With December peeking out from just around the corner, we thought it was high time to get the holiday season rolling! While it may be too late to start planning an international adventure for this December, it’s never too early for next year. To those of you lucky enough to be traveling abroad in the coming month, we highly suggest a visit to these six divine December destinations. Bon voyage!
Kraków is one of those medieval European destinations that’s pure delight in the summer, yet arguably even better come December. Beginning this year on November 29th, the city’s holiday market will lure visitors to its glowing medieval town square of Rynek Główny. There are costumed carolers, traditional Polish crafts, and flower markets filled with fragrant wreaths. The whole spectacle is a feast for all senses, but especially for your taste buds. Sink your teeth into a fresh Polish doughnut or treat yourself to a nip of local cherry vodka.
Another charming draw to Kraków in December is its annual Christmas Crib Competition, dating back to the 19th century. A Christmas crib, or “szopki,” is a mix between a nativity scene and a dollhouse. Competitors craft stunning tabletop displays featuring iconic Kraków buildings as the scene’s backdrop. You can catch a glimpse of these uniqe creations during a procession through the streets, or take your time admiring them once they’re installed for viewing in the market hall. Though the event begins on December 8th, you can marvel at the Christmas cribs through February 23rd, 2020.
We couldn’t make a December destinations list without including some sun! With temperatures in the 70s for much of the month, Tasmania is perfect for warding off those winter blues. In Hobart, be sure to check out the Museum of Old and New—a collection of edgy, experimental music and art exhibits from around the world. The annual Taste of Tasmania in Salamanca is a great way to dive into the country’s unique culinary scene. Treat yourself to a slow-cooked wallaby burrito or satisfy your sweet tooth with a cannoli filled with cherries, coconut, and chocolate-hazelnut ricotta. This year, the festival runs from December 28th through January 3rd.
While Hobart is undoubtedly fantastic, you’ll want to carve out plenty of time during your visit to hit the trails. The nearly 30-mile-long Three Capes Track has received excellence awards from the Tasmanian and Australian Tourism Boards, as well as American Trails International. The route, which skirts Tasmania’s southeast coast, features dense eucalyptus forests, stunning views of the Tasman Sea, and the highest sea cliffs in the country. The full trail takes around four days to complete. Each of its three campsites offers wood cabins equipped with mattresses, gas cooktops, and USB charging stations.
It doesn’t get much better than a trip to London during the holiday season. The city has something for everyone: shopping on Bond Street, ice rinks at the Natural History Museum and Tower of London, light displays on Oxford and Regent Streets, and holiday fairs in Hyde Park and Kew Gardens. And of course there are the traditional Christmas pantomimes, or “pantos.” Based on the medieval masques, these musical comedy performances offer a twist on well known fairytales and other children’s stories. This year, you can catch Dick Whittington and His Cat, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and more throughout December.
Oshogatsu, or New Year, is the most celebrated holiday in Japan. In Kyoto, you can enjoy a series of events throughout December leading up to New Year’s Eve. Around the city, festivals and markets mark the impending arrival of the new year. Browse the antiques at the flea markets of Kobo-san and Tenjin-san. Spend an afternoon sampling local specialties from an array of aromatic food carts. Escape the winter chill with a kabuki performance, or warm yourself from the inside out at a traditional tea ceremony. Another fantastic experience this time of year is the Arashiyama Hanatouro, or lantern festival. From December 13th through 22nd, the streets and bamboo forest of Arashiyama will be illuminated by colored lights and lanterns. Consider finishing your cold-weather trip with a dip in a nearby onsen, or natural open-air hot spring.
We dare you to find a destination that exudes wintertime magic than Rovaniemi, Finland in December. Want to glide through the snowy woods in a reindeer-drawn sleigh as you gaze up at the Northern Lights? How about sipping a mug of hot berry juice next to an open fire? And who could resist a visit to Santa’s home? Learn about the history, nature, and culture of Finnish Lapland at Arktikum Science Museum, or duck into a cafe to enjoy a slice of pulla—traditional Finnish cardamom bread. Add to that a snowshoe adventure across the Arctic tundra or a family husky safari and you’ve got yourself one enchanting December.
Denmark is huge on the hygge. What better time than December to embrace the concepts of coziness and contentment? Duck into a snug café, grab a cup of tea and a Danish pastry, and watch the snow fall. Head to a local food market and treat yourself to a crème brulee doughnut or a mug of spiced gløgg. Lace up your skates and hit the ice at a sparkling Christmas market rink. For an enchanting experience unlike any other, get yourself to Tivoli Gardens. Come the colder weather, the world’s second-oldest amusement park transforms into a veritable winter wonderland. There’s a giant igloo, winter art workshops, holiday music and decorations, local crafts, and even Santa and his reindeer!
If you’ll be around on December 13th, head canalside in the evening for the annual Santa Lucia Kayak Parade. Participants paddle kayaks decked in twinkle lights and other holiday decorations through the downtown canals, stopping to sing carols in Nyhavn, Christianshavn, and near Højbro Plads.
Ready to head off on your December adventure? Get started with go-today.