Fountain Plaza at Christmastime (New York)
unsplash/Johnell Pannell

Christmastime was rough last year.

Most of us were stranded at home, binging Netflix and dreaming of snowy peaks. Travel wasn’t on the table, and we felt claustrophobic, exhausted, uncertain.

But things have taken a turn for the better. It’s time to start thinking about places to visit this December. For Christmas 2021, you and your family deserve the best of the best.

We hope this list will inspire you and motivate you to book the destination of your dreams.

1. New York City, New York

If you’ve always wanted to visit the Big Apple, Christmas is the perfect time to do it.

Your kids will love the Christmas decorations lighting up the city. Most importantly, there’s the New York Christmas tree, standing proud by the Rockefeller Center. It’s sure to give you that sense of holiday wonder you missed out on last year.

There are also plenty of cultural events to catch up on. You can still grab a ticket to a Christmastime Broadway show – this year, the repertoire includes Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Hadestown, and other classics.

2. Marco Island, Florida

But maybe you’re not in the mood for a winter wonderland.

There are plenty of gorgeous warm winter holiday destinations in the US. Why not set your sights on Florida this year?

The average high temperature on Marco Island is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. There are gorgeous seaside vistas to warm your soul, and you can always book a cruise and spend time out at sea.

Once you’re done unwinding on the island’s pristine beaches, you can check out the kayaking, golfing, and fishing options. There are also eco-parks you can visit with the kids, and whale-watching is always an option.

3. Vienna, Austria

snowy Vienna at Christmastime

For an unforgettable adventure in Central Europe, you can’t go wrong with Vienna. This beautiful city has something for visitors of all ages, and you’ll love the combination of gorgeous old buildings and modern decorations.

Don’t miss out on the city’s Christmas markets. Every foodie has to try the toffee apples and fried sausages, and there’s seasonal punch to drink as you amble around. The markets are a great destination for enthusiastic Christmas shoppers – there’s something there for everybody.

4. Madeira Islands, Portugal

Here’s another European gem you shouldn’t miss. In 2020, the Madeira Islands were considered the safest spot to visit in Europe.

Largely untouched by the pandemic, Madeira has a uniquely cozy atmosphere that makes it the perfect option for couples and families looking to get away from it all.

Each village gets decked up in Christmas lights, and Funchal is especially radiant. You can sample honey cakes and enjoy various music performances and traditional carols. Madeira is a great destination for firework enthusiasts, and the atmosphere is unforgettably joyous.

5. Mauritius

An aerial view of the coastline, Mauritius
unsplash/Guillaume Baudusseau

Looking for perfect tranquility this Christmas? Mauritius is one of the best places to visit in December if you like peace and quiet.

Read more: The Best Christmas Beach Vacations for Families

The beaches are impeccably clean, with white sand and elegant palm trees. If you’re the adventurous type, you may enjoy wind-surfing along the coastline. But you’ll also have plenty of peace to rest and recharge.

Mauritius also boasts wonderful rainforests and reefs. Nature-lovers can enjoy observing the flora and fauna, and scuba-diving is an option too.

6. Bucharest, Romania

Your Christmas holiday doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Bucharest is one of the most affordable winter destinations in Europe, and the sights it has to offer are unforgettable.

The Brasov Christmas market is a must-see for adventurous shoppers. Vampire lovers can go on a tour through Transylvania and visit the most gorgeous castles in the region – apart from Dracula’s Castle, you can examine the lavish Peles Castle or even visit the parliament building.

Bucharest at night, Romania
unsplash/Cinemanoir Ph

7. Seoul, South Korea

If you’ve never been to Seoul, Christmas is the perfect time to visit. The famous Lotte World Christmas Festival takes place every winter, and it is a glorious parade of music and lights.

Read more: Amazing Festivals You Need to Visit Before You Die

You can always tour Seoul’s historical districts, go shopping for handcrafted treasures, or go skating with the kids.

Christmas 2021 should be a time of carefree celebration. Don’t spend it holed up in some hotel room. Give your love and attention to those you love the most, and collect precious memories that will stay with you forever.