Während fantastische Fernreiseziele in tropische Gefilde laden, verwandelt sich der Norden in ein bezauberndes Winterwunderland. Das sind die 10 schönsten Destinationen im Dezember.
© divers

Where to Go in December

While fantastic long-haul destinations invite you to tropical climes, the north is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland. These are the 10 most beautiful destinations in December.

November 12, 2022

1. sao miguel, azores, portugal

Weather: 17 °C to 18 °C
Water temperature: 17 °C to 23 °C
Sunshine hours: 5 hours per day
Getting there: Ponta Delgada Airport (PDL), 10 minutes from the center

São Miguel, Azoren

The Miradouro da Boca do Inferno hiking trail offers outstanding views over the crater lake at Sete Cidades. © Daniele Nabissi

The largest of the Portuguese Azores islands, São Miguel, lures visitors to the rugged expanses of the Atlantic Ocean even in December. Pleasantly mild temperatures call for long hikes through the green, hilly nature with its fragrant hydrangeas and tall ferns. Active fumaroles, which testify to the volcanic activity of the island, can be seen all around. From the capital Ponta Delgada, to small fishing villages, to the crater lakes at Sete Cidades – São Miguel is the ideal destination for active travelers in December.

Where to stay

Hotel Verde Mar & Spa
Rua, Av. Dr. José Nunes da Ponte, 9600-525 Ribeira Grande, Portugal
Tel.: +351 296 249 300
Web: verdemarhotel.com 
Price: doubles from €100

Located directly on the beach of Monte Verde, Hotel Verde Mar & Spa looks out over the roaring expanse of the Atlantic. You sleep in elegant, modern rooms with large panoramic windows. In addition, the five-star hotel offers a large wellness center with its own medical spa, where you can choose from a wide range of aesthetic treatments.

Related: Traveler's Guide - Portugal's Island Paradise

2. male atoll, maldives

Weather: 26 °C to 30 °C
Water temperature: 28 °C
Sunshine hours: 7 hours per day
Getting there: Malé International Airport (MLE), from there by boat or private plane

Male-Atoll, Malediven

The white, fine beaches of the Maldives are world famous. © Dorsa Masghati

The rainy season is over, time to go back to the Maldives. On cold European winter days, there's nothing more beautiful than escaping to the popular group of islands in the Indian Ocean. In addition to white dream beaches, coral reefs await recreational and professional divers: not only colorful parrot fish, but also numerous shark species cavort beneath the transparent, turquoise waves. If you're looking for a paradisiacal getaway, Malé Atoll, not far from the main airport, is the place to be.

Related: A Unique Getaway to the Maldives

Where to stay

Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island
Olhuhali, North Male Atoll Maldives, 00000, Maldives
Tel.: +960 668 2600
Web: jumeirah.com
Price: doubles from €1,635

The detached private villas of Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island, which just opened a year ago, offer exclusive vacation days in paradise. The refuge in the North Malé Atoll scores with great restaurants, such as Kayto, numerous experiences in and around the water as well as a first-class spa offer. And of course the famously attentive Jumeirah service.

3. ko phi phi, thailand

Weather: 22 °C to 31 °C
Water temperature: 27 °C
Sunshine hours: 7 hours per day
Getting there: Phuket International Airport (HKT), 65 km

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Leonardo DiCaprio's appearance in The Beach made Ko Phi Phi a mass tourism destination overnight. Today, it's a pillar of environmental awareness. © Shutterstock

Temperatures up to 30 degrees, golden sand under palm trees and a newly discovered environmental awareness: Ko Phi Phi made our bucket list again. From Phuket, you can reach the country's most famous island in about an hour by speedboat. Although the famous Maya Bay has strict regulations in place, the one-hour visit is still worthwhile despite the bathing ban. In the southeast of the archipelago, around Ko Bida Nai and Ko Bida Nok, you will find the best diving spots. On the Ruea Hang Yao, the long tail boat, you can plow through the Andaman Sea. And party in the island capital Phi Phi Don.

Where to stay

11 Moo 8 Laem Tong, Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Tel.: +66 75 627 000
Web: zeavola.com 
Price: doubles from €250

Spanning 10 acres, Zavola, part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a jungle hideaway on the archipelago's largest island, Ko Phi Phi Don. The five-star barefoot resort features rustic, authentic Thai teak accommodations and a gorgeous private beach.

Related: Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach – Maya Bay Reopens to Tourists

4. Nagano, Japan

Weather: 6 °C to 10 °C
Snowfall: 940 cm
Sunshine hours: 4 hours per day
Getting there: Matsumoto Airport (MMJ), 59 km

Nagano, Japan: Eines der schönsten Reiseziele im Dezember!

In 1998, Nagano hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. One of the most beautiful snow and ski destinations is Mt. Kita-Hodaka. © Jun Matsumoto

If you're in the mood for a winter vacation in faraway places, you should book a flight to Japan (which reopened without restrictions just a couple of weeks ago). And head to Nagano: the province with the capital of the same name is located in the Japanese Alps and is one of the snowiest places in the world. Skiing season begins in mid-December, but there's plenty of other stuff to experience here as well. Starting from the Zenkō-ji temple with the oldest Buddha statue in the country, to visiting the macaques bathing in the onsen, to enjoying regional delicacies like soba or oyaki. Make sure not to miss the black castle Matsumoto.

Where to stay

Hotel La Neige Honkan
Japan, Nagano, Kitaazumi District, Hakuba, Japan
Tel.: +81 261725211
Web: laneige-honkan.com
Price: upon request

It stands like a fairy-tale castle: built in English Tudor style with stained glass and opulent interiors, the five-star hotel is nestled in a spacious garden. After a long day of skiing, fine Italian cuisine awaits at the hotel restaurant.

5. vienna, austria

Weather: 1 °C to 8 °C
Precipitation: 76 cm
Sunshine hours: 7 hours per day
Getting there: Vienna-Schwechat Airport (VIE), 20 km

Dezember Reiseziele Wien

When the dark season settles over Austria, Vienna shines in Christmas splendor. © Vienna Tourist Board/Christian Stemper

Without a doubt, Austria's capital is at the top of the list of the most beautiful cities in winter. Enchanting small and large Christmas markets are hiding in every corner. The air is crystal clear and permeated with the smell of fresh punch and sweet baumkuchen. In addition to the usual sights such as St. Stephen's Cathedral, Schönbrunn Palace or the city center, which is bathed in magical lights in December, you can also look forward to numerous festivals. For example, the annual Krampuslauf, which traditionally takes place on December 5.

Where to stay

Rosewood Vienna
Petersplatz 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43 1 7999888
Web: rosewoodhotels.com
Price: doubles from €750

Within a matter of just a couple of months, the new Rosewood already made a name for itself. The hotel on St. Peter's Square scores with elegant luxury and fantastic culinary offerings. After a long day of sightseeing, guests can relax at the two-story Asaya Spa and enjoy treatments with products by Augustinus Bader.

Related: Rosewood Vienna - the Asaya Spa Is Open to Pamper Guests

6. New York City, New York, USA

Weather: -0.5 °C to 6 °C
Precipitation: 93 cm
Sunshine hours: 6 hours per day
Getting there: John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), 30 km or LaGuardia Airport (LGA), 20 km

New York City, New York, ist eines der schönsten Reiseziele im Dezember 2022

When the snow covers the city, it's especially magical. © Andre Tan

December is one of the best months to visit the city that never sleeps. It's a magical wonderland as far as the eye can see. And even if it's busier than ever, New York is absolutely worth the trip. Spend your days sightseeing, strolling through Central Park with a dessert from Serendipity 3 or visiting the Winter Village at Bryant Park, where you can break out your skates at The Rink. If you can still get tickets, don't miss The Nutcracker on the Upper West Side. Fans of kitsch will find Christmas cheer at the light shows in Dyker Heights.

Where to stay

The Mark
25 E 77th St, New York, NY 10075, United States
Tel.: +1 2127444300
Web: themarkhotel.com
Price: doubles from €1,640

Oh so chic: The Mark, located in the heart of Manhattan, stuns with upscale American charm. Interior designer Jacques Grange is responsible for the look of the house. Stop by the Mark Bar, where you could spot a celebrity or two.

Related: 4 Tips for a Successful Trip to New York in the Fall

7. harbin, china

Weather: -20 °C to -10 °C
Snowfall: 178 cm
Sunshine hours: 6 hours per day
Getting there: Harbin Taiping International Airport (HRB), 37 km

Harbin, China: Best of Reiseziele im Dezember

Besides ice sculptures, Harbin also attracts visitors with multicultural buildings and delicacies. © Shutterstock

At the end of December, there is one reason above all to head to China: the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. During the world's largest ice and snow festival, visitors will find giant ice sculptures scattered throughout the city. Those who arrive before the grand opening on January 6 will get ahead of the crowds. And can watch the artists carve their art starting on December 23. Away from the festival, Harbin has many other things to offer: such as a zoo with Siberian and Bengal tigers, great ski resorts like Yabuli or the Chinese-Russian market. You will be amazed not only by the Chinese baroque architecture of Laodaowai, but also by traditional winter ice bathing.

Good to know: At the time of publishing, there is a 10-day quarantine obligation when entering China. Information on the current situation and entry requirements can be found at the foreign offices.

Where to stay

Shangri-la Hotel Harbin
Heilongjiang, Harbin, Daoli District, 150018, China
Tel.: +86 451 8485 8888
Web: shangri-la.com
Price: doubles from €90

The five-star hotel on the Songhua River – which freezes over so thickly in winter that you can walk across it – is one of the best places in the city. You shouldn't be put off by the gray exterior of the hotel; the interior scores with modern elegance. Editor's note: a room with a river view is a must here!

8. Nassau, Bahamas

Weather: 19 °C to 27 °C
Water temperature: 25 °C
Sunshine hours: 7 hours per day
Getting there: Nassau Lynden Pindling Airport (NAS), 13 km

Nassau, Bahamas. Wohin im Dezember?

In December, the streets of Nassau are populated by colorful characters in carnival costumes. © Leonardo Rossatti

Actually, you don't need any excuse to take a vacation in the Bahamas: the archipelago in the world's clearest ocean beckons with secluded sandy beaches, great dive spots and, between December and May, perfect weather. However, if you fancy a Caribbean party, you would be well advised to jump on a plane at the end of December: the Junkanoo Parade takes place on Bay Street in Nassau on December 26. The colorful carnival with live music is one of the most rousing carnivals in the world! Special attention should also be paid to the island cuisine, from rum to lobster fritters, there's much to discover.

Where to stay

The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas
One Ocean Drive Paradise Island Nassau N.P, Bahamas
Tel.: +1 242 363 2501
Web: fourseasons.com/oceanclub
Price: doubles from €1,790

The Four Seasons in the Bahamas opened in 1962. The resort extends over 14 acres and along a private beach on Paradise Island. Nature in Versailles-like elegance awaits guests in the large garden area, while the Balinese spa villas promise relaxation galore.

Related: The Most Beautiful Experiences in the Bahamas

9. Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Weather: -18 °C to -6 °C
Snowfall: 151 cm
Sunshine hours: 5 hours per day
Getting there: Denver Airport (DEN), 170km

Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Truly magical: the gold rush town of Breckenridge, near Beaver Creek, is one of the most beautiful ski destinations in the United States. © Shutterstock

On your skis, get set, go! In the heart of the Rocky Mountains lies Breckenridge, one of the best destinations for winter vacations in December. The season for Beaver Creek starts as early as early November and goes until mid-May. The town itself enchants with its historic district, which will take you back 150 years in time: Victorian-inspired cottages from the days of the miners line Main Street, now home to restaurants, boutiques and cafes. Curious visitors travel back underground to the gold rush town's past. Those traveling with children should visit the Breckenridge Troll on the Gulch Trail.

Where to stay

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
0130 Daybreak Ridge Rd, Avon, Colorado 81620, USA
Tel.: +1 9707486200
Web: ritzcarlton.com
Price: doubles from €358

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is tucked away among tall pines and imposing mountains near Breckenridge. The Great Room lounge with its large fireplace and regular live music is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the slopes.

10. tallin, estonia

Weather: 1 °C to 2 °C
Snowfall: 392 cm
Sunshine hours: 3 hours per day
Getting there: Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport (TLL), 4 km

Was sind die besten Reiseziele im Dezember? Tallinn, Estland.

Tallinn's particularly well-preserved medieval Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. © Shutterstock

The Estonian capital is still a real insider tip among city travelers. Yet Tallinn has a lot to offer. In December, the old town is transformed into an atmospheric gem with medieval flair. The path leads through old alleys, past colorful facades. At sweet little stalls you warm yourself with Glögg (mulled wine) while an enchanting Christmas market awaits in the center. The Kalamaja district is a bit more trendy and art and culture lovers will find a variety of great museums here. Foodies best look around in the Balti Jaam market. If you spend a little longer in Tallinn, you can also make a day trip to Helsinki – the ferry ride takes just under two hours.

Where to stay

Hotel Telegraaf
Vein 9, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia
Tel.: +372 600 0600
Web: marriott.com
Price: doubles from €315

Located in the center of Tallinn, the Telegraaf offers modern five-star luxury including old town charm. Outside the doors, the diversity of the Estonian capital awaits. The hotel itself boasts an excellent restaurant and a luxury spa with a pool, a hot tub, saunas and treatment rooms.

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