- Discover inspirational ideas for where to celebrate Christmas and New Year as a solo traveller
- Brilliant Christmas and New Year’s Eve destinations for solo travellers – from Krakow’s winter wonderland to watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks in the subtropical paradise of Madeira
- Useful advice on what to expect, how to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in style, and incredible sights to visit and explore
Solo travel provides a wonderful way to experience a range of different cultures – and this is especially true over Christmas and New Year. Instead of enduring cold and wet winter weather at home, give in to the lure of Christmas destinations for solo travellers such as Krakow, Madeira, and Venice for a more diverse and memorable festive holiday.
Christmas and New Year solo tours are a wonderful way to make new friends and share a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere together. What better way to be part of a group of fellow travellers than to celebrate in style surrounded by festive communal spirit.
While our solo tours allow you to explore destinations on your own, Christmas and New Year escorted tours are a fantastic way to make new friends and explore cities richly adorned with lights and decorations, and home to Nativity scenes, carol singers, and bustling Christmas markets.
Christmas destinations for solo travellers are a lesson in contrasts. Looking for a traditional winter wonderland? Krakow will delight with its historic centre twinkling with festive lights and pretty wooden market stalls. Fancy some warming winter sun? Madeira is an island paradise, its tropical landscape teeming with exotic plants.
Wherever you go, expect a Christmas and New Year escorted tour to be full of Christmas cheer, new friends, and a chance to indulge yourself. To inspire you, we’ve rounded up four great ideas for Christmas and New Year destinations for solo travellers.
Christmas and New Year destination ideas for solo travellers
Christmas and New Year in Krakow is magical. The city is often blanketed in snow, creating a picture-postcard Christmas scene. Steeped in tradition, the famous Christmas market – packed with charming wooden stalls piled high with decorations, amber jewellery, and souvenirs – is the festive gem in Krakow’s crown. The sound of kolędy – Christmas carols – fills the air. Warm yourself with Grzaniec Galicyjski, the delicious local mulled wine laden with rich spices. Cheers!
Bring warm clothes and layers, as December sees daytime temperatures in Krakow hover just above freezing, dipping to -4°C at night. There’s plenty to explore on a guided tour. Wawel Castle is a must for history lovers looking for a trip through the ages of Poland’s monarchs; the cathedral and armoury are fascinating. A walk through the Kazimierz Jewish quarter provides a chance to sample its vibrant food scene and visit the Old Synagogue for a wonderful cultural experience. For a more unique spectacle, travel to the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka Salt Mine. Mining here can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and over time the rock salt has been intricately shaped into sights such as its stunning subterranean cathedral.
Food and drink are in abundance, and a traditional 12-course Polish Christmas Eve dinner is a highlight. Expect plates bursting with kapusta z groszek (cabbage with split peas), fried carp and jarzynowa sałatka – a carrot, pickle, and apple salad in a creamy mustard sauce. For the sweet-toothed, poppy seed cake, soaked honey wheatberry dessert, and Polish cheesecake are on the menu. For New Year, experience a traditional food tour and prepare to be amazed by a gala New Year’s Eve party.
If you’re looking for winter sun, Madeira won’t disappoint. With daytime temperatures pushing 20°C, a dip in the sea is on the cards – even in December. Madeira enjoys five-times as many sunshine hours than the UK, and perfectly blends charming elegance with an incredible variety of festive sights. From its bustling Christmas market echoing with folklore song to the lush delights of the Palheiro tropical gardens, Madeira is a diverse winter paradise.
The capital Funchal – known as ‘Little Lisbon’ – is a delight to explore, with tree-lined avenues and narrow, bustling streets formed from well-preserved 18th century Portuguese-inspired architecture. The few days before Christmas provides a celebratory focal point for the island; pay a visit to the Mercado dos Lavradores – Farmer’s Market – on December 23rd to experience locals dancing, singing, and drinking in bars that stay open throughout the night. Wander through the Christmas market on Avenida Arriaga, decorated with pretty festive lights and exotic flowers. For the chance to recreate childhood memories, braver travellers can try the exhilarating Monte toboggan ride found in Monte Palace Tropical Garden overlooking Funchal. A picturesque 15-minute cable car ride is an alternative and offers for spectacular views over the harbour.
Explore Sé cathedral and gaze on its incredible 16th-century altar and stunning ornate wooden ceiling. Palheiro Gardens transport you to a tropical hillside paradise, with the scent of thousands of exotic plants filling the air. A visit to Monte is a must, along with the oriental gardens found a Monte Palace Tropical Garden. The tranquil pond with koi carp is a wonderful spot to reflect and relax.
Portuguese food at Christmas is abundant and delicious, but for sheer Yuletide bliss, try the sweet chestnuts grown in the Valley of the Nuns, along with a generous sampling of Madeira wine. If visiting over the New Year, enjoy a New Year’s Eve party with six-course dinner and view of the world-famous Funchal fireworks – it previously held the Guinness World Record for the greatest firework show in the world with a display that stretched over 6km and involved an incredible 660,300 shots. Saúde!
Sorrento and Pompeii
For sumptuous Christmas decorations and lights set against incredible historical sights, look no further than Sorrento and the Bay of Naples. Strolling through vibrant Sorrento with its intricate Nativity scenes, twinkling lights crowning palm trees, and bright red poinsettias, you’ll be following in the footsteps of English aristocracy, who enjoyed wintering in Sorrento’s subtropical climate and lush landscape during the 19th century. Daytime temperatures are mild with highs of 15°C, and with less chance of rain than November, exploring Sorrento, Naples, and Pompeii makes a delightful change from the UK.
There’s so much to pack in over the festive period on our Christmas in Sorrento and Pompeii for Solo Travellers. A visit the Gesu Nuovo church and Santa Chiara basilica in Naples will delight, while the San Gregorio Armeno is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, lined with Christmas market stalls. Watch the highly skilled art of creche-figure making – a staple of Nativity scenes and a wonderful keepsake.
Undoubtedly Pompeii is a highlight, and at Christmas, you can appreciate its incredible history with fewer crowds. Transport yourself back to a time when Pompeii was a major Roman city; many of its streets, buildings, and frescos were preserved during the eruption to give a fascinating glimpse into Roman life.
Take the opportunity to sample authentic Italian pizza – the Neopolitan originated from the area – washed down with delicious limoncello liqueur. Delizioso!
Venice and Lake Garda
For a complete contrast to a traditional UK Christmas, a solo trip to Lake Garda, Venice, and Verona is just a few hours away by plane. Where else can you stroll through Verona’s Piazza delle Erbe, gaze at a masterpiece by Titian, and sip bubbly on Christmas day while on a cruise on Lake Garda?
Venice weather can be cold during the Christmas season so bring warm clothes. However, sites such as Saint Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and the Basilica di San Marco are less crowded, so you’ll have more time to appreciate the classical Italian architecture and historical beauty. Watch as crowds flock to midnight mass on Christmas Eve in Riva del Garda and place the figure of baby Jesus into the presepi, or Nativity creches, to welcome in Christmas.
Christmas in Verona is a delight. Steeped in history, it’s the city setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Visiting is like stepping back to a time when Verona was a prosperous trading city, its historical renaissance houses the perfect backdrop to the festive celebrations. Highlights include the 1st Century Roman amphitheatre that is still in use today, Juliet’s balcony from the Bard’s most popular play, and for art lovers a visit to Verona’s Duomo allows you to gaze on Titian’s The Assumption of the Virgin, his only work on display in Verona.
Taking to the water of Lake Garda on a Christmas Day cruise is truly special. No visit to Lake Garda is complete without sampling its delicious wine. An exploration of Bardolino, on the shores of Lake Garda, is a worthwhile excursion, complete with a visit to a traditional winery and well-timed tasting session.
Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in style
Incredible holidays await as a solo traveller over Christmas and New Year on our dedicated festive tours. From Venice and Lake Garda to Sorrento and Pompeii, historical sights and vibrant cities are a fascinating break from the norm. With choices ranging from traditional, picture-postcard Christmas markets in Krakow to the subtropical paradise of Madeira, make 2020 a festive celebration to remember!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.