Depending on your attitude towards winter you either love it or hate it. There are plenty of people who love the snow, but there’s even more who hate this cold season with it’s freezing weather and early sunsets. If you belong to the latter we’re here to show you that winter can be fun, festive, gorgeous and full of warmth provided by fire, fairy lights and mulled wine, especially if you know where to look. Take a look at these 15 winter wonderlands from around the world.
1. Shirakawa, Japan
You wouldn’t think Japan as the place where it snows the most, but the village of Shirakawa can get up to 30 feet of snow every year. This little village is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site, because of the traditional old architecture. The houses are built in mince style with special collapse-proof roofs, so that no matter how much snowfall they get – the houses and their inhabitants are safe in winter. Clearly the Japanese knew what they were doing, because this village looks absolutely stunning in the winter.
2. Harbin, China
Harbin is one of the coldest cities in China, so much so that it’s dubbed as the Ice City. However the people of Harbin have learned to embrace their cold winters and found a way to celebrate it. Every year they host the Harbin International Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival. It spreads over both banks of the Songhua River, and they actually take huge ice blocks from the river and use them to create ice-sculptures.
3. Munich, Germany
If you want to experience winter in Europe, one of the best places to go is Germany. Munich to be more specific. This city really knows how to cheer you up during the winter months. Their famous Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz is a perfect destination if you want to have some Bavarian sausages and mulled wine. It’s also the place to see the most elaborate gingerbread houses and buy a bunch of souvenirs.
4. Quebec, Canada
Canada is known for being hella cold, but they know how to keep their spirits up during their long winters. Quebec has been hosting a Winter Carnival for over 50 years now. They have all sorts of things happening at the festival, including but not limited to ice-sculpting, elaborate masked balls, canoe races and music concerts. They even have a huge snowman as the carnival mascot.
5. Queenstown, New Zealand
If you actually love winter and hate summer go to Queenstown in June. The mountains behind this city are covered in snow this time of year and it literally looks like a magical film set. It’ll be like something out of Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit. They even have a yearly winter festival there in June. Cause you know, it’s New Zealand and everything is a bit topsy turvey there.
6. Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel is a very old town in Austria. It was founded some time in the middle ages and it still manages to hold on to that old town charm, while combining it with a convenience of a modern ski resort. This is the best place to go skiing and having a bit of winter fun. The snowy slopes look mesmerizing and the nature around is absolutely stunning.
7. Alcázar de Segovia, Spain
At first glance you might think this is the Disney Castle, and you’d be close. It does look like it’s been the inspiration for the famous Disney look-alike. In reality it’s a museum in central Spain. It’s been a lot of things throughout the years, including a fortress, a castle and, at some point, even a prison. But these days it’s a museum that’s open for visitors all year round, but it looks especially lovely in the winter.
8. Milan, Italy
Few people associate Italy with winter and snow. Mostly we think of it as a summer destination, with hot weather and hot, passionate people. However, you’d be surprised how gorgeous Milan looks when covered with a layer of fluffy snow. It’s completely transformed into a very beautiful winter wonderland. Especially if you go to Piazza Duomo and take a look at the Milan Cathedral.
9. Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia might not be the first country that comes to mind when you’re planning a vacation, but if you want to see beautiful gothic castles and churches you should definitely consider it. The city of Bled is home to some pretty spectacular castles and if you walk to the edge of the city you’ll see a lake with a little island in the middle, that has a beautiful church on it. It’s an incredible sight to behold, especially in the winter.
10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is always a good idea. Whether you’re wanting to see the tulips, legally smoke a joint or visit the Van Gogh museum it’s a great place to spend a vacation. The weather there is pretty mild all year round, but it can get a bit snowy in the winter, which just adds a bit of sparkly magic to an already gorgeous city. There’s ice-skating rinks around the city, Christmas markets and a lot of cultural events and festivals. Just imagine those beautiful little houses along the frozen canals covers in a blanket of snow.
11. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is a wonderful destination for the lovers of baroque architecture. It’s an incredibly picturesque city, especially in the winter. Just the sights should be enough to make you want to go. But if you need more reasons it’s also Mozart’s birth town and basically the entry point to Alps. Grab yourself some Austrian pancakes, a cup of hot chocolate and you’ve got yourself a vacation to remember.
12. Yosemite National Park, USA
If you’re one of those the nature loving folks you will love winter in Yosemite National Park. It’s a wonderful place to witness the change of seasons. It looks especially majestic in the winter, covered in a thick layer of snow. You can ski or snowshoe there and in case you didn’t know, you can even stay in one of the huts there.
13. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Český Krumlov is home to one of the biggest castles in the Czech Republic. It’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage sight, thanks to its architecture that dates all the way back to the 13th century. All of the Czech Republic is very beautiful, but this city is one of the most quaint and special looking ones. Definitely worth a visit. You’ll feel like you travelled back in time.