Where to travel in December


By Issy D’Arcy Clark for High Life magazine

Photography by Getty

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September 2016

From Christmas in New York, to skiing in Bergen, we’ve gathered together the places to go in December when the weather gets chilly. If you’d rather a little sunshine instead, we’ve got that covered too, in the form of chic Miami and dreamy Mauritius.

The beach…

Mauritius

To relax on picture-perfect white sands or liven things up with world-beating water sports, look no further than Mauritius. Anglers can take a trip onto the waves for deep-sea fishing, where you might be lucky enough to catch a yellowfin tuna or even a sailfish (the fastest fish in the ocean).

Scuba divers should take the plunge in the Indian Ocean at Roche Zozo, off Blue Bay on the southern coast, to experience unspoiled coral reefs teeming with angelfish, moray eels and sea anemones. Those hoping to learn to scuba dive will benefit from courses available at most hotels, kick-starting a possible resolution for the year ahead.

Stay

For an affordable luxury break, book at Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel, where rooms have sea views and a wealth of activities. Don’t forget to take some time out in their luxury spa too!

Book a stay at Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel >

  • Ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza skating rink, New York City © Alamy

    Christmas time in the city

    The Rockefeller Center tree is usually about 23m tall and is topped by a Swarovski star made up of around 25,000 crystals.

    Book flights to New York
  • Graffiti in the Miami’s Wynwood District, USA © Getty Images

    Did you know…

    Wynwood Arts District plays host to over 70 art galleries, quirky shops, antique stores and public art installations.

    Explore Miami
  • Beach huts on the shoreline in The Bahamas © Getty Images

    Collecting shells

    No visit to The Bahamas is complete without a helping of conch, a type of sea snail. You can eat it raw with lemon juice, stewed in soup or fried in fritters.

    Visit The Bahamas

The city…

New York

There are few places as magical as New York at Christmas – even the most stubborn Scrooge will be scanning the skies for signs of a sleigh. Slip on skates and glide across the ice at the Rockefeller Center, beneath an 80ft Christmas tree that lights up the Big Apple each year. Enhance the festive feeling with holiday shows such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. New York also remains the world’s best Christmas shopping destination, worth visiting for the windows at Macy’s alone.

Stay

Bed down at New York Hilton Midtown, where halls are decked with holly and you’ll feel like a guest of Santa himself.

Where are the best hotels in New York?

The family trip…

Bergen

Travellers flock to Norway’s dramatic harbour city in summer for fishing and the midnight sun, but winter is also a great time to explore its surrounding mountains for skiing, sledding and, for the brave, hiking. Mount Fløyen is floodlit in the evenings for nighttime winter sports and there are walking trails to suit all abilities, from fierce to family-friendly. But the ultimate festive highlight is the Gingerbread Town. Made by local schoolchildren and modelled on the city itself, the huge creation is displayed at the Sentralbadet swimming pool.

Stay

Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge is the ideal base for exploring Bergen and its surroundings, located in the UNESCO-listed Bryggen waterfront.

Book a stay at Thon Hotel Bergen Brygge >

The big trip…

The Bahamas

Flee the British chill and head to the Bahamas for the ultimate Christmas holiday in the sun. Swap turkey and sprouts for rock lobster in a spicy Creole sauce and guava duff served with rum custard. The rainy season ends in November and hurricanes don’t kick in until June, so December is the ideal time for a visit, with average temperatures hitting up to 26°C. Don’t miss the Junkanoo parade, a carnival of colour and culture. It traditionally begins on Boxing Day and is one of the Caribbean’s oldest street festivals, dating back to the 17th century.

Stay

If you’re looking for never-ending sandy beaches, bed down at Melia Nassau Beach All Inclusive on the doorstep of the Atlantic Ocean and Cable Beach.

Book a stay at Melia Nassau Beach All Inclusive

  • Swimming with dolphins in Tamarin, Mauritius © Alamy

    Coat of many colours

    Stop by Chamarel to witness the Seven Coloured Earths, a natural formation where the sand can be found in seven different shades.

    Explore Mauritius

The wild card…

Miami

Perfect for a beach holiday, Christmas in Miami is embodied by a 50-ton tree made of sand, in Key Biscayne. Elsewhere, Yuletide activities include a classic performance of The Nutcracker by the Miami City Ballet and the less traditional The Hip Hop Nutcracker.

December is also when Miami’s art scene comes into its own, spearheaded by Art Basel. From 1-4 December, check out the floral installation by Rebecca Louise Law. Alternatively, take a trip to the Wynwood neighbourhood to see the finest examples of street art. Culture is complemented by cutting-edge cuisine, buzzing bars and people-watching on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile.

Stay

Sleep in style at The Confidante set on world-famous and beautifully art deco Miami Beach complete with two heated pools and a rooftop spa.

Book a stay at The Confidante >