As a whole, the month of December is a whirlwind. The world at the moment is 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 will find affordable rates, and beautiful landscapes in which to cap off another great year.
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.
Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital, still has a lot going for it: innovative supper clubs, futuristic architecture, buzzy restaurants helmed by expats, and cocktail dens that draw the city’s international crowd.
December brings a magical feeling to the city, when Christmas markets and ice skating rinks open to the public, and the city’s famous apple wine is served at every corner.
Another reason to go: Frankfurt is one of the cheapest places to travel this month, as hotel rates dip to their lowest points.
The state of Kerala is a far cry from India’s chaotic urban cities. Here, houseboats cruise the backwaters, wellness retreats are tucked into jungle forests, and life moves at a leisurely pace, no different in December, when the weather is blissfully cooler.
Quebec City, Canada
Few can deny the romance of Quebec City come wintertime. Within the walled city, horse-drawn carriages rumble down Old Town’s streets, low-lit wine bars fill with hand-holding pairs in deep conversation, the Place D’Youville opens its rink for ice-skating, and the castle-like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac overlooks it all.
Enjoy a fresh snowfall during a stroll along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, or from a room at Le Monastère des Augustines, a new hotel and wellness spa where rest gains a whole new meaning.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
December spells dry season for Siem Reap, where visitors can enjoy consistently cloudless skies and refreshingly comfortable temperatures perfect for active pursuits like walking tours of Angkor Wat or cycling through the city streets.
Inevitably, this part of the year is also high season, so book your travels early, especially if you’re looking to stay at one of Cambodia’s best hotels like Phum Baitang. Its 45 stilted villas have soaking tubs and hang over rice paddies, while the spa specializes in coconut-milk massages.
Old and new swirl together in Scotland’s cultural capital, Edinburgh, home to narrow medieval alleys, Georgian architecture, and historic Edinburgh Castle, along with the futuristic Scottish Parliament and forward-thinking restaurants putting new twists on old classics.
Some 150,000 people flood the city come December for Hogmanay, an end-of-the-year celebration marked by three days of concerts, fireworks, and various processions.
Don’t miss Inverlieth House, which doubles as an art gallery and exhibition hall for books and drawings, and Mary’s Milk Bar, whose gelato and ice cream floats still draw crowds in winter months.