Dec 20, 2010 4:38:52 PM
Travel in December: cities where the sun shines
Ice, wind, rain. Sound familiar?
If your winter is dominated by these three elements but you’re looking for some sunshine, then look no further. These sunny cities will warm you up.
Mombasa is both quintessentially African and somehow…not. If your idea of Africa is roasted meat, toasted maize, farms and friendliness, those things are here. But they’res all interwoven into the humid peel of plaster from Hindu warehouses, filigreed porches reminiscent of Moroccan riads, spice markets that escaped India’s Keralan coast, and a giant coral castle built by invading Portuguese sailors.
Climate: The coast maintains tropical temperatures of up to 32°C (89°F) for most of the year.
Havana is a one off. Sitting pretty as the Caribbean’s largest and most vivacious city, its romantic atmosphere and infectious energy are the stuff of legend. Where else do you find vintage American cars running off Russian Lada engines, ration shops juxtaposed against gleaming palaces, and revolutionary sloganeering drowned out by all-night parties?
Climate: Average December temperatures are around 23°C (73°F).
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur’s metamorphosis from the jungle hovel of tin prospectors to a gleaming 21st century city of high-rises and highways seems like a triumph of man over nature. But if you get a bird’s-eye view of KL it’s clear that nature continues to fight back: this remains one of the greenest cities in Southeast Asia. Its famed multiculturalism is most vivid when it comes to food – each ethnic community brings something to the table, making dining out a stellar experience.
Climate: December temperatures can range from 21°C to 33°C (69°F to 91°F).
Cape Town, South Africa
Prepare to fall in love; South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ is an old pro at capturing people’s hearts. And who wouldn’t swoon at the sight of magnificent Table Mountain, its summit draped with cascading clouds, its flanks coated with unique flora and vineyards, its base fringed by golden beaches? Add to that the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap and the contemporary Afro-chic decor of its guest houses, restaurants and bars, and you’ve got one good-looking metropolis.
Climate: December can be very hot, although the average maximum temperature is 26°C (78°F).
Auckland, New Zealand
Paris may be the city of love, but Auckland is the city of many lovers, according to its Maori name, Tamaki Makaurau. Its two magnificent harbours frame a narrow isthmus punctuated by volcanic cones and surrounded by fertile farmland. Within an hour’s drive from the city you’ll find rainforests, thermal springs, deserted beaches, wineries and wildlife reserves. Yet big-city comforts have spread to all corners of the Auckland region: a decent coffee or Chardonnay is usually close to hand.
Climate: Average December temperatures are 22°C (71°F).
Nestled at Africa’s southern tip, Cape Town offers an enticing taste of an entire continent. Grab the latest guide and dive in!