Embrace the magic this holiday season in destinations both warm and cold.
As a whole, the month of December is a whirlwind. Even as the chaos of Thanksgiving weekend begins to fade, the world is already preparing for the end-of-year holidays. Balancing the frenzy of shopping, company parties, and family time can be daunting, but those who manage to squeeze in time to get away—or perhaps, give the gift of getting away—will find affordable rates, seasonal revelry, and beautiful landscapes in which to cap off another great year.
Winter’s best features are on full display in December: fresh snowfall, festive storefronts, and drinks that warm your core. Some of the best holiday markets in Europe are found in picturesque Prague, arguably one of the best places in the world to spend Christmas. Over in Scotland, Edinburgh celebrates the season with Hogmanay, a three-day festival of musical performances, public dance, food, and—yes—fireworks. Quebec City, meanwhile, lays on the romance: you’ll find couples riding horse-drawn carriages and ducking into low-lit cafés for hot cocoa.
One of Germany’s largest Christmas markets is found in Frankfurt, surprisingly one of this month’s most affordable places to travel. Those interested in saving should also look to Las Vegas, where hotel prices plummet with the oncoming holidays.
Hoping to flee the cold weather? A trip to sunny beach getaways like Hawaii’s Big Island, Mexico, or the Bahamas will surely cure any winter woe. Better yet, avoid the sand altogether at balmy spots like Siem Reap (where dry season spells clear skies) or Florida’s Everglades, a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts with its populations of greater flamingoes, Florida panthers, and American crocodiles.
December marks your last chance to cash in on this year’s travel resolution before they reset in the new year, so let the magic of the season take you to a place near or far. (And be sure to catch up on all our recommendations for the best places to visit in January, February, and beyond.)