If seeking sun is on your agenda for the festive season, fancy highs of 29°C ? You‘ll get an impressive eight hours of sunshine a day to enjoy while you wear your Santa hat in the Dominican Republic. And this Caribbean spot isn’t just a sun, sea and sand retreat. There are loads of excursions on offer, from safari rides to spotting whales in the wild. And, if you’re worried about missing out on all the Christmas fun, fear not – Dominicans are big fans of the festive period. Celebrations last from October to January, and usually involve eating tasty dishes like roast pork and Pudim Navideno – Christmas pudding – plus watching firework displays.
Find out more about our holidays to the Dominican Republic
Costa Rica’s dry season runs from December to April, so the Christmas period is an ideal time for some winter sun. The festive season is also the end of the school year in Costa Rica, so people really go all-out with their celebrations. Houses are decorated with tropical flowers, nativity scenes, and Christmas wreaths made of cypress branches and berries. Expect rum punch after midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and the celebrations don’t stop there – fiestas and street parties continue on into January, too.
Find out more about our holidays to Costa Rica
Phuket in Thailand reaches sizzling highs of 32°C in December, so it’s perfect if you’d rather be spending Christmas working on your tan. Pick between white-sand beaches and boat trips sailing between offshore islands. Christmas isn’t a religious festival in Thailand, but that doesn’t stop everyone putting up Christmas trees, exchanging gifts and sharing a meal – although it’s usually a Thai curry instead of Turkey and trimmings. So, pick Thailand if you fancy your Christmas a little less tinsel-ised, and a bit more low-key this year.
Find out more about our holidays to Thailand
If you fancy something a little closer to home, why not try a Canary Island? La Palma is quieter than the busier islands in the Canaries, like Gran Canaria, and comes with highs of 22°C in December – scorching compared to the UK’s usual 7°C. The Christmas holiday is an important festival in La Palma – head to Franceses, a small village in the north-west of the island, to see a nativity scene complete with life-size models of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, and the Three Wise Men.
Find out more about our holidays to La Palma
Cyprus has 340 days of sunshine a year, with temperatures hovering around the 20°C mark in December. And, there are plenty of traditions unique to Cyprus to see at this time of year. The Christmas period lasts for 12 days, starting on the 24th with children going door to door with instruments singing carols. Celebrations finish on the 6th of January with a feast. And, when it comes to food, expect to see lots of pomegranate, as it’s both eaten and used as a decoration, symbolising joyous times and good fortune.
Find out more about our holidays to Cyprus
Average temperatures in Cape Verde during the winter hover in the mid-20s, so these islands off the coast of Africa are a sun-seekers dream. If you want to take it easy and work on your tan on the sand, you’ll find eight kilometres of beach in Sal. Meanwhile, Boa Vista flaunts a 55-kilometre beach. As well as making the most of your winter holiday, you’ll find Christmas celebrations usually involve fireworks and extended parties in Cape Verde.
Find out more about our Cape Verde holidays
Want to spend Christmas Day on the beach? With temperatures sitting comfortably at 30°C, it’s sure to be a Christmas holiday to remember. Try traditional Sri Lankan Christmas cake as you soak up the vitamin D, and have a go at watersports like surfing or kayaking. There are also tea plantations and ancient temples to explore, if you fancy some culture alongside your celebrations.
Find out more about our holidays to Sri Lanka
We’re bringing our 12 Days of Christmas competition back for another year, and we’ve got some big prizes up for grabs. Just visit https://www.tui.co.uk/12days from 13th December to enter.
Take a look at our long-haul holidays, and for more places to spend Christmas, browse our list of the best hotels to visit during the festive period.
Pssst. Head to the Discover homepage for our latest articles.
Authors: Abi Payne-Humphries and Lizzie Butler
Just a stone's throw from the Mediterranean Sea, the TUI SENSATORI Atlantica Aphrodite Hills pairs an award-winning spa with a great choice of restaurants.
There’s plenty to keep you busy at this family-friendly hotel, from the huge pool to the long list of activities.
Foodies are in for a treat with TUI SENSATORI Punta Cana’s swish gourmet dining scene. The four pools, activities, entertainment and beachfront location are just as impressive.
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