World's best places to spend Christmas

Find the best places to spend Christmas. Travel the world in December from Costa Rica to festive German cities. Take a look at our pick of countries for winter breaks.
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco. Photo: Nicram Sabod/Shutterstock
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco. Photo: Nicram Sabod/Shutterstock

Find the best places to spend Christmas. Travel the world in December from Costa Rica to festive German cities. Take a look at our pick of countries for winter breaks. 

1. Mexico: one of the best places to spend Christmas

December's dry season in Mexico City. So it's a great time to visit. 

Go for world-class museums await. Discover restaurants and markets. Explore the grand plazas. 

Don't miss.

  • The Templo Mayor Museum for Aztec artefacts.
  • Diego Rivera murals in the National Palace. 
  • Catedral Metropolitana's interior. 

Mexico celebrates Christmas on 24 December, or Noche Buena.

Noche Buena dinner is tradition. So is morning mass on the 25th. 

Want hot December sun? The Yucatán Peninsula is about 30°C. 

Head to Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen. Enjoy the sandy beaches. Try snorkelling and diving. 

Then tour Mayan ruins at Tulum, Palenque and Chichén Itzá. 

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some Mexico itineraries. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Mexico expert.

Caribbean beach in Tulum, Mexico at Christmas Photo: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

2. Costa Rica

December's good for exploring Costa Rica.

It's dry season. And the weather's wonderful.

Don't miss.

Explore Arenal. Book a four-activity experience in December. 

Sunrise at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica in December Photo: Antonio Fernandez Dieguez/Shutterstock

3. Colombia

Colombia is a must-visit in December. 

It's home to welcoming people. The environment's incredibly diverse.

And there's something for everyone.

Discover Bogotá, the cultured capital.  

Explore Amazon rainforest and Guajira coastal deserts. 

Visit colonial mountain towns. 

Then there's Cartagena. Colombia's fascinating Caribbean city.  

Rainy season ends in December. So it’s a perfect time to visit. 

Stay at Casa BuGo in the historic heart of Cartagena. 

St Peter Claver church, Cartagena, Colombia. Photo: emperorcosar/Shutterstock

4. Morocco

Morocco is an ideal December escape. And mild temperatures mean less tourists. 

So it's a good time to visit cities. 

Ancient Fez is a former capital city. It's also home to the largest mosque outside Mecca. 

Marrakech is one of Morocco’s four imperial cities.

Its cultures range from Arab and Berber to Spanish and Tunisian. So expect an eclectic mix.

Visit the bustling medina. Gaze at the Atlas Mountains. And don't miss the Koutoubia Mosque. 

Tour Marrakech to Merzouga in December.  


Bab Bou Jeloud blue gate, Fez, Morocco Photo: Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock

5. Germany

Germany is festive in December.

Most cities have Christmas markets. 

The smell of glühwein wafts in the air. Carollers sing. And stalls sell lebkuchen and decorations. 

Christkindlmarkt dates to the abolition of saints’ days during the Reformation.

With no St. Nicholas Day on 6 December, children had no presents. 

To compensate, it was said the Christkind (Christ Child) gave gifts on 24 December. 

But parents had to buy gifts. So Christkindlmarkt were born. 

Nuremberg is the most famous Christkindlmarkt. 

Berlin has upwards of 50 markets around the city. Try Weihnachtszauber in Gendarmentmarkt. 

And Weihnachtsmarkt in Cologne is Germany's largest.

Close to Cologne cathedral. It's a traditional market. So look out for hog roasts.

Stay at Urban Loft Cologne in the city centre.

Germany is one of the best places to spend Christmas  Photo: Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

6. Oman

Visit Oman in December. 

It's the coolest month for Muscat

Evenings are pleasant. 30°C is the daytime average. And the atmosphere's relaxed. 

Oman is fascinating. It offers a traditional past and a dynamic present. 

But its long history's evident. 

Don't miss.

Take an Oman road trip this December. 

Abandoned Birkat Al-Mawz village, Hajar Mountains, Oman. Photo: Rudolf Tepfenhart/Shutterstock

7. Thailand

December starts cool season in Thailand.

Bangkok is a must-see for its mix of old and new. 

It's a modern Asian city. Restaurants are chic and nightlife abundant.

But Bangkok's also historic. Think temples, canals and vibrant street life.

Head to Northern Thailand. Explore forested mountains. Try adventure activities. 

Then visit Chiang Mai. It's a city famous for teak temples. Discover the night markets. And meet hospitable locals. 

Or try Thailand's islands in December. Relax on beaches. Swim turquoise waters. And dive coral reefs.

Do Northern Thailand and Ko Samui beaches for Christmas. 

Buddhist temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo: michel arnault/Shutterstock

8. Cambodia

Cambodia is known for Angkor.

In the northwest, the complex is immense. And it's unlike anywhere else. 

Cambodia is more than Angkor

There's Phnom Penh.

A city with a mix of Cambodian and French architecture.

Damaged by war years, yet rising again. 

Visit Kep on the coast. It's returning to former glory too. Go for seafood alone.

Then there are Cambodia's offshore islands. Each one's an invitation to snorkel, relax and dine well. 

Have a family adventure in Cambodia in December.

Bayon temple gates, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: Boule/Shutterstock

9. Indonesia

Indonesia is an extensive archipelago. 

It's famous for untamed beauty. 

You'll find vast mangrove forests. 

There are swamps and montane forests. 

Savannah contrasts with coastline. 

And national parks teem with wildlife.

Visit the paradise island of Bali. It offers remoteness and spirituality.

Discover hillside temples in its heart. Then head south for beach resorts.  

Find the best of Bali in December. 

Paddy fields near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Photo: Christophe Faugere/Shutterstock 

Ready to book your next trip? 

Insight Guides can help you plan and book wonderful trips in destinations around the world. Simply get in touch to let us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. Our local experts will then prepare a personalized itinerary especially, which you can amend until you’re completely happy with every detail before booking.