December brings the magic of winter and the festive allure of the holiday season. People worldwide look for unique and memorable experiences, from basking in the warm and inviting tropical sun to skating along the snowy white meadows.
Many places in the world are no less than a wonderland in December.
Best Places to Visit in The World in December
1. London, United Kingdom
The capital city is immersed in a cheerful and wishful holiday spirit, with Christmas markets and decorations set up on the first of December.
The city emits charm and splendour as its streets are finessed with lights, luminous figures and the chant of carols.
1.1. The Famous Red Bus For Sightseeing:
The most beautiful views can be seen in the city centre. In this place, the winter decorations are at their peak. You can enjoy this view by taking the famous sightseeing red bus as your means of transport. The route passes by renowned monuments contributing to the British capital’s tourism. The bus tickets can be pre-booked according to the places you want to visit.
Some famous picturesque areas you would not want to miss include Regent Street, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and the bustling Trafalgar Square.
1.2. Trafalgar Square:
Trafalgar Square is a public square located in Central London. It is one the liveliest spots, with one of the largest Christmas trees. The place is rich in history and is home to various museums, art galleries, and cafes.
You can stroll along the Christmas markets, grab a warm drink and buy gifts from a range of handcrafted goods.
1.3. Winter Wonderland:
The Winter Wonderland hosts various fun activities and is surrounded by an eccentric festive atmosphere. There are many stalls to eat and shop from. It is located in Hyde Park and is the largest Christmas fair in the city.
You can hitch a ride in the Ferris wheel to get the best panoramic views or go for other fun activities like ice skating, merry-go-rounding, or watching the circus. To make this trip memorable, buy souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones from the Flea market.
Don’t miss out on free outdoor activities! Visit the museums and use public transport to sustain your budget.
- Travel Tip: Plan your days ahead of time. London is a vast city with plenty of events, so schedule accordingly.
2. Rome, Italy
Rome, a cultural hotspot, is the perfect city for people who enjoy history, art and architecture. Home to various monuments with a profound backstory, this place is worth a visit.
As the tourist season passes, flight tickets and hotels become cheaper, and you can spend and save according to your budget. The snow-free weather makes the capital city easy to explore and access. Some attractions you should visit in December include:
2.1. The Colosseum:
The Roman Colosseum is an amphitheatre considered one of the world’s seven wonders. You can also avoid long queues by choosing the fast-track entry ticket.
2.2. Vatican Museum:
2.3. St. Peter’s Basilica:
This architectural marvel designed by the famous Michelangelo is located in Vatican City. Being the world’s largest church enriched with art and relics, you might not want to miss out on this one!
2.4. Go on a Food Expedition:
You can book a guided food and wine tour and discover the local food markets in the city. Due to the town being less crowded at this time of the year, you can explore the city like a local for the ultimate Italian odyssey.
Italy is great for exploring on foot and saving money on your commute.
- Travel Tip: Learn some common Italian terms, and keep a translator app downloaded on your phone.
3. New York City, USA
New York City in December is like a scene straight out of a movie. With pathways covered with snow and marvellous lighting displays, the city emits pure charm in its peak visiting season.
December, the peak time for travel, makes flight and hotel prices high. Making advanced bookings and budget planning are good choices. New York is known for its vibrant nightlife and extravagant Christmas parties. Some main events in December include:
3.1. Ice Skating:
Looking for a fun activity to enjoy with your family? Ice Skating in Central Park would surely be a memorable experience.
With the stunning city view as a backdrop, the park contains two ice rinks with tutoring sessions available.
3.2. Watch the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting:
The giant tree is decorated with around 50,000 LEDs, with a Swarovski star at the top, and is covered with 3 million crystals. You can pre-book your tickets to attend this dazzling affair.
3.3. Explore the Holiday Markets:
Bryant Park’s Winter Village, The Grand Central Holiday Fair and The Union Square Holiday Market are the largest and most popular markets. The items here range from clothes to art and craft materials and food stalls.
Fifth Avenue is another famous spot perfect for your shopping spree, with radiant lights and decorations emitting the perfect holiday spirit.
- Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes. Pre-book your flight and hotels for a smooth travelling journey.
4. Madrid, Spain
With the city adorned with festive decorations and illuminated brick streets, Madrid is a vibrant city perfect for your holidays. The Spanish capital is known for its cultural attractions, flavourful cuisines and shopping avenues.
With the weather being sunny during the daytime and chilly in the evening, it is a good time to explore the city in December.
4.1. Attend a Flamenco Show:
Want your evening to be filled with a powerful dance and music performance? The Flamenco show is a passionate performance that promises to engage the audience emotionally, irrespective of any language barrier.
Madrid is called the capital of Flamenco, making this show a must-visit for your trip.
4.2 Indulge in the Spanish Cuisine
Try the authentic Spanish hot chocolate paired with churros for the best holiday treat to fend off the winter bite.
Do not forget to try the other famous dishes of Spanish cuisine in Madrid.
4.3. Visit the Royal Palace:
Serving as a home to the Spanish monarchy over the centuries, The Royal Palace is one of the major attractions in Madrid. It is one of the largest palaces in the world, with a marvellous mix of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. It is also known to have a massive art collection.
You can visit the historic throne room, examine the royal armoury, learn about the royal pharmacy, and do many other things.
4.4. Madrid’s Festive Markets:
The Christmas market in the Plaza Mayor is one of the busiest and liveliest, with almost a hundred booths comprising items ranging from local designers to gourmet treats.
In addition to being a hub for tourists, the market offers the finest quality products for you to take home.
- Travel Tip: Purchase a Madrid tourist card to get free transportation facilities and access to museums. The card also facilitates discounts at shops, nightclubs and restaurants.
5. Dubai, UAE
Dubai is the busiest city at this time of the year as the weather cools down, making exploring the city a pleasing experience.
The futuristic city offers a variety of options to make the most of your tour. It offers much, from the most luxurious spots to outdoor safari adventures.
5.1. Global Village:
Global Village brings together the cultural heritage of 90 countries at a common spot, with loads of fun events, carnivals, selfie spots and dining options. You will leave with many memories!
5.2. Museum of the Future:
With a remarkable pioneering establishment, the Museum of the Future provides a unique experience to empower people to reach the depths of their imagination for the time ahead.
Ensure that you check ticket availability before planning your visit.
5.3. Desert Safari:
The famous Dubai Desert Safari provides diverse offers and packages to fit your budget. Riding quad bikes, devouring Barbeque and watching traditional Arab dances along with the chilly desert atmosphere will highlight your Dubai tour.
- Travel Tip: Plan your finances and places to visit to gain the best experience in a limited period.
6. Bali, Indonesia
Perfect for a romantic getaway packed with the thrills of nature, Bali is filled with beaches and safari adventures. With the wet climate in December, you will be able to explore and fulfil your bucket list adventures while witnessing the true beauty of the place.
The island has many unique and fun-filled activities and luxurious beach resorts for the best holiday experience.
6.1. Explore the Temples:
You can visit the intricately designed temples in Bali to seek blessings and engage in spiritual reflection. Some of the main temples include the Tanah Lot Temple, Uluwatu Temple, Besakih Temple, and the Goa Gajah Temple.
6.2. Visit the Bali Safari and Marine Park:
The Bali Safari and Marine Park is an open zoo with trained animals assisted by a professional mahout, which will make this interactive session safe and fun for you.
It is the home to various endangered species and is filled with over a thousand animals, making this experience remarkable.
6.3. Join the New Year’s Eve Celebrations:
The city welcomes the new year with music, dance festivals, and fun-filled parties to celebrate with friends and family.
- Travel Tip: Check the weather forecast before booking your trip. The island begins to fill up with tourists, making pre-bookings the optimal choice for a hassle-free journey.
7. Istanbul, Turkey
With a striking view and the sound of seagulls filling the air, Istanbul is popular with travellers worldwide. Known for its rich historical background, the city has architectural wonders, lively bazaars and delectable cuisines.
Some main locations you should explore include:
7.1. Hagia Sophia:
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque holds great historical significance as it is the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral.
Surrounded by the sea on all three sides, you would undoubtedly be amazed by its beauty and importance since the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
7.2. Basilica Cistern:
This majestic reservoir is located under the streets of Sultanahmet from the Byzantine era, dating back to the 6th century.
With over 330 pillars made from marble and granite, you will be astonished to see the still-standing proof of history.
7.3. Egyptian Spice Bazar:
Your trip to Istanbul will be incomplete without a visit to the Misir Carsisi, with the rich, earthy smell of Middle Eastern spices wafting in the air. You can shop for Turkish coffee and common ethnic spices in Turkish households.
7.4. Grand Bazaar:
The Grand Bazaar is a shopping paradise with over 4000 shops. You should check out the antiques, jewellery, carpets, handbags, and other items with designs native to Turkey.
7.5. Galata Tower:
To get the best panoramic views of the city, you should visit the Galata Tower to bring the best pictures while enjoying the view of the city.
You can also devour a luxurious meal from the Tower’s restaurant.
- Travel Tip: Use public transport to explore the town and carry cash. Learning a few common terms will help as well.
Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is a heaven for travellers. With magnificent waterfalls and hike-worthy trails, Iceland has it all! The daylight stays for only four hours, and the beautiful aurora borealis decorates the night sky, creating an enchanting experience for the visitors.
Here are some main attractions you should consider visiting:
8.1. Northern Lights:
December is one of the best months to witness the northern lights. Away from the city and its light pollution, this natural phenomenon will take your breath away with its colourful dancing lights in the dark sky.
The best place to view the lights is the countryside, although it is not guaranteed that you will be able to see them during your visit.
8.2. Blue Lagoon:
Looking for a warm and refreshing place to take a break from the Icelandic winter? The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Sauna is the perfect place to visit. You can book a suite, utilize the retreat spa, try their skincare products, and see their abundant restaurants.
8.3. Visit Reykjavik for New Year Celebration and Shopping:
New Year’s Eve in the capital city is a unique experience for visitors as there is a fireworks show carried out by the city’s population with harmonic chants of celebration.
You can shop in Reykjavik from a blend of cultures and handcrafted goods that suit your taste.
The weather is unpredictable, so pack your clothes accordingly!
- Travel Tip: Use your credit card for payments. Nordic countries, including Iceland, are famous for their cashless payments.
9. Madagascar, Africa
Suitable for all age groups, Madagascar is an island located in the Indian Ocean. Luscious forests, unique wildlife, sunny beaches, and intriguing people will paint a distinctive yet accurate picture in your mind.
Some places you should add to your tour include:
The vivid capital city is overlooked due to the numerous beaches and parks nationwide. Antananarivo is worth a visit with its historical background and shopping choices.
The Rova Palace, with a view that exhibits the city; Lac Anosy, the stunning heart-shaped lake; and Independence Avenue, with an array of shops, are some places you should consider visiting while in the city.
9.2. Visit the National Parks:
Madagascar is home to various plant and animal species, especially lemurs. Over 90% of the wildlife in Madagascar is native to the place, making this unique experience memorable for you!
Some prominent national parks include:
- Andasibe Mantadia National Park: This well-known national park embodies a heavy rainforest, making it the perfect place to watch and capture the flora and fauna in their habitat.
- Isalo National Park: Filled with sandstone mountains, rugged plateaus and dry deciduous forests, the Isalo National Park is a haven for hikers and wildlife lovers.
- Ranomafana National Park: Along with being the most picturesque National park in the south-eastern part of the island, this park contains hot springs, making this place unmissable in December.
Filled with French colonial architecture and colourful rickshaws, Antsirabe is the third-largest city in Madagascar.
It would be best to visit the serene Antsirabe cathedral, marvel at the Gare d’Antsirabe’s architecture and try their local cuisines.
Carry prescribed medication and get tests done, as there is a common risk of malaria.
- Travel Tip: Wear closed and comfortable walking shoes.
10. Scotland, UK
Nourished with culture and suffused with grand landscapes, Scotland seems like a place straight out of the fantasy novels! The country has lights, carnivals, and events to perk up the holiday spirit.
Packed with mystic medieval castles blanketed under the snow, the capital is filled with places to witness and add to your memory. Edinburgh Castle is one of the most famous castles, with the winter season casting a magical glow on the place.
You can admire the Christmas decorations, skate on the ice rink, walk along the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens light trail and grab a drink from the local pubs, amongst many other activities.
10.2. Isle Of Skye:
The Isle of Skye is considered one of the best places to visit in December as the tourist season passes. From undiscovered hiking trails to enchanting icy waterfalls, the Scottish island is popular among locals and tourists.
As the weather is unpredictable with high chances of rainfall, it is advised to pack accordingly if you plan to check out the outdoor activities.
Inverness is the cultural capital and the largest city in the Scottish Highlands. The city is a perfect blend of ancient charm and modern glamour, full of astute sceneries that are perfect for your strolls and comfortable winter days.
You can even witness an aurora borealis if you are lucky enough to visit the city when the uncertain phenomenon is in its best form!
- Travel Tip: Rent a car for hassle-free travel and choose only 2 to 3 activities per day to avoid exhaustion.
December brings the essence of festivals in many places of the world. At this time of the year, the world lights up with Christmas decorations and New Year celebrations, making it the perfect time for a little vacation.
Head over with your friends and family to some of the most outstanding destinations in the world in December.