30 of the Best Places to Visit in December

How about finishing the year on a high note with a dream vacation? If you like the sound of it, then you’ll love this list of the best places to visit in December.

December is a great month to travel and explore new places. It can be difficult deciding which spot to choose, but we have you covered.

Whether you’re looking for Christmas markets in a charming European town or adventure and relaxation in some tropical place, there’s something on the list for everyone and every interest.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll find fewer crowds and better deals in early December. Tourism picks up from mid-December around Christmas and New Year’s Eve which also results in higher prices.

Related Posts:

Best Warm Places to Visit in December Worldwide

pink hotel in hawaii

December is the first winter month, and if you’re not a big fan of cold weather, you can escape somewhere nice and warm instead.

Luckily, there are plenty of hot destinations in December.

To give you some inspiration for your travel vacation, I’ve put together this list of warm destinations to visit in December:

  • Hawaii
  • Madagascar
  • Dubai
  • Thailand
  • Mauritius
  • Goa, India
  • Bahamas
  • New Zealand
  • Tulum, Mexico
  • Sydney, Australia

1. Hawaii

family in swimming pool at fairmont kea lani

Attention adventure lovers. There’s no better place to travel in December than Hawaii. Hawaii offers the best of both worlds: plenty of opportunities for relaxation but also active holidays.

From hiking, diving, and surfing to active volcanoes and swimming in natural pools, Hawaii will not disappoint.

There are six main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Maui is a great spot to celebrate an anniversary or honeymoon or simply pamper yourself at one of the many island spa retreats.

Kauai is a paradise for any outdoor lover, from the awe-inspiring Waimea canyon to the Instagram-worthy Na pali coast.

Explore the island of Molokai for an authentic off-the-beaten-path Hawaiian experience, or stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui for epic relaxation.

If you’re a history buff, visit the Kalaupapa Peninsula to learn the fascinating and tragic history of the Molokai Leper Colony.

Alongside beautiful hikes and popular beaches, such as Waikiki Beach or Sandy Cove, there is also shopping and vibrant nightlight in Honolulu, Oahu.

Big Island is famous for its Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and black lava fields. You can also find here unique Hawaiian food markets.

Getting a taste of Hawaiian culture in luau (Hawaiian feast) is what will make your vacation even more enjoyable.

The only downside to visiting Hawaii in December is the higher prices and the busy holiday season. For an even better time to visit Hawaii, check this article.

You might be interested in:

The Best Island to Visit in Hawaii

2. Madagascar

View of the tropical beach from the wooden pontoon of Sainte-Marie island, East of Madagascar

Madagascar was an easy choice for the best places to visit in December. 

This island is most known for its natural wonders and wildlife.

December in Madagascar has temperatures ranging from 24 to 33 °C, so if you’re looking for a warm winter getaway, Madagascar should be on your bucket list.

Besides postcard-perfect beaches and lagoons, this island in the Indian Ocean has a diverse range of ecosystems – from desert landscapes and mountainsides to lush rainforests and waterfalls.

Madagascar offers a unique opportunity to see lemurs, chameleons, and other animals in their natural habitat.

3. Dubai

global village in dubai

Dubai is a dream come true if you love the beach and luxury holidays.

With its gorgeous beaches and resorts, Arabic food, and a long list of epic tourist attractions, Dubai has all you need to make your vacation one of the best ones yet.

This city offers luxurious shopping and sunshine all year round, so it ticks many boxes when it comes to warm places to travel in December. 

Dubai in December has an average daily temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (26°C – 30°).

There are plenty of fun activities that you can do on your Dubai vacation.

Dash through the sand dunes on ATVs or ride the camels in the desert.

Spend an afternoon strolling la Mer beach with many cafes and restaurants, or snap a photo with Burj al Arab from Kite beach.

Enjoy incredible city views from the top of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Believe it or not, you can even go skiing at Ski Dubai or haggle for gold and spices at traditional souks (markets).

Other highlights are the Dubai fountain and desert safari.

4. Thailand

boats on the water in thailand

Thailand, also known as a “land of smiles,” is a must-see destination for any adventure lover.

December is a dry season in Thailand, with an average of 31 degrees Celcius.

What makes Thailand one of the best December travel destinations is the pleasant weather and affordable prices.

You can enjoy a one-hour full-body Thai massage for as little as $10, economic 5-star hotels, eat three-course meals, and shop til you drop without breaking the bank.

Most of the international flights go to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

The easiest and most convenient way to explore Bangkok is by tuk-tuk, which is a fun experience in itself.

For nightlife, enjoy drinks at Khao San Road–a famous nightlife backpacker district renowned for its parties and low prices.

Don’t miss out on tasting delicious street food like Pad Thai noodles and seeing Buddhist temples.

No visit to Thailand would be complete without exploring the exotic beauty of its islands.

Visit Nai Harn Beach to enjoy some of the best sunsets in Phuket, or venture out to Phi Phi Island for snorkeling and more beach time.

The Full Moon Party in Thailand on New Year’s Eve is an experience like no other.

Every year, thousands of people from all around the world flock to Koh Phangan for a night of wild festivities. It’s one of Asia’s most popular beach parties, so if you’re in Thailand around New Year’s, you’re in for a treat.

5. Mauritius

Beautiful girl with black hair has been snorkeling on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

Mauritius is a small island in East Africa that attracts many visitors for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear aquamarine waters.

And the best part is that the temperatures rarely fall below 20°C (68°F). 

So if you want a warm place with luxury resorts, add Mauritius to your list of the best places to visit in December.

The north coast is home to the most renowned resorts. 

The east coast gets a bit windy during the winter months.

The west coast is known for its stunning sunsets and top-notch diving. Moreover, it’s within easy reach of the rugged Black River Gorges.

But there is more to Mauritius than the fancy beach resorts.

Going inland, you’ll discover mountains, forests, rivers, waterfalls, and sugar cane fields.

6. Goa, India

Palolem beach Southern Goa, India colorful sea front bungalows landscape

Goa region in India offers a tropical climate with warm temperatures, which makes it a perfect beach vacation.

December’s weather ranges from 22-33 degrees Celsius.

To celebrate Christmas in Indian style, Goa has plenty of joy to offer with fireworks, Christmas trees, and Santa hats.

If you love Indian cuisine, you’ll be spoiled with choices – from tandoori chicken and samosas to aromatic curries.

But Goa is not just about beaches and nightlife. For a more authentic Indian cultural experience, you can visit spice plantations and even have a close-up encounter with an elephant.

The Goan food scene offers a unique blend of flavors with Portuguese colonial influence.

7. Bahamas

Atlantis deals at the resort in the bahamas

The Bahamas is a tropical paradise with beautiful pristine beaches and world-class resorts. 

What makes The Bahamas an ideal winter escape is its year-round warm climate.

December’s temperatures range from 22-33 degrees Celsius, and the humidity is lower, making perfect winter weather.

Start your vacation by taking an afternoon stroll on one of its many beaches, and explore crystal-clear waters by snorkeling and diving.

One of the highlights of the Bahamas is visiting Staniel Cay island, where you can swim with dolphins or feed adorable wild pigs on the beach.

Atlantis on Paradise Island is one of the most famous luxury hotels, not only in the Bahamas but also in the world.

Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark features an almost 90-degree water slide drop that leads straight to a tank with sharks.

To see Bahama’s national bird – pink flamingoes, head to Ardastra garden.

8. New Zealand

building with water and islands
Image credit: Pexels

New Zealand is best known for its picturesque landscape and Maori culture. 

With average temperatures between 26-31 degrees Celsius, NZ is one of those dream warm places to go in December.

You can see beautiful orcas in the Bay of Islands, take scenic hikes on one of its many mountain ranges, visit Hobbiton or marvel at unique glowworm caves in Waitomo.

NZ is an ideal destination if you’re after warm weather and an adventurous holiday in December.

9. Tulum, Mexico

Sandy way path entrance to the amazing and beautiful caribbean coast and beach with panorama view turquoise water people and parked cars of Tulum in Quintana Roo Mexico.

Tulum is a gem of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, and you’ll understand why once you experience the breathtaking scenery and beautiful sandy beaches for yourself.

December in Mexico is the dry season, and the weather is warm and sunny. Average temperatures range from 80-82°F (26-27°C).

To cool off on a warm day, you can go snorkeling, take a dip in mesmerizing Big Cenote, or explore inside Rio Secreto cave.

Tulum is also home to an impressive list of trendy cafes and rentals.

You’ve probably heard about Mayan ruins – Chichen Itza, but did you know there are also Tulum ruins on Tulum beach?

Sian Ka’an Tulum is one of the Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it’s the best place to see dolphins, turtles, and other marine life.

December is also a time of Las Posadas.

Las Posadas is a Mexican holiday tradition that is celebrated from December 16th to the 24th.

10. Sydney, Australia

sydney opera house attractions in australia
Image Credit: Savoteur

Australia is another country in the Southern hemisphere, with warm temperatures in December ranging from 23-29 degrees Celsius.

Your itinerary for visiting Australia should include catching a ferry across Sydney Harbour over to Circular Quay – a great base for exploring the best sights in Sydney. The most iconic site is, of course, the Sydney Opera House.

For something more outdoorsy, check out the golden sands of Bondi beach. It’s also a great place to learn how to surf.

After you explore Sydney to the fullest, take a short road trip to the majestic Blue Mountains. The area is known for having some of Australia’s best hiking trails and stunning waterfalls.

Best Warm Places to Visit in December in the US

People enjoying the vendors and entertainers at the Palm Springs Street Fair

Here’s the list of best vacation spots in December for warm weather in the US:

  • South Padre Island, Texas
  • Palm Springs, California
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Key West, Florida
  • San Diego, California

11. South Padre Island, Texas

View of the South Padre Island, on the Gulf of Mexico, Texas

One of the top things about South Padre Island is that temperatures remain pleasant even in winter, averaging in the low 70s (20+ °C ).

During holidays, the town is filled with Christmas lights and music.

One of the highlights is Holiday Sandcastle Village showcasing Christmas-themed sand sculptures.

You can even take sandcastle lessons or simply enjoy the beach strolls.

Dolphin watching is a fun activity all year round.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can take your kids to Nana’s 7D Cinema.

Texas is also known for its delicious Mexican eateries, so make sure to savor many tacos, nachos, and all of that good stuff.

12. Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs cable car with stop sign
Image Credit: Savoteur

While most of the US is buried in snow, Palm Springs is sunny and warm. 

The California desert is often clear, even if it’s raining in LA. That’s why it’s one of the best places to travel in December for the sun.

The temperatures range from the 60s to 70s (15+°C).

The festivities in Palm Springs kick off in early December with a tree-lighting ceremony.

The most iconic way to explore Palm Springs is by taking a bike ride through parks lined with palms and golf courses.

Take a short road trip to see Joshua Trees. (less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs)

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best national parks to visit in December.

The vast desert landscape is stunningly beautiful, with plenty of outdoorsy activities, such as trekking, camping, or rock climbing. I recommend the Chollas Cactus Garden and the Lost Palms hike.

You might get lucky and see snow-covered Joshua trees.

You might be interested in: 

Top Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids

13. San Antonio, Texas

boats on the riverwalk is one of the best things to do in san antonio

December holidays in San Antonio mean Christmas festivals and evening strolls along the River Walk or Alamo plaza with a large shining Christmas tree.

December daily temperatures are around the low 60s (15 °C), so you won’t have to worry about the cold.

Popular tourist attractions in San Antonio include Natural Bridge Caverns and San Antonio Botanical Garden.

After sightseeing, you can visit Six Flags Fiesta Texas, a theme park nearby San Antonio, for thrilling rides, hot chocolate, and Christmas cookies.

For splashing fun, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort is also worth the visit.

You shouldn’t miss out on Tex-Mex chili flavors to sample throughout the city.

14. Key West, Florida

key west
Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a tropical winter getaway Key West is the place to be. It’s warm and sunny even in December, with temperatures in the low 70s (21 °C).

Key West offers plenty of outdoor ocean activities, such as snorkeling, fishing, paddle boarding, and kayaking.

There is also lively nightlife in Key West, with cool bars, restaurants, and clubs to explore.

The best way to kick off the day is by taking a tour around the Historic Seaport District or Hemingway Home.

For evening entertainment, hit Mallory Square with some of the prettiest sunsets on Key West, local street performers, and delicious food.

You can enjoy Key West’s unique atmosphere while sipping on cocktails or having dinner at one of the local restaurants.

15. San Diego, California

The Mission Beach boardwalk, a concrete walkway shared by walkers and bicyclists. famous tourist destination with bar & restaurant next the beach. San Diego, California, USA.

The temperatures range in the pleasant 60s and 70s degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20°C). 

December is a great time for whale watching in San Diego. 

You can see gray whales from La Jolla’s coast.

Visit one of the many craft breweries or sit back with a glass of local wine from the beachfront bars. 

There are also plenty of festive events happening in December, such as the parade of lights and holiday markets, that are not to be missed.

If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love San Diego Zoo, located in the stunning Balboa park.

Balboa park is one of the largest historic urban parks in the US, sprawling over 1200 acres!

It features lush gardens, museums, walking paths, and beautiful Spanish-inspired architecture.

Legoland is also a fun spot, especially for kids.

Looking for more hot places to visit in December? Check out these 25 Inexpensive US Beach Getaways To Escape Winter.

Best Places to Visit in December for a Festive Atmosphere

people skating on lake louise in mountains

Here’s the list of December holiday destinations:

  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Banff & Lake Louis, Canada
  • New York City
  • Park City, Utah
  • Savannah, Georgia

16. Banff and Lake Louise, Canada

ice skating on lake louise in winter
Image Credit: Savoteur

Banff National Park is a Canadian winter wonderland.

December in Banff brings lots of snow and freezing temperatures that range from -5C (23F) to -14C (7F), so it’s perfect for skiing.

Lake Louise in winter turns into a spectacular natural ice skating rink surrounded by snow-peaked mountains and the Chateau Lake Louise hotel.

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, look no further than the Canadian Rockies

Downtown Banff has adorable boutiques and fantastic restaurants. Check out the Spirit of Christmas store for cute Christmas gifts and decorations.

Banff also has one of the best Christmas markets and festive activities in Canada – from meeting Santa at the top of the Banff gondola to Santa elf express.

For a unique experience, go for a drink at Ice Bar in Chateau Lake Louis.

Outside Banff, you’ll find Johnston Canyon, a frozen waterfall that makes for a beautiful winter hike.

17. New York City

statue of liberty new york city
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

While New York might be on your list of the best places to visit all year round, December in New York City is possibly the most picturesque of all months. 

New York City is known for its bustling city life and iconic landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. 

December weather in New York ranges from 22-28 degrees Fahrenheit but don’t let the freezing temperatures discourage you.

There’s nothing like the sparkling lights and holiday cheer of New York.

Remember Kevin from the Home Alone movie when he got lost in New York and all the magical Christmas scenes? For example, when he reunites with his family by the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center or browses toys at Duncan’s Toy Chest.

You could visit all these places and get into the Christmas spirit in no time.

Check out the Christmas markets around the city and go ice skating at one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions – Central Park.

To take a break from all that Christmas shopping, see the Rockettes dance the night away at Radio City Music Hall or catch a Broadway show in the Theater District.

The holiday season also brings to town festivities like ice skating under the Rockefeller Center tree and Christmas-themed window displays in Fifth Avenue stores.

18. Park City, Utah

park city utah
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

How about rewarding yourself with a winter getaway to Park City, Utah?

Park City with Deer Valley Resort is one of the best places to go in December for a ski holiday.

Deer Valley Resort has plenty of skiing and snowboarding trails from beginner to advanced.

For something more relaxing, visit the Alf Engen Ski Museum, which offers insight into the history of winter sports. There is also a cool display of the timeline evolution of skis and snowboards.

Kids are going to love tubing at Woodward.

To tackle your Christmas shopping list, go to historic Main Street, lined with unique boutiques and galleries, plus plenty of cozy restaurants and pubs to warm up after a wintery afternoon spent outdoors.

Salt lake city also has some great ski slopes, and it’s only about 40 min drive from Park City.

19. Savannah, Georgia

Famous historic Forsyth Fountain in Savannah, Georgia USA

For a unique winter experience, head to Savannah this December. 

As temperatures begin to drop and the city is immersed in a festive holiday glow, Savannah comes alive in magical ways.

Savannah is known for its vibrant culture and charming historic district. During the holidays, it’s easy to get lost in its beautiful cobblestone streets decorated with Christmas lights.

Savannah’s Lighted Christmas Parade with colorful vintage vehicles and Holiday Boat Parade of Lights are popular annual traditions.

For historical sightseeing with a twist, go on a popular 90-Minute History and Haunts Candlelit Walking Ghost Tour.

The Christmas market in Savannah is inspired by European Christmas markets, where you can immerse yourself in live music and seasonal delicacies and buy unique gifts from local vendors.

20. Kyoto, Japan

Winter snow in Kyoto, Japan

Although Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, the city is decorated with Christmas lights and has fewer crowds in December. 

Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan. 

Visit Japanese temples like Kiyomizu-Dera, wear a traditional kimono, try Ippodo tea or go shopping at one of Kyoto’s many markets.

Held in mid-December, the Arashiyama Hanatouro lantern festival is a magical ten-day spectacle. The lanterns illuminate the main streets in Arashiyama at night, including the famous Togetsukyo Bridge and bamboo forest.

It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

The Arashiyama bamboo forest is equally beautiful in the daytime.

Best European Cities to Visit in December (For Skiing and Christmas Markets)

christmas market with christmas tree

Europe is full of amazing places to visit, especially in December around Christmas.

The atmosphere of European Christmas markets is one of a kind.

There’s something special about cozy wooden chalets filled with holiday aromas and goodies in historic towns looking straight out of a fairytale.

All European capital and major cities have Christmas markets in December, so no matter which European town you choose to go to, you won’t be disappointed. Most of the markets are open for the entire month of December.

December in Europe is pretty cold, but the festive cheer will keep you warm and happy.

The best part about a trip to Europe is the short travel distances between countries. Technically, you could visit four unique Christmas markets in four days, each of them in another country.

The cities I have in mind are Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest in Hungary, Bratislava in Slovakia, and Vienna in Austria.

A two-hour drive will take you from Budapest to Bratislava. Another hour and you’re in Vienna. And from Vienna to Prague it’s only three hours and a half.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the best European countries to visit in December.

Here’s the list of the best holiday destinations in December in Europe:

  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Paris, France
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Kitzbuhel, Austria
  • Val Gardena, Italy
  • Stuttgart, Germany
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia

21. Prague, Czech Republic

christmas tree in prague
Image Credit: Pixabay.

Prague’s Christmas markets, beer gardens, and stunning historical architecture will not disappoint. 

The average daily temperature during December in Prague is 2°C (35.6°F).

But if you’re willing to brave the cold, this city is a delight to visit in December.

In December, the main draw to Prague is Christmas decorations and festive activities like outdoor ice skating or attending one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets in the Old Town Square.

Prague is also a very romantic town. Take a stroll on iconic Charle’s bridge or check out Prague’s famous Astronomical Clock, one of the oldest in the world. 

22. Zermatt, Switzerland

The alpine village of Zermatt in front of the Matterhorn. Winter

The Swiss Alps offer world-class ski resorts.

The best part about Zermatt is that it’s a car-free mountain village. 

Zermatt in December turns into the winter wonderland you see in Christmas cards and movies. Picture a horse-drawn sleigh ride, a glowing Christmas tree, and hot mulled wine.

With 200 kilometers of skiable terrain is one of the best ski destinations in Europe.

Take a winter hike around the area to take in all the beautiful sceneries, like the breathtaking views of Matterhorn.

23. Paris, France

people walking in paris in december
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ekaterina Pokrovsky

Paris is a great mix of culture, art, food, and fun – from iconic landmarks like the Louvre Museum and Eiffel tower to delicious French croissants, baguettes, and macarons.

It’s safe to say that it’s a foodie paradise.

December in Paris is cold, but luckily there is plenty of French wine and hot chocolate to keep you warm.

Visiting a Christmas market in Paris should be on your list for an authentic festive atmosphere.

Imagine spending Christmas Eve in Paris on a cruise down the Seine. 

This enchanting evening begins as you board the boat and take in the breathtaking sights of iconic landmarks, such as the glittering Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. 

You can enjoy the views paired with a 5-course gourmet meal and wine. 

24. Budapest, Hungary

budapest in december
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ZGPhotography

Budapest in December is pretty cold, but you can warm up with mulled wine and hearty Hungarian meals at the Christmas market.

The markets start at about mid-November and last until the end of December. The largest Christmas market in Budapest is on Vörösmarty Square.

Do yourself a favor and try festive treats like lángos (deep-fried dough with garlic and shredded cheese). If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love kürtős kalács (chimney cake – crispy dessert coated in sugar and cinnamon).

The city is gorgeous the entire year, but when covered in snow, it’s even more magical.

For sightseeing, visit downtown Váci Utca street, check Hungarian Parlament, and for the best view of Budapest and the Danube river, head to Fisherman’s Bastion.

Budapest also has Europe’s largest natural ice rink.

25. Krakow, Poland

krakow is one of the best places to visit in december
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nahlik

Krakow in December is delightful.

The town is full of festive decorations and activities. You can attend local concerts at churches or take a stroll in the main square along the Christmas market.

Make sure to buy some unique souvenirs and try traditional polish dishes like bigos or pierogis (dumplings).

Bigos is made from sauerkraut and various types of meat, usually pork or beef. Other ingredients may include mushrooms, onions, garlic, and different spices. 

The mixture is cooked for hours until all the flavors combine together to create a mouthwatering stew. Do I need to say more?

Krakow has plenty of historical sights to explore, such as the Wawel Castle and the Old Town.

To learn more about history, wander around one of the many museums in Krakow.

Auschwitz, one of the concentration camps during World War II, is not too far from Krakow. It’s an interesting but also very saddening place.

Millions of innocent people were murdered there in unspeakable ways – from the gas chambers and medical experiments to the daily cruelty and lack of fundamental human rights. 

The horror of what happened at Auschwitz can still send shivers down your spine. 

26. Kitzbuhel, Austria

Kitzbuhel, Austria in december
Image Credit: Shutterstock / lightsandsquares

Kitzbuhel, the picturesque Austrian town nestled in the Tyrolean Alps, is known for its glamorous ski resort. In December, you can enjoy both skiing and traditional Christmas.

It’s been rated as the best ski resort in Austria.

The city of Kitzbuhel lights up during the festive season with twinkling lights and colorful decorations at every corner.

For a unique and romantic experience, you can explore the old town and its cobbled streets in a horse-drawn carriage. A local guide and a coachman from the Henntalhof will tell you stories about Kitzbuhel.

If you prefer something more relaxing, head to Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt Spa with several saunas, pools, and, of course, a hot and bubbly jacuzzi. 

The view from the hotel is also a sight to behold.

Kitzbuhel Tourism also regularly organizes guided winter hike tours, so check their website for more info. You can also rent snowshoes for a reasonable fee to make it even more fun.

27. Val Gardena, Italy

ski resort in italy
Image Credit: Shutterstock / nikolpetr

Val Gardena is a world-famous ski resort in the Italian Dolomites, which are part of UNESCO World Heritage.

Val Gardena valley is full of quaint alpine villages. The most charming towns in the valley are Selva, Santa Cristina, and Ortisei.

In December, Val Gardena turns into Christmas and ski paradise. December is also a month when the Ski World Cup is held here.

Val Gardena is an ideal destination if you’re a winter sports enthusiast. There’s something to suit all tastes, from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoe excursions, tobogganing, dog sledding, and ice skating in every alpine village. 

You can dash through the snow and soak up the picturesque winter scenery of the Dolomite valleys.

28. Stuttgart, Germany

christmas market in germany
Image Credit: Shutterstock Atchacapture

Traditionally, Christmas markets started in Germany.

Stuttgart has one of the most iconic, largest, and oldest Christmas markets in Germany, dating back to 1692!

Twinkling lights, the sound of Christmas carols, and the scent of freshly baked sweets fill the air as you wander through the small wooden stands selling handcrafted gifts, decorations, and delicious treats. 

Popular Christmas treats include lebkuchen, a type of gingerbread, pfeffernüsse, a spiced cookie, stollen, a type of cake with dried fruit, and marzipan. 

And, of course, pretzels and bratwurst (German sausage) and lots of mulled wine.

December in Stuttgart is also when the festival of lights with various large light sculptures takes place.

You can take a winter stroll through the old town, go shopping at Konnig Strasse, or ice skating in Palace square.

If you want to escape the cold, the Mercedez Benz and Porsche Museums, with a display of vintage cars, are definitely worth the visit.

Or visit the local library, which has some pretty impressive and unique architecture.

29. Tallinn, Estonia

people walking in tallinn estonia in december

Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia, with remarkably preserved medieval architecture.

One of the best things to do in Tallinn in December is, of course, to visit the traditional Christmas markets.

Estonian Christmas classic food is blood sausage with sauerkraut, black pudding, hot mulled wine, Estonian pancakes, and gingerbread.

You can even snap a selfie with Santa, who has a little stand at the market.

To burn the calories from all the delicious Christmas treats, go for a walk to Kohtuotsa. You’ll be rewarded with the prime view of Tallinn.

For sightseeing, visit the Alexander Nevsky cathedral and Tallinn tower hall.

The Old Town has plenty of cozy cafes, boutiques, and restaurants. 

For the best traditional Estonian food, I recommend Olde Hansa restaurant. The restaurant’s rustic interior will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

You can enjoy Estonian dishes served by servers dressed in traditional clothing while listening to live medieval music played by skilled musicians.

 30. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Christmas tree and street decoration in old town of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Did you know that Dubrovnik was one of the places where some scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed?

But that’s not the only reason Dubrovnik earned the spot on the list of the best places to visit in December.

Dubrovnik is a charming Mediterranean town on Croatia‘s Adriatic coastline. The climate here is milder compared to other European cities listed.

The average temperature is around 10°C (50°F), so you can enjoy a pleasant sightseeing stroll in Old town without freezing or even take a boat tour around the harbor. 

The main tourist attractions in Dubrovnik are the City Walls, Dubrovnik Cathedral, and the Cable Car ride that offers spectacular views.

And there are also Christmas markets in Dubrovnik with traditional Croatian foods, such as fritule (deep-fried doughnuts), paprenjaci (gingerbread cookies) and sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves).

There are many more interesting places to visit in Europe in December.

What are your favorite cities in Europe?

In your opinion, what are the best countries to visit in December? 

Want to find out the best places to travel in December on a budget in the US? Check out these inexpensive beach winter getaways


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Casandra Karpiak is a travel writer and the co-owner of Savoteur. A Toronto native with Danish roots currently residing in British Columbia, her travel writing has been seen on The Associated Press wire, MSN, CBS, NBC, Entrepreneur, 24/7 Wall St, Times Daily, and many more.

You can follow her travel adventures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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