These are the 10 most popular destinations in Europe, North America and around the world for winter sun vacations, trips, city breaks and more this December
Looking for a bit of winter sun? Kiwi.com is here to help. We’ve got recommendations for cheap trips to warm-weather destinations in December and throughout winter. Read on for low-cost deals and travel inspiration for your next city break.
Let’s begin in Spain with the city of Málaga. Its tourist-trap-and-package-deal growth explosion is still visible in the high-rise apartment blocks and hotels along parts of the seafront, but the city itself is well worth exploring further.
It’s dominated by a severe hill and two fortresses dating from its years of Moorish rule: the Alcazaba and the now-ruined Gibralfaro. Visiting these gives you a fantastic insight into the history of the city through the museum, as well as wonderful views back down the hill to the winding streets of the Old Town. Visit the mighty but curiously lopsided cathedral, get lost in the alleys and squares of the historic center, and wonder why you’d left it this long to visit.
Similarly tarred with the mass-tourism brush is Tenerife, but again, don’t judge a book by its cover. It’s one of the most diverse places in the whole of Spain, so whether you like to lie on the beach, discover colonial history, hike in the mountains and eerily silent pine forests, enjoy traditional cuisine, or spend all night partying, you can do one, some, or all of that!
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Finally, Lisbon is a great option. A classic European capital city — seven hills, the thumping great São Jorge Castle, rattling trams, graceful churches — it’s also a wonderfully atmospheric place. Windswept from the Atlantic and bathed in beautiful dawn light or red and gold sunsets, you’ll feel part of the city immediately.
Grab an early morning coffee and watch the city wake up, stroll around until lunchtime when you can get a snack to refuel. Relax in the afternoon to the sounds of fado songs drifting through the alleys and side streets of Alfama, before dining on fresh seafood and outstanding local wine.
Los Angeles, US
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California might just be the best place to go for a bit of December sun. It’s also got a lot of pretty much everything, so whatever you’re looking for in a getaway, Los Angeles has got it covered.
For foodies, it’s one of the best cities in the world for dining out, and its culture of cocktail bars is famous around the world. But hey, if you’re a burger and dive bar fan, it’s got you more than covered there, too! The beaches run for miles, and if you’re with kids, there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Into sports? Well, the Dodgers, the Rams, the Lakers, the Kings and the Galaxy will have you entertained no matter which shape of ball (or puck) does it for you. Otherwise, simply see those world-famous movie sights and soak up everything the City of Angels has to offer.
What about Hawaii? Most visitors to Honolulu are here for a few specific reasons, namely sun, shopping and food. And that’s fair enough; Hawaii basks in sunshine virtually all year round, and downtown Honolulu, though not huge, has its shopping and dining centered around Waikiki — its long, crescent beach backed by promenades, shops and restaurants.
To get to know a bit more, you can take a four-hour city tour, seeing the likes of Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, the Iolani Palace and downtown Honolulu. Alternatively, there are full-day tours of the entire island of Oahu, snorkeling and sailing trips from the beaches, surf schools, or even sunset cocktail cruises!
Otherwise, aside from the obvious theme parks, Orlando is a nice city to discover, with tree-lined neighborhoods and some lovely parks, gardens and nature reserves. It also has some fabulous museums including those of the Orlando Fire Service, the history of the county, the Orlando Science Center, and a sculpture garden by Czech artist Albin Polasek. So while the adrenaline rush of the rides is all very well, there’s a calmer and more relaxing side to the city that might well surprise you.
December — early summer — is the best time to visit South America, and we’ve got a couple of cities to suggest here. Firstly, let’s take a look at Medellín. Colombia’s second-largest city is nicknamed The City of Eternal Spring thanks to its pleasant year-round climate. It’s also undergone one of the most amazing transformations of any city in the world. Once infamous for drugs, violence and all-around lawlessness, in 2013 it was hailed “the most innovative city in the world”.
Nowadays you can’t move for fun, smart ideas: take the eco-árbol, a tree-like structure that acts as an air-purifier, or Barefoot Park where visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes and socks and wiggle and squelch through sand, mud, grass and pebbles before washing it all off in pools of fresh water. The city itself is in a stunning setting, the people are friendly, and everything about Medellín feels progressive, exciting and lively.
Heading southeast, we get to Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. The country borders Argentina and Brazil, so many tourists simply ignore it. That’s a mistake, as walking around its impressive colonial-era landmarks and elegant squares, you’ll soon realize that this is a place that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Its laid-back attitude is refreshing — there’s little of the constant exhausting go-go-go of Lima or Buenos Aires, for example — but that’s not to say there’s nothing going on. There’s a selection of fabulous modern art galleries, there are parks, plazas, and restaurants ranging from traditional to street food and fusion dining, and it’s all topped off with Paraguayans’ friendly pride in family and tradition.
Manila is the top Asian destination for our customers for December. Many people only arrive in Manila in order to leave again — after all, it’s the gateway to some of the most beautiful islands and amazing beaches in Asia (Boracay, Cebu and the like), but stick around and you’ll find there’s a lot to do.
True — it’s known for urban sprawl and frenetic energy, but get to know Manila and you’ll find a city that’s still rediscovering its place. It’s home to the world’s oldest Chinatown, a bluster of markets, shops and food stalls, as well as Intramuros, its 16th-century walled city containing a cathedral, churches, a fortress, gardens and ponds, while horse-drawn carriages clatter their way through the streets. It’s not the Manila you thought it was.
We finish with Jakarta, which is Manila amplified. Gleaming high-rise towers, colonial relics, working-class areas shuffled side-by-side with luxury hotels, boutique clothes stores and vast shopping malls — everything moves at a thousand miles an hour.
Despite this, the people are warm and friendly, crime levels are low, and parts of the city like Merdeka Square sum up how Indonesia wants the world to see it: open, confident, secure. Wherever you go though, you’ll notice how multifaceted the city is; its heady mix of cultures, religions, languages, foods and traditions, a nation of thousands of islands and identities all brought together in one place. It’s quite an experience.
The best of December from Kiwi.com
Those are our top picks for warm-weather travel this December. Remember, you can search, customize and build your own travel itinerary on Kiwi.com, and book your whole trip for one price, in just a couple of clicks. We hack the system, you fly for less this winter.
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