This planner showcases the best winter holiday destinations on the globe, whether you choose to embrace the chilly weather or escape it entirely. With Christmas celebrations, school breaks and challenging conditions to consider, there's a fine art to deciding where to travel in winter. Enjoy a traditional family Christmas in a wintery wonderland or make festive memories on the other side of the world in the dazzling summer sunshine. These winter holiday ideas are just a few of our favourites and, while they're superb holiday destinations throughout the year, in winter, they're just magical.
Winter Travel Planner
From pure white Christmases to pristine white beaches
There's nothing better than a snowy white Christmas, and Antarctica can undoubtedly offer you that. Glittering glaciers, snowy mountains and towering ice sheets – every inch of the White Continent is gleaming. For an extra-special festive celebration, board a Luxury Expedition Cruise and experience the wonders at the edge of the world in ultimate luxury. Polar expeditions can only happen in winter when the landscape is at its most stable, so this is your opportunity to enjoy precious time with loved ones as you embark on an unforgettable adventure in search of enormous penguin colonies and the magnificent albatross.
Edinburgh and Southern Scotland
Edinburgh's traditional market is a festive treat for the whole family. With a multitude of stalls vending everything from delicious, warming eatables to locally made artisan products, a trip to the market is essential. The Edinburgh Night Walk is a fascinating stroll through the Old Town, with an artist’s voice in your ears and complementary visuals on your screen. There is no better place than Edinburgh for the Hogmanay – the Scottish celebration of the New Year. Discover true Scottish heritage with a soupçon of French style at The Balmoral.
If you're looking for winter sun, there's no better place than the Caribbean. Leave the winter blues far behind you and feel the vibrant tropical rhythms as you sip rum on a tranquil beach, looking out over the crystal waters. For an unforgettable winter getaway, embark on an island-hopping adventure to discover the lively atmosphere of Antigua, charming villages of Barbados and enjoy Caribbean glitz and glamour in the Bahamas. This is a great chance to capture some fantastic family photos for next year's Christmas card or enjoy a romantic gourmet dinner on the sand with that special someone.
Have an altogether different white Christmas on the powdered beaches of the Indian Ocean, home to stunning scenery, vibrant hospitality and an extraordinary array of wildlife. Spend the winter with your toes in the sand, feeling the gentle lapping waves against your ankles, or take the plunge and enjoy a deep-sea dive. Discover vibrant coral reefs while swimming among turtle, dolphin and myriad fish. The Maldives offers easy access for onward adventures in India and Sri Lanka, the varied landscape of the Seychelles is ideal for hiking and wildlife-spotting, and Mauritius promises a warm welcome along with jaw-dropping coastlines.
This time of the year coincides with a break in the dry season, one that is much welcomed by local people and wildlife before the Great Migration kicks off again in January. As the dust settles, savour the fresh air with a scenic boat ride on stunning Lake Tanganyika. Wildlife-lovers will enjoy observing chimpanzee on the Mahale Mountains. These usually elusive creatures are far more easily spotted at this time of year since the showers produce more fruit on the lower, more visible slopes. Zanzibar offers a more relaxing beach break with picturesque white beaches and shimmering aquamarine waters.
For an unforgettable winter getaway or a Christmas celebration, unlike any other, there are the Galápagos Islands. It's hard to remember the drizzly British wintertime when you're snorkelling in azure waters among king angelfish, hieroglyphic hawkfish and blue-chin parrotfish. On the shore, the wildlife-spotting opportunities are just as abundant. It's the season for new life in the Galápagos; look out for mating fur seal, adorable sea lion pup, and giant tortoise laying eggs on the beach. A trip here is easily combined with a stop in Ecuador to discover lively South American culture and sample vibrant cuisine.
As winter arrives in the UK, Australia is coming to the end of springtime, so this is an excellent season for green-fingered travellers to visit. Colourful flowers bloom and ferns spread their fronds ready for the bright summer sunshine. Verdant vineyards have been sprouting for a couple of months now meaning there are lots of opportunities for wine-tasting. Sydney experiences the buzz of summer tourism combined with the festive season so you can expect lots of festivals and events taking place around the capital. Don't forget to ring in the new year with loved ones watching the iconic Sydney firework display.
November promises warm winter sunshine and a lively community spirit as cricket season begins in Sri Lanka. The excitement is palpable as the many different cultures in Sri Lanka come together to watch matches. The hot weather cools off as December arrives, though the days are warm and comfortable. The terrain along the Kelani River is perfect for an exhilarating white-water rafting experience. January is ideal for discovering Sri Lankan culture as the country holds important religious ceremonies. Make sure to visit the historic city of Galle, renowned for its incredible architecture and 16th-century fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel planners for all seasons
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