Our top winter vacation ideas for 2023 circle the world and our collection of sample trips can inspire your December, January, or February vacation.
Whether you dream of an African safari during the best time for wildlife viewing or a getaway in Latin America, have a special interest in Europe’s best winter destinations or are eager to travel Asia and the South Pacific, our list includes the best places to visit in winter for all types of travelers.
Our travel specialists serve 101 countries and can help turn your dream winter trip into reality, even if your destination is not on this list.
Italy in winter has the same majesty, history, and beauty as spring or fall, but with the added magic of fewer crowds during Italy Christmas tours. The weather can be cold, especially in the mountainous regions, but overall, Italy maintains a particular charm from December to February, accentuated by the festive atmosphere at the best Italian Christmas markets.
Hints of the Mediterranean sun remain around the southern edges of the country in regions like Sicily, Calabria, and Puglia, but as a whole, the golden sunshine across Italy accentuates Christmas, shopping, Carnivale, luxurious ski resorts, mountaintops blanketed with snow, and familiar cobblestone streets, once flush with crowds, now open to locals and the irregular tourist.
Italy Vacation Idea
Christmas in Italy: 14-Day Luxury Celebration immerses you in the traditions and atmosphere of the holiday season, while allowing you to experience the splendors for which Italy is known, whether on a romantic escapade or as an unforgettable family experience.
Highlights: Experience the essence of the holiday spirit with Christmas Mass at the Vatican • Delight in the ultimate holiday flavors of Tuscany with a private cooking class • Embrace the ambiance of the Christmas season visiting the Vatican museums • Witness the artistry and sculpting techniques used in the Veiled Christ on display in Naples • View the Renaissance beauty of Florence on a private, VIP tour
France’s best places to visit in winter are spectacles of beauty and elegance. Ski resorts thrive, boutique shops welcome holiday crowds, and seasonal dishes fill restaurants across the country, all with fewer tourists.
Winter provides a different perspective on the landscape and culture, with locals enjoying activities like snowshoeing and ice climbing, or wandering through Christmas markets. While the Mediterranean ambiance of spring and summer has long passed, winter in France carries its own majesty, including a countrywide carnival in February and the city of Paris decorated with cheery lights.
France Vacation Idea
France is a classic destination and the Best of France Tour: Starry City to Countryside Chateaux combines the excitement of the city and the beauty of the countryside to create a perfect blend of elegance, mystique, and charm.
Highlights: Enjoy a new world of flavors when you indulge in French cuisine along St Germain-des-Pres • Capture royal scenes during a tour of the Palace of Versailles • Venture to the French countryside to explore the iconic Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Cheverny • Appreciate more royal allure as you tour the Loire Valley’s chateaux • Visit the resting place of Leonardo da Vinci in the Chateau of Amboise
Iceland in winter becomes a fantasy of ice and fire, where the wonderland of winter springs to life. Magical light dances across the sky, visible throughout the country, and impressive activities such as ice caving and snowmobiling provide immersive adventures.
In Iceland’s best places to visit in the winter, waterfalls continue to thunder and black-sand beaches may glint in the recesses of light, towns erupt with holiday charm and glacial lagoons shine with blue waters that harbor bobbing icebergs. Whether eager for a cozy getaway with a window to the snow or keen to embrace action with snowshoeing across the vast, snowy expanse, Iceland is an unforgettable winter destination for those who embrace the cold.
Iceland Vacation Idea
Adventurer's Tour of Iceland's Volcanic and Glacial Landscape is an active exploration of the island nation that celebrates beauty through a combination of exciting discoveries and thrilling activities in the country’s more secluded areas.
Highlights: Descend underground in Thrihnukagigur Volcano’s magma chamber • Hike to the summits of rocky mountains overlooking the Geldingadalir valley • Snorkel the translucent waters of the Silfra Rift • Explore the highlights of the Golden Circle • Meander across the icy surfaces of the Svínafellsjökull Glaciers
Croatia is charming throughout the year, but in winter the landscape becomes a wonderland of ice, snow, and welcoming culture. In the absence of the summer crowds, the scenery feels quieter and much more immersive, especially among the frozen waterfalls of Plitvice National Park.
Christmas markets and festivals provide elaborate traditions and immersive festivals, while hot springs contrast the winter frost for soothing comfort amidst spectacular views. With popular winter sports, near-empty sites, and expressive connections to the holidays, it is a fascinating destination where the top things to do in Croatia in winter express the beauty of the season.
Croatia Vacation Idea
Adriatic Excellence: Premier Croatia Tour demonstrates a unique perspective of the country in winter on a 10-day tour by uncovering the beauty of the landscape and charismatic customs that capture the country’s individual experiences.
Highlights: Enjoy the celebrated characteristics of Croatian wine during a private tasting and food pairing • Enjoy the authentic flavors of Croatia and the Dalmatian coast with a tasting at an oyster farm • Explore the exceptional history and preserved charms of Dubrovnik during a private, guided tour • Revel in the unique blend of tradition and modernity in Split with a private guide • Embrace the adventure of Krka National Park
Austria is a picturesque example of a perfect winter escape. Local and European crowds swarm to the exclusive ski resorts, opening historic cities and towns to travelers eager to explore the best places in Austria during Christmas.
Christmas markets and small towns adorned with twinkling lights only add to the impressive scenery for a remarkable seasonal experience. Winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing accompany the theater season and wonderful historic architecture such as palaces and castles.
Austria Vacation Idea
This 10-day Immersive Classical Music Austria Tour brings to life the musicality of the country during the winter, as comforts, luxuries, and customs converge in elegant opera houses across its most fascinating cities.
Austria Highlights: Listen to choirs in Vienna’s Imperial Palace Chapel • Discover the houses where the world’s greatest composers, such as Schubert, Strauss, and Haydn, lived and worked • Experience the opera in Mozart’s Salzburg • Visit the house where Beethoven composed during a tour of Baden • Explore the Nibelung lands, which were made famous by Wagner’s operas
Winter is perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the authentic culture of Spain’s top places to travel to. The essential highlights across the country range from La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the Alhambra in Granada, the rolling hills of Asturias to the culinary mastery of the Basque region, all of which become easily accessible from December to February.
Iberian sunlight or mountaintops dappled with snow touch the unique Christmas traditions of Spain. You can easily enjoy the famous history, shop in boutique stores, witness the almond blossoms, take part in Carnival, and sample authentic seasonal gastronomy while embracing the unique ambiance of winter.
Spain Vacation Idea
Highlights of Spain: Catalonia, Basque, Andalusia, Madrid Itinerary focuses on the most popular places to visit, immersing you in the foundations of celebrations and experiences on a blend of guided and leisure activities over 16 days.
Highlights: Sample your way through Barcelona on a foodie tour • Ponder the surreal interior of La Sagrada Familia on a guided tour • Amble through the colorful stalls and shops of La Boqueria market • Enjoy the scenic plazas and charming alleys of Bilbao's old town • Bask in the ambient soul of an authentic flamenco show in Seville • Survey the Andalusian highlands from the cliffside town of Ronda
India may not seem like a fantastic winter vacation idea at first, but the large country offers every possibility for an exciting escape into sand, sun, or snow at one or more of India’s top places to visit.
From the snowcapped mountain peaks of the Himalayas to the tropical beaches in the south, the golden plains to the meandering canals, India in winter is a microcosm of winters around the world, but in a single destination crowned by monuments like the Taj Mahal, the Pink Palace, and the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire. Enjoy a view of snow or a tropical paradise to enjoy the type of winter getaway you prefer.
India Vacation Idea
Find the surprising and indulgent, the impressive and the inspiring on this 15-Day Golden Triangle with Vineyard Tour that surpasses the expectations of an India trip, with exciting sights accentuated by new experiences.
Highlights: Discover the historic and cultural highlights of New Delhi • Witness the spectacular scenes of the Taj Mahal • Explore the Pink City of Jaipur on a guided tour • Cruise the Arabian Sea to visit the spiritual grounds of the Elephanta Caves • Head to Nashik to sample world-class red, white, and sparkling wines • Enter the impressive second-century Ajanta Caves
Cool temperatures, the possibility of rain, and the mythical grandeur of the ancient world make winter a fantastic time to visit Egypt. The crowds tend to swell during the cooler months from December to February as the heat wanes, but the perfect weather allows visitors to cruise down the Nile, explore Nubian cuisine along the delta, and venture deeper into the Valley of the Kings.
The cuisine in the cities takes on new flavors and the beaches along the Red Sea offer great space for lounging along white sands that overlook azure waters. Activities like rock climbing or dirt biking take on the same allure as visiting temples like Abu Simbel in the fantastic desert weather and scenery.
Egypt Vacation Idea
Wonders of Egypt & the Great Pharaohs: 11-Days for History Buffs is an inspiring plunge into royalty's ancient traditions and perspectives along the Nile, discovering fortresses and hidden islands, remote cities and noble pursuits.
Highlights: Discover the many wonders of the Egyptian desert, from the colossal and historic Great Pyramids to the awe-inspiring Sphinx • Cruise across the shimmering waters of the Nile River from Aswan • Explore the awe-inspiring Abu Simbel temples • Visit the staggering Philae Temple • Wander the fascinating ancient complexes of the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu Temple
Kenya straddles the equator, making December to February both winter and summer, and a unique time to travel, with low rains and small crowds. Warm weather across the country, from the mountains to the valleys, also provides excellent safari experiences and lively market visits in places like Nairobi.
January and February capture the spirit of the dry season for game drives that focus on viewing the Big Five, more of Kenya’s top animals to spot in their natural habitat, and distinctive birdlife. Travelers looking for pristine beaches and more unique opportunities can truly enjoy Kenya’s all-around beauty, from the National Museum to the Masai Mara, Bamburi Beach to historic Gede with good weather and at your pace.
Kenya Vacation Idea
This tailor-made Kenya With Kids: 7-Day Family Safari can create the perfect ambiance for a winter vacation, with wildlife opportunities that can uncover the spoils of the untamed Kenyan landscape.
Highlights: Discover the beauty of Amboseli National Park spreading from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro • Find comfort in the seclusion of Samburu, a reserve boasting camps off the beaten path • Meander through Samburu and Buffalo Springs Game Reserve • Relish an afternoon game drive across the ancestral lands of the Maasai tribe • Witness one of the world’s most remarkable natural phenomenon, the Great Migration
Ecuador in winter can feel like a tropical paradise. While December to February fall in the wet season, the rain most often falls in short bursts in the afternoons, giving you a great time to explore the diverse geography, history, and wildlife across the country without the typical crowds.
Outside of mainland Ecuador, the winds drop for calmer seas along the Galapagos Islands, making December to February a far better time for a Galapagos cruise. With stunning cultural heritage, captivating museums, fascinating wildlife, and superb geographical diversity, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands’ best places to visit celebrate winter with a new perspective.
Ecuador & Galápagos Vacation Idea
Discover Ecuador's Diversity: Quito, Galápagos Islands, and Chocó Cloud Forest in 10 Days to create an extraordinary getaway during the winter season that exemplifies the treasures of wildlife and nature across Ecuador’s diverse landscapes.
Highlights: Tour the thronging cityscape of Quito to the La Mitad del Mundo monument on the equator • Explore Santa Cruz Island’s highlands to view the indigenous wildlife and marine life • Set sail across the Galapagos Islands on a glamorous cruise • Step foot on the white sand of Sullivan Bay and Santiago Island’s ancient lava field • Sit back and relax as spa treatments melt your stresses away in the Choclo Cloud Forest
December to February is considered summer in Argentina and provides a fantastic escape from the colder seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. These months also open access to vibrant landscapes, active exploration, the wildlife of Patagonia, and more outdoor activities in Argentina’s top destinations.
Argentina’s summer can be hot across the country, but is a great time to experience beach resorts or take part in splendid outdoor activities in the Lake District before the peak crowds arrive. The highlights continue to demonstrate their uniqueness, from Buenos Aires to Iguazu, Mendoza to El Calafate, even with the growing crowds.
Argentina Vacation Idea
From vineyards to glacial fields, tango to hiking trails, this 12-Day Argentina Introduction: Culture, Wine, and the Southern Patagonian Scenery unravels the majesty of tradition and adventure across the country during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.
Highlights: Join a local family for an authentic Argentine dinner • Wander the capital city of Buenos Aires with a guide to visit iconic heritage sites • Head for Iguazú Falls in Argentina’s lush national park of Puerto Iguazú • Make way for the vineyards of Mendoza • Visit the spectacular Laguna Nimez reserve and spend an afternoon strolling along the trails • Experience one of the greatest glacial adventures beneath the snowy Andean peaks
Chile is a fascinating winter vacation destination to visit from December to February, the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. The country opens up at the time, providing access to its remote corners, from the Atacama Desert in the north to Torres del Paine National Park in the south, and more top places to explore in Chile.
The beaches offer fantastic surfing, the rivers provide opportunities for fly fishing or rafting, and the landscape appeals to hikers of all experience levels, revealing Chile's grandeur in its warmer months. Longer and hotter days offer new opportunities and include growing crowds of Chileans who often hike or head to the beaches to escape the heat.
Chile Vacation Idea
Marvelous Luxuries of Chile: Easter Island, Atacama, and Culture Tour provides an enchanting look into the diverse customs and remarkable landscapes spread beneath a star-studded sky during summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
Highlights: Delight in the remarkable volcanic formations composing the breathtaking, emerald Easter Island • Admire the artistic vision of ancient civilizations as you capture images of the astonishing Moai sculptures • Explore the history shrouding the cosmopolitan capital of Santiago • Discover the distinct qualities of Casablanca’s finest wines • Share in the cultural traditions of an ancient Atacameños community
Cuba embodies the tropical Caribbean climate throughout the year, and with sunny days, little rain, and a lively atmosphere, it is an ideal winter escape. Many international visitors head to Cuba to enjoy the heat, lounge on white-sand beaches, visit the historical streets of famous cities like Havana, and enjoy more top experiences in Cuba.
That means the warmer winters attract larger crowds eager to avoid colder or harsher winters in their countries. The attractive landscape and preserved historical charm found around Chile easily balance the larger crowds to create the ultimate winter destination.
Cuba Vacation Idea
Marvel at the intimacy and discover the diversity in cultural heritage and history as you Celebrate Cuban Culture and Style for 8 Days by uncovering art, tradition, and the majesty of the tropical setting in winter.
Highlights: Let the art, architecture, and writing of Ernest Hemingway inspire you at La Finca Vigia • Explore the art playground of Fusterlandia to view the colorful ceramic mosaic exhibits • Visit Havana’s famous landmarks • Discover the customs of rural Cuba on a tour of the Viñales village • Learn more about Cuba’s time-honored cigar- and rum-making traditions • Photograph the surreal El Mural de la Prehistoria rock mural
Winter in Colombia is a fantastic escape into cool sunshine, no matter where or when you visit. The winter months from December to February can be cold in the Andes Mountains, but also offer great Caribbean weather along the coastline and drier days in the valleys.
Beyond the weather, winter in Colombia unveils the holiday season with flair, from Christmas to Carnival. Celebrations spill out onto the streets and local restaurants create an exciting ambiance, from Medellin to Bogota, Cali to Cartagena. With fascinating museums, incredible culture, gorgeous beaches, sensational biodiversity, and more spectacular experiences in Colombia, winter is a feast for all the senses.
Colombia Vacation Idea
Experience the Real Encanto In Colombia is an eight-day exploration of the magical world of Disney’s charmed town and the real-life inspirations for the family Madrigal that has intertwined with the colorful wilderness, wildlife, and lifestyle of Colombia.
Highlights: Embrace the magic of the casita by staying in Hacienda Bambusa, the estate that inspired the architecture and setting of Encanto • Savor the luxuries and setting of Cannua Lodge, the first eco-lodge in Colombia • Visit the floral farms • Enjoy a horseback ride through the landscape • Revel in the world-famous moves of Colombia with a private salsa lesson • Learn about making chocolate before you craft your own specialty with a local chef
Costa Rica in the winter is a haven of tropical beauty and biodiversity that captures the spirit of the dry season. The beautiful beaches and calls of the wildlife attract international and domestic travelers from December to February, especially during the peak holiday weeks between Christmas and New Year.
With gorgeous weather, unique landscapes, and the promise of exciting wildlife, Costa Rica’s best regions to visit in winter are popular among families looking for an escape from the snow or couples eager to find a romantic, tropical getaway. With mostly hot and dry days, with chances of cooling rain in the afternoons, Costa Rica is an easy, relaxing, and exciting place to explore.
Costa Rica Vacation Idea
Experience the excellence of nature in diverse landscapes that spread from the unforgettable Pacific coastline to unimaginable cloud forests, rainforests, and beaches riddled with sea turtle nests on this 16-day Superb Costa Rica Getaway: Tropical Paradise and Wildlife.
Highlights: Set off in search of the sea turtles of Tortuguero National Park with a local guide • Survey the stunning exhibits and galleries of the Gold and Jade museums • Scale the slopes of an active volcano during a visit to Mt. Arenal • Soar through the jungle on a zipline tour of the region's flora and fauna • Plunge into the Tilaran mountain range in search of the cloud forests • Recline in the ambient beauty of Nicuesa Beach
December to February in New Zealand captures the spirit of summer in the Southern Hemisphere and demonstrates the wonders of the country. Domestic and international travel peaks across New Zealand, especially between Christmas and New Year.
As January settles in, it’s easy to discover the vibrant landscapes across the North and South islands on New Zealand’s great walks, visit glaciers, relax on famous beaches, or wander through the hills on superior hiking trails.
By February, domestic travelers have gone back to school or the office, returning a vibrant ambiance to city streets and opening up views to popular lakes, rivers, beaches, and coastlines. From Milford Sound to the Bay of Islands, the wineries of Otago to hiking around Abel Tasman, these months allow you to enjoy New Zealand’s grand diversity.
New Zealand Vacation Idea
The Path Less-Traveled New Zealand Tour is a 15-day discovery of the surprising golden beaches and snow-capped mountains, captivating fiords and stunning wildlife for which the North and South islands are famous during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.
Highlights: Peer behind the veil of Auckland’s bustling cityscape to uncover rare artisanal stores and hidden art galleries • Soar above Waiheke Island's flourishing landscape in a seaplane • Enter colossal caves illuminated by glowworms • Tour the bright beaches of Stewart Island to spot native kiwi birds • Stroll across the mesmerizing paths of the South Island’s Great Walk • Enjoy private sightings of endemic penguins and sea lions • Marvel at the sights of Milford Sound
Thailand in winter is a celebration of cool weather, captivating scenery, and local festivals. As the holiday season approaches, international tourism peaks between Christmas and New Year, remaining high throughout the winter months for good reason.
Thailand is a paradise that offers warm and dry days, with cool nights in the northern mountains. Culture, cuisine, and scenery combine for an epic immersion into tropical islands in the south and unique jungle cities in the north. Bangkok in the middle, one of the best places to visit in Thailand, acts as the epicenter of activity.
Whether visiting the Grand Palace, lounging on the beaches of Koh Samui, or visiting ethnic tribes outside of Chiang Mai, winter provides the best weather to enjoy life around Thailand.
Thailand Vacation Idea
From culture to cuisine, pristine beaches to golden temples, this 11-day Tantalizing Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi Tour will reward your sense of adventure as you indulge in the treasures of the country from north to south.
Highlights: Trace the origins of Thailand’s unending spirituality within ornate Bangkok temples • Glide across the gentle canals that weave through the city of Bangkok to floating markets • Indulge your senses in northern Thai specialties • Educate yourself on the ethical treatment of elephants • Tour ethnic Karen and Lanna hill tribes in the lush countryside • Wallow in the tropical island lifestyle on the shores of Phi Phi Island
Vietnam in winter is warm and tropical, with little rain, bright sunshine, and exciting domestic travel focused on the Vietnamese New Year. December to February are popular months to visit Vietnam, but never feel overcrowded due to its size, diversity, and the incredible range of things to do.
Narrow and long, the winter months fall differently across the country's northern, central, and southern regions. January to February offers the most consistent warm, dry weather from the northern tip to the southern edge, allowing you to sail Ha Long Bay, cruise the Mekong Delta, or explore the imperial dynasty at Hue.
Vietnam Vacation Idea
Amazing Vietnam Vacation: Karst Islands to Imperial Citadels is a spellbinding eight-day adventure that magnifies the cultural and natural heritage of the country, exemplified by emerald hills, picturesque islands, and glistening waters.
Highlights: Glide across the emerald water of Ha Long Bay on a cruise • Compare the royal allure that is retained in the remnants of the Nguyen Dynasty’s Dai Noi Citadel • Delight in an authentic Vietnamese dinner with the family of a local chef • Zigzag along the meandering roads of Hai Van Pass • Learn more about Ho Chi Minh City’s dramatic history • Visit points of cultural significance across the Mekong Delta
December and February in Bali represent the depth of summer and the heart of the rainy season, making it a perfect destination for a tranquil winter vacation retreat. The typical dry-season crowds are scared away by the prospect of rain, leaving behind authentic ambiance, quiet beaches, and charming restaurants.
The rain during the wet season falls daily, but mainly in tropical bursts for a short time, leaving the remainder of the day bright, sunny, and perfect for exploring or relaxing. Outside of the peak month of December between Christmas and New Year, January and February provide the opportunity to enjoy temples without throngs of travelers, experience a long strand of beach in near silence, and embrace more top things to do in Bali.
Bali Vacation Idea
Embrace the fantastic and mysterious, majestic and breathtaking during this nine-day Island Scenery: An Immersive Exploration of Bali’s Captivating Landscape that highlights the rice terraces, remote temples, and panoramas quintessential only to Bali.
Highlights: Trek along the edges of the famous rice terraces • Relish in an early-morning hike along the trails that lead to the Mount Batur Caldera for sunrise • Witness the remarkable ancient dyeing technique used to create ikat textiles • Traverse the countryside in search of the Bat Cave Temple • Take to the shores of Tamblingan Lake to ride a traditional dugout canoe • Traverse the waters of the Ayung River during a rapids excursion
No matter the seasons, a perfect travel itinerary is designed around your goals, interests, and needs. When working with a travel specialist, how you desire to visit a specific destination comes first to help create your preferred winter experience.
Find inspiration for your trip with ideas of where to go in December, destinations for January, and the best places to travel in February. You can also explore our travel guide for 2023 for more vacation ideas.