Winter has now arrived in the UK, with Christmas markets taking centre stage, shops busy with present buying and festive lights all around the city. It’s the most wonderful time of the year … when eyebrow raising festive jumpers become acceptable and mulled wine is flowing freely. It is that one time of year when you can take a long vacation and really relax. But as wonderful as home is right now, sometimes there is something exciting and fulfilling about being abroad for Christmas and discovering a new place and traditions and people. It can be just what is needed to breathe new life and energy to start a new year. What if New Year wasn’t so much about a ‘new you’, as a new more travelled and experienced you?
Does skipping the cold winter blues and heading to one of the warmest destinations in the world sound appealing? Or are you more of a winter bunny? To help you plan your winter holidays, here are some suggestions for the hottest and coldest places on Earth to spend Christmas!
Punta Cana – Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has long been the Caribbean’s cheap and cheerful all-inclusive option but, in recent years, it has been quietly developing its luxury side too. Located on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is famous for its beaches, upscale hotels and great golfing. With over 40 miles of palm lined coast, that has earned it the nickname ‘Coconut Coast,’ Punta Cana is a tropical paradise, with stunning beach views, water adventures and family friendly conveniences. The region is warm and sunny throughout the year, although the mountainous areas of the island are significantly wetter and cooler.
Average temperature in December: 25-28 °C – 9 hours from the UK
Montego Bay – Jamaica
Holidays to Montego Bay are a perfect introduction to Jamaica. Tropical white sands, pristine coral reefs, and vibrant Caribbean culture. If this is what you are looking for, don’t think twice! The weather this time of year is pretty much perfect, and there are plenty of water sports and other activities to keep you entertained during the day if you aren’t more interested in just relaxing.
Average temperature in December: 25-28 °C – 10 hours from the UK
Boa Vista – Cape Verde
A series of volcanic islands 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, at first look Cape Verde seems a lonely prospect. But with ivory beaches, surfing activities and an intriguing lunar landscape, it has become a tourist favourite. Boa Vista island (translation: “good view”) still feels like something of a secret, characterized by infinite stretches of golden sand and charming, stone-hewn villas. Boa Vista is also the perfect warm destination without having to travel too far and is considered one of the hottest and driest of all the islands due to the hot harmattan winds from the Sahara.
Average temperature in December: 25˚C – 6 hours from the UK
Goa – India
Goa is an incredibly popular destination, with prices growing drastically year after year. That said, it’s still very cheap compared to other sunshine destinations and it offers a unique travelling experience. For more than four centuries, this western part of India was a Portuguese colony, and you’ll still notice a distinctly European character here today. Characterized by historical churches, delicious cuisine, and a 66-mile stretch of coastline running along the Arabian Sea, it is no wonder this state is known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’!
Average temperature in December: 25-30 °C – 9 hours from the UK
If mountains and chalets are your passion and snow flurries warm your heart, pull on your warmest sweater, and get ready to plan the ultimate winter weather getaway.
Prague – Czech Republic
If you can bear the cold, this stylish capital is brimming with grand historical and cultural sights. Prague’s ancient cafés, contemporary art and Christmas stands give the city a chilling beauty, blending the East and West together perfectly.
Average temperature in December: 1-2 °C – 2 hours from the UK
Fairbanks – Alaska
Fairbanks is definitely an extreme destination, with the potential for -20 degree temperatures and short hours of daylight. However, don’t let that stop you. The colder winter months are also the best time of year to view the spectacular Northern Lights and experience unique cultural events for Christmas such as dog mushing and Ice parks. It is also a place to come to taste the cuisine, with crab legs and all-you-can-eat salmon and cod fillets baked over an open fire only a few of the diverse food options you will find here. If you are looking for an immersion into the nature, this is the perfect destination for you.
Average temperature in December: -8 – -13 °C – 16 hours from the UK
Alta Badia – Italy
Located in South Tyrol, Italy’s northern province, Alta Badia, with its dramatic natural landscape, culture, mouthwatering cuisine and the lovely Ladin people, it is the ideal destination for a skiing holiday. A mix of cultures can be found here, with German, Italian and Ladin mother tongue living side by side since time immemorial, to create a unique mix of alpine traditions.
Average temperature in December:-2-3 °C – 1.5 hours from the UK