11 months of hard work has truly paid off! Reward yourself this December holidays with travels to countries like Japan, Korea or even Europe! Trust us, there's definitely sufficient time! It's the time to be jolly as you book 4 days off and enjoy a 10 day vacation. On top of the usual public holidays (23rd -25th December, 30th December - 2nd January), why not book your leave from the 26th to 29 December too? Explore these beautiful landscapes off local waters for a memorable end to your year ?
1. Rome - Florence- Cinque Terre
Walking through Rome, you’ll find your way to Piazza Venezia
, situated at the heart of the ancient city. Stop for a minute and take gorgeous pictures at the Piazza that's full of grandeur.
Explore Florence's Piazza Del Duomo. Within the Piazza there is the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Baptistery of St. John, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. If you’re here in the morning, you’ll see a long line around the Cathedral with visitors eager to enter. Make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo
just before the sun sets, for a panoramic view of the city’s silhouette. Reflect and reminisce on the past year against a beautiful backdrop and set your new resolutions for next year ?
With small houses surrounded by nature, namely Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare- this is the place to go for a relaxed getaway. Vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards will be a common sight, while pristine blue waters down below will greet you each morning.
A truly harmonious mix of man and nature! Instead of ushering the new year in a busy city, pick and choose a town in this gorgeous land to help you unwind for the year❤️
Manarola, one of the famous scenic villages of the Cinque Terre coast located in eastern Liguria. It's the oldest and second smallest town that houses a church; San Lorenzo. It also features quaint buildings dotting the ravine that lead down to a small harbour below.
It has no beaches, but certainly some of the best swimming holes all around! Italy is one of the hotter countries during winter season, so it's a nice time to visit this time of year.
Credit: Laurent Castellani on Flickr[ P.S. Wishing to explore Europe at its best? Check out our 12D11N Guide In Europe!]
2. Tokyo - Kyoto- Osaka
If you’re a lover of charming places, look no further. Touted as one of the ‘hipster’ capitals of Tokyo, it is home to artsy stores, secondhand clothes and cosy cafes. The atmosphere in Shimokitazawa is lively yet exudes a casual laid-back persona, with less crowds than in Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Credit: Sae Fujimura on Flickr
The area has many nooks for coffee, but if you’re a serious coffee enthusiast
, give Bear Pond Espresso
a try. Know your order before heading there, and be there at 11am if you want pure espresso shots. You'd need all the coffee you can get to keep up with this busy city and usher in the new year!
Credit: Chelsea Marie Hicks
Prepare your wallet and visit the departmental stores in Shinjuku! Slurp some ramen for dinner at Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka
and end your day by admiring the city of Tokyo at night, from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Credit: Marc Buehler
#HHWT Tip: Get a 24-hour Tokyo Subway Ticket to enjoy unlimited rides when you travel on Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines!
A city filled with serene temples and graceful geishas; Kyoto! Japan is a beautiful place to visit all-year-round and if you've got time to spare during your long holiday, we recommend stopping by here to marvel at the historical value of the place.Credit: Jennifer on Flickr#HHWT Tip
: Get the ICOCA IC Card
, which allows you to get discounted fares on public transport and shopping in the Kansai region (which includes Kyoto and Osaka!)
Visit Nijo castle
, Kyoto's largest, to learn a thing or two on Japan's rich history. Afterwards, have a meal at Ganko Kyoto Sanjo Honten
, with Muslim friendly menus ?
Credit: Albert on Flickr
Make your way to the little alleyways of Gion
, and keep an eye out for the lovely maikos and geishas. If they are out and about, they are usually on an assignment and would not have time to stop and pose for photos. So make sure your camera trigger finger is fast, and remember to be respectful.
Walk down Dotonburi district, one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations. With shops stretched along the entire street, you'll shop till you drop! It's the perfect time to get in on the last-minute gift shopping ? Dotonburi district is livelier at night with brightly lit neon lights and mechanized signs. You can visit again at night and enjoy the views of Osaka from the water with the Tombori River Cruise!
Credit: @_eclaire.s_ on Instagram
3. Amsterdam - Oslo
Anyone will absolutely fall in love with this tranquil and scenic city. While it gets a little chilly around December – February (nothing a warm coat and thermal wear can’t fix!
), blankets of white snow can’t hide the beauty of Amsterdam.
Credit: @briannguyen on Instagram
Attend the Amsterdam Light Festival (from 1st December to 22 January) where over 40 artwork pieces and installations from talented artists, designers and architects shine through the Amsterdam's city center. Famous for its canals, the festival won't be complete without taking place both on land and in waters ?
Credit: @view_reflex on Instagram[P.S Looking for food that'll make you drool? Check out our Muslim-friendly street food available in Amsterdam!]
Just 1 hour and 50 minutes away by flight from Amsterdam, Oslo is surrounded by nature (forests, hills, lakes..). During winter, lakes freeze over and hills are covered in a layer of snow. This is your chance to put on your gloves and try skiing, sledding, snowboarding or even a simple hike up the hill!
Credit: Tore Bustad on Flickr
Well known as the city for winter sports, eager sports enthusiasts flock to the snowy white mountains of Oslo. The daylight hours are short from September to April, which is great for those silhouette photos ?
Credit: Leo Hidalgo on Flickr
Take the chance to visit the Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower, the oldest in the world! With over 4000 years of skiiing history under one roof, it'll sure to attract any ski lover. Look out for the Norwegian polar exploration artifacts to learn more on your furry pals ? Afterwards, master the art of skiing at Oslo Winter Park.
Credit: GU-JO on Flickr
Credit: @inalunaa on Instagram
- Go sledding at Korketrekkeren, Oslo’s most popular sled run
4. Copenhagen - Gothenburg
Fast becoming one of the must-visit destinations in the Nordics, Copenhagen is buzzing with friendly locals, amazing attractions and beauty found on every street.
Pay a visit to the Tivoli Gardens during Christmas time and you'll understand why it's so popular during this time of year.
Credit: Heather Cowper on Flickr
Gothenburg draws in travellers from all over the globe like bees to honey with its
world-class seafood, cutting edge minimalist fashion and characterful boutique hotels. Experience a taste of the holiday spirit by paying a visit to one of the many traditional markets in the picturesque towns. With the biggest Christmas market in Sweden found in Liseberg, Gothenburg, you can simply be in the vicinity to enjoy the amusement park rides and take a stroll down the streets. Even if you're not one to celebrate the festive occasion, witnessing five million Christmas lights being switched on is a spectacular way to end your year!
Credit: Heather Cowper on Flickr
5. Seoul - Busan
Visit the iconic N Seoul (Namsan) Tower in Seoul! Enjoy a bird's eye view of the entire Seoul and snap a shot of the iconic love locks while you're there.
Learn about Korean royalty in Gyeongbukgung. Make sure to check out the changing of guards in front of the palace (but do note the timings!).
Experience Mother Nature in Nami Island for a real taste of winter in Korea! Be sure to take your iconic Korean drama photos at the famous Winter Sonata photo spot!
Head to Hongik University – Hongdae for your fix on handcrafted artworks and trinkets. Take in the artsy atmosphere at Hongdae and look out for quirky art installations, set to inspire the creative spirit in you ?
[P.S Finding the best shopping bargains in Seoul? Check out our guide here!]
Catch the sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
and admire the intricately designed Buddhist shrines and stone monuments. Take a stroll around the temple and take a moment to breathe in the calm, ocean breeze.
Credit: Lee Phelps Photography on Flickr
Explore Yongdusan Park and the Busan Tower. Nature lovers, you’ll love the lush greenery, which is in sharp contrast with the colourful fauna. Get a glimpse of the wonderful aerial view of the city from the top of the tower and pick up some souvenirs at the Japanese Building next door!
Credit: Glenn Forbes on Flickr
Be awed as you watch the colours of calm waters changing from different shades of turquoise to blue ? Take a long, therapeutic stroll along the shore and unwind after a busy year.
Credit: Brian Miller on Flickr
Make a worthwhile trip to Jungmun Daepo Coast Jusangjeolli Cliff and marvel at unique, volcanic rock formations along the coastline. Be hypnotized by the sights and sounds of crystal clear waves crashing below you.
6. Helsinki - Saariselkä
Need a break from Singapore and Malaysia’s humid tropical weather? Escape to Helsinki, also known as the Christmas city! What better time to explore this gem than in December ?
Credit: @paavopenttinen on Instagram
Watch all the festive lights switch on at Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street. Bask in the festive mood and appreciate one of Finland's oldest Christmas traditions at the same time.
Credit: @tandee11 on Instagram
Credit: @rara_eneeeeee on Instagram
- Check out the Christmas window in the Stockmann department store
Saariselkä is truly a winter wonderland. Did you know that since the city is so far up north, the sun rarely rises in December? This is perfect news for those who aren't exactly a sun-and-shades person ?
Credit: @rezphotography on Instagram
Of course, while you're here, tick seeing the Northern Lights off your bucket list! It'll be a worthy achievement to end your year, won't it? ?
Credit: MoneLeo on Flickr
How about ice fishing or visiting a reindeer farm? Enjoy a surreal winter magic moment and snap a few pictures to send back home! It's the perfect postcard to send your loved ones ?
Credit: @jianyunhe on Instagram
7. London - Paris - Colmar
No better way to ring in the new year than by travelling! London is one of the top cities around the world to countdown in
and though it’s colder in winter, you’ll still be able to fully enjoy the city – just make sure to bundle up! Catch the stunning fireworks display along River Thames, Waterloo Bridge, and Westminster Bridge.
Credit: Dominic Alves on Flickr#HHWT Tip
: Tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display are on sale as early as October until the first week of December. Each ticket is priced at £10 each.
Winter isn't complete without heading to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. It's now even a festive landmark! With ice skating, shows, roller coaster rides, live music and street foods, it's an extravaganza not to be missed.
Credit: Alanisko Photography on Facebook
[P.S Looking for budget-friendly accommodations in London? Find them here!]
There’s something about the city of love that just tugs at your heartstrings. It's even more romantic to pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower with your significant other to round off this year!
Make your dream Paris Disneyland adventure
come true. End your year on the happiest place on Earth and relive what it means to be a kid again ?
[P.S Yearning for a picture-perfect view in Paris? We got you covered!]
The charming, pleasant city of Colmar looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale. With numerous museums, shops and cultural heritage, you will be spoiled for choice!
Credit: Office de Tourisme de Colmar on Flickr
If you're looking for a twist in adventure this year, then we suggest heading
down to the famous House of Heads!
Credit: @museeunterlinden on Instagram
Credit: @chicpassenger on Instagram
- Visit Maison Pfister, the most famous house in Colmar
8. Athens – Santorini
The capital city of Greece is famous for its’ vibrant cultural scene, flavourful traditional cuisine and friendly locals. With such a harmonious mixture of modernity and ancient history, there’s no denying Athens’ position as a top travel destination!
Brush up on Greek history at the Acropolis Museum
. Take a step back in time and visit ancient archaeological spots that’ll leave you breathless.
[P.S Check out why Greece is the perfect destination for Muslim travellers here!]
Possibly one of Greece’s most famous islands, Santorini is home to vibrant historic towns spread out along cliff tops. Surrounded by turquoise Mediterranean sea, this luxurious city is truly a sight to behold! Of course, with so many people visiting this scenic spot this year, don't lose out and pay a visit here before the year officially ends ?
What better way than to end your year at one of these amazing places ? While some may choose to escape the freezing winter, why not embrace it on the ski slopes of Oslo? Or simply, take a breather at the picturesque villages in Cinque Terre. You can even choose to go shopping in the popular streets of Tokyo after a year of saving up. Whatever your heart chooses, we wish you a happy and blessed holidays ahead ❤️
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