It’s December! The time to wine, dine and soak in the merriment of Christmas carols and New Year fireworks. With celebrations just round the corner, most of us are also planning year end vacations with family or friends to some exotic locations. We bring to you some great destinations across the world where you can witness some of the best Christmas and New Year festivities besides enjoying a super-chilled and relaxed holiday.
London looks stunning during December with the shopping streets gleaming with Christmas lights, traditional carollers merrily singing the Christmas anthems and streets decked with huge Christmas trees. A focal point is the Trafalgar Square which resounds with carol singing around the capital’s biggest Christmas tree. You can also visit the Southbank Centre to indulge in great food and cultural activities. Besides witnessing the festivities, you should try ice-skating in the Tower of London and visit other places of prominence such as Madame Tussauds, Coca-Cola London Eye, and The London Aquarium among many others. The New Year’s Eve fireworks cannot be missed and are a spectacular sight.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa. Mid-December season is highly joyous here and offers some of the greatest fairs. The Fab Ideas Christmas Market in Kommetjie, a small town near Cape Town will be held from 14-17 December this year, where you can sip on a glass of wine while also browsing for gifts and yummy festive foods. The Pinelands Crafts and Gift Fair will run until 22 December and you can shop on great handcrafted cards and decorations, treats, woodwork, jewellery, plants, clothing and even vintage furniture. New Year’s Eve fireworks make it all the more spectacular.
You can binge at Maresol, with some of the exotic Portuguese cuisines that can be enjoyed with a glass of Vinho Tinto including old favorites like peri-peri chicken, trinchado and espetadas. You can have a great party with your family or friends at Cape Point Vineyards and can also The Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens, Cape Point, Bo-Kaap, also known as the Malay Quarter, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Boulders Beach Penguin Colony among many other attractions.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A vibrant city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is neatly tucked between the mountains and the sea, and can be a great escape during this festive season. Due to many years of colonisation and immigrants, the Christmas season here is very special. A notable fact is that since there are no spruce trees, they are replaced by Christmas-Tree-shaped displays of electric lights and the main Christmas tree is put up in the middle of the lagoon. You can also experience great fireworks on Christmas night. Rio de Janeiro is famous across the world, for its New Year celebration, since more than 2 million people head to Copacabana Beach to witness awesome magical moments of pyrotechnics, music, fireworks and a variety of musical acts. Apart from these, you can party in classic Rio style, at Jobi Bar — a social institution open since the 1950s and can also head to Carioca da Gema to binge upon some samba and choro music. Sugarloaf and Cristo Redentor are some of the best regular attractions you should not miss.
One of the most exotic locations in the world, Taipei, Taiwan is an excellent choice for an international holiday since the climate in Taipei remains cold this season, and it actually feels like winter. New Taipei City’s Christmasland (Taipei city is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City) is the most well-known winter festival that turns Tapei into a true Winter Wonderland. The Christmasland, this year began on November 16 and will end on January 1, 2019. This year’s theme is space and planets and major attractions of every year include the Taiwan’s tallest Christmas tree, a huge market, a fair with rides, carol singers galore. This year’s highlights include Taiwan’s biggest 3D projection mapping light shows, four dreamy lighting bridges, and The Pool. You can also visit National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Longshan Temple, and Maokong Gondola which are the other regular popular attractions of the city.
Sprawled across the vivacious intermingling of land and sea, Sydney is a great holiday destination during the year end. December is the beginning of summer season here and Sydney becomes quite energetic during the year end. You can participate in the wonderful traditions of Christmas and definitely do not miss out on the tree lighting and carol singing in Martin Place. You can also treat yourself to special Christmas delicacies at the GPO Dessert Bar that offers a range of homemade sweets, cakes, and cold beverages. Furthermore, Sydney rings in its New Year with epic fireworks that is famous across the world. The fireworks look beautiful with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as the backdrop. Since it’s summer, you can also shake a leg in the warm blue waters of Manly, Bondi and Bronte beaches and visit other regular attractions such as Darling Harbour, Harbor Cruises from Circular Quay among many others.
Also read: Summer holidays & family bonding