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10 Best Holiday Destinations for 2022-2023

Updated: September 19, 2022

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Table Mountains, 12 Apostles, in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

In nearly every corner of the world, bookings for the holiday season are moving quickly. If you have any desire to travel across the last two weeks of December, the time is right to book your vacation for the best selection of accommodations and activities.

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

With the spectacular attention to detail a local travel specialist provides, you can embrace the joyful atmosphere of where to go for the festive season this year. From the cheerful Christmas Eve at Twilight in Adelaide, Australia to holiday season safaris in South Africa, find inspiration with our holiday trip ideas at these top destinations.

Overview

  1. 1. Peru
  2. 2. South Africa
  3. 3. Australia
  4. 4. Vietnam
  5. 5. Egypt
  6. 6. Tanzania
  7. 7. Brazil
  8. 8. Turkey
  9. 9. Thailand
  10. 10. Croatia
  11. Plan Your Trip for the Best Holiday Vacation

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 Tip 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.

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 Tip from Rachel, a Zicasso safari travel specialist:

  • While it is the high season for travelers, excellent availability remains across many popular destinations. With perfect weather, the beaches, Winelands and safari regions are ideal for relaxation and exploration.

Learn more: South Africa Tours & VacationsSouth Africa Travel Guide

3. Australia

Opera House and Harbor in Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Average Temperature in Sydney, Australia: 67°F Low • 79°F High

Christmas and the holiday season are joyful in Australia as the country comes together to celebrate the day with local traditions and global customs. Christmas lunch is a must and you can spend the spirited occasion at a gourmet restaurant in Sydney overlooking the Darling Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. Events take place across Australia, from Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne to Christmas at Twilight in Adelaide. These events invite travelers to experience the spirit of the season with local flair and flavor.

You can also enjoy trips to areas of Australia that are quieter than the cities during the holiday season for some downtime before New Year’s Eve. Cairns and sailing or diving in the Great Barrier Reef are an absolute must to complete your December stay in Australia.

Highlights: Indulge in Christmas lunch with views of the Darling Harbour and Sydney Opera House • Partake in Australian Christmas events like Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne and Christmas at Twilight in Adelaide • Spend New Year’s Eve on the Cairns coastline • Snorkel or scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef to welcome the new year

Australia Holiday Trip Idea:

Take time off during the holiday season and visit Australia to partake in the regional Christmas festivities and experience the country’s endless charms on Experience the Essentials of Australia for 14-Days.

Travel Tip from David, a Zicasso travel specialist for the South Pacific:

  • Availability across Australia varies, but other than in Sydney across the New Year’s Eve holiday, availability remains. While some smaller destinations may be at capacity, a travel specialist can recommend a suitable alternative within a reasonable drive.

Learn more: Australia Tours & VacationsAustralia Travel Guide

4. 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:

  • Availability in some regions is limited as Vietnam opened more widely to travelers about six months ago. Booking soon will allow for the best options and rates across the holiday season.

Learn more: Vietnam Tours & VacationsVietnam Travel Guide

5. Egypt

Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt

Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt

Average Temperature in Cairo, Egypt: 51°F Low • 67°F High

The holiday season in Egypt is very different from our own, predominantly because the majority of Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church, with particular traditions and celebrations to follow. This is why Egypt is such a wonderful holiday destination to consider.

Your children will be thrilled to know that the holiday celebrations in Egypt occur twice, on December 25 and January 7. Christmas feasts are typical, with dishes centering around the turkey. Christmas trees and ornaments decorate some homes in Cairo and smaller cities, money is given as gifts on Christmas Eve, and locals enjoy a cup of tea with Kahk el Eid, or Eid cookies, on Christmas morning.

The New Year celebrations in Egypt are mind-blowing in Cairo. Colorful fireworks displays backdrop the pyramids of Giza, cruise ships glide up and down the Nile River, and bonfires attract travelers to festivals in the desert dunes. Embrace the holiday season spirit as you discover Egypt on a trip during this joyous time of year.

Highlights: Discover the unique seasonal traditions of Egypt’s Muslim community • Partake in two Christmas events on December 25 and January 7 • Enjoy Kahk el Eid, or Eid cookies, on Christmas morning • Spend your new year beginnings exploring historic Egyptian wonders

Egypt Holiday Trip Idea:

Discover the grandeur of the Great Pyramid of Giza or float in the soothing waters of the Dead Sea on our Excellence of Egypt's Wonders Tour, a trip designed to showcase the highlights of Egypt, while you immerse yourself in the new holiday season experiences.

Travel Tip from Mahmoud, a Zicasso travel specialist for Egypt:

  • All ancient and historical sites are open, but across the last ten days of December, bookings are quite tight. Travelers with a higher trip budget will find much better availability with preferred accommodations and top private guides.

Learn more: Egypt Tours & VacationsEgypt Travel Guide

6. Tanzania

Lion cub in Serengeti, Tanzania

Serengeti, Tanzania

Average Temperature in Dodoma, Tanzania: 67°F Low • 85°F High

Tanzania is a holiday destination to set your sights on for a unique safari experience, complete with spectacular reserves and national parks to explore. Instead of Christmas lights and caroling, a trip to Tanzania over the festive period provides travelers with an opportunity to escape the crowds.

Search the grasslands of the Serengeti for the famous Big Five, and admire the beautiful herds crossing the plains to refreshing rivers. You can view the birdlife through binoculars, follow game rangers on walking safaris, and head out at sunset to see the nocturnal animals.

Enjoy the spectacle of flamingos gathering on the waters of Lake Manyara before you return to your lodge for festive dinners and celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period.

Highlights: Enjoy a Christmas vacation in the Tanzanian wilderness on safari • Escape the Christmas season crowds to national parks in search of the Big Five • Embrace New Year’s Day with full-day guided safaris • Search for tree-climbing lions and see the flamingos of Lake Manyara

Tanzania Holiday Trip Idea:

Our Signature Tanzania Safari: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, and More is a fantastic way to experience the wonders of the season from a new perspective as herds migrate, the landscape becomes a haven for birdwatching, and lions climb the trees while flamingos flock to Lake Manyara of the Great Rift Valley.

Travel Tip from Tehsin, a Zicasso safari travel specialist:

  • With ideal safari conditions and strong availability, it’s a great time for a safari. Travelers should anticipate higher rates over the holidays due to increased demand.

Learn more: Tanzania Safaris & VacationsTanzania Safari Guide

7. Brazil

Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Average Temperature in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 75°F Low • 87°F High

Brazil during the holiday season is festive, fun, and a warm welcome to the summer in the Southern Hemisphere. There are many ways to celebrate the holidays in Brazil, with trips away from the busy cities into nature the perfect option for a peaceful and joyous festive season.

You can experience colorful Christmas markets, watch the elaborate fireworks over Rio de Janeiro, and view the nativity scenes known as presepio during a short stay in the capital. However, we recommend traveling off the beaten path during the holiday season to explore coastal towns and islands, taking full advantage of the sun-washed shorelines.

Highlights: Admire the presepio nativity scenes • Explore the Amazon Rainforest • Escape the crowds for New Year’s Eve at forest resorts • See the wildlife of Brazil on guided nature tours

Brazil Holiday Trip Idea:

Experience a touch of traditional Christmas in the bustling cities of Brazil before you escape to the breathtaking shores to find sweeping views, wilderness and forests along the coast on 10-Days Capturing the Beauty of Brazil’s Green Coast, which is perfect for a getaway over the holiday season.

Travel Tip from Camille, a Zicasso travel specialist for Brazil:

  • Rio de Janeiro and the Green Coast are fantastic year-round destinations, with excellent availability across the holiday season

Learn more: Brazil Tours & VacationsBrazil Travel Guide

8. 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 Ephesus and Pamukkale, two remarkable ancient sites.

Learn more: Turkey Tours & VacationsTurkey Travel Guide

9. 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, and preferred properties are filling fast. It is likely that within a couple of weeks, capacity will be nearly full in most regions.

Learn more: Thailand Tours & VacationsThailand Travel Guide

10. 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

Plan Your Trip for the Best Holiday Vacation

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

Mt Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentine Patagonia

The festive season brings charm and wonders around the world, whether trekking through the plains in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer or basking in the snowy blanket of a cozy winter ambiance for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 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 your holiday season travel. You can find more great inspiration for where to visit during the holiday season 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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