbling hot springs and ancient lava fields stretch as far as the eye can see. This tour takes you on a thrilling journey through Iceland's untamed wilderness.
Croatia has become a must-visit destination in Europe, and winter trips in Croatia offer an unforgettable experience complete with breathtaking frozen landscapes and enchanting Christmas markets.
Advent fairs cover the entirety of the country with celebrations taking place from Dubrovnik to Split, the Istrian peninsula to the inland towns, but Zagreb becomes truly magical. Pronounced the best Advent city in Croatia three years running, Zagreb glows with festive holiday spirit as ice skating rinks and outdoor stands with aromatic desserts accentuate the shining ornaments and souvenirs. Lights cover the streets, musical performances create a cheerful atmosphere, and the aromas of freshly-baked cakes spill out across the plazas around the country.
Adventure-seekers can capture mesmerizing photographs of Plitvice National Park’s waterfalls frozen in motion and the collection of top winter experiences make the journey well worth it for the holiday break. The mountainous regions of Croatia, including Zagreb and Slavonia, welcome snow in the winter for a traditional white Christmas, while the coastal cities and towns experience a milder winter with temperatures averaging between 41°F and 59°F.
Highlights: Explore Croatian Christmas markets • Photograph Plitvice National Park when its waterfalls are frozen • Discover the snow-capped mountains • Visit ancient Roman ruins
Croatia Holiday Trip Idea
Embark on an unforgettable journey with our Highlights of Croatia Tour: Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik & Plitvice. From the vibrant streets of Zagreb, where history meets contemporary charm, to the sun-kissed shores of Split, renowned for its ancient Roman ruins, this tour offers a perfect blend of cultural immersion and natural wonders.
Italy is a popular destination year-round, and one of the best places in Europe for a Christmas vacation.
We recommend traveling off the beaten path to Italy’s hidden gems for a truly memorable and magnificent festive season. Smaller cities like Siena, Pisa, Bologna, Verona, and Turin are lively during this time of year. Christmas markets spring up around piazzas, celebrations showcase enchanting nativity scenes and seasonal delicacies, and lights twinkle along streets filled with spirited locals and visitors.
Naples is a must-visit for a traditional Italian Christmas, while Trentino-Alto Adige, around the corner from the Dolomites, is a snow-capped gateway to one of Italy’s best destinations for ski-lovers wishing to visit Cortina ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Highlights: Celebrate Christmas with Midnight Mass • Sample delicious seasonal cuisine • Visit the elaborate Christmas markets • View the artisan nativity scenes in Naples
Italy Holiday Trip Idea
Experience the iconic celebrations of the peninsula with our Christmas in Italy: 14-Day Luxury Celebration that combines local customs, private traditions, and the notable opulence that makes Italy such a popular destination.
Greece is one of Europe’s most relaxed destinations during Christmas, with major celebrations only truly starting on Christmas Eve. It is an incredible option for the festive season, especially for travelers looking for a unique celebration in a Mediterranean country famous for its breathtaking landscape and hospitable culture.
Our specialists highly recommend Athens, with in-land trips ideal for escaping the crowds and celebrating the season against a backdrop of mountains and countryside villages.
Highlights: Escape to the Peloponnese • Discover the highlights of Athens, including the Acropolis • Cruise from Crete to other famous Greek islands • Indulge in delicious Mediterranean flavors
Greece Holiday Trip Idea
From ancient ruins to picturesque coastal towns, the vibrant city of Athens to the serene tranquility of the Greek countryside, our 2-Week Luxury Tour of Mainland Greece offers a captivating journey through a land steeped in history and natural beauty.
Austria is one the best places to travel in December as the seasonal snow turns its famous cities and charming towns into winter wonderlands.
Across the country, especially in and around Austria’s top places to see during Christmas, the holiday season takes shape in aromatic winter treats, snow-covered rooftops, and holiday markets twinkling with lights. In Vienna, the sounds of Mozart fill the concert halls with holiday greetings, while in mountain towns like Salzburg, snow caps the surrounding peaks and the streets fill with the scent of mulled wine. The festivities usually start in the end of November and last until mid December.
From skiing to scenic train rides, enjoying a crackling fire to winding through a snow-covered forest, Austria can feel like a holiday destination of storybooks and fairytales.
Highlights: Enjoy elaborate Christmas markets • Sample delicious seasonal treats • Witness the grand architecture of the Hapsburg dynasty • Find alluring concerts featuring famous Austrian composers
Austria Holiday Trip Idea
Our Snowy Alps and Emerald Countryside: 15-Day Tour of Austria and Switzerland embraces the seasonal charisma of the mountains and cities, allowing you to explore cultural history, indulge in charming heritage, and wander through celebrated nature.
Germany is the embodiment of an exciting winter escape, becoming one of the best destinations to visit during the holiday season not only for Christmas, but for the legendary New Year’s Eve celebrations.
December and early-January has become a high season second only to the warm mid-summer months. Our travel specialists recommend traveling between late November and mid-December to experience the true festivities, and being flexible as you plan your holiday vacation. Consider your options outside of Germany’s popular destinations for a truly unique and life-changing experience.
Wherever you decide to embrace the festive season spirit in Germany, local Christmas markets create a charming ambiance with a history dating back to the 17th century. Vendors fill plazas with the aromas of freshly baked bread and visions of handmade decorations or warm wool clothing. The celebrations combine contemporary customs with unforgettable traditions, making the festive season iconic across Germany.
Highlights: Visit the artisanal Christmas markets • Listen to the melodic holiday choirs • Enjoy the ambiance of snow blanketing the landscape • Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides
Germany Holiday Trip Idea
7-Day Germany Christmas Market Tour: Frankfurt to Munich reveals the essence of a cozy winter getaway, where the scent of mulled wine fills the marketplace, snow blankets the ground and trees, and holiday customs add endless charisma from Frankfurt to Munich.
Christmas is a massive celebration in Spain as locals and tourists come together to honor traditions and enjoy the vibrant ambiance spreading from Madrid to southern Spain.
As everyone takes part in the seasonal celebrations, travelers should expect closures on Christmas and the following day, though the festive spirit sweeps the streets as locals and visitors embrace the music, culture, and cuisine.
Visit earlier in December to enjoy the festivities across the country. During the week between Christmas and New Years, many things may close throughout the day. Popular cities become very crowded at this time, so be sure to speak with your travel specialist for specific guidance on where you could and should go. Expect slightly cooler weather even when visiting the warmer south of Spain during winter.
Highlights: Partake in authentic Spanish Christmas traditions • Savor traditional Spanish Christmas cuisine • Explore the historical sites • Witness exciting Christmas parades
Spain Holiday Trip Idea
From enchanting Christmas markets to captivating nativity scenes, the lively streets of Spain during our Magical Christmas Season in Spain Tour: New Year’s Eve & Three Kings’ Day offer a splendid backdrop to immerse yourself in local traditions and share in the joyous holiday spirit. From the bustling cities to quaint villages, this tour takes you on a magical journey through Spain's rich cultural heritage.
Like Spain, Portugal enjoys festive Christmas celebrations where closures can be expected but a traditional atmosphere continues to sweep the main cities and towns.
The weather is typically warm during winter, rarely dipping below 57°F in the capital city, Lisbon. Instead of navigating the chilly conditions elsewhere in Europe, travelers can embrace the winter warmth that Portugal is known for while enjoying the seasonal seafood cuisine and partaking in the traditional festivities.
Winter is also an excellent time to head for the Portuguese countryside, as destinations like Alentejo and Portugal’s best wine regions offer a unique opportunity to experience the hidden gems during the celebratory season.
Highlights: Spend time sipping wines in Portugal’s best wine regions • Tuck into traditional Portuguese cuisine • Visit breathtaking Portuguese castles • Explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Lisbon
Portugal Holiday Trip Idea
From charming cobblestone streets in historic cities to breathtaking coastal cliffs, our Best of Portugal's Endearing Charm Tour offers a captivating journey through the best of this enchanting country. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage as you explore centuries-old castles and picturesque villages. Indulge in the flavors of traditional cuisine and savor world-renowned wines in idyllic vineyards.
The Christmas season in Ireland connects the beauty of winter with the charms of local culture for a traditional holiday experience unlike any other.
Festive markets and fairy lights around the cities and towns create a welcoming ambiance, turning the streets into vibrant winter villages where seasonal songs create a cheerful soundtrack. Families also return home for the holidays, and a jovial spirit washes over the country as locals and travelers mingle in cozy countryside pubs.
To escape the winter chill, indoor activities become a special way to embrace old customs and new experiences, from Dublin to Galway, while the landscape dotted with Ireland’s breathtaking castles takes on an untouched and mythic quality, perfect for exploring on cool winter days.
Highlights: Enjoy lively Christmas markets • View the customary Light in the Window • Listen to the traditional caroling procession • Visit Ireland’s largest Christmas festival in Waterford
Ireland Holiday Trip Idea
Explore nature and indulge in traditions on our Magnificence of Ireland Luxury Tour: Cultural Charm to Natural Beauty for a discovery accentuating holiday traditions in connection to the island’s diverse wonders.
The island of Cuba becomes a grand celebration during the holiday season. Neighborhoods compete with firework displays and Havana erupts with the largest New Year’s Eve party in the country, celebrating classic cuisine, enticing cocktails, and hypnotic rhythms.
Private homes fill with dancing and the famous night life around the Tropicana Cabaret and The Cuban Art factory brim with limitless energy. Indulge in new fine dining experiences, enjoy the way music moves locals and visitors alike during concerts, and discover a new soundtrack to your holiday celebrations as you learn to embrace the season like a local in Havana and beyond.
Highlights: Discover the countryside • Escape to the mountains for hiking • Scuba dive in search of incredible marine life • Enjoy the Caribbean culinary flavors
Cuba Holiday Trip Idea
From the colorful facades and vibrant music of Trinidad to an exploration of festive competing fireworks, our Christmas in Cuba Tour: A Celebration of the Oldest Festival in Cuba is a whirlwind immersion into the craftsmanship, culture, and beauty for which Cuba is known.
Peru is ready to welcome travelers searching for a unique destination for Christmas.
The cities and towns shimmer with color as locals celebrate traditions in authentic garments. Traditional meals are topped off with Panettone following the festivities, and the Misa de Gallo, or Rooster Mass, is a marvelous traditional twist on Midnight Mass that is held on Christmas Eve.
Whether hiking Machu Picchu, exploring colonial Cusco, or seeing Incan relics of the Sacred Valley, Peru’s top places to visit are worth discovering.
Highlights: Climb to the summit of Machu Picchu • Attend the traditional Rooster Mass • Embrace the festive atmosphere of Cusco • Discover the Incan sites and relics
Peru Holiday Trip Idea
From vibrant cities to ancient citadels, and the breathtaking Lake Titicaca in between, our Cultural Peruvian Adventure: Cities and Citadels with Lake Titicaca tour offers a captivating journey through Peru's rich heritage.
Selecting a destination for Christmas can be challenging, especially as the season welcomes hundreds and thousands of travelers to popular winter spots. But, Argentina’s mix of private holiday traditions and community-oriented celebrations make it a fabulous destination to visit during the festive season.
As the holidays become an increasingly popular time to visit Argentina, our travel specialists can advise on how to maximize your stay when you start planning your December trip. They can help you take advantage of the Argentine traditions and relish a variety of holidays around Christmas.
You can watch fireworks from rooftops, indulge in a traditional barbecue at a family-run estancia, or ranch, embrace an alluring tango show, or view the stunning decorations veiling the country’s famous cities.
Highlights: Take part in the lighting of lanterns on Christmas Eve • Watch seasonal fireworks • Participate in the traditions of the December holidays leading up to Christmas Day • Enjoy a customary Christmas meal
Argentina Holiday Trip Idea
Delight in passion, seasonal flavors, and the grand expanse of famous landscapes with our Patagonia and Tango Adventure in Argentina to embrace the country’s celebrated flavors, scenery, and legends intertwined with seasonal festivities.
Celebrating the holiday season in India, a truly unique destination to visit in December, offers diverse opportunities for festive vacation.
Centuries of trade and imperialism have brought Christmas celebrations and traditions to modern India. Outside of the best places for first-time trips to India spurring on the festivities with traditional spices that meet European flavors, certain cities glow with seasonal charm, specifically Goa’s gorgeous holiday demonstration in Portuguese-style churches.
During this time, carolers sing, Midnight Mass creates a communal ambiance, and Christmas decorations adorn houses and streets from Kolkata to Mumbai. Find surprising yule log cakes or enticing mulled wine while exploring the staggering wonders of the country.
Highlights: View decorations combining traditional and regional perspectives • Sample unique, traditional holiday flavors • Experience Midnight Mass • Enjoy a large community feast
India Holiday Trip Idea
Our 15 Days Golden Triangle with Vineyard Tour is a discovery of India from different angles, revealing the distinctive beauty of ancient cities, captivating architecture, and surprising delights that connect to the beauty of Christmas celebrations across the country.
In the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, with the promise of lush scenery, and views of stunning water, New Zealand is one of the best countries to visit at Christmas for travelers chasing summer in winter.
Over December, native plants become the holiday symbols, featuring ferns and flaxes alongside customary mistletoe. Traditional hangi cooking methods may fill the countryside with aromas of roasting lamb and potatoes, while Auckland celebrates with a Santa Parade down Queen Street or carolers enchant as they parade by candlelight.
Not only a favorite for December travel, local families and friends come together for domestic trips around the islands during summer break, making New Zealand incredibly busy over the festive season.
Highlights: Enjoy a traditional holiday-season barbecue • Embrace the summer weather with active exploration • Trek the stunning landscape • Hear the atmospheric music of traditional carolers
New Zealand Holiday Trip Idea
Focusing on the treasures of summer, our Marvels of New Zealand Tour in Three Weeks is a celebration of the islands and contemporary and historic culture across the country, and a perfect way to connect with local Christmas traditions.
Depending on your preferences for the festive season, Australia can be a tropical retreat or a bustling city vacation.
The warm weather welcomes decorative lights, trees, and ornaments connected to Western European tradition, while also bringing in localized customs revealing native flora. Carolers fill the nights with candlelight and song, the beaches invite locals and visitors to cool down in the pristine water, barbecues fill the air with mouthwatering aromas, and the country’s streets host festivals and parades.
Sydney sees an influx of tourists and local holidaymakers enjoying the cosmopolitan spoils and partaking in the extravagant New Year’s Eve celebrations. And so, our Australia specialists often recommend escaping to the Great Barrier Reef’s secret islands or exploring the famous national parks.
Highlights: Enjoy the festive ambiance accentuated by holiday lights • Visit Christmas markets • Embrace the beach ambiance across the country • Celebrate Australia Day alongside Christmas and New Year
Australia Holiday Trip Idea
From famous beaches to idyllic vineyards, the edges of the Great Barrier Reef to wildlife and scenery on a rugged island, our Australia Highlights to Off-the-Grid Discoveries Tour provides a marvelous landscape in which to uncover local customs and share your holiday traditions.
The holiday season offers endless charm and wonder, with festive markets and lively music, quiet retreats and jovial cultural celebrations during the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer or the serene nights of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter. And, now has never been a better time to start planning your holiday season travel vacations and tours to get ahead of the rush.
Find more possibilities for the holiday season with our list of the best places to travel in December. You can also enjoy more inspiration on where to travel during the season with our winter vacation ideas.