Can’t decide between a short-haul, snow-filled escape or a chilled beach break? Fear not, our expert Travel Consultants have done the hard work for you, by putting together a list of their favourite cities to escape to this season.
New York City, USA
During the festive period, New York transforms into a winter wonderland, with terrific tree-lighting ceremonies and eye-catching window displays along Fifth Avenue’s designer boutiques. Get a taste of old-time New York on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, ice-skate at the world-famous Rockefeller Center – a beloved winter tradition – and, if you're staying for New Year, Times Square at midnight is the perfect spot to celebrate and watch the fireworks.
If you seek warmer climes, Miami has the mildest winter temperatures on the United States mainland, with sunny days and breezy tropical nights. Soak up the classic ‘Miami vibe’ at South Beach, with stylish nightlife options and breathtaking beachfront properties, discover Key Biscayne, a beautiful national park just short drive out of the city, or simply relax and while the days away on the powder-soft Miami Beach, surrounded by garland-wrapped palm trees.
If your idea of a winter wonderland includes sun, sand and gently swaying palm trees, then Hawaii is your perfect city getaway. Always alive with action and during December, the capital Honolulu truly lights up with Christmas parades, hula performances and one-of-a-kind music festivals. Stroll along Oahu’s beaches to see Christmas sand sculptures and Santa arriving on a surfboard, climb to the top of Leahi for sweeping views of Waikiki’s famous coastal strip or learn more about the rich culture and history at Pearl Harbor, which also hosts a memorial parade.
Los Angeles, USA
Escape the cold winter weather and venture to the year-round sunshine of California. Los Angeles may not experience a white Christmas, but that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t know how to get into the holiday spirit. For a touch of Hollywood glamour, visit Beverly Hills to shop ‘til you drop at designer boutiques along famed Rodeo Drive – which are as much of a draw for their festive window displays as they are for shopping – dine at Spago by Wolfgang Puck, one of the best celebrity restaurants in town or luxuriate in lavish spa treatments to banish dry winter skin. Alternatively, bask in San Diego’s year-round sunshine on one of Coronado Island's sublime beaches, considered to be amongst the world's best, and take advantage of smaller crowds, so you can sightsee at your own pace this winter.
In December, Paris bursts out of its sleepy autumn lull and lights up, with shimmering trees and illuminations decorating the City of Love’s famous streets. Explore Christmas markets along the Champs-Élysées and witness 150,000 Christmas lights, warming up with a hot chocolate or a cinnamon-infused hot wine on the way, ice-skate in front of Paris City Hall and enjoy a gourmet meal, feasting on fresh oysters, foie gras, truffles, chestnuts and Champagne.
A hotbed of department stores and quirky boutiques, Milan is a true paradise for shopping. Splash the cash in this fashion mecca which boasting an A-Z of Italian designer stores and get into the Christmas spirit in Italy's fashion capital. Visit the spectacular Duomo in the heart of the city with a giant Christmas tree in the Piazza, pick up Christmas market delights including local delicacies and handmade goods, or take in a show at Milan’s most famous theatre, La Scala.
Even the scrooges can't help feeling cheered by Venice in full-on Christmas mode. Winter is actually the city’s driest season, with many clear, sunny days, perfect for sightseeing. Must-see sights include St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and Rialto Market, where you can see the city without the crowds. Yes it’s cold, but there are plenty of cosy spots to discover along the romantic, mist-filled streets.
The magnificent Christmas light decorations all over Funchal, together with the fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks and activities, make Madeira one of the most attractive ‘reveillons’ destinations over the festive season. Stroll around the famous Mercado dos Lavradores market and greet the New Year with one of the most breathtaking, world-record fireworks displays in the world.
Visit the ‘Red City’ for a cultural spin on a traditional Christmas getaway. Soak up the vibrant, animated mood of the Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s main square, take a stroll around the souks in the Medina and enjoy haggling for special blends of spices or colourfully painted tagine dishes, before returning to your luxury hotel to relax with a hammam spa or a fireside Moroccan tea.
To discuss any of these destinations for your December travel plans, or for further information about any of our luxury Christmas city break destinations, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 285 .