Swap those woolly jumpers for a bikini, and that eggnog for some cocktails on the beach. Here are the best places to spend Christmas abroad this year.
Everyone loves Christmas, but why do UK festivities always come with a huge dose of cold, grey and wet weather? We’d much prefer to tuck in to our Christmas dinner while soaking up the sun somewhere toasty – and we’re sure you would too. Here are our picks of the top places to spend Christmas this year.
If you don’t want to venture too far from home, then a short flight to La Palma could be just for you. During December, there are 5 hours of sunshine a day and highs of 22C° – much hotter than the UK’s 7C°. It’s also a great place to spend Christmas if you like keeping it traditional, as the people in La Palma take the religious sentiment very seriously. A lot of time is spent creating the perfect Nativity scenes, with Franceses, a small village in the north-west of La Palma, having one of the best with life-size models of Mary, Jesus and Joseph displayed in a cave.
Sunshine is pretty much guaranteed in Cyprus, with 340 days of sunshine a year and December temperatures reaching 20C°. But it’s not just the warm weather that makes it a fab place to spend Christmas, but also all of the special traditions the people in Cyprus celebrate. From children going door to door singing kalanda – or Christmas carols – to raise money for charity, to warding off goblin-like spirits, called Kallikantzaroi. They’re big on food too, eating everything from kourabiedes, a small almond cake, to the traditional stuffed turkey, over the Christmas period.
If you want to take it up a notch on the thermometer, book a trip to Thailand. The island of Phuket has toasty highs of 32C° in December, so you’ll definitely be spending Christmas day soaking up the sun instead of layering up your novelty jumpers. Plus, Thailand’s Christmas celebrations are a little more low-key than the UK, so it’s the perfect place to go if you don’t want to spend the 25th December covered in tinsel and with a giant roast dinner food baby.
8 hours of sunshine a day, highs of 29C° and more than enough beach to pitch your towel – Dominican Republic has it all for the perfect sunny break. But it’s a lot more than just a sun, sea and sand holiday – although it’s perfect for that too, if that’s what you’re in to. You can head out on an open safari truck, explore the pretty capital city or snorkel with stingrays – plus loads more. And if you’re a true Christmas lover, you’ll feel right at home here, as people in Dominican Republic celebrate from October all the way to January.
What better way to spend Christmas than in the company of your loved ones. No, we’re not talking about your aunt Trudy – we mean sloths, monkeys and a whole host of other animals living in Costa Rica. People here go all out with their Christmas decorations, covering their houses with tropical flowers, nativity scenes and home-made wreaths. And as for food, nothing short of a banquet is good enough. This usually includes chicken, pork tamales and a lot of rum punch, all of which are consumed before heading off to Midnight Mass.