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Want to spend the holidays abroad? If you’re seeking wintery Christmas celebrations, Germany is perfect at this time of year. The Christmas markets are some of the best in the world: wooden huts filled with trinkets, comforting food and warming gluhwein. Meanwhile, Finnish Lapland is magical; you can meet Father Christmas or go on a reindeer safari. It’s also the perfect time for winter activities in Scandinavia, like icebreaker excursions, staying in the ice hotel or chasing the northern lights. What’s more, Iceland features some impressive New Year’s Eve celebrations, with all profits from fireworks being donated to the local fire and rescue service. Alternatively, for something to warm the spirit, head to the sultry shores of the Maldives and Belize or enjoy warmer weather in Laos.
Ethiopia enjoys relatively mild climates and December is one of the more temperate, drier months, making it a great time to explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. In higher regions like the Simien mountains, temperatures may be a little cooler at night. It is the ideal time to visit the north, especially Axum where the Hidar Tsion festival is celebrated. An annual pilgrimage, it attracts Ethiopians from all over the country to pay homage to St Mary, under the belief that the Ark of the Covenant is held in Axum. It is a joyous occasion and provides an ethereal atmosphere both in the city and when visiting nearby holy sites.
While Australia can be visited all year round, it depends where you go. December is best for visiting the east coast, where temperatures can be high but not humid and there is almost always a beach in sight. Christmas brings traditional celebrations, but with an Australian twist. Expect to meet Santa wearing shorts and casual Christmas parties by the barbecue. However, the prime attraction of visiting in December is to see the fireworks over Sydney harbour. One of the first time zones to celebrate New Year’s every year, Sydney goes off with a bang. Fireworks illuminate the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and shimmer in the water’s reflection.
December sees the beginning of Costa Rica’s peak season and the rain starts to lessen, making it a great time to go in search of the vast wildlife. Temperatures are in their 20s and rain can be intermittent all year round so there is no guarantee that it will be dry throughout. The Central Valley will be luscious after months of rainfall, offering beautiful, verdant views and looking picture perfect. December is also a good time to visit the Cloud Forest biological reserve as it will be cooler and not so humid.
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