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7 Best Holiday Destinations for 2022-2023

Updated: November 2, 2022

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The Hue Citadel in Hue, Vietnam

Hue, Vietnam

Bookings for the holiday season are moving quickly in nearly every corner of the world. If you desire to travel in the last two weeks of December, now is the time to book your vacation for the best selection of accommodations and activities.

With many trips from the 2021 season rebooked into 2022, availability is limited in many regions. While flexible travelers can find advantageous rates and a wider selection of properties during the first two weeks of December, if the second half of the month is when you like to travel, you can find the best opportunities with our recommended destinations.

Want to travel to a country not included on this list? Submit a Trip Request and our Travel Care team. Its members can connect you with a destination specialist for real-time advice on what might be possible.

  1. 1. Peru
  2. 2. South Africa
  3. 3. Vietnam
  4. 4. Turkey
  5. 5. Thailand
  6. 6. Croatia
  7. 7. Italy
  8. Look Ahead to Next Year
  9. Plan Your Trip for the Best Holiday Destinations

1. Peru

Vinicunca, or Rainbow Mountain, near Cusco in the Andes of Peru near Cusco,

Vinicunca, or Rainbow Mountain, in the Peruvian Andes

Average Temperature in Lima, Peru: 67°F Low • 77°F High

Celebrate sheer wonder as you travel from the Andes to the Amazon during the Christmas season and enjoy the summer climate of the Southern Hemisphere in Peru.

The picture-perfect weather welcomes travelers who choose to spend their holiday season trekking to the ruins of Machu Picchu, exploring the natural diversity of the rainforests, and capturing the striking images of ancient fortresses nestled into the mountains. Christmas feasts with turkey and tamales, a stuffed corn dough steamed in a corn husk, dominate the dinner tables of homes during Christmas, locals celebrate Peru’s chocolate-making heritage with decadent cups of hot chocolate, and nativity scenes honor Peruvian Christmas tradition.

You can also enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of Peru between the festive experiences on tours of pre-Columbian ruins, seaside excursions to spot manatees, and adventures in search of colorful macaws, building to a New Year during which you can eat 12 grapes for each month of the new year, making a wish with each bite.

Highlights: Trek to the ruins of Machu Picchu • Savor Christmas feasts with turkey and tamales, a stuffed corn dough steamed in a corn husk • Visit the Incan ruins of Moray, an archeological spectacle • Eat a grape for each month and make 12 wishes on New Year’s Day

Peru Holiday Trip Idea

Explore the Christmas culture of Peru on our Paradisiacal Peru: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley Tour that can introduce you to the unique traditions tracing back to Mayan civilization and the festive celebrations from December 25 to New Year’s Eve.

Travel Tips from Victoria, a Zicasso travel specialist for Peru:

  • With late December being the latest recommended time for the Rainbow Mountains before the rainy season sets in, it’s the perfect time to explore Peru. A chance to travel to Machu Picchu is possible, but ticket availability will tighten as the holiday season nears.
  • 4 and 5 star properties are filling first, and as dates draw closer, rates are climbing.  Book now for best choices and rates.

Learn more: Peru Vacations & ToursMachu Picchu Tours & VacationsPeru Travel Guide

2. South Africa

Herd of springbok antelopes in South Africa

Sprinbok Antelopes in South Africa

Average Temperature in Cape Town, South Africa: 62°F Low • 75°F High

South Africa during the holiday season is an easy and blissful escape into the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, where joyous adventure and an endless festive ambiance await.

Christmas services take place on the morning of December 25, after which families open their gifts around Christmas trees. Lunchtime on the day is a feast, with restaurant chefs and family cooks creating authentic dishes that often center around the South African braai, a traditional barbeque of meat cooked over an open fire. The collective culture of South Africa celebrates the festive season with traditions that trace the roots of many ethnic tribes and settler communities, showcasing the inclusive spirit of the Rainbow Nation.

From Christmas to New Year, you can also experience the country on tours to the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town, wine tastings in Franschhoek, safaris in the Kruger region, and more.

Highlights: Experience a traditional South African Christmas braai, a barbeque of meat cooked over an open fire • Admire the diverse blend of cultures in the Rainbow Nation that come together for the holiday season • Taste the prestigious wines of the Cape Winelands • Wake up in the Kruger on safari for New Year’s Day

South Africa Holiday Trip Idea

Ten-Day Classic South Africa Safari for First-Timers is a perfect combination of togetherness, exploration, and relaxation that will provide you with endless memories of the festive season in the country. Discover the culture and traditions of the Rainbow Nation as you travel from the Western Cape to the Kruger region.

Travel Tips from Rachel, a Zicasso safari travel specialist:

  • Flexible travelers can find good options, but availability is dwindling and likely to fill over the next two to three weeks across the most popular destinations across Cape Town, Winelands and the Kruger reserves, as well as in the malaria-free reserves in the Eastern Cape.
  • Domestic flights options are beginning to fill, but travelers who book now should be able to secure good routing for in-country travel.

Learn more: South Africa Tours & VacationsSouth Africa Travel Guide

3. Vietnam

Mother and son on the Hoan Keim Lake Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

Average Temperature in Hanoi, Vietnam: 59°F Low • 70°F High

The holiday season is a perfect time to explore Vietnam when the temperatures are milder across the country and the rain is minimal in the tropical south. While the majority of the country is Buddhist, many people celebrate the Christmas season as one of four religious festivals that reflect on western traditions.

Places like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can erupt in colorful celebrations with locals throwing confetti and hanging up lights, or with churches displaying nativity scenes. The winter months represent the high travel season, with many international travelers visiting the region to escape the cold.

You can embrace the bustling ambiance or enjoy a quieter holiday experience depending on where you choose to visit, from the pristine beaches in the south to the hilly mountains in the north, the imperial cities in the central highlands to the banks of the Mekong River.

Highlights: Enjoy the family-friendly legends within the traditional water puppet show • Taste the traditional flavors of Vietnamese cuisine • Cruise through the stunning scenery of Ha Long Bay • Experience the diverse and eclectic history of Hanoi • Glide down the Mekong Delta

Vietnam Holiday Trip Idea

Family Fun Filled Vacation in Vietnam gives you a rich cultural immersion on a journey perfect for children of all ages as you travel from north to south to uncover legends, embrace history, and experience the energy of the country’s major cities.

Travel Tip from Jeremiah, a Zicasso travel specialist for Southeast Asia:

  • Hotel availability is good at preferred properties, giving travelers a lot of wonderful options.

Learn more: Vietnam Tours & VacationsVietnam Travel Guide

4. Turkey

Beautiful sunrise at the Travertine pools and terraces in Turkey

Pamukkale, Turkey

Average Temperature in Istanbul, Turkey: 39°F Low • 49°F High

The holiday season is a unique time to visit Turkey and can immerse you in the blended traditions of East and West. The winter months are considered the low season which gives you the chance to discover the local charm and vibrant life away from the hustle of tourist crowds.

The rich history of Istanbul can spring to life amid the biting breeze that sweeps off the Bosphorus, the vendors inside the Grand Bazaar can welcome you into their shops with open arms, ski resorts fill with locals eager for the thrill of snow, and the troglodyte homes of Cappadocia glint in the cool golden sunlight.

As a mainly Muslim country, it is not common to see decorations filling the street but the seasonal ambiance flourishes in towns and cities across the country with the promise of Noel Baba, a Santa-like figure who brings gifts to families on New Year’s Eve.

Highlights: Witness the unparalleled landscape of Cappadocia • Visit the Goreme Open Air Museum to see ancient churches • Venture through the underground city of Kaymakli • See the exceptional natural white terraces of Pamukkale • Explore sensational ancient cities • Discover the eclectic splendor of Istanbul

Turkey Holiday Trip Idea

Discover the combination of grand scenery, historical splendor, and cultural opulence during the winter months as you enjoy this nine-day Wonders of Turkey Tour: Cappadocia, Goreme, Kaymakli, Pamukkale, Ephesus & Istanbul.

Travel Tip from Marcus, a Zicasso travel specialist for Turkey:

  • Winter time in Turkey, the season offers many opportunities, including skiing! Use the cooler weather to thoroughly enjoy day trips to Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus.
  • Note that coastal regions are generally closed for the winter season, but the smaller crowds at ancient sites allow for fantastic experiences.

Learn more: Turkey Tours & VacationsTurkey Travel Guide

5. Thailand

Beautiful Phang Nga Bay in Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Average Temperature in Phuket, Thailand: 75°F Low • 88°F High

Christmas in Thailand is about enjoying the tropical paradise, from the luxurious islands to the expansive forests, and the unique way locals, expatriates, and travelers celebrate Christmas and the holiday season.

Visit the Grand Palace complex to find elaborate visions of Buddha or wander through the colorful ambiance of a night market in Chiang Mai. Embrace the flavors of Thailand with a private cooking class, witness the fascinating karsts rising out of the crystalline sea, and enjoy the wonders of wildlife as you indulge in the beauty of Thailand in the warmth of the tropics These are year-round experiences that are made more meaningful on a family trip for Christmas and New Year.

The New Year celebrations are particularly exciting, as families send their floating lanterns off into the sky and thousands of shimmering lights reach for the stars. Music performances and fireworks set the stage for the celebrations from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phuket to Pattaya.

Highlights: Visit iconic heritage sites and landmarks • Swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Thai islands when the weather is perfect in December • Light lanterns and watch elaborate firework displays across Thailand for New Year’s Eve • Spend New Year’s Day on the breathtaking Thai beaches

Thailand Holiday Trip Idea

Embrace the Christmas influences that extend to the tropical shores of Thailand with our Best of Thailand for 2022-2023. You can discover the similarities between Christmas in Bangkok and the Western world, as well as the differences between the holidays in Chiang Mai and other parts of the globe.

Travel Tip from Jeremiah, a Zicasso travel specialist for Southeast Asia:

  • The holiday season is a very popular time to travel to Thailand, but preferred properties still have rooms to choose from.

Learn more: Thailand Tours & VacationsThailand Travel Guide

6. Croatia

Vineyards in Motovun, Croatia

Vineyards in Motovun, Croatia

Average Temperature in Dubrovnik, Croatia: 43°F Low • 54°F High

Split’s Christmas market is a brilliant experience for your trip, and you can browse the stalls and eccentric shops with a backdrop of the snow-covered Dinaric Alps. It is a holiday spectacle of grand design that represents Christmas immaculately. You can wander beneath the twinkling lights and tuck into roast pig, mlinci, a Croatian flatbread dish, and more signature dishes during your visit.

Sveti tri kralja, known as the Epiphany or the Holy Three Kings, marks the end of the Christmas season in Croatia, but the beginning of the wait for New Year, when you can clink champagne glasses as the cities light up with fireworks at the stroke of midnight.

Highlights: Visit the Split Christmas market in the shadows of the snow-covered Dinaric Alps • Tuck into roast pig, mlinci, a Croatian flatbread dish, and other Christmas dishes • Celebrate Sveti tri kralja, known as the Epiphany, in Croatia to mark the end of the Christmas season • Clink glasses of champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve as fireworks light up the sky

Croatia Holiday Trip Idea:

Explore Croatia during Christmas and New Year to discover the snowy scenes of the Dinaric Alps, enjoy the seasonal cuisine, and partake in Christmas traditions with our Exclusive Food & Wine of Croatia tour.

Travel Tip from Ante, a Zicasso travel specialist for Croatia:

  • Expect plenty of Christmas fairs, gastronomical experiences and a festive environment across continental Croatia, as well as Istria.Preferred hotel properties have holiday availability for now, though space is more limited as some hotels are closed for the winter season.

Learn more: Croatia Vacations & ToursCroatia Travel GuideTop 5 Things to Do in Croatia in Winter

7. Italy

Christmas tree on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

Average Temperature in Rome, Italy: 40°F Low • 55°F High

Christmas in Italy is a celebration of tradition, an immersion into the cozy ambiance, and a connection to memories. Christmas markets fill piazzas across the country filling the air with the aromas of spiced wine and delicious treats, vibrant lights and enticing colors. The nights feel both peaceful and lively as joy spills across the cobblestone streets and churches echo with the sounds of music.

Across Italy children enjoy the promise of candy, toys, and gifts, while vendors roast nuts and locals warm up with rich hot chocolate or bold wines as musicians play familiar songs. The celebrations last until January sixth and the Epiphany, when children find small treats left by the witch known as La Befana. From the snow-filled alps in the north to the warmer golden beaches of Sicily, Christmas in Italy can demonstrate a winter wonderland or a Mediterranean escape, each sharing national customs and local traditions.


Visit Ancient Rome and the ruins of the Colosseum and Roman Forum • Explore the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums • Discover the art of Florence in the Uffizi and Accademia • Wander the lanes and islands of Venice • Experience the traditional medieval Tuscan towns like Siena, Lucca, and Pisa • Visit Juliet Capulet’s home in Verona • Delight in the charming ambiance of Umbrian cities like Assisi and Perugia

Italy Holiday Trip Idea

Italian Christmas: Winter Beauty and Festive Traditions is a discovery of the holiday season and the customs that add to the unique ambiance that brings charm, wonder, and seasonal flavors to the forefront.

Travel Tip from Robert, a Zicasso travel specialist for Italy:

  • Closures during the holidays should be expected - most venues, sights and shops are closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephens (December 26), New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
  • Travelers interested in a trip away from the major sights can have a very local experience - such as dinners with local hosts and guides willing to share the festive experience.

Learn more: Italy Christmas Tours & VacationsTop 5 Reasons to Spend Christmas in Italy11 Best Christmas Markets in Italy and Where to Find Them

Look Ahead to Next Year

Pyramids in Giza, Egypt

Giza, Egypt

Whether you are interested in an adventure through the wilderness or viewing wildlife in its natural habitat, eager to wander through an ancient temple or lounge on a pristine coastline, the holiday season is a popular time to travel to many parts of the world, making looking forward important for securing your dream trip. Start planning now for the best availability for next year’s perfect holiday when visiting the following destinations:

Plan Your Trip for the Best Holiday Destinations

Mt Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park, Patagonia, Argentina

Mt Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentine Patagonia

The world is full of charm and wonders during the festive season, whether you are trekking plains in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer or enjoying a cozy, snow-blanketed ambiance. Working with a travel specialist, you can select from this list of great places to go for the holiday season and plan a festive vacation with our trip ideas as inspiration.

Our Zicasso Blog is also a great place to find more information about these destinations and the experiences that are possible for holiday season travel. You can find more great inspiration on where to visit with our Winter 2022 Vacation Ideas: Best Places, Itineraries, and More or when discovering our ideas on 15 Best Places to Travel in December.

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