While options are still limited, there are still plenty of fabulous place open for tourism as 2021 draws to an end. Winter sun is a reality in hotspots like the newly-independent Barbados. Then again, you might want to snuggle up in a cosy country cottage in the middle of the British countryside, or hit the slopes for an exhilarating ski holiday in the French Alps. Whatever your tastes, here some top destinations for a December getaway.
Christmas in the French Alps is hard to resist, when snow brings its magic to pretty resorts such as France’s La Rosière. Its sunny slopes face the sun, and it’s easy to ski across the border into Italy for lunch on the slopes of La Thuile. Peak Retreats has 10 per cent off a week’s self-catering at Alpen Lodge, a set of four-star ski apartments near the main chairlift at Les Eucherts, which has a sultry wellness centre with an indoor pool and a hot tub. Deals start from £473pp, down from £520pp, based on five sharing a two-bedroom apartment, and the price includes Eurotunnel crossing with free FlexiPlus upgrade.
You’ll get the long sandy beaches of this glamorous island’s south coast on your doorstep when you stay at Bougainvillea Barbados resort. Maxwell Beach is laid out in front of the grounds, while the lively, authentic Oistins seafood market is just a couple of kilometres away. Laze in one of two pools after a drink in the swim-up bar and a session in the Karma Spa. Seven nights’ room only with Tropical Sky costs from £959pp in December, including flights, a saving of £650pp.
The sandy beaches of Corralejo are just a short walk away from the Hotel Bahia de Lobos, whose low-rise white buildings cluster around a generous-sized swimming pool. Once you’ve explored this seemingly endless stretch of beaches along Fuerteventura’s northeast coast, lose yourself in the vast sand dunes of the Parque Natural de Corralejo. Mercury Holidays has a week’s B&B from £394pp departing 11 December, including flights.
Immerse yourself in the Highlands with a stay at Oldtown Cottage, an attractive stone bolthole within a short walk of Scotland’s expansive Loch Brora. The cottage has three bedrooms and a cosy sitting room with an open fire, plus plenty of tranquil country views. Booked through Cottages & Castles, it has five days’ self-catering available from 10 December for £505, and you can bring your canine friends: up to two well behaved dogs are welcome at an extra £20 each.
Explore the pristine white landscapes of Lapland on a winter activity holiday, where you can combine cross-country skiing with snowshoeing and hiking. Inntravel has a seven-night Polar Days active holiday based in Yllas, where you also get the chance to ride a fat bike through the Narnia-like surrounding countryside. The starting price of £1,495pp includes flights, half-board accommodation in the luxurious log cabins of Hotel Yllashumina and equipment hire, with departures on either 5 or 12 December.
Enjoy bracing walks along Brancaster Staithe or Holkham Beach – or a bit of shopping in Burnham Market – when you stay at Jesters Barn in South Creake. This delightfully imagined barn conversion has an open-plan vaulted living room and a kitchen with a range cooker on one side and a wood burner on the other, along with three bedrooms and a dainty garden. Available through Kett Country Cottages, it costs £488 for seven nights’ self-catering from 10 December. Up to two dogs are welcome, too, for an additional £20 each.
Mary Novakovich is editor at large at 101holidays.co.uk.