Think picturesque snowscapes, heavenly white, sandy beaches or glittering Christmas lights on crisp nights – how fortunate that December is the time of year that some of the world’s best winter destinations are at their peak.
If you crave winter warmth, there’s something rather novel about globetrotting to sunny climes while everyone is left shivering back home. Just as exciting are the world’s cooler countries which can offer just as much magic with their festive traditions and quirks.
So, if you’re set on escaping at least some of the British Winter this year, let us inspire you with these top December destinations:
For Spanish sunshine
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
After Tenerife, this is the second largest of the Canary Islands and with temperatures rarely dipping below 20ºC, this is a haven for sunshine at any time of year. The most popular region of Fuerteventura is Corralejo at the island’s northern tip, where you can stretch out on miles of unspoilt and uncrowded beaches and forget about winter altogether. And when you’re ready to see more of the island, the protected valleys and ravines of the Parque Rural de Betancuria are superb for walking.
For atmospheric Hungarian Christmas markets
Northern Europeans seem to do Christmas markets particularly well and, despite average temperatures of 3ºC in Budapest, crowds love to flock to Vörösmarty Square for one of Europe’s biggest seasonal markets. Here you can browse all manner of traditional handicrafts (ideal gifts to take back home) and savour mulled wine to the sounds of local choirs and folklore-inspired performances.
For a snowy Russian city break
With an average temperature of -3ºC, St. Petersburg is perfect if you’re looking for an excuse to wrap up warm. This ornate city looks exceptionally beautiful in the snow so expect breath-taking wintry scenery. Don’t miss The Winter Palace, a monumental construction comprising of some 1,500 rooms, looking a bit like an intricately decorated wedding cake. For chlidren and adults alike, there’s the Children’s Music Theatre, featuring lively, colourful musicals based on traditional Russian fairy tales.
For a Caribbean party atmosphere
Eight hours of sunshine per day and an average December temperature of 22ºC are big draws for us Brits. Arrive in Havana for 17 December to catch the annual Saint Lazarus procession and witness tens of thousands of pilgrims descending to the shrine of Saint Lazarus for his blessing, often while crawling on their knees or even their stomachs! In the evening, experience sensational salsa just about everywhere, as well as the nation’s infamous rum cocktails, namely mojitos and daiquiris.
For mesmerising reindeer adventures
Breath-taking, mystical Lapland is home to the traditional Sámi and their several hundred thousand reindeer. Here you can travel the age-old way on a reindeer safari as your sleigh is pulled through silent, magical Lappish scenery. During December, look to the stars and you may be lucky enough to catch the mesmerising green and scarlet streaks of the Aurora Borealis shooting across the skies.