Where to go on holiday in December

  • Northern Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand are dry and warm but not too hot.

  • Antarctica has the most attractions in December: higher temperatures, longer days, penguin chicks and seal pups. This means it's very popular, and with space on boats limited we recommend you book early!

  • Costa Rica is dry in late December -this could be an ideal wildlife Christmas break.

  • This is peak time in Patagonia - you'll have great access, summer warmth and long days. This does also mean that it's busier, and that prices will rise - be sure to book well in advance.

  • Kerala in southern India is a great destination for some winter sun. The Himalayas, Delhi and the Golden Triangle regions are best avoided though - they're freezing!

  • This is the best time to visit southwestern Sri Lanka. Be aware that it gets incredibly packed during the Christmas holidays though - and either avoid travelling at this time, or book well in advance. And avoid travelling to the northeast, where the monsoon has started.

  • Insider tip!

    If you would prefer to see Patagonia in midsummer but without the peak numbers of crowds, try travelling between mid-November and mid-December. Avoiding the school holidays will mean it will be a little quieter - and possibly cheaper.

Sri Lanka

Where NOT to go on holiday in December

  • South Africa. It's the local school holidays so places will be packed. The whole country will be searingly hot - and it's the rainy season in Kruger National Park, so wildlife will be dispersed.

  • Namibia and Botswana are baking hot and the rainy season has kicked in - so the wildlife will be hard to spot.

  • Brazil. The Pantanal is flooded so much of it is inaccessible, the north is unbearably hot and the Brazilian holiday season means that beaches and hotels will be packed with local tourists - and pricey.

  • Father Christmas may live in Finland, but this may not be the best time to visit if you're hoping to do activities such as a husky safari or cross country skiing. Virtually 24-hour darkness makes activities hard. The same goes for parts of Sweden, Norway and Iceland, where temperatures can drop to -30C and some roads will close. However, the near-endless night can increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

  • Northern Spain and Portugal have a distinctly British climate in winter - cold, grey and drizzly.

  • Temperatures in Northern China can plunge to -40C, so if you're keen to head east in winter, you're best visiting the south, including Hong Kong.

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