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6 Must-Visit Christmas Destinations for Sun Seekers

Swap your egg nog for mojitos, trade in snow for sand, and meet Santa on the waves this holiday season with these six best Christmas destinations.

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Beach in Sydney, AustraliaPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Sydney, Australia

Just because Australia has spotless sandy beaches and royal blue skies, doesn’t mean Christmas is any less festive. Carols are sung in the shade of fragrant eucalyptus, Christmas trees are bedecked in tinsel and many will have a traditional feast complete with trimmings and all. But should you fancy a barbecue instead, there are over 100 city beaches to choose from and yet more sensational sandy stretches just outside Sydney. When it comes to Christmas destinations, you can’t go wrong with the land down under.

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Patong Beach in Phuket, ThailandPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Patong Beach, Thailand

If you’re used to freezing cold temperatures, stepping into Thailand‘s tropical haze will feel like a dream. The magnificently sunny weather, warm ocean waters and impeccable landscape will be the only gift you’ll want from Santa this year. Patong Beach happens to be Phuket’s most famous beach town, offering a bustling nightlife, world-class restaurants and perfect views to enjoy an ice cold Chang. Once you’ve experienced Christmas at Thailand, you’ll want to go back every year.

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Tel Aviv, IsraelPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Tel Aviv, Israel

The real appeal of Tel Aviv lies in its laidback lifestyle that comes from living in a sun-drenched, cosmopolitan beach city. And even in the winter months, this attitude prevails, so you’ll always get a taste of what makes this city great. Though the beach this time of year may be better for strolls than swims, spending Christmas in the Holy Land is as festive as it gets. Discover the city’s dynamic art scene at one of the many art galleries, or taste out traditional dishes like crunchy falafel and hummus.

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Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

December in Rio de Janeiro is both hot and cheerful. The city is in full jolly mode for the summer season, with Christmas followed by Carnival in February. Every year, things kick off with a huge floating Christmas tree that’s lit up on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon along with a fireworks display overhead. Decorations go up all over the city while vendors sell their wares on the beach dressed as Santa Claus. A Christmas swim on Copacabana Beach before lazing in the tropical sun is surreal bliss.

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Christmas Destinations: Miami Beach, United StatesPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Miami Beach, USA

December in Miami Beach is much like a European summer, with mild and sunny days to help you get some midwinter vitamin D. There’s a lot going on here for the holiday season, not surprising given that the city is known for parties and glitz. A sort of Art Deco wonderland with a strong Cuban heritage, it’s worlds away from anywhere else. Bask in the sun beneath towering palm trees on the white sands of South Beach, go for a quick swim in the ocean or grab an ice cream on the glamorous Miami Beach boardwalk.

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Bournemouth Beach in EnglandPhoto: Shutterstock

Sunny Christmas Destinations: Bournemouth, England

Though it’s certainly not a swim and sun bathe in December option, Bournemouth‘s beach still makes the cut for a Christmas break. Its seven-mile stretch of soft sand started attracting travellers in the Victorian era, keen to lap up the revitalizing effects of a trip to the seaside. Its two Victorian piers are now a major draw, photogenic structures gracefully stretching out into the sea. Expect bracing walks on the beach that’ll leave you windswept but refresh, plus picture-perfect waterfront views.