If you’re one of those people who dreams about snowy mountains, warm fires, and drinking hot cocoa while snow is falling all around – I feel you. There’s nothing wrong about loving winter despite all the bad rep it’s been given in the past few years (yes, Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you). Not only can you absolutely enjoy this festive time of year with your friends and family, but you can also plan enchanting vacations that will take you to the coziest winter paradises all across the globe. Here are 10 unique places to spend your winter holiday.
It might seem a bit desperate to go to such a cold country in winter, but just think about all that scenic beauty and the magnificent Northern Lights you’ll get to see. It’s like a dream come true! Witnessing Aurora Borealis can become the most memorable event of the year and the tickets will pretty cheap as it is off-season.
Okay, this may not be the most original or cheap vacation place, but theirs is a certain charm that takes over the whole city in winter, especially if you plan your trip around the festive season. Chic markets, breathtaking street decorations, vibrant nightlife, and a wild mix of cultures from all over the world. It can become a truly unforgettable trip!
Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Lyon is a truly unique place to visit for your winter holiday. Plan your trip to catch the city’s famous Festival of Lights during which all the citizens adorn their windows with candles to create a beautiful glow all across the city. Expect to see some unforgettable light shows at Place des Terreaux and Basilica of Fourvière.
Harbin City, China
Feeling like traveling to Asia for a unique take on winter? Then head to Harbin City in China famous for its super long winters and Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which happens every year. Winter can last as long as six months in Harbin, so rest assured the city knows how to fun during this cold season and how to make the most of your vacation.
If you really want to be closer to Santa Claus and feel what it’s like to live deep inside the wintery forest (I’m just guessing that’s where he lives?) then head to Saariselka in Finland famous for its one of a kind Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. There you can stay in an actual snow igloo, rent a cosy log cabin, or spend a few nights in the unique glass igloos with a breathtaking view of the Northern Lights.
Banff might just be the most enchanting winter vacation spot due to its beautiful Lake Louise nestled between Mt. Cascade and Mt. Rundle. The whole Banff National Park is a scenic place, but the lake is what will take your breath away for sure – it’s located in a picture0perfect location and depending on weather will change color from turquoise to gentle lapis and dark sapphire. Skiing and hot springs are also available.
There’s hardly a more entertaining way to spend your winter holiday than visiting the picturesque Nagano in Japan. It’s a mix of all things good and wintery – famous skiing resorts, the annual snow festival, cozy wooden inns, and – wait for it – a plethora of hot springs to chill in. The macaques in Nagano’s Jigokudani Monkey Park are doing just that!
If you’ve always dreamt to spend a few nights in one of those fancy ice hotels everyone is talking about, then head to Kiruna and its very own Ice Hotel located just a few miles out of the city. This exquisite hotel is filled with ice art and hosts 80 rooms made of ice and snow taking from the Arctic Circle (which is nearby). Every spring it melts and has to be fully rebuilt in winter! So don’t worry about how many people slept in that bed before you – it really doesn’t matter.
Reykjavik has become most popular during the last few years due to the filming of Game of Thrones, but don’t let the Hollywood connection distract you – this place has a lot to offer. Natural hot springs, long hikes over glaciers, and a one-of-a-kind winter charm will definitely make you fall in love with this cold and beautiful city.
The chances of witnessing glaciers are melting away as we speak! Puns set aside, one should really devote some time to exploring the majestic Andes Mountains and Los Glaciares National Park. Those glaciers are among the most stunning things you’ll ever see!