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These sunny destinations set the mood for Christmas holidays

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Warming up for Christmas: Trade dull, grey skies and woollies for mimosas on the beach, in breezy dresses. Here are some destinations where sunny days set the mood for the holidays

How about lazing on a beach this Christmas? From beaches and water sports to safaris, carnivals and shopping, Christmas is an exciting time for travellers. The number of Indians travelling abroad is pegged at around 50 million in 2019, according to an estimate by the UN World Tourism Organisation. And choices are veering towards coffee plantation visits, adventure sports and leisurely walks through vineyards.

Comfortable in Costa Brava

With temperatures hovering around 15 degree C, Costa Brava is warmer, compared to other European destinations. Blending history and luxury effortlessly, the land has much to offer the new-age traveller. The Empuriabrava, the little Venice of Costa Brava, home to the ‘Peralada’, a 13th-century castle converted into a luxury hotel, is a must-visit. “Christmas in Girona, a province in Catalonia, lasts for two weeks with plenty of things to do. At Plaça Independència, a Christmas market runs throughout December, where one can find handmade products and typical festive sweets,” says Namrata Malu, CEO of VR Costa Brava, a destination management company.

Artist Salvador Dali was born in Figueres, in the region, and Girona was one of the locations where Game of Thrones was filmed, too.

The Christmas market at Rambla Llibertat displays Christmas-related goodies. “In Catalonia, many villages put on live cribs that have villagers dressing up as characters from the Nativity scene,” she adds.

Coffee in Kaua’i

While in Kaua’i, part of the Hawaiian archipelago, you could try everything from coffee to adventure. The Kaua’i Coffee Company takes travellers through the journey — from bean to cup — and at the end of it, they get to plant their own coffee tree. The temperature is pleasant at around 22°C.

The Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade, something of a tradition held every year just before Christmas, turns 25 this year and the parade will have floats and twinkling lights. It will be held on December 21.

The weather is pleasant; there is no need to bundle up in woollens. “Pick up a picnic lunch and enjoy it at the Poipu Beach Park. Drive up to Waimea Canyon Lookout and make a pit stop at the Iliau Nature Loop trail for a leisurely walk,” says Sue Kanoho, executive director of Kaua’i Visitors Bureau.

Also known as the Garden Island, Kaua’i is green and boasts natural wonders such as the 3,567-feet-deep Waimea Canyon (often called The Grand Canyon of the Pacific) and the towering 3,000-feet sea cliffs off the Nāpali Coast. With more than 50 miles of white sand beach, it probably has more beach-per-mile than any island in Hawai’i.

You could kayak, go scuba diving, snorkel, hike, mountain tube, ride horseback, and try ATV adventures, zip-line tours, and helicopter and boat tours here.

Lit-up Los Angeles

LA seems to be all about LED this Christmas. Universal Studios, Hollywood, will be adorned with sparkling lights. Harry Potter’s Hogwarts is back in 2019 and forms a majestic backdrop for a light show. For the kids, there’s the Grinchmas tree lighting ceremony.

These sunny destinations set the mood for Christmas holidays
 

The theme park, Six Flags Magic Mountain, will be lit by more than two million lights for 44 nights this season. Immersive experiences have been included too, such as Santa’s Cottage, where you can join in a toy workshop with Mrs Claus and her merry elves who would teach you crafting, and Merry Lane, a large display of ornaments with programmable dancing light shows.

If that is not bright enough, the Citadel Outlets mall, which showcases the world’s tallest live-cut Christmas tree (a 115-feet-tall white fir from northern California), will be decorated with more than 18,000 LED lights.

One of the warmest among American cities, (temperatures are pleasant at around 20 degrees Celsius) LA seems to be welcoming tourists who want a mix of parties, adventure, food and shopping, says Jamie Foley, vice president, Global Communications, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

Check out the in-store promotions at the Holiday Market at Palisades Village, while sipping on complimentary apple cider and hot chocolate served all day.

And yet, if you still miss the snow, attend the ‘Snow Day LA’, which brings with it winter tubing, an interactive light show, food trucks and photo opportunities. Guests who purchase the Penguin VIP Pass can zip down their tubing lane in a penguin onesie.

Sun-soaked South Africa

When Christmas arrives in South Africa, they say, one can feel it in the air.

The streets of Cape Town are infused with the aroma of braai,

a barbecue with yellow rice, raisins and vegetables, the local traditional Christmas meal.

Follow it up with malva pudding, a South African dessert.

These sunny destinations set the mood for Christmas holidays
 

Street markets are open through the night. You can attend sing-along sessions of popular songs and join the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ events held at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre, as well as the numerous vineyards that are open to tourists. Families travelling with children can pay a visit to Santa’s Village at the V&A Waterfront’s Victoria Wharf. The temperature is about 27°C this time of the year. A Christmas safari or a jazz festival can add to the experience. Neliswa Nkani, hub head-MEISA, South African Tourism, says, “Should you be in Cape Town for New Year’s, here is something you must do. The Kaapse Klopse, also known as the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, is held on January 2 every year. It has musicians, performers and families parading the streets in colourful garb dancing and singing for the crowds. This is a visual spectacle, rich in history and culture.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 12:15:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/warm-holiday-spots-to-check-out-this-christmas/article30338414.ece

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