Top Destinations in India to Explore this December

December is a magical time to explore the diverse landscapes and cultural richness of India. Whether you seek adventure in the snow-capped mountains, cultural immersion in historical cities, or a tropical escape on pristine beaches, India in December offers a kaleidoscope of experiences. The month offers a balance of sunny daytime temperatures and cool, breezy evenings for every wanderlust heart. It’s the perfect time to plan an itinerary and book those tickets you’ve been putting off for so long. So, pack your bags, and let the enchanting allure of India captivate your senses as you explore the wonders of this incredible country.

Key Takeaways

  • December is a magical time to explore India’s diverse landscapes and cultural richness.
  • India in December offers a balance of sunny daytime temperatures and cool, breezy evenings.
  • The month is perfect for adventure in the snow-capped mountains, cultural immersion in historical cities, or a tropical escape on pristine beaches.
  • It’s the ideal time to plan an itinerary and book tickets for a memorable travel experience.
  • Pack your bags and let the enchanting allure of India captivate your senses as you explore the wonders of this incredible country.

Best Places to Visit in December in India


Goa – Party paradise in December

As the mercury dips elsewhere, Goa becomes the epitome of warmth not just in climate but in spirit too. December in Goa is a mosaic of vibrant festivities, sun-kissed beaches, and exuberant parties. The air is thick with the excitement of Christmas and the anticipation of the New Year, making it the ultimate destination for those looking to revel in celebration.

Beaches such as Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna become the heartbeats of the state, pulsating with tourists from around the globe. Whether it’s the trance music at the nightclubs or the serene walks along the shore, Goa offers an escape for every kind of traveler.

The highlight of the season is undoubtedly the famous music festivals like VH1 Supersonic and Sunburn. These events draw crowds by the thousands, eager to dance to the beats of world-renowned DJs under the Goan sky.

Shopping in Goa during December is an experience in itself. From the Saturday night market in Arpora to the Town Square Bazaar, one can find an array of items like pearl jewelry, brass artifacts, and the quintessential Goan cashew nuts. The festive season adds a special charm to the shopping experience, with markets staying open until the wee hours of the morning.

Here’s a quick list of must-do activities in Goa this December:

  • Visit the historical Chapora Fort and Grand Island
  • Relax at the secluded Butterfly Beach
  • Witness the majestic Dudhsagar Waterfalls
  • Indulge in water sports and adventure activities
  • Experience the luxury of beach shacks and couple’s massages

Embrace the Goan spirit this December, where every moment is a celebration and every experience, a cherished memory.

Shimla – Winter wonderland

Shimla, often referred to as the Queen of Hill Stations, transforms into a winter wonderland in December, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a romantic escape or a family holiday. The colonial architecture and the snow-covered streets offer a charming backdrop for a variety of activities.

  • Ice-skating near Scandal Point
  • Watching the sunrise from Chadwick Waterfalls
  • Shopping for wooden crafts at Lakkar Bazaar

For couples, a romantic dinner at one of the local restaurants can be the highlight of the trip. The Winter Sports Festival is another attraction, where visitors can enjoy natural ice-skiing and the festive atmosphere.

The best time to visit Shimla for a honeymoon or winter adventure is from December to January. During this period, the town is alive with cultural festivities and the natural beauty of snowfall.

Whether you’re strolling through the snow in long boots or taking a serene walk in the nearby town of Chail, Shimla offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Winter Sports Festival and the picturesque views create memories that last a lifetime.

Gulmarg – Skiing and snowboarding

Gulmarg, the heartland of winter sports in India, beckons adventure enthusiasts with its pristine snowy slopes and exhilarating activities. Asia ranks Gulmarg as the seventh-best ski destination, offering an unparalleled experience for skiers and snowboarders alike. With temperatures reaching the freezing point in December, the fresh snow provides the perfect conditions for winter sports.

The enchanting surroundings, snow-capped mountains, and the vibrant Gulmarg Snow Festival make this town a winter paradise. Whether you’re seeking thrills on the slopes or tranquility in nature, Gulmarg’s charm is undeniable.

Here’s a quick guide to what you can enjoy in Gulmarg:

  • Baramulla Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve
  • Alpather Lake
  • The famous Gulmarg Gondola Ride
  • Golfing at Gulmarg Golf Course
  • Historical St. Mary’s Church

Located just 56 km from Srinagar, Gulmarg is easily accessible for a memorable winter getaway. Embrace the cold and create memories on the majestic slopes of this enchanting hill station.

Kullu Manikaran – Hot springs and adventure

Nestled in the heart of Himachal Pradesh, Kullu Manikaran is a haven for those seeking both serenity and thrill. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and vibrant meadows, this destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty and adventure sports.

Manali, a popular hill station in the Kullu District, becomes a playground for winter sports enthusiasts during December. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Taking a dip in the hot springs, believed to have healing properties
  • Skiing or snowboarding against the backdrop of the Himalayas
  • Paragliding over the stunning Solang Valley
  • Seeking blessings at the sacred Hidimba Devi Temple

The best months to visit Kullu Manikaran are from October to February, making December an ideal time for those looking to experience its winter charm.

For a comfortable stay, consider the Purnima Guest House, offering cozy accommodations at reasonable prices. Don’t miss out on local delicacies like Tibetan Thukpa and Dhaam, and make sure to shop for traditional handicrafts and woolen clothing at the Old Manali market or The Mall Road.

Coorg – Coffee plantations and waterfalls

Nestled in the Western Ghats, Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and culture vultures. The region is renowned for its sprawling coffee plantations and misty hills, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Coorg’s vibrant culture is reflected in its local festivals and cuisine, making it a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Attractions such as Abbey Falls and Raja’s Seat are must-visits, providing breathtaking views and a chance to immerse oneself in the tranquility of the surroundings. For those seeking adventure, the Dubare Elephant Camp offers an unforgettable experience with the gentle giants.

Coorg’s charm lies not only in its scenic landscapes but also in the warmth of its people and the aromatic whiff of coffee that permeates the air.

Travelers can easily access Coorg via the nearest airport in Mangalore or the Mysore Railway Station. The region is well-connected by road, ensuring a smooth journey to this picturesque hill station.

Sikkim – Himalayan beauty

Nestled in the Northeast region of India, Sikkim is a small state with a grand heart. Its panoramic views and snow-capped mountains make it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty in December. The state is dotted with centuries-old monuments, serene lakes, and spiritual monasteries, offering a blend of culture and nature.

Sikkim’s charm is not just in its landscapes but also in its vibrant cultural tapestry and adventure opportunities. During the Guru Purnima festival, visiting any lake becomes a unique experience, with festivities adding to the region’s allure.

Here are some activities you can indulge in while in Sikkim:

  • Witness the majestic sunset at Tashi View Point.
  • Embrace the peace at Tsuk La Khang Monastery.
  • Take a leisurely walk through Hanuman Tok.
  • Experience the thrill of a Yak safari amidst the mountains.

For those interested in local crafts, Sikkim’s handicrafts are a must-see. You can find exquisite pieces at The HiLite Mall, Yarn and Thread and Hook Shoppe, and various local markets. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a peace-lover, Sikkim’s beauty and offerings are sure to enchant you.

Darjeeling – Tea gardens and toy train

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, Darjeeling is a treasure trove of natural beauty and colonial history. Its sprawling tea gardens paint a lush green canvas, while the iconic Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a nostalgic journey through the mountains.

The early morning excursion to Tiger Hill provides a breathtaking panorama of the Kanchenjunga range, often bathed in golden sunrise hues.

For those seeking adventure and nature, Darjeeling does not disappoint. Here’s a quick guide to the main attractions:

  • Tiger Hill
  • Batasia Loop
  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
  • Bhutia Busty Monastery
  • Suntalekhola

Accessibility is convenient, with Bagdogra Airport being the nearest air link and New Jalpaiguri Railway Station serving as the gateway by train. The region is also well-connected by road, making it an ideal destination for winter travelers.

Rishikesh – Yoga and spirituality

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is not just a destination; it’s an experience that blends adventure with spirituality. Known as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World,’ Rishikesh invites travelers to immerse themselves in meditative practices and yoga sessions that promise tranquility and rejuvenation.

Rishikesh is also an adventurer’s paradise, offering thrilling river rafting experiences on the Ganges. The city’s spiritual aura is complemented by the natural beauty of places like Triveni Ghat and the historical significance of The Beatles Ashram.

Here’s a quick guide to help you plan your visit:

  • Location: Uttarakhand, Dehradun District
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh Railway Station
  • By Road: Well-connected by road
  • Attractions: Triveni Ghat, The Beatles Ashram, Shivpuri River Rafting Point
  • Category: Nature, Adventure, Spiritual

Whether you’re seeking enlightenment or just a break from the mundane, Rishikesh offers a perfect blend of peace and excitement to make your December unforgettable.

Jammu – Temples and shrines

Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir, is a place where spirituality and heritage fuse to create a divine ambiance. The city is renowned for its beautiful temples and spiritual sites, attracting pilgrims and tourists alike. Among the most revered is the Raghunath Temple, dedicated to Lord Rama, which is not only a spiritual hub but also an architectural marvel.

Jammu’s serene beauty is amplified in December when the chill in the air brings a sense of calm and the temples are adorned with lights, creating a mystical atmosphere.

While exploring Jammu, visitors can indulge in local shopping, where spices, lungis, seashell jewelry, and handicrafts are popular souvenirs. Here’s a quick guide on where to buy these items:

  • Spices & Handicrafts: Beachside Shacks, Lighthouse Beach
  • Seashell Jewelry: Local artisan markets
  • Lungis & Textiles: Traditional clothing stores

The nearby Thajiwas Glacier is another attraction that offers a breathtaking adventure with the onset of snowfall in December. This natural wonder is just a short distance from Sonamarg and provides a perfect backdrop for those seeking both tranquility and adventure.

Kerala – Backwaters and beaches

Kerala, often referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’, is a serene paradise that comes alive in December with its warm climate and lush landscapes. The backwaters of Kerala offer a unique experience with their network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes, and inlets. A houseboat cruise along these waters provides a tranquil retreat and a glimpse into the rural life of southern India.

December is the perfect time to visit Kerala’s beaches, such as the less crowded Marari Beach or the popular Kovalam and Varkala beaches, where the Arabian Sea’s temperate waters invite you for a swim. The weather is ideal for sunbathing and witnessing the beautiful sunsets that paint the sky in vibrant hues.

Kerala’s rich cultural tapestry is also on full display during this month, with numerous festivals and events that reflect the state’s Christian influences, especially in the Backwaters and Kochi region. Celebrating Christmas in this setting can be a magical experience.

For those seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation, here’s a quick guide to some of Kerala’s must-visit destinations:

  • Alleppey: Renowned for its houseboat cruises in the backwaters.
  • Kochi: A city that perfectly blends history with modernity.
  • Munnar: A hill station famous for its tea plantations and cool climate.
  • Thekkady: Home to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Wayanad: Known for its green landscapes and wildlife.

While the beaches may be bustling with visitors, the charm of Kerala’s December warmth is undeniable, making it a top destination for those looking to escape the winter chill.


In conclusion, India offers a diverse and enchanting landscape for travelers to explore in December. From the snow-capped mountains to the tropical beaches, India provides a kaleidoscope of experiences for every wanderlust heart. The pleasant weather, festive cheer, and infectious energy make December the perfect time to embark on a travel journey in India. Whether you seek adventure, cultural immersion, or a peaceful escape, India has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the wonders of India this December!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the weather like in December in India?

December weather in India varies from pleasant to cold, depending on the region. It offers a diverse range of climates, from tropical to snow-capped mountains.

Are there any specific festivals or events in December in India?

Yes, December in India is filled with festivals and events, including music festivals in Goa, beach festivals in Kerala, and cultural extravaganzas in Gujarat’s white deserts.

What are the best activities to do in Goa in December?

In December, Goa is a party paradise with vibrant nightlife, beach parties, and water sports. It’s also a great time for nature lovers to explore the picturesque views of the Sahyadri ranges and the Arabian Sea.

Is December a good time to visit the Himalayas in India?

Yes, December is a great time to visit the Himalayas in India, especially for skiing, snowboarding, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the snow-capped mountains.

What are the must-visit destinations for adventure enthusiasts in December?

Adventure enthusiasts should consider visiting Kullu Manikaran for hot springs and adventure activities, Rishikesh for yoga and spirituality, and Sikkim for its Himalayan beauty and trekking opportunities.

Are there any specific cultural experiences to explore in December in India?

In December, travelers can explore the tea gardens and toy train in Darjeeling, the temples and shrines in Jammu, and the coffee plantations and waterfalls in Coorg for unique cultural experiences.

What are the recommended activities for nature lovers in December in India?

Nature lovers can explore the backwaters and beaches in Kerala, the winter wonderland of Shimla, and the serene coffee plantations and waterfalls in Coorg for a tranquil experience.

What should travelers pack for a trip to India in December?

Travelers visiting India in December should pack a mix of warm clothing for colder regions, light clothing for warmer areas, and essentials for outdoor activities such as hiking boots, swimwear, and sunscreen.

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