Early part of December brings cheaper flight fairs, but also it’s a great time to escape colder days (in UK or Northern Europe).
So if you want to escape for a weekend away or even make it a week, there’s few places I would recommend going to. The flights are not long so it’s easy for short gateway.
I have tested all those places, and as a person who loves warm I can vouch for them!
1. Marrakesh - that's where I celebrated my 29th birthday with my best friend Ewa, and since then I promised myself to travel somewhere for my birthday. A kind of birthday present to myself! We flew to Marrakesh and stayed in the Riad - which I would recommend staying at for at least one night during your travels there rather than a hotel. We then escaped Marrakesh to Atlas mountains and hiked for a day. You can read all the details of this trip here. The weather in Marrakesh was very pleasant and we were fine in just our light sweaters, and long dresses / or trousers. However evenings and nights were getting chilly. Atlas mountains were slightly cooler; however we hiked a lot so the temperature was not an issue. I managed to get flights for as little as £19.99 from London, and the cost of Riad was as well very low. In addition, the city wasn't as crowded as it gets in warmer summer months.
Couple of days is enough to visit souks, Medina, and main city attractions. Atlas mountains were a highlight of this trip for me.
Photo: Rooftop Breakfast in Riad Marrakesh
2. Barcelona - that's where I spent my big fat 30th birthday! The city did not disappoint, it was everything I imagined and more! I wish I stayed there for a week. I spend 4 days in Barcelona and had jam packed time in order to visit as many places as possible. The weather in Barcelona is very mild, around 20C which is ok when you have sunny days and are planning on spending time outdoors. You need light clothes and layers but don't worry about winter clothes. For more stories and details about Barcelona trip I will prepare article soon. In just 3 days you can cover most important sights of the city. Additionally, Barcelona has something for everyone; foodies, art and architecture enthusiasts, sport fans, as well as adventure tourist :-) Flights to Barcelona are cheaper only in first half of December or super cheap in January when you can get flights for as low as £40 return.
3. Lisbon - this was the most recent trip in December 2018 and at the moment of writing this post is my favourite city I visited in Europe so far. Not only it is a foodie heaven, but also gives you great historical and architecture landmarks, great views, warm climate and possibility to walk pretty much majority of all historical part of the city. The communication is easy and I have spent a day on a trip outside Lisbon which was also great opportunity to see Portuguese countryside. People of Lisbon are very friendly and nice and you are not treated as another tourist but rather part of the experience. Long weekend is enough to visit city's most iconic landmarks and best view points. For more detailed account of Lisbon check my article 'Lisbon weekend guide. Eat and fall in Love' here
Photo: Lisbon, Belem district - dancing with happiness
4. Egypt - is outside of Europe but still within short flight and fantastic weather. It's a place where temperature in mid 20s Celcius is guaranteed any winter months. I would recommend Sharm El Sheikh as a good base for attractions like water sports, desserts trips. But I would recommend Cairo to those who want to sight see and learn more about culture. Both cities are good option in December months. I also visited Taba in February (still a winter month for me) and again this place was great base to sightsee Jordan and Israel. There are more detailed articles on tips for visiting Egypt here and how to see Israel, Jordan and Egypt in a week here.
5. Mexico - although it is not close to Europe and it means 11 hour flight from London, this is a great and hot destination in December. When we visited in 2017 it was scorching hot, and we could not wish for better weather. If you are looking to escape the winter coldness and include sightseeing as well as time on the beach, Mexico is a place for you. You can read my article describing in detail places to visit in Yucatan here, as well as article on Cenotes which are Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Treasure here. Mexico will guarantee tropical feel to your winter escape and provide with fantastic food as well. Flights may not be cheap, but once you are there you won't regret the lengthy and costly flight.
Photo: Chichen Itza - Mexico
6. Canary Islands - if you want to spend time relaxing and escape coldness, Canary Islands would be a perfect place as well. With relatively short flight from Europe and mild temperatures of mid 20sC during the day, they make for a great place to catch the winter sun and still feel warm. Each island has something different to offer, for instance: Lanzarote offers volcanic national park Timanfaya which I suggest to visit due to it's characteristic look, Tenerife has a volcanic mountain to climb on - Del Teide (over 3000 m. above sea level), windy Fuertaventura with dunes in Corralejo, and of course many more attractions. In comparison to before mentioned places Canary Island may not have as many historical sights, and feel very tropical but are still worth considering.
Photo: Port in Lanzarote
Do you have any recommendations for travel in winter months? Please share in comments!