Places To Visit In December
For some, December is synonymous with gingerbread, mulled wine and winter holidays. For others, it means frosting cold and nothing too glorious to live for. Whether you want to dive into unrivaled Christmas spirit or explore a tropical destination, get inspired by these best places to visit in December.
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
Charming all year round, Edinburgh is particularly festive in December. Walking through its cobblestone streets can surely take you back to its medieval days, while the Royal Mile impresses with amazing cafes, shops, and museums.
Dating from the 12th century, the Edinburgh Castle is a must-see while visiting the city. Fairy lights and the holiday’s spirit transudes at the Royal Botanical Garden.
Edinburgh is also the place where you can admire impressive European Christmas markets either at Princess Street Garden or on George Street.
Here, you can buy unique souvenirs and Christmas gifts, including traditional crafts as well as kitsch decorations while sipping some invigorating warm drink. Oh, and while you’re here, don’t forget to taste the traditional shortbread and whiskey in one of the most elegant distilleries.
2. St Bart’s, French West Indies
While the French West Indies might sound confusing, St Bart’s is technically a French island located in a dreamy landscape. It was discovered by Columbus in 1493, and it’s now a member of the European Union, alongside its mother country, France.
More than a tropical paradise, this island is full of history. Gustavia, its capital, is known for its 17th-century forts and lighthouse.
More than a dozen public beaches offer places to relax and activities for all tastes. From sun soaking to kayaking, and even shopping, there are a lot of pastimes to fill your time with. It’s also one of the best destinations for windsurfing.
If you decide to visit, opt to stay in an eco-friendly hotel where you can pamper yourself with sauna, beach yoga, and hydrotherapy. No doubt, a December-perfect island escape.
3. New York, USA
If you loved Home Alone as a kid, you’d love New York in December. This is the time of the year when the city puts on its festive attire and attracts locals and visitors with the iconic ice skating rink under the Rockefeller Center.
Admire the theatrical window displays on the Fifth Avenue and check out Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights to discover the extravagantly bedecked houses. Then, enjoy your evening with a perfect cocktail somewhere on a rooftop. Simply amazing.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
The southernmost city in Africa, Cape Town is an amazing destination all year round, but a true joy to discover in December.
Bearing a strong historical significance, it has been the pole for the trade between Asia and Europe since antiquity.
Whether you’re after panoramic beaches with white sandbanks or buzzing nightlife, Cape Town packs all the best experiences you can have in December.
A few noteworthy attractions are the National Botanical Garden, the aquarium, and the Castle of Good Hope.
5. Cartagena, Colombia
You might want to deny it, but you can’t just ignore warm weather and Caribbean beaches, even if it’s December.
One of the best places to visit in December is, in fact, Cartagena, Colombia.
Once a 16th-century Spanish port and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this ancient city knows how to surprise its visitors.
Admire its original Spanish Colonial architecture, then taste the local cuisine when you get hungry. From street food to fancy restaurants, Cartagena is known for its seafood and fresh fruits.
Like most cities in December, Cartagena also becomes festive, embellishing its streets with nativity scenes and festival lights. The Christmas markets here are also special and well worth to discover.
6. Milan, Italy
A global fashion capital and important financial hub, Milan is one of Europe’s most festive cities in December. From the first days of the month, the Milanese tradition begins the holiday celebrations with festivals dedicated to its patron saint.
This also marks the opening of the Christmas markets set up in the grounds of the majestic Sforzesco Castle.
Local treats and handmade trinkets are just some of the highlights. Don’t forget to reward yourself with chestnut and pine-kernel cake and mulled wine.
With a full belly and holidays spirit, stroll along the famous fashion quarter and the cool Tortona area to discover newly established galleries and design studios.
7. Kyoto, Japan
While Christmas is not quite a big deal in Japan, the New Year certainly is. And what better place to join the festivities than the country’s former imperial capital, Kyoto. Keeper of ancient traditions, the city fills with markets and hosts a wealth of festivals throughout December.
The Tenjin-san and Kobo-san are perhaps the most popular flea markets held around the temples with the same name.
Here, you can find many treasures, including kimonos and antiques, alongside food carts. In early December, you can attend the magical lantern festival in the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest.
8. Vienna, Austria
Visiting Vienna in December is a vacation experience like no other. Festival adorned palaces, classical music concerts, and magical Christmas markets fascinate thousands of tourists each year.
Expect at least a dozen Christmas markets to choose from, a glorious ice skating rink, and a giant Christmas tree.
Vienna is also known for its delicious treats including mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, and other regional snacks that’ll leave you mouthwatering.
While you’re in Austria, remember that no winter night here is complete without a succulent bratwurst served with horseradish and mustard in a classic bun.
9. Tromso, Norway
Renowned for its acclaimed Christmas beer released every December and located more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, this enchanting winter wonderland is another of the best places to visit in December.
Along the city’s streets, you’ll also be impressed by the number of restaurants, cafes, and shops where you can find unique souvenir and crafted objects.
10. Cancun, Mexico
Last on our list of the best places to visit in December, Cancun fits the bill of tropical destinations on a budget.
In December, prices drop even more, while the mild temperatures and pristine beaches await for those who want to soak in the sun all year long.
A renowned spot for snorkeling and diving, the Cancun Underwater Museum is a great place to visit during your Christmas vacation.