1. Slow down for the festive season in India
Avoid the usual rush of visitors to India with Wild Frontiers’ Alternative Christmas in India tour. Spy the icons of Old Delhi before relaxing at the charming Castle Bijaipur heritage hotel among the rolling Aravalli Hills.
Explore this charming slice of rural India by bicycle or horse, then end your magical trip by wandering the Taj Mahal and the Mughal heritage of Kachhpura, with the chilly streets of home a long-distant memory.
Trip: Alternative Christmas In India
Who: Wild Frontiers
When: 21 Dec
How long: 15 days
How much: From £2,665 (exc. flights)
2. Get a Central American Christmas high in Guatemala
Climb Central America’s highest mountain on KE Adventure Travel’s Guatemala’s Magnificent Seven trip.
Summit Tajumulco (4,220m) on Christmas Day, soaking up panoramic altiplano views, then flank your ascent by topping other volcanic peaks along the way, including Pacaya (2,552m) and San Pedro (3,040m), as well as wandering colonial Antigua and the ancient Maya town of Quetzaltenango. Finish by relaxing on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Bliss.
Trip: Guatemala’s Magnificent Seven
Who: KE Adventure Travel
When: Departures in Jan, Apr, Nov & Dec
How long: 15 days
How much: From £1,755 (exc. flights)
3. Celebrate Copacabana style across Argentina, Brazil and Chile
Travel coast to coast from Santiago to Rio via Patagonia on this epic Oasis Overland adventure. See the mighty Iguazú Falls, trek past peaks and glaciers in Patagonia and learn to tango in Buenos Aires.
At the trip’s tail end, ring in the festive season in Brazilian style, spending Christmas at a farm lodge in the Pantanal wetlands and New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach in party capital Rio de Janeiro.
Trip: Santiago to Rio Coast to Coast via Patagonia
Who: Oasis Overland
When: Departures in Jan, Nov & Dec
How long: 51 days
How much: From £1,895 (plus $950/ £745 local payment; exc. flights)
4. Experience a biblical journey through Jordan and Israel
Head through the Middle East’s Holy Lands on Tucan Travel’s Best of Jordan & Israel trip.
In Jordan, spy the Greco-Roman ruins of Umm Qais and glimpse the wonder of Petra, then hop over to Israel and climb biblical icon the Mount of Olives, before wandering Jerusalem and Nazareth. What could be more festive?
Trip: Best Of Jordan & Israel
Who: Tucan Travel
When: Departures throughout the year
How long: 11 days
How much: From £1,167 (plus $200/£155 local payment; excl flights)
5. See in the New Year twice in Finland and Norway
Make the most of north Scandinavia’s cross-border time difference on Artisan Travel’s Utsjoki: New Year Twice trip. Be pulled by huskies through pristine alpine forest and hunt for the aurora by night.
And come New Year’s Eve, mark the occasion in Finland before crossing into Norway – an hour behind – to count down 2019 again.
Trip: Utsjoki: New Year Twice
Who: Artisan Travel
When: 29 December
How long: Seven nights
How much: From £2,295 (inc. flights)
6. Go off-grid in Cape Verde
Join Ramblers Walking Holidays on its Undiscovered Cape Verde trip to explore a unique blend of African and Portuguese styles.
Visit Santiago island and the UNESCO listed colonial outpost of Cidade Velha, before hopping over to the isle of São Vicente for volcanic peaks and gorges as far removed from home as it gets.
Trip: Undiscovered Cape Verde
Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays
When: Departures in Dec, Jan & Oct
How long: 14 nights
How much: From £3,300 (incl flights)
7. Glide down the Nile in Egypt
Hop on Abercrombie & Kent’s Egypt & the Nile Escorted Tour and see ancient Egypt unravel from your cabin.
Enjoy the cooler conditions winter brings, exploring the Pyramids of Giza, before flying to Luxor and wandering the Temple of Karnak.
Glimpse the Valley of the Kings before spying other temples – including Abu Simbel – as you ford the Nile and end with a couple of days taking in Cairo’s sights.
Trip: Egypt & The Nile
Who: Abercrombie & Kent
Trip type: Tailor-made
When: Departures between Sep & May
How long: Nine nights
How much: From £4,715 (exc. flights)
8. Have a frozen festive adventure in Russia
Join Regent Holidays on its Northern Lights and New Year’s Eve in the Russian Far North aboard the Imperial Train trip. Begin in Moscow and see its icons thickly wigged with snow before chugging to the lavish architecture of St Petersburg.
Then, pitstop at the 16th-century Karelian town of Petrozavodsk before trundling above the Arctic Circle to Murmansk, where you’ll ride a dog sled, keep an eye out for the northern lights and pay a visit to Ded Moroz – Russia’s answer to Father Christmas.
Trip: Northern Lights and New Year’s Eve in the Russian Far North aboard the Imperial Train
Who: Regent Holidays
When: Departures in Dec & Feb
How long: 10 days
How much: From £4,060 (excl flights)
9. Witness Christmas in the USA’s wild west
Be treated to a greatest hits of some of USA’s natural wonders on Grand American Adventures’ Western Explorer tour.
Hunt for bears and deer in Yosemite NP, spy the rust-coloured valleys and hills of Death Valley, spot the oasis-pooled cliffs of Zion NP and gasp at the unique rocks of Bryce Canyon NP.
Spend Christmas Day eating a native Navajo meal among the epic sandstone monoliths of Monument Valley before concluding with a true American icon – the Grand Canyon.
Trip: Western Explorer
Who: Grand American Adventures
When: 15 Dec
How long: 13 days
How much: From £2,719 (excl flights)