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14 Best Places to Travel in December

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Colmar, France decorated for the Christmas holiday

Colmar, France

December can immerse you in the joyful ambiance of a white winter in the Northern Hemisphere or allow you to embrace the warmth of Southern Hemisphere summers.

Whether eager to ski or lounge on pristine white beaches, bask in a tropical hideaway or indulge in the charms of small-town Christmas festivities, travel in December offers new perspectives on traditions and landscapes.

The following information provides details of the best experiences you can have, no matter your travel preferences.

  1. 1. Italy
  2. 2. France
  3. 3. Norway
  4. 4. Austria
  5. 5. Denmark
  6. 6. New Zealand
  7. 7. Chile
  8. 8. Argentina
  9. 9. Costa Rica
  10. 10. Maldives
  11. 11. Thailand
  12. 12. Sri Lanka
  13. 13. Bhutan
  14. 14. Cambodia
  15. Plan Your Trip for December

1. Italy

Christmas tree in Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Temperatures: Low 40°F • High 53°F

Highlights: Culture, ancient ruins, villages, museums, wine, cuisine, scenery, winter sports, Christmas markets

Other recommended travel times: February • March • May • June • September • October

The temperate climate in December makes the entire country comfortable, with the season’s festive ambiance focusing attention on extended Christmas celebrations.

The crowds have returned home after the summer to give you a more authentic atmosphere as you uncover vibrant markets or mass at the Vatican, embrace the luxury winter-sports paradise of the Alps, or indulge in the marvelous shopping arcades and artisan crafts across the region.

Learn more: Italy Christmas Vacations & ToursItaly Travel Guide5 Reasons You Should Plan a Christmas Trip to Italy

2. France

Skiing Vallee Blanche Chamonix with panorama of Grandes Jorasses in FranceSkiing Vallee Blanche Chamonix with panorama of Grandes Jorasses in France

Chamonix, France

Temperatures: Low 37°F • High 45°F

Highlights: Winter sports, culture, museums, cuisine, wine, Christmas markets

Other recommended travel times: May • June • July

December in France feels authentic. Virtually no crowds make the entire country accessible, with Christmas markets adding to the festive ambiance.

Winter sports overtake the snowcapped mountains, thermal spas make warmth possible, and stylish stores reflect France’s reputation as a fashion capital.

Whether looking for truffles or interested in celebrating seasonal festivals, France in December is a destination in which you can indulge.

Learn more: France Tours & VacationsFrance Travel Guide

3. Norway

Dog sledding in Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø, Norway

Temperatures: Low 20°F • High 29°F

Highlights: Northern Lights, snowshoeing, dog sledding, Flåm railway, Sami culture

Other recommended travel times: February • June • July • August • September

Norway is a paradise of snow and adventure in winter. The festive holiday season brings light to the long, dark nights, with celebrations that cross into the Arctic Circle, without the summer crowds.

Winter feels exciting, with endless chances to see the Northern Lights or migrating whales moving through the fjords. From chances to ski or sled between destinations, winter sports to Christmas markets, Norway in December demonstrates a unique majesty.

Learn more: Norway Tours

4. Austria

Flachau ski resort, Austria

Flachau ski resort, Austria

Temperatures: Low 28°F • High 37°F

Highlights: Culture, cuisine, villages, winter sports, scenery, museums, Christmas markets

Other recommended travel times: May • July • August • September

December in Austria embodies the wonders of winter and makes it one of the busiest times of year to visit.

Glowing Christmas markets, festive light shows, and seasonal charms entice travelers from around the world, further lured by the promise of luxury ski resorts across the alpine region.

From skiing to snowshoeing, the arts to imperial grace, Austria in December can feel like an intimate getaway that reflects timeless charm and grandeur, from the Dolomites to the Danube River.

Learn more: Austria Tours & VacationsAustria Travel Guide

5. Denmark

Copenhagen cityscape at twilight with lights reflecting in the waterr

Copenhagen, Denmark

Temperatures: Low 75°F • High 54°F

Highlights: Culture, museums, scenery, Christmas markets

Other recommended travel times: September

Surprisingly cozy, full of Christmas cheer, and exuding snowy majesty, Denmark in winter is very festive. Celebrate the season with holiday markets and uncover the dazzling Northern Lights dancing above the snow.

Ice skate, indulge in a soothing sauna, or enjoy antique towns. In December, Denmark demonstrates its reputation as one of the happiest countries in the world, and you can enjoy all it has to offer during your trip.

Learn more: Scandinavia Tours & Vacations

6. New Zealand

Queenstows with Lake Wakatipu and panoramic view of The Remarkables mountains in New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

Temperatures: Low 59°F • High 70°F

Highlights: Warm weather, wildlife, culture, beaches, water sports, hiking, scenery

Other recommended travel times: January • March • June • July

New Zealand is dynamic in December, with the promise of endless adventures in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. Plenty of sunny days make it an exceptional time to enjoy water sports, take to the hiking trails, or travel to the beaches.

Search for whales along the coastline, learn about Māori culture, or indulge in new adventures, from celebrated wines to fantastic surf. Enjoy the vibrant color of lupins or the impressive mountain peaks as you uncover how New Zealand brings the fantastical to life.

Learn more: New Zealand Tours & Vacations New Zealand Travel Guide

7. Chile

Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) in Los Flamencos National Reserve, in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert, Chile

Temperatures: Low 56°F • High 85°F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, hiking, scenery

Other recommended travel times: February • March • October • November

December in Chile casts a bright light over the natural beauty that spans from the northern Atacama Desert to the southern Patagonian icefield. December ushers in the heart of summer in the Southern Hemisphere to bring warmth and stunning colors back to the landscape.

While crowds start growing, especially around Patagonia, December is a great time to explore captivating scenery that can take you from glacial lakes to star-studded skies, along epic hiking trails, or to celebrated wine regions, even the legendary Moai statues of Easter Island.

Learn more: Chile Tours & Vacations Chile Travel Guide

8. Argentina

The Perito Moreno Glacier is a glacier located in Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

Temperatures: Low 69°F • High 82°F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, hiking, scenery, cycling, wine, horseback riding

Other recommended travel times: February • April • November

December in Argentina brings life to summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The warm weather spreads from the coastline to the Patagonian Steppe, before the peak-season crowds arrive.

The rains of the tropical north funnel through the thundering cascades of Iguazú Falls, while the clear skies and warm days make the glaciers of Patagonia within reach.

From the legends of tango in Buenos Aires to the natural splendor of the Andes, traditional asado to a passion for futbol, Argentina in December can satisfy every kind of adventurous spirit.

Learn more: Argentina ToursArgentina Travel Guide

9. Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano surrounded by lush rainforest in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Temperatures: Low 64°F • High 77°F

Highlights: Warm weather, wildlife, culture, beaches, scenery

Other recommended travel times: February • July

Misty volcanic peaks, trekking beneath jungle canopies, peaceful beach escapes, or intimate mountain resorts highlight the possibilities of Costa Rica in December. The dry season brings comfortable temperatures across the country and attracts growing crowds.

From searching for raucous macaws to finding nesting sea turtles, lounging on golden sands, or soaring through the sky on ziplines, Costa Rica in December unveils the essence of pura vida.

Learn more: Costa Rica ToursCosta Rica Travel Guide

10. Maldives

Huts on the beach in Malé Atoll, Maldives

Malé Atoll, Maldives

Temperatures: Low 80°F • High 86°F

Highlights: Warm weather, marine life, culture, beaches, villages

Other recommended travel times: March • April

The Maldives in December can be an escape from winter into an island haven. The season can bring more people eager to lounge on the soft white sands for part thereof.

With longer periods of unceasing sunshine and possible showers in the earlier half of the month, December in the Maldives can be the perfect time to lounge on the beaches or dive into the crystal-clear waters in search of colorful marine life.

From exclusive resorts to the wonders of coral walls, you can embrace island life in the Maldives in December.

Learn more: Maldives Tours & VacationsMaldives Travel Guide

11. Thailand

Golden Triangle at Mekong river, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand

Golden Triangle, Thailand

Temperatures: Low 71°F • High 88°F

Highlights: Warm weather, culture, museums, wildlife, beaches, water sports, museums, cuisine

Other recommended travel times: January • April

Thailand in December brings the idyllic tropical paradise to life. Islands are ringed with white-sand beaches, enticing cuisine lures locals and visitors into restaurants, and cool mountains in welcoming forests accentuate the warm air.

The number of visitors grows in December, with many tourists from around the world escaping harsh winters. Rainy days are minimal, the nights are cool, and the wonders of Thailand become easily accessible, whether visiting the Golden Triangle in the north, the Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok, or the golden sands of Koh Lanta.

Learn more: Thailand Tours & VacationsThailand Travel Guide

12. Sri Lanka

Buddha statue at Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple

Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Temperatures: Low 75°F • High 84°F

Highlights: Warm weather, wildlife, culture, beaches, ancient ruins, villages

Other recommended travel times: February • May • August

With whale-watching and pleasant weather from the south to east coasts, December in Sri Lanka represents the beginning of peak travel season.

The growing crowds understand how to enjoy the comfortable weather and experience the Cultural Triangle, as blue skies return after the monsoon season.

With roaming elephants, timeless ruins, endless beaches, and a deep connection to preserved heritage, Sri Lanka can feel like a hidden gem, even as peak season returns.

Learn more: Sri Lanka Tours

13. Bhutan

Memorial chortens at Dochula Pass in Bhutan

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

Temperatures: Low 43°F • High 68°F

Highlights: Culture, temples, villages, museums, hiking

Other recommended travel times: March • April

Bhutan is a winter surprise in December, filled with blue skies and captivating snowy landscapes.

The kingdom opens to spectacular views of the high Himalayas for an added reward that accentuates the abundant festivals and open rails along the lower regions of the mountains.

Look for migrating cranes, explore the Dochula Pass, or celebrate the season with locals to experience the authentic beauty of Bhutan in December.

Learn more: Bhutan Vacations & Tours 

14. Cambodia

Umbrellas and blankets on white sand beach on Koh Rong Island in Cambodia

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

Temperatures: Low 77°F • High 86°F

Highlights: Warm weather, wildlife, culture, beaches, ancient ruins, villages

Other recommended travel times: February • April

December in Cambodia is perfection, with dry, sunny days and relatively cool evenings. The great weather and holiday season make Cambodia a popular destination for travelers in December, but the country still casts a captivating spell, where ancient and contemporary cultures meet.

With imperial temples, adventures into the mountains or rice paddies, and natural beauty with freshwater dolphins or tropical islands, Cambodia is an enchanting destination in December.

Learn more: Cambodia ToursSoutheast Asia Tours & Vacations

Plan Your Trip for December

The ruins of Sukhothai at Sukhothai Historical Park in Thailand

Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand

December can take you into the depth of winter or the heart of summer. Trek to the marvelous Paine Massif, experience Christmas Mass at the Vatican, visit a tropical jungle in search of ancient ruins, or find the perfect secluded beach.

A personalized vacation in December opens your eyes to new possibilities which you can discover with our trips of a lifetime sample itineraries. You can also find more helpful tips on when to travel with our information on the best places to travel by month.

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