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Paris in December 2022 – Quick Guide by a Local

What is Paris like in December? December is a wonderful time to visit Paris. The weather is cold and crisp, but the city is in full swing, with busy cafés, beautiful lights & decorations on the streets, and an interesting cultural program for locals and visitors alike.

And of course, Christmas in Paris also means great shopping opportunities and seasonal activities for all the family!

December in Paris has two main parts. While Paris in early December has a more local atmosphere, with Parisians doing the last Christmas shopping and visiting the recently inaugurated temporary exhibitions, the city becomes a favorite haunt of tourists once you hit the Christmas week.

All considered, visiting Paris in December is wonderful, the city makes of the best winter city breaks in Europe, but a bit crowded with people. This is a great month for a cultural getaway, a festive getaway, and a shopping weekend. If you have decided to visit the French capital during the last month of the year, here is our guide to the best things to do in Paris in December 2022.

Winter in Paris

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PARIS TRIP PLANNER

» Basics: Language is French but English is widely spoken; Currency is Euro

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Is Paris in December Busy? Crowds Forecast

Is December a good time to visit Paris? Years ago, the beginning of the month was usually quiet. However, since most of the Paris Christmas markets decided to open their doors around the end of November, Paris in December is all time jam-packed with people, especially on the weekends.

The beginning of the month is still considered low season in Paris, with better prices in transportation and accommodation, whilst the Christmas week is high season. However, we recommend booking everything well in advance if you want to visit Paris in December.

To optimize your time and avoid the longest lines, we recommend visiting temporary exhibitions during office hours when the locals are behind their desks. Book your tickets to temporary exhibitions well in advance.

Same advice for your Christmas shopping and the Christmas Markets in Paris: prioritize these activities for office hours and do more touristy things – less sexy for Parisians – on the weekends.

Below we list the Paris main attractions you will need advance tickets for and have added links to our favorite trusty providers for your convenience.

December in Paris is also the month for the year-end meetings in pubs and restaurants with coworkers, friends, and family. On weekdays (especially Thursdays), pubs and restaurants are busy with business meetings whilst the weekends are dedicated to friends and family.

If you have a specific place in mind for lunch or dinner for your Paris December trip, book well in advance.

Paris Weather in December

Paris in the Winter

How is the weather in Paris in December? December is a winter month in the Northern Hemisphere and the Paris weather in December is cold.

If we stick to the statistics, the average temperature in Paris in December is 10C maximum and 5C minimum, with a 15% probability of rainfall.

Does it snow in December in Paris? If a white Christmas is what you are looking for, then Paris won’t fulfill your wish. Snow in Paris in December is rare, with an average of 1.8 snowfall days. And if it does fall, it melts in a matter of minutes, thanks to the city’s “high” temperatures. What you are likely to experience, however, is cloudy days and regular rainfall.

If you decide to visit Paris in December, it is always good to have a B plan if it rains.

What to Wear in Paris, December 2022

Paris Packing List Fall Winter

What to wear in Paris in December 2022? The key to dressing in Paris in the winter is a good, warm coat. Still, it is a good idea to dress in layers because in some places indoors (e.g., inside the Louvre!!) it is too warm and you are likely to be ok with a light sweater.

What to pack for December in Paris 2022? The weather in Paris in December calls for good walking shoes, warm socks, scarves, a good warm jacket, and a foldable umbrella.

For a more local look, have a look at our winter packing lists for men and women:

Before leaving home for your Paris December trip, it is a good idea to check the weather forecast (temperatures and rainfall) and review your packing list if necessary.

Best Tips for your Paris December Trip

Even if France is a secular Republic, all the Paris offices are closed during the Christmas week. That’s when the Parisians, independent of their religion, travel to their hometowns to spend some time with their families. If you have planned to visit other cities than Paris, book your train tickets well in advance.

If you are interested in visiting Alsace’s Christmas markets, book your train tickets and accommodation right now. Strasbourg, Colmar, and all the Alsatian villages are easy and popular Paris getaways among tourists visiting Paris in December.

24th December (Christmas Eve) is when families gather for a pre-Christmas dinner and when many people go to midnight mass. On the 24th of December, shops and tourist attractions usually close earlier. Expect restaurants and night attractions like the Parisian Cabarets to have special programs and menus, and they may require advance booking.

25th December (Christmas Day) is traditionally a day spent at home with the family. Paris looks pretty dead, and some attractions are closed or have different opening times. When planning a trip to Paris at Christmas time, double-check your favorite tourist attractions’ opening times.

31st December (New Year’s Eve) is usually a normal working day for most of the Paris tourist attractions and shops, but perhaps some of them close earlier. Expect restaurants and night attractions like the Parisian Cabarets to have special programs and menus, and they may require booking.

Always have a B plan for rainy days in Paris. If you need some ideas, check out our list of fun things to do during a rainy day in Paris.

As we mentioned above, December in Paris is a bit crowded with people. Have a look at this article on ways to avoid crowds in Paris, with our best local tips.

A week before the departure, look at our post on Transportation Strikes in Paris, which is always up to date. Just in case . . .

Need insurance for France? Since August 2020, SafetyWing, our trusted travel insurance policy for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days), covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and since April 2021, unplanned quarantine is covered, too. Be sure to check France travel insurance rates and coverage with SafetyWing.

Best Things to Do in Paris in December 2022

What to do in Paris in December 2022? If you visit the French capital in December for the first time, you may want to tick some of Paris’s top tourist attractions off your bucket list. The itineraries below are thought for people visiting Paris for the first time, and they are planned around the main attractions and the most interesting neighborhoods in Paris:

If you want to visit Paris at Christmas time, check out our dedicated articles, with all the festive activities and best tips to get the most out of Christmas in Paris.

Paris at Christmas Time

Christmas in Paris

Paris at Christmas time

Christmas Markets in Paris

If you want to visit Paris for New Year’s celebrations, check out our dedicated article on what to do in Paris on New Year’s Eve.

Here’s the list of the best things to do in Paris in December 2022, other than the typical Christmas activities. Some of the dates and activities still need to be confirmed, so keep clicking for the latest updates.

TAKE A NIGHT SEINE RIVER CRUISE

Seine Cruise in Paris

Enjoy ‘Paris’s most beautiful avenue’ with a Seine River night cruise. Admire the city beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights and some of the main Paris tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Invalides. It is difficult not to be in love with a view like this one!

The Seine river cruises come with or without dinner, and they are a great way to spend a relaxed night, perhaps with a glass of champagne.

TAKE A PASTRY OR CHOCOLATE TOUR IN PARIS

French Pastries

Food tours are always a good idea in a gourmet city like Paris. Discover the famous food in Paris and some good addresses to eat or buy food while learning about a specific neighborhood.

For December in Paris, the pastry and chocolate walking tours are the best. Learn about the traditional cakes and sweets during Christmas in France and admire the best pastry shops beautifully adorned for the festive season.

The neighborhood of Saint Germain-des-Prés in Paris 6 is very reputed for its beautiful pâtisseries and chocolate shops, and this Saint Germain Pastry and Chocolate Walking Tour always has great reviews.

A NIGHT OF CAN-CAN, FUN, AND BUBBLES IN A PARISIAN CABARET

Paradis Latin can can girls

Photo Courtesy: Paradis Latin Paris ©

When it gets dark, cabarets are one of the most popular attractions of Paris at night, with music, French can-can, and lots of bubbles.

There are many good Parisian cabarets click here for the ultimate cabarets of Paris guide and you can watch a cabaret show with or without dinner, but the full experience is more fun!

For Paris December 2022, we recommend booking your cabaret show well in advance, especially if you want to do a cabaret show during the Christmas week in Paris. The Moulin Rouge is the most popular cabaret show in Paris but there are many more!

WALK THE COVERED PASSAGES OF PARIS

Galerie Vivienne Paris

When Paris’ air gets cold and crisp, it is the perfect time to explore Paris’most beautiful covered passages.

These covered walkways, all bathed in natural light, are Art Nouveau /Neoclassical architectural gems built in the 18th century, the kind of place to see and to be seen whilst doing some shopping or drinking at a café.

Most of the best passages in Paris are in Paris’ central districts, in Paris 1 or 2 (click here for our quick guide to the Covered Passages). If you know where to look, you will find delightful vintage boutiques, cute cafés, and other curiosity shops perfect for unique Christmas gifts.

VISIT THE CHURCHES OF PARIS

Basilica of Saint-Denis France

Visiting the churches of Paris is always a good idea, especially in Paris in December, when they are beautifully decorated for the Christmas celebrations.

The churches of Paris are always free to visit, and you have churches of all styles, from medieval churches to modern churches made of iron and concrete.

Unfortunately, Notre Dame is still closed to the public for restoration works. Still, the list of most popular churches in Paris includes other names like the Sacré Coeur that you can visit during this Montmartre Walking Tour , the church of Saint Germain des Prés (the oldest), or Sainte Étienne du Mont, which features the only jubé (rood screen) in Paris.

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EXPLORE THE SQUARES OF PARIS

Paris Christmas Lights and Decorations

Paris is home to beautiful and elegant squares, great for a stroll and a coffee or some shopping. The squares of Paris in December are something not to miss, all beautifully illuminated and decorated for the festive season.

The royal squares of Paris (Place Vendôme, Place des Vosges …) are must-sites in the city, but we recommend going out of the beaten path for a taste of local life.

FIND YOUR FAVORITE PARISIAN CAFÉ FOR A HOT CHOCOLATE OR VIN-CHAUD

Vin chaud Paris Christmas

The picturesque Parisian cafés are always a good place for a break during the cold days of December in Paris.

The neighborhoods of Le Marais, Montmartre, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés are some good places to find picturesque cafés, but there are pretty cafés in all the districts of Paris.

Order a steaming cup of hot chocolate and cozy up with a good book or for a more festive afternoon , enjoy a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) with your tribe.

VISIT THE CASTLES NEAR PARIS

Vaux-le-Vicomte-Julien-Lauren

Photo courtesy: Vaux-le-Vicomte – Julien-Lauren ©

The French castles are always great to visit, but they are stunning with the Christmas decorations inside the magnificent halls and gardens.

There are many interesting castles near Paris to visit, apart from the Château of Versailles. Some of these awesome French châteaux organize special events for the festive season, like Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and its private Christmas tour.

VISIT THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN FRANCE

Disneyland Paris France

A day trip to Disneyland Paris is a wonderful way to get in the mood for the holidays, with special parades and Christmas shows. This year, Christmas in Disneyland Paris lasts two months, from 12 November 2022 to 8 January 2023! Immerse yourself in a warm, festive atmosphere at Disneyland Paris, with light shows and streets adorned with Christmas decorations.

For a more magical experience (who likes waiting in line in the cold for a long time?), enjoy Disneyland Paris with the Disney Premier Access® ticket and avoid the longest lines!

TIP: extend your Disney experience, spend one night or two at one of the hotels near Disneyland Paris with a free shuttle bus.

ENJOY THE PARIS LIGHTS FESTIVAL AT JARDIN DES PLANTES

Paris Light Festival 2019

The Festival of Lights (Festival des Lumières in French) will take place from 14 November 2022 to 15 January 2023 at the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris. This Paris light show is a mesmerizing experience for all the family, with monumental light structures set in the alleys and pitches of this beautiful garden.

Every year the Festival of Lights comes with a different topic, usually aiming at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the endangered species of the planet Earth. This year 2022-2023 the exhibition is dedicated to the littlest creatures living in this world (Mini-Mondes en Voie d’Illumination) and we are sure it will steal your heart.

CHECK OUT THE TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS IN PARIS IN DECEMBER 2022

Create your Louvre Guide

December in Paris is a great time for museum-going. If you have already visited Paris in the past, it is worth checking the list of temporary exhibitions in the main museums or art galleries because there are always good surprises.

In December, Paris always has an interesting cultural program for visitors and locals, usually with more free time during the holidays. The list of temporary exhibitions in museums and galleries for Paris in December 2022 is not complete yet (it’s too early for some dates). Keep clicking for the latest updates!

Cézanne, Lumières de Provence – Atélier des Lumières, from 18 February 2022 to 2 January 2023.

Kandinsky, the Odyssey of Abstraction – Atélier des Lumières, from 18 February 2022 to 2 January 2023.

The World of Banksy – The World of Banksy Expo Paris, from 17 November 2020 to 31 December 2022.

A Second of Eternity – Bourse du Commerce, from 22 June 2022 to 3 January 2023.

Edvard Munch – Musée d’Orsay, from 20 September 2022 to 22 January 2023.

Frida Khalo, beyond Appearances – Palais Galliera, from 15 September 2022 to 5 March 2023

Expo Hyperréalisme “Ceci n’est pas un Corps” – Musée Maillol, from 8 September 2022 to 5 March 2023.

Arts and Prehistory – Musée de l’Homme, from 16 November 2022 to 22 May 2023

Oskar Kokoschka Un Fauve à Vienne – Musée d’Art Moderne MAM, from 23 September 2022 to 12 February 2023.

Boris Mikhaïlov, Journal Ukranien – Maison Européenne de la Photographie MEP, from 7 September 2022 to 15 January 2023.

NEED MORE IDEAS FOR DECEMBER IN PARIS?

No problem! Have a look at our articles about November in Paris and also January in Paris. Some of the activities proposed in these articles are also good ideas for Paris in December.

SWITZERLAND IN DECEMBER: A COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE IN 2022

Traveling to Switzerland is amazing in winter, so you can undoubtedly visit this place. Be sure about your preparation and thorough knowledge as you do not face any trouble. So, traveling to Switzerland in December is a great thing to enjoy. I will guide you through the best ideas, spots, and activities that will help you a lot.

In December, a trip to Switzerland means it is full of winter and snow around you. So, you have to have the mind setup to come here in the cold and travel around. It will need your warm clothes, hotel bookings, tour plan to be set before you start.

I hope this article will help you to choose your destination and plan. As a full-time traveler, I have experienced things here in Switzerland and thought to share my ideas with you.

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December Weather in Switzerland

If you travel in December, you will find winter in Switzerland. So, be prepared for the season here. I have found the temperature stays between 28°F and 39°F; in some special cases, the temperature may go higher or lower.

But be sure of one thing, that you will find snow everywhere. Stay tuned and bag your pack with the essentials. Here you can enjoy the best winter sport, and it will give you better access to related activities. Hope you will enjoy that a lot.

Average High TemperatureAverage Low Temperature
Zurich39°F28°F
Lucerne38°F29°F
Geneva39°F28°F
Basel37°F30°F
Bern38°F28°F
Lugano38°F31°F

When you are set for the tour in December, you will enjoy it a lot in winter. Weather is not a fact, but it will give you great access to the local facilities. , do not stay outside; you will freeze.

Best things to do in Switzerland in December

1. Visit Alps

The Alps, also known as the Swiss Alps, is a mountain range in Europe in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, and Germany. The highest point is the Matterhorn at 4478 meters above sea level. Many other peaks reach over 4000 meters above sea level and are considered high mountains.

Many people have visited it over time because of its beauty, and it has now become an important tourist destination.

Switzerland has a lot to offer and is one of the most popular attractions in the Alps. You can visit the Alps from different European countries, that is a good opportunity.

Travelers of all levels of experience in Switzerland love to visit the Alps. It’s a scenic place with hiking trails, waterfalls, and beautiful views. You will be amazed to see these mountains touching the sky.

Entry Fee: Around $2500 per person

Location: Plateau, Switzerland.

2. Visit Uetliberg mountain

The Uetliberg mountain is a popular hiking destination in Switzerland. It is located in the canton of Zurich, and the height is up to 1,829 meters. The mountain offers beautiful views and opportunities for hiking.

It has been a popular destination for hikers for the last 200 years. The hike to the top takes around three hours and can be completed in multiple stages with breaks at different locations along the way.

This hike is not one of Switzerland’s most difficult, but it can be quite challenging due to the steep incline and its length. You will love hiking in the snow if you go there, but be careful.

Also, it is located close to Zurich and Interlaken. It has a scenic beauty that makes it valuable for visiting and hiking or climbing. You can also enjoy nice scenery from the nearby towns such as Grindelwald or Meiringen.

Entry Fee: $18

Location: Uetliberg, Switzerland.

3. Shopping at Bahnhofstrasse

Bahnhofstrasse is a street in the city of Zurich, Switzerland. It is a pedestrian shopping street with high-end stores and boutiques. This shopping street is a popular tourist destination for people who loves to buy luxury goods.

It is an example of the kind of retail environment we can expect to see more often in the future. It has been described as “a shopping experience unlike any other” where “designers are at work from morning to night.”

Bahnhofstrasse has been named as the most expensive shopping place all over the world. The average price per square meter of a property is higher than any other street.

Shopping at Bahnhofstrasse in Switzerland is a unique experience for visitors worldwide who come to take part in the extravagant consumerism and luxury lifestyle that this area has to offer. If you go there, do not miss shopping.

Entry Fee: varies

Location: Zurich, Switzerland.

4. Zoo Zurich

The Zoo Zurich is a family-friendly zoo in Switzerland. It has more than 2,000 animals from all over the world, and it has been open for visitors since 1877. It is located in the center of the country’s most populous region, Greater Zurich.

Zoo Zurich is another place where you will love to be present. This zoo has a family-friendly atmosphere with many paths for kids to explore and play. The zoo also has a garden experience where visitors can learn about plants and their uses while enjoying the fresh air.

A visit to Zoo Zurich is not complete without seeing its adorable pandas. It is one of the most visited zoos in Switzerland and Europe. It has been a popular destination for families and children from all over the country since its opening, so do not miss it.

Entry Fee: $23

Location: Zurich, Switzerland.

Switzerland Events and festivals in December

1. Christmas Day

Switzerland is a country that celebrates Christmas Day like other Christian countries. It is a public holiday, and people celebrate the day with great enjoyment and special festivities.

The Swiss celebrate Christmas by going to church at night, visiting friends and family, and participating in various events such as plays, concerts, wine tastings, skating shows, or fireworks displays.

It is a country with a unique type of culture and traditions. It is also considered a national holiday. The celebration includes:

  • An elaborate tree-lighting ceremony.
  • The exchange of gifts.
  • Carols sung by choirs in churches.

Christmas Day in Switzerland is known as “Silvester,” which means New Year’s Eve.

When & Where: December 25, Switzerland.

2. Restoration of Republic Geneva

The restoration of this celebration was made possible by the local government and citizens who wanted to celebrate their common values and history. It has become a celebration, and Swiss people enjoy it a lot.

On May 21, 2017, the city council passed a law allowing this event to be held again after years without it. The first Republic Geneva celebration was held on June 2, 2017, with over 100,000 participants.

The signatories were representatives from seven cantons: Zurich, Lucerne, Basel, Fribourg, Bern, Soleure, and Schaffhausen, who restored Geneva.

When & Where: December 31, Switzerland.

Top Attraction in Switzerland in December

1. Skiing

Switzerland is a famous destination for skiing. The country offers so many different types of skiing activities for visitors.

In Switzerland, tourists can enjoy different types of skiing simultaneously. Many ski resorts offer these sports to visitors. The most popular ones include Verbier, Zermatt, and Saas-Fee.

In addition to these popular destinations, smaller ski resorts offer a more personal experience for tourists with fewer crowds and better accessibility.

Also, Switzerland is a country with a lot of natural beauty, and it’s also the perfect destination for an outdoor holiday. It has a lot of ski resorts that are perfect for skiing, hiking, and more.

You will need some experience and tips on enjoying your ski trip to Switzerland.

Entry Fee: $170

Location: Geneva and other places, Switzerland

2. Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is a popular activity in Switzerland. It is a recreational activity and also a competitive sport. It is the most popular winter sport in Switzerland and many European countries. Dog sledding has been practiced in Switzerland since the early Middle Ages, and it has evolved into what we see today.

The first recorded use of dog sleds was during the Roman Empire, where they were used to pull chariots and carts or even as pack animals for soldiers on long marches. If you participate in this game, you will love it a lot. It can carry up to 200 pounds per run.

Entry Fee: Varies

Location: Lucerne and Zurich, Switzerland.

Last few words

End of the year and in Winter, Switzerland will not make you lose your hope. It will be stand-alone from other tours, and you will enjoy yourself a lot with your friends and family. So, do not make delay traveling to Switzerland in the month of December, and you will get every tip in this article. You can enjoy each single place part of Switzerland on your tour.

From natural beauty to heritage, this place is amazing. Be choosy and wise when you choose the destination and then set your plan. Never lose hope and plan your tour today.

30 BEST Places To Travel In December

Best Places to Travel in December

In need of an end-of-the-year holiday and looking for the best places to visit in December? We got you covered! Whether you are seeking warm or cold, Christmas cheer or beach time, Europe or Africa, we are delving into the best places to travel in December.

Being a winter snow bunny, December is my favorite time to travel. If it involves Christmas and holiday cheer, it’s even better. There is something about being cozied up, next to a roaring fire, with a hot cappuccino in hand that never gets old.

If you’re looking to escape all that cold nonsense, don’t worry! There are plenty of travel destinations listed here that will have you reaching for a bathing suit, sunglasses, and a cold drink instead of hand mittens.

The Best Cold Places to Travel in December

Florence, Italy

Florence

Florence, Firenze, is the capital of Tuscany and a highlight of any trip around Italy. You have to add this city to your Italy itinerary if it’s not already. The city is famous for its world-class cuisine, museums, works of art, and surrounding countryside. The architecture in Florence pulls you in and begs you to get lost in its historic heart.

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History nuts will go nuts as Florence is known for being the birthplace of the Renaissance period and packed full of treasures. Say “hello” to David! Walking the narrow cobbled stone streets appears as if little has changed over the centuries with marble basilicas, dark chapels, gas lanterns, and enchanting frescos. You have the opportunity to get lost in time.

It’s one of the best places to visit in December since the streets are alive for a holiday, but the weather is still comfortable. December is the beginning of winter in Italy, and the average temperature drops to 13°C nationwide. You’ll need a packable down jacket, but it’s still an excellent time to visit a famous city without the crowds.

Innsbruck, Austria

Things to do in Innsbruck

There aren’t many cities in Europe quite like Innsbruck. It’s coined the title “Capital of Alps,” and easy to understand why once you set foot in the town. Flanked by the impressive Nordkette mountain range towers over the city, nature never feels far away.

It’s the only city where you can ski, explore a grand palace, window shop, and savor a strudel all in one day. Making it the perfect place to visit in December – especially around the holidays. No one does Christmas markets like the Austrians!

There are plenty of things to do in Innsbruck with the Austrian Alps and a city rich in history. In many ways, it’s everything we love about Austria, all packed into a modern city and historic city. We love that you can be in a beautiful medieval old town and then place yourself in the heart of the Alps within minutes with cowbells ringing and fresh Alpine air.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Ski Resorts Snowbird Gondola

If you like skiing, snowboarding, and chasing fresh powder, you can’t go wrong with Salt Lake City in the winter. Resorts like Snowbird, Brighton, Park City, and Solitude get endless amounts of fluffy fresh pow that is a dream to ski on.

All are close to Salt Lake City, meaning you can enjoy the city restaurants and breweries at night and venture into the mountains by day! Book your trip well in advance. Rates around the holidays in this winter destination might make your eyes water.

Tallinn, Estonia

most beautiful cities in Europe

Tallinn is one of the most well-preserved old towns in all of Europe and well worthy of a stop in December. There are many sights to see in Tallinn and to make the most of a trip we recommend at least two days. However, we were able to have a fun time for only a day.

You can head to the buzzing Christmas market with folk dancers in December. The closer to Christmas, the more lively it gets! Eat your way around the Medieval old town, check out the beautiful Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, walk the city walls, ice skate, and more! The city center is very compact and easy to walk around.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna at Christmas

Vienna has been voted the most liveable city in the world several times over, and it’s known for its abundantly happy citizens. It’s a beautiful city full of historic buildings and palaces. Most notable is the Habsburgs Palace, a stunning example of Baroque architecture and awe-inspiring gardens.

Vienna opera house is known for being one of the best in the world, and don’t forget to try the famous Sachertorte (chocolate cake).

Vienna also hosts great Christmas markets during December, which only get better and better as the holidays roll around. In our opinion, everyone should experience Vienna during the winter at least once in their lives!

Helsinki, Finland

Senate Square Christmas What To do Helsinki

Few cities in Europe feel as forward-thinking as Helsinki. The Finns have pushed into the modern era and embraced design, food, and art. No place is this more evident than in Finland’s capital. It’s a marvelous city that delighted us with plenty of things to do.

For such a modern city, you never seem to be too far away from nature, though. The town features an extraordinary amount of green space as it’s spread across a series of islands in the Baltic Sea. You have a brilliant mix when you add in the city’s delicious restaurants and Finn’s apparent affinity for having a good time. The Finns know how to live life with “kalsarikannit,” a word to describe sitting at home in your underwear drinking with no intention of going out – that made us laugh.

Helsinki is a beautiful city to explore, full of things to do and delicious food to eat. We spent a week here around Christmas and could not have had a better time exploring a city. Helsinki may not be your typical European city break destination, but it is well worth a memorable trip to Finland.

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

The city and country embody many quintessential European cities and countries. It’s a great place to visit in December as the Christmas cheer is everywhere. We were lucky enough to see it during the Christmas season, catch one of the first snowfalls of the season, and even participate in Luxembourg’s wonderful Christmas markets.

Luxembourg City is a mix of the old and new, with highrises rising all over the city and a pleasant old town located in the heart of the city. It’s a melting pot of nationalities, and you’ll often hear English on the streets as many foreigners come to work for banks and tech companies based in the city. It brings a pleasant expatriate vibe to vibe to the town and adds to its character.

Hokkaido, Japan

Furano Ski Resort

Hokkaido is Japan’s Siberian north. Home to some genuinely polar temperatures that plunge way below zero, Hokkaido is home to prime snowboarding and skiing as much as some of the wildest, most small slices of nature to be found in Japan.

If you are wondering when the best time to visit Hokkaido is, it’s December through March (if you love powder, that is).

Winter has its full grip on Hokkaido at this time. Snow will be falling a lot – pretty much everywhere – blanketing the countryside and mountains.

It’s in mid-December that the ski season starts up again. Places like Furano, and local resorts around Sapporo, open their doors for the skiers and snowboarders among you.

The air is dry, and the rainfall is at its lowest in December. Gloves, hats, and scarves become a must once again, as the average high flatlines at about 3°C. Our tip? Head to an onsen (traditional Japanese hot springs) to warm up.

Banff, Alberta Canada

Lake Louise

Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. Have you logged onto Instagram lately? In case you missed it, Banff, has been the hot place to go for the past few years. Imagine vast mountains, beautiful blue lakes, and a charming Canadian small town. If it sounds like the perfect place to spend Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, that’s because it is!

Banff is also surrounded by Mt. Norquay, Banff /Lake Louise, and Banff Sunshine to form SkiBig3. This whole area turns into a skier or snowboarder version of heaven in the winter. We spent a few weeks here mountain hopping around the Rockies in 2018 and have since moved to the Rockies and called it home (so there is no way it wouldn’t make this list). Seriously, it’s that good and is one of the most beautiful towns to visit during the winter.

However, keep in mind that it is COLD. If you were wondering, the average temperature is about -4°C; so yeah, it’s frigid. After dark, it plummets below -10.

Expect snow and fog and only a few hours of sunshine a day. However, it’s now full swing in December if you like cold weather activities and skiing and snowboarding. The crowds don’t hit the mountains until the holidays, so you can expect pretty quiet and powdery runs if you arrive anytime between December 1-20.

Banff and Canmore get busy around the holidays – it’s one of the most popular places in Canada so book your holiday early!

Lech Am Arlberg, Austria

Lech Am Arlberg, Austria

If we were to pick one of our favorite ski resort towns in Europe, it would be Lech Zurs Arlberg. The village ambiance is tough to beat in the winter due to a wide selection of boutique hotels, all intimate in size due to strict ordinance laws. You won’t find mega hotels or foreign investments in this former farming village.

It’s distinctly Austrian, with local families running restaurants, hotels, bars, chalets, and B&Bs. Everything in the village is modern and luxurious but understated so you won’t be completely gobsmacked here. This charm is what continues to draw regulars from around the world year after year.

Narvik, Norway

Narvik, norway is amazing in december

Norway in the winter is what fairytale books are made out of. Especially the more north you head. We found a fantastic winter home in Narvik where we could spot the Northern Lights and go snowboarding all in one day.

The first night of our tour outside of Narvik included a dog sled at night led by head torches and the Aurora Borealis above us. Our second night was followed up with the Northern Lights over the city of Narvik from atop the ski hill. Both experiences are ones to remember forever!

If you plan to see the Northern lights in Northern Norway, I’d advise you to rent a car to guarantee your chances. Northern Norway is mainly coastal and is comprised of a mix of mountains and islands. The result of the unique landscape and the sea create very localized weather and unpredictable weather.

Narvik is also where you can visit Narvikfjellet, one of Norway’s most famous ski resorts. Off-piste riding is a significant draw for Narvikfjellet as their brand new gondola provides access to some big terrain with views of the fjord below.

Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy

Dolomitin-Superski-Trentino-Ski-Alpe-Luisa

This is the jewel of the ski and winter scene in the Trentino region and one of the best places to travel in December. It’s a well-known resort famous for hosting many Italians looking for solid skiing, dining, and relaxation in a very posh environment. It still holds on to its claim to fame as the summer vacation spot of Austrian Royalty and Princess Sissi. The town is a beautiful little gem set at the base of the Dolomites and has all the charm of a mountain town.

Madonna Di Campiglio is nearly car-free, and it’s easy to take an evening stroll after a day on the slopes. We spent our evening window shopping while checking out the 19th-century architecture with a cappuccino in hand.

Charming wooden homes line the streets at the foot of the Dolomites. It is easy to see why the resort town is well cherished in Northern Italy and a great spot to travel to in December.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Wengen - Jungfrau

The little mountain village provides perfect access to two ski areas and numerous Swiss hiking trails. High above Grindelwald lies the Bernese Alps and a famous mountain face. That mountain is Eiger’s notorious North Face.

The village has a long main road and plenty of accommodation options to handle many tourists that make the journey up the valley from Interlaken. The town lacks the charm that the surrounding villages have, such as Gimmelwald, Murren, or Wengen, but it does provide amazing access to the mountains – great for skiers and those after a solid European winter holiday.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt

Switzerland, in general, is one of the best countries to visit in December. Zermatt in the wintertime can only be described as a magical winter wonderland. Under its blanket of snow, this chocolate box alpine village is set against the backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn and is a must on anyone’s Swiss itinerary.

Whether you’re into skiing or not, you can’t help but fall under the charm of this beautiful village. It will enchant you with its little back roads, traditional and modern chalets, lack of traffic (a car-free village), and the restaurants and shops that line the main street.

Skiers are spoiled for choice with the kilometers of slopes on offer. A trip up to the Klein Matterhorn or a journey on the train to the Gornergrat is a must for non-skiers. There is a lively après-ski scene and an abundance of restaurants catering to all tastes, from traditional Swiss fayre to Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and more. It is also an excellent resort for families visiting Zermatt, although it does come with a hefty price tag.

Malbun, Liechtenstein

Malbun, Liechtenstein

We’ve been on a mission to explore some of the smallest countries in the world. It’s what recently brought us to Luxembourg and took us through Swaziland. On our grand tour of the Alps, we visited Austria and Switzerland, so it only made a chance to stop by the country sandwiched right in between the two. Liechtenstein has an area of just over 160 square kilometers, making it the fourth smallest country in Europe, with a population of only 38,000!

Malbun is a small town in the alps that is great for a winter vacation in Europe. Here you can enjoy the best things to do in Europe in the winter – snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and fondue dipping! We even went for a winter walk in the woods with llamas!

We spent two full days in Liechtenstein and thought it was the ultimate place for families looking for winter travel during December. The mountain and town are big enough to have some fun in, but also small enough to let children run wild and free should you want to have some gluhwein.

New York, New York

best places to visit in december

On the ground, gritty New York may not be the most beautiful city, and there is no doubt plenty of ugly spots. Take a few rides on the New York subway, and you’ll see plenty of the ugly. However, no skyline in the world is more iconic than New York with its architectural feats, bridges, and Central Park.

It’s next to impossible not to be amazed by the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Grand Central Station, One World Trade Center, New York Public Library, Chrysler Building, and the Statue of Liberty — the list could go on. New York’s world-class restaurants, bars, street food, museums, concert venues, art galleries, and neighborhoods.

Read Post  Best Places to Visit in The Cotswolds

There is no shortage of things to do in the city that never sleeps. It’s a city that assaults your senses and paints a vibrant tapestry before your eyes.

Around the holidays is, in my opinion, when the city truly shines. There is special holiday cheer in the air. The shops, coffee shops, and general street vibe are so magical. There are Christmas markets, parties, and then, of course, the lighting of the tree in Rockafeller Center. It’s a city one must visit sometime in their life.

Venice, Italy

Is Venice worth a visit

Love or hate Venice; there is no denying its popularity. It is the most beautiful historic city on the planet, but it is also besieged by tourists, except in the winter.

The sinking city is a network of 118 islands connected by bridges. Buildings here are old, and if you manage to get away from the crowds, it feels like you’ve stepped back five centuries. It is surreal, and after several visits, we love Venice.

In our opinion, Venice is best visited on the shoulder and offseasons. December is a great time to visit Venice; we went around Christmas (when the above photo was taken) and barely experienced any crowds.

The canals of Venice are notorious for harboring a lot of waste, and in the summer, the smell can get pretty bad; however, in the cooler months, there are fewer tourists, less waste, and the scent is at bay. If you were to ask us, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, except in the summer months.

Best Beach Destinations to Travel in December

Saint Lucia, Caribbean

This is Jade Mountain

For North Americans, the Caribbean is one of the most sought-after places to holiday in December. Breezy temperatures, sunshine, and beautiful water make it an ideal destination for those looking for a suntan rather than frostbite.

One of the best places to visit in the Caribbean is the stunning island of Saint Lucia. This country in the West Indies is regarded as one of the most beautiful islands to visit in the Caribbean. It’s the perfect travel destination for the holidays, but be forewarned – rates are at their highest around this time.

Lagos, Portugal

Praia do Camilo - Best Beaches in the Algarve

Portugal is a year-round destination where vacationers and locals can be found body-surfing, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, water skiing, and surfing. We spent November and December based in Lagos searching for the best beaches in the Algarve and enjoyed every sun-kissed day to the fullest. We now consider it one of the best places to travel in December.

The coastline around Lagos has some of the tastiest waves, cleanest water, and most dramatic landscapes. To top it off, Lagos boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine each year! We spent November and December here and only had TWO rainy days. Not only are the beaches around the Algarve fabulous, but the town is small, walkable, and sculpted by traditional architecture.

We would spend many days walking around Lagos, watching old Portuguese men play chess, enjoy their coffee, and soak in the sunshine without the crowds in December.

Cape Town, South Africa

things to do in cape town 2020

If there is one city in the world I am dying to return to, it’s Cape Town. It’s a city too beautiful for its sound. Where one can get easily lost in the depths of nature and still have dinner at any sushi, tapas, or bistro, they want at night.

There are so many things to do in Cape Town that it’s hard to optimize your time there unless you have a full year. We spent two months there and felt we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

Cape Town will enchant you with activities like climbing the iconic table mountain to sipping some delicious Pinotage while overlooking the tip of Africa. If you find yourself in the South African city, don’t tell me because I will be jealous, have fun!

December in South Africa means summer, at least the start of it. Being the holiday season, it’s a time for tourists to visit the country and one of the best places to travel in December.

Cape Town has barely any rain, blue skies, sunshine, and rising temperatures; the daytime average is 25°C. It’s an excellent time to hit the beach; the Atlantic Ocean is about 19°C in December, so that you could be laying out on the sand and swimming on Christmas Day!

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Alleys of Chefchaouen

In northwest Morocco, situated in the beautiful Rif Mountains, is Chefchaouen. “Chaouen,” as locals call it, is a small city renowned for its charming streets of blue. Besides the blue streets, Chefchauoen is a popular tourist destination for its hashish, grown prolifically all over the region.

We went to Morocco’s blue city to escape the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities in Morocco. We had seen the photos online detailing all the shades of blue and knew we had to get to this Moroccan town.

It is as impressive as it looks on the internet! Most people wander around and take photos in the town, but there is also some good hiking through the Rif Mountains.

December is one of the most excellent months of the year… in Morocco. If you’re looking for winter sun, it’s an excellent time to visit the country!

Visiting Morocco in December is not really about the beaches and coast; Morocco in December is about seeing the sights and exploring a bit of nature.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne - best places to visit in december

Melbourne is one of the most exciting cities to visit in Australia. The buzzing city has nightlife, a great food scene, festivals galore, and outdoor activities. It is tough to hate on the city, bringing people in from all over the world.

People often make their way to Sydney to see the Opera House on their trip to Australia, but in my opinion, Melbourne is the better option as it has less of that big city feel. There may not be snow here during the winter, but it’s summer in Australia, making it the perfect place to visit in December if you are after a warm escape!

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown

Queenstown is a great city/town on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s one of the most visited spots in the country and one of the main places everyone seeks to live in. The town sits on Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. If you are lucky enough to score a lakeside Airbnb rental, you’ll have uninterrupted views of ” The Remarkables,” the mountain range around the lake.

Queenstown is dubbed the adventure capital of the southern hemisphere and is where you will find a wide range of travelers getting an adrenaline high. Bungee jumping, paragliding, and canyoneering are everyday things to do in Queenstown. The city also serves as a jumping-off point to the Milford Sound and Lake Wanaka.

Like in Australia, December means it’s summer in Queenstown. You can expect pleasant temperatures and long hours of daylight! It’s another one to hit up if you are after a warm place to travel to in December for some adventure.

Costa Rica

in Costa Rica

December marks the start of the dry season in Costa Rica, and many North Americans are trying to escape the cold up north. There are plenty of flights running to San Jose during this month.

It’s a great time to travel to Costa Rica at the beginning of themonth, as the end of the month sees plenty of vacationers taking advantage of a Christmas in paradise.

Pay attention to your destination in Costa Rica in December. The Caribbean Coast is currently deep into its rainy season in Costa Rica. Flash downpours, rather than day-long rains, are par for the course in the coastal areas.

The Central Valley is starting to dry up this time of year. Even though it’s not scorching, that makes it a good time of year to try out some adventure sports in the great outdoors. We suggest heading to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve to enjoy waterfall chasing and bird watching!

The Maldives

Maldives is one of the best places to visit in december

December marks the dry season in The Maldives, and if you’re forking out the cost for an epic Maldives vacation, you will likely want ideal weather. The only issue is that tourists start to flock to the Maldives towards the end of December. It’s Christmas, after all, and who doesn’t want to spend the holiday vacation in the Maldives? It’s sunny, it’s beautiful, it’s fantastic, and it’s one of the best times to visit the Maldives.

Make sure to book your Maldives trip well in advance to score the best deal on resort and airfare rates. During December, you can do anything in the Maldives; if you like scuba diving and snorkeling, it’s a fantastic place to visit. We have found The Maldives to have some of the best scuba diving in the world.

Patagonia

Patagonia - best places to visit in december

The best time to visit Patagonia may not be what you think. Since Patagonia is in the Southern Hemisphere, their spring and summer begin in September, with their summer season being in December!

Days now are long and warm, and there’s very little rainfall to contend with. It’s a fabulous time to enjoy all the best hiking Patagonia offers.

Thailand

Thailand - best places to visit in december

Thailand is always a fantastic destination; however, for ideal weather, it’s best in the dry season. The dry season in Thailand typically lasts from November to April, making it a fabulous place to travel in December. However, you will have to be careful of your Thai destination, as the Lower Gulf (Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Tao) are pretty rainy in December.

December is when most of the country is excellent and has low humidity. It’s a great time to snorkel around Phuket, lay on the beaches of Khao Lak, or enjoy the mountains surrounding Chaing Mai!

The Florida Keys

florida keys / best places to visit in december

The Florida Keys are always a dream destination, but there are better periods to visit than others. The best time to see the Keys is between December and April. This is when the Florida Keys are the dryest, and temperatures are bearable. You also miss hurricane season, which is always a relief.

We love starting our trip in Key Largo, staying a few days, and then driving the Overseas Highway to Key West. Some of the best stops are Islamorada and Marathon. When you reach Key West, try El Siboney, it’s one of the best Key West restaurants!

Antarctica

Antarctica - best places to visit in december

Of all the months to visit Antarctica, December is one of the best. It’s relatively warm (for Arctic standards) and sees long hours. Wildlife is also the most active time for wildlife and is a fantastic time to see whales, penguins, and perhaps even polar bears! If Antarctica is on your bucket list, make sure to pick the right time.

Plan For Your Trip

  • Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
  • Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Scotts Cheap Flights to get notified when prices get ultra low.
  • Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
  • Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
  • Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
  • Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit cardand how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.
Hopefully this helped you determine which of these best places to visit in December is right for you. For other great places to travel by month check out these other articles!
About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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Welcome to the world, as seen through the eyes of Cameron Seagle and Natasha Alden. On this site, readers will find our experiences, gear reviews, photography, tips, and informative travel guides.

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