December is the second busiest month after summer. During this time of the year, many travel home or away from home to exotic locations. People get an early start to the skiing season and workaholics who love to travel make the most out of it, at this time of the year. Now, let’s wander to the best places to visit in winter in the list below.
Just across the border from Germany to France: Strasbourg, one of the best places to visit in winter. This mediaeval city, like its Black Forest neighbours, hosts a well-known Christmas market that combines French and German traditions.
The half-timbered houses along beautiful rivers provide a fairy-tale setting for the annual Christkindelsmärik, one of the city’s oldest markets. Shopping from foreign sellers and drinking a warm drink as you experience snow fall at the market place.
Continue your holiday sightseeing to Place Kléber, which houses the Great Christmas Tree. The gigantic arbour soars at least 30 metres above the city and has seven kilometres of glittering lights, as well as 240 lighted cherubs and 400 ornaments. It will undoubtedly put you in the festive spirit.
If you want to ski on famous slopes in December, Hokkaido is one of the best places to visit in winter. Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, has become one of the world’s premier winter destinations. And this isn’t just any snow; it’s a specific type of dry, fluffy snow known as “Ja-pow,” which has a cult following among powder seekers. Ski season begins in mid-December, maybe earlier if the weather cooperates.
For your December ski holiday, Hokkaido has a plethora of ski resorts to select from. Every year, the ever-popular Niseko receives around 1,500 centimetres of snow. Sahoro welcomes foreign visitors and provides excellent tree skiing. Those seeking an out-of-the-way experience can explore Tomamu, which emanates cheesy Japanese culture.
Another one of the best places to visit in winter is Bangkok. The monsoon rains subside in November, bringing comparatively cool, dry weather to Thailand’s capital the following month. Evening temperatures will be in the low 20s Celsius, with the temperature peaking at 32 degrees Celsius during the day.
Take advantage of the wonderful sightseeing weather to visit some of Bangkok’s most popular tourist destinations. The Grand Palace is a must-see attraction. The roughly 250-year-old palace served as the residence of several Thai monarchs and their royal courts and has breathtakingly exquisite architecture. It is also home to the venerable Emerald Buddha.
Just south of the royal palace is Wat Pho, Bangkok’s oldest temple, where you may see the iconic 45-meter-long reclining Buddha statue. After you’ve seen the sights, take in the ambience of this bustling metropolis. The backpacker section of Khao San Road is a whirlwind of colour and activity, with loud music, street merchants selling trinkets, and a plethora of guesthouses. This is also where you’ll discover some of Bangkok’s greatest street cuisine. Bangkok is famous for its mouth-watering mango sticky rice.
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New York City
There is no better location to be in December than New York City. When the trees are strung in twinkling lights and there is a sprinkling of snow on the pavement, the glass-and-concrete city takes on a winter wonderland atmosphere making it another one of the best places to visit in winter.
Rockefeller Center is a must-see sight in New York City this time of year. It’s home to New York’s famed Christmas tree and a seasonal ice rink that’s been a yearly event since 1936. More than 140 members of the world-famous Rockettes practise their high kicks in synchrony during the Christmas Spectacular holiday stage show at neighbouring Radio City Music Hall.
Shopping in New York is also at its height in December. Stroll along Fifth Avenue to admire the spectacular Christmas decorations in businesses, and shop at department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s for gifts for everyone on your list.
St. Lucia, Caribbean
St. Lucia, one of the most beautiful places to go in winter. It is an excellent retreat from the frigid conditions up north in December. Relaxing at one of the destination’s resorts, such as Windjammer Resort & Beach Club, will be a memorable way to unwind before the New Year. Spend your days on the beach, participating in water sports, and going on excursions before settling down to watch the rainbow-streaked sunsets.
St. Lucia also boasts lots of activities for more energetic visitors seeking some action on their December vacation. Experienced hikers might take on a difficult climb to the towering Pitons (although most tourists will simply want to admire their beauty from afar). You might also dive along the Anse Chastanet coral reef, hike the Tet Paul Nature Trail for views of Martinique and St. Vincent, and go sightseeing in the laid-back town of Anse Chastanet. No matter how tight your schedule is, set aside an hour for a mud bath at Sulphur Springs. Your skin will appreciate it.
During December, Europe’s Christmas markets are one of the world’s best places to visit in winter and no other city decks the halls quite like Nuremberg. The little Bavarian town is home to one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, which has been held annually at the Hauptmarkt since at least the 1500s.
If you can, aim to be in Germany in late November to watch the much-anticipated Nuremberg Christkind (a gift-giving fairy from German Christmas legends) deliver a prologue in the Main Market Square to commemorate the market’s opening on Friday before the first Sunday of Advent.
Even if you miss that event, you may still enjoy the beauty of the Nuremberg Christmas market throughout December. Consume the city’s distinctive bratwurst and gingerbread, shop for traditional wooden toys and knit caps and fill your Christmas tree with ornaments. There’s also a fun carousel for the kids (and the young at heart).
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