Best destinations for escaping a cold Christmas

birds view of a beach and waves

The Christmas season is typically a time of joy, happiness, Christmas movies, and delicious food. Although spending time at home with your family members never loses its appeal, some people like to celebrate Christmas away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, busy streets, family discussions, and snow. If you are considering going away to a destination in 2021, here’s your chance to get a chance to get a tan instead of a few pounds from excessive holiday eating. This short article describes the best destinations for escaping a cold Christmas. So, let’s dive in.

Dubai

December is a perfect month to visit this breath-taking city. The main reason for this is that the temperatures never go under 73 degrees, which is considered cold in this part of the world. Considering this is the lowest the thermometer can show, with daily temperatures maintaining the perfect beach-ready heat that oscillates around 86 degrees, you will be able to travel without your puffer jacket and winter shoes. 

But Dubai’s phenomenal climate is not the only reason to visit this fantastic place. This city is also a marvel of contemporary architecture. There is never a dull moment here since there are plenty of conventional and unconventional tours you can take if you happen to get bored with what the city has to offer (which is highly unlikely).

a woman walking on a Dubai beach
Dubai has terrific sand beaches alongside breath-taking marvels of contemporary architecture

Our suggestion is to head on down to the dunes for a day of dune bashing in Al Qudra, or a desert safari where you will be able to capture amazing photos of the desert landscape. Visiting Qudra lake is also a must, especially if you are a bird-watching enthusiast. After experiencing the natural wonders in and around Dubai, you can still do your Christmas shopping – the 26th of December marks the start of Dubai’s shopping festival where you might find luxury items at reduced prices – with up to 90% discount! 

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the hottest locations in the world on Christmas day. The temperature bar reaches up to 93 degrees in December, making it the perfect place to work on your tan during the holidays. Apart from sunbathing until you start to sweat, there are many other things you can do in this lovely, sun-kissed city.

Also, since Brazilians are devoted Catholics, you might even have an opportunity to try the Brazilian version of Christmas dinner. Namely, they eat turkey or chester with rice, fruits, and farofa. Or head on down to Copacabana beach. On Christmas Day and Eve, Brazilians spend these days at family lunches. Copacabana beach is not so visited on these two days, so you can enjoy the beach the way you usually can’t. So, get festive and build a snowman out of beach sand to celebrate your sunny and sandy Christmas, or put on a Santa’s cap and go surfing.

Tampa, Florida

If you are looking for a great place to spend your winter holidays in the U.S., Tampa is the perfect city to escape the freezing temperatures – the temperature bar in Tampa is merciful in December, with daily temperatures typically ranging from 58 to 78 degrees. So, no snow in sight this Christmas. 

Although the typical Florida summer craze may not be as pronounced at this time of the year, the fun vibes are still there. Some people even decide to settle down in Tampa for good due to its outstanding historical architecture, the melting pot of cultures with Cuban and Spanish influences taking the lead, and its vibrant economy intertwined with tropical bars and cafes.

Essentially, there is never a dull moment in Tampa, regardless of the season or weather conditions, especially since one of the most beautiful beaches in the US is right here in Florida.

Gran Canaria

If you are searching for the perfect melange of tropical and European, the Canary Islands are the place to go. The temperatures are pleasantly above 68 degrees at this time of the year, making this archipelago a wonderful tropical getaway. In fact, all of the islands were formed through volcanic eruptions, making Gran Canaria a true natural wonder.

Of course, the volcanoes are dormant nowadays, leaving incredible volcanic lakes and breath-taking vistas safe for you to explore on Christmas. Of course, the Canary Islands are famous in Spain and beyond for their vibrant culture, with bars and restaurants remaining open and lively even on Christmas day. 

a beach on a Spanish island
Islands of the Gran Canary have the best beaches in Spain and beyond.

Cayman Islands

If you opt for the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean as your holiday destination, you can choose between three islands in the archipelago. There is a Christmas tradition in the islands in which locals collect white sand from beaches on a night when the moon is bright. Afterward, that sand is spread around backyards as a makeshift, Caribbean version of snow. This exciting custom is definitely something to experience while you are enjoying the exotic Cayman Islands. The temperatures in December vary from 78-84 degrees, so there is no need to worry about cold days this Christmas.

There are many more places you can escape the winter blues, but we have picked out the best destinations for escaping a cold Christmas. Most of these places are incredibly affordable, culturally diverse, historically relevant, and, perhaps most importantly, warm compared to most U.S. states. Whichever spot you choose, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas in Vienna

A Christmas in Vienna is one not to be missed. The Christmas markets in Vienna are truly something magical. Soft sparkling lights, gently falling snow, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts, and musicians marching through the streets. It sounds and feels like a fairytale, but Christmas in Vienna is very real. It’s worthy of “bucket list” inclusion and one you will always remember.

From mid-November until the end of December, Austria is the place to enjoy traditional Christmas markets. Festive lights, seasonal treats and snow-covered roofs make for a special experience that only Austria can provide. Austrians often refer to the Advent period as the country’s “fifth season”. Vienna is arguably the top place to visit in Austria. It always shines, but during the Advent season, it dazzles. Festivities take place in historic squares and pedestrian areas, making long walks from cafés to museums and shops even more enjoyable.

Christmas Markets in Vienna

In Vienna, the markets are an age-old tradition that put a smile on everyone’s face and provide an overwhelming spirit of Christmas. The forerunners of the present-day markets date back to 1298 in the Middle Ages when the Duke of Austria granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a “Krippenmarkt” or December Market. The character and prevalence of these markets has naturally changed considerably over the centuries.

Vienna itself says that there are 20 official Christmas Markets. There are in fact many more smaller ones. As you walk through the central old city, you’ll come across small squares (or platz) where small markets and vendor booths are open and waiting for you.

The most well-known and largest market is at Rathausplatz and known as Vienna Christmas World. The market sits right in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall) with some 150 booths. The adjacent City Hall Park has an ice rink, ice paths through the park, and a children’s area with nativity path, reindeer train, ferris wheel and carousel. The unique arts and crafts blend perfectly with baked goods and sausage stands.

A short walk away is the Christmas Market on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. Over 70 booths offer traditional Christmas handicrafts and original gifts throughout the season of Advent. There are regular visits by Gospel choirs and music groups to amplify the festive mood. The Christmas Village then transitions seamlessly into the New Year’s Eve Village.

Christmas in Vienna

The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz, in front of the Imperial Palace features Austrian products, sweets, pewter figures, hand-made crafts and more in its white huts. The Christmas Market on Stephansplatz focuses more on tradition, with some 40 booths and huts beside St. Stephen’s Cathedral offering high-quality Austrian products. The Advent market at the Opera House has gingerbread, cheese, meats, punch and wine from regional producers in Austria.

The best time to head to the markets are weekdays and early evening when the lights come on and the day turns into evening. Weekend days are very busy.

Enjoy the Lights Above The Graben And Kärntner Strasse

The Christmas lights of Vienna shine with a magical beauty. Thousands of crystals within giant chandeliers make you feel like you are at an Austrian Ball as you waltz along the main pedestrian areas in the old city center. Start a walk at dusk from behind the State Opera House building, down Kärntner Straße to passing Stephen’s Cathedral. Keep walking along the Graben and up Kohlmarkt through the gates of Hofburg Palace. Walk through the Palace grounds and you’ll end up back at Ring Strasse (and just a few blocks from your starting point).

Christmas in Vienna - The Graben

Walk the Ringstrasse

The Ringstrasse is the grand boulevard that circles the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town) where ancient fortifications once stood. Along the “Ring” you’ll see museums, parks, restaurants, five-star hotels, luxury stores and Christmas markets. Ringstrasse is decked out with lights and many Christmas displays to highlight Vienna’s impressive architecture. You can walk the “Ring”, get on a public bus or tram, or take a scheduled sightseeing tram with guide.

Weihnachtspunsch Or Glühwein?

Most street corners and markets feature a mulled wine or punch stand where locals and visitors gather for a warm drink and conversation. The local Lions Club has a number of drink stands along with a slightly lower price and a Styrofoam cup. The markets serve their punch in collectable mugs with a unique design for each market. You’ll pay a deposit when you order your drink, so you can keep the mug (or just buy the mugs separately). The slightly more popular steaming mug of warmth is Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch). It comes in dozens of flavours across the old city. The more traditional drink is a mug of hot Glühwein (mulled wine). You can’t go wrong with either and should try both. Either choice will take the chill away on a cold winter’s evening. Multiple drinks into the evening may have you singing songs from the “Sound of Music”.

Christmas in Vienna

Try Maronis (Roasted Chestnuts)

You’ll find at least one “Maroni Stand” at every market and at many major street corners in the winter months. Vendors are selling roast chestnuts from one steaming steel barrel and some are also selling roasted potato snacks from another barrel. It’s a Christmas experience that goes back to the Middle Ages. Now you can follow the tradition and blow on a hot, freshly peeled chestnut to cool it down

Christmas in Vienna - Roasted Chestnuts

Eat Sausage or Leberkäse? (or both)

Sausage stands are year-round in Vienna, but they seem more inviting in winter. Austrians love their meat and the roadside stands don’t disappoint for taste. If you need a little food energy and break from exploring, try a Käsekrainer or Bratwurst. The other must try Viennese snack is Leberkäse. It is a kind of rectangular sausage cut as a thick slice of meat on a fresh bread roll with mustard. It is an Austrian staple, cheap and delicious (trust me- I’ve eaten a lot of Leberkäse).

The Austrian capital is the perfect destination for a holiday hiatus. Vienna combines history, traditions and culture into the world’s most livable city.

Your Christmas spirit will come alive in this fairytale setting. Vienna is really the perfect destination for Christmas – this is Christmas in Vienna.