Top Destinations to Visit in winter
The concept of paradise does not always include a sandy beach. Not to me, at any rate. Not to any traveler, of course. The official definition of vacation paradise may include swaying palm trees and a scorching sun, but travel does not always have to be that when the weather turns cold, we begin to fantasize about two very different styles of vacations: winter wonderlands and tropical beaches. On some days, we fantasize about a ski holiday or a trip to a snow-covered European village, while on others, we start preparing our next beach vacation while scoffing at the sub-zero temperatures. Repeat the loop about 50 times, and you have a pretty good idea of what our lives are like from December to March every year. Some of us like the chill of winter. Some of us love a good blizzard. Some of us revel in the temperature falling and the sky closing in.
Best Places to Visit
- Whitefish, Montana, USA
This charming ski town is ideal for getting away from it all. There’s plenty to do and see on Big Mountain, which is home to busy shops and a ski resort. You will enjoy some scenic views of the mountain mirrored in their state lake from the right vantage point. The big draw, however, is their annual winter festival, which features the lesser-known sport of joring. A horse and rider pull a skier around an 800-foot-long horseshoe-shaped path, while the skier hops and swerves around slalom gates.
- Lake Tahoe, California, USA
Lake Tahoe is spectacular all year, but its breathtaking scenery is at its best in the winter. In addition to over a dozen ski resorts, the city has hot springs, scenic vistas, and a lively nightlife. Skiing, nature walks, and bird-watching are only a few of the winter sports available to visitors. Lake Tahoe receives about 125 inches of snow a year, so if all else fails, try making a snowman.
- Gull Foss, Iceland
The Gull Foss waterfall is located in southwest Iceland in the canyon of the Hvtá River, which is fed by Langjökull, Iceland’s second largest glacier. While it is stunning in the summer, it is even more stunning when it partially freezes over in the winter. The rivers turn vibrant blue and turquoise, and the rocks accumulate ice and snow. The water falls about 100 feet in 2 phases and is surrounded by a nearly 200-foot-high canyon wall. Although there isn’t anything else to do in the region except gaze at the waterfalls, most tourists believe that the trip is well worth it to bask in the untouched natural beauty.
- Lake Baikal, Russia
Going to Russia during the winter is usually not a good idea. Some may be tempted to take the risk just to see Lake Baikal, regarded as the “Sacred Sea” by the native groups who once lived there. The world’s deepest freshwater lake is a draw any time of year, but in the winter, the body of water transforms into a 12,200-square-mile ice rink. Tours by dog sled and snowmobile are accessible, as are ice diving and rafting in places where the water hasn’t frozen over.
- Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
The Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, receives heavy snowfall for around four months of the year. Regardless of the weather, there are plenty of hot springs to steam up in. This is not a well-kept secret, particularly if you’re a snow monkey: Snow monkeys have been known to visit the valley in the winter and swim during the day. Visitors will look at the steam vents, which blast hot steam into the air, in addition to watching the monkeys kick back.
Greenland is an icy, magical, and naturally lovely place on the world. The world’s largest non-continental island is far more than glaciers (though the glaciers are spectacular)—consider majestic fjords, colorful villages, and sheep fields.
- Dolomites, Italy
The Dolomites are the warm cousin to the glitzy ski towns of the Alps. The waxy slopes of the region are accessible through the 86-mile Great Mountains Road, one of the world’s most beautiful alpine drives and an ideal day trip from Venice.
- Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
In recent years, Whistler (one of North America’s best ski resorts) has become a go-to destination for high-quality ski and snowboard hills. With 8,171 acres of skiable terrain, there’s enough to keep you on new trails for the entire six-month regular season. Runs come with a variety of difficulty levels, making it ideal for beginners, adrenaline junkies, and everyone else in between
- Finnish Lapland
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost city, and it has one of the most beautiful winter scenes you’ll ever see. There aren’t many places where you can visit Santa Claus, ride in a reindeer sleigh, and sleep under the Northern Lights in a bubble sled—but Lapland allows you to do all three.
- Stowe, Vermont
Spruce Peak at Stowe, Vermont, offers snow-filled family fun. The $500 million ski and lifestyle group, anchored by Stowe Mountain Lodge, is a self-contained adventure destination offering snowboarding, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and, of course, excellent skiing.
- Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a fantastic winter destination. The city offers a variety of activities and is well prepared for snow and ice. Tallinn is also stunning, and if you go while it’s snowing, you’ll be in for a magical treat.
- South Tyrol, Italy
A wonderful winter activity is to visit a beautiful spa, such as Alpen Palace Resort and Spa, which has indoor and heated outdoor pools, a salt cave, massage facilities, and more. In addition, the hotel offers a great menu for breakfast and dinner. If you wanted to, you might also visit the nearby Klausberg or Speikboden ski resorts.
- Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, USA
Have you ever tried to explore a glacier? This impressive roadside glacier is just two and a half hours from Anchorage and is located close to the Glenn Highway. There are several pull-offs along the highway where you can sit and take photos, or you can pay a fee to get up close and personal. It’s the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States, extending more than 27 miles long and four miles wide, so it’s well worth a visit.
Of course, there are many wonderful places to visit in the winter. Whether to take advantage of the cold and snow, or to totally stop it. Whatever your interests are, I hope this article has given you some ideas for beautiful places to visit.