For some people, Winter has to be a time of frosty weather, snow, wrapping up warm and dark days. A whole host of winter sports come alive around the world and it can be pretty magical. I asked a group of the best travel bloggers to let us know their favourite cold winter destinations. Here are their recommendations.
Samantha Rickleton from North East Family Fun
There’s really no need to travel half way across the world to enjoy a winter break and it is one of our December traditions to book a short break along the Northumberland coast in the UK. Last year we stayed in wigwams at Seahouses and this year we have hired a cottage in Craster. The Northumberland coast is BREATHTAKING and winter is the perfect time to visit – the glorious beaches are often deserted and you won’t have to queue at any of the wonderful pubs at this time of year. There’s nothing we enjoy more than a bracing coastal walk followed by fish and chips and then a few drinks in a cosy country pub with board games and a roaring fire. Our Northumberland breaks are always enjoyed by our children too and although they may moan about their lack of wifi and sky tv, Northumberland offers countless activities and days out for us to relax and reconnect.
Tamara from We3Travel
I’m not a fan of the cold or winter, so I was skeptical that I could enjoy spending the day outdoors in negative temperatures — but I was very wrong. The Quebecois really know how to embrace winter. Quebec City’s two-week long Winter Carnival is fun for all, with activities like tobogganing, ice fishing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, slides, and ice carving. They really know how to live it up with special events like a “snow bath” with Bonhomme, the Carnival’s mascot, and night parades. Nearby you can also spend a day snow tubing or spend the night at the Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel).
Sarah from Travel on Your Lonesome
Wild and dramatic, sparsely populated, rugged and incredibly massive! It covers the southern region end of South America and falls within both Chile and Argentina. Whether you’re into cruising in the ocean, whale watching, ice burg spotting, hiking and exploring, or straight up chilling with penguins, Patagonia has soooo many highlights to explore!
Inma Gregorio from A World to Travel
There’s no place on earth as magical and unique as Finland in Winter. Seriously. Last January, during my third visit to the country, I had the opportunity of experiencing an helicopter ride at sunrise over the city of Helsinki and Suomelinna island. The gorgeous warm light of Finland during the short Winter days will leave you wanting to return for more if you dare to try it as well. You’ve been warned!
Elizabeth from Wanderlusting Elizabeth
If you love downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating, you might want to make your next trip to Alaska during the winter! And there’s always lessons to be found for those that want to learn any of these. If your goal is a large ski resort, then head to Alyeska outside of Anchorage. But if you’re in the mood for a smaller town, Juneau has a much smaller ski area. If it’s ice skating you’re after, several cities, Juneau and Anchorage included, have ice rinks with rentable gear, though if you have your own I’d recommend skating outdoors if the lakes are frozen and free of snow. If neither of those are up your alley, there’s an abundance of trails perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. And nothing feels better than spending the day outside in the snow and then curling up with a hot chocolate in front of a wood stove in the evening!
Stefan and Sebastien from Nomadic Boys
In February 2013, we visited L’Alpe d’Huez for the annual gay ski week. Sebastien is French so growing up he’d ski all the time. Stefan from London however, this was his first time. The views across the Alps are of course magnificent, even more so when covered with a blanket of snow. It’s of course incredible cold but we think that only adds to the atmosphere and makes it more memorable. We borrowed Sebastien’s father’s ski outfits, which are quite retro, from the 1980s/1990s, and embellished them with these hats so we couldn’t miss each other and locate one another from afar.
Stu and Eloise from Am I Nearly There Yet?
We spend several weeks in Northern India a few winters back over Christmas and New Years! Christmas in Darjeeling was a huge highlight. High in the Indian Himalayas range at 2000m, meaning it’s pretty cool all year round. Plus the altitude means it perfect for tea cultivation! Remember to wrap up warm if you’re planning to visit in winter time. We even had to upgrade to an electric blanket in our room as it was so cold! Northern India is very diverse, culturally and spiritually. Enjoy the massive peaks, quaint ancient villages, explore incredible monasteries, drink the world’s best tea, explore some beautiful hill top plantations and enjoy the mountain vibe!
Laura Lynch from Savoured Journeys
Whistler, located in British Columbia, Canada, is one of my favorite winter destinations. Not only is it only is it super easy to get to from Seattle and Vancouver, it’s one of the top ski destinations in the Northwest. Whistler’s Blackcomb Mountain is where it’s at for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. But even if you’re not a skier, Whistler has so much more to offer. The village is packed with restaurants and bars, and there are a dozen other winter activities available nearby, like dogsledding, snowmobiling, winter ziplining and snowshoeing.
Ron and Michele from Legging It
La Barrosa with it’s mild winter temperatures that average 16 C is a wonderful place to spend winter. It has stunning beaches with many walking trails along the coast to enjoy during the day. There are also many spots along the beachfront to enjoy the magnificent winter sunsets. Many of the cafes are open and the bonus is there are not many people around so you never have to book. Situated close to many interesting places to visit, Cadiz with it’s Roman history, some of the beautiful white Andalucian villages and of course the numerous coastal towns to explore.
Simone from The Aussie Flashpacker
Switzerland is one of the most amazing places I’ve visited in all my travels! Being an Australian I have always dreamed of having a white Christmas and beautiful snowy winters! I think everything looks truly more beautiful covered in a layer of snow! Switzerland is a country that is so breathtakingly beautiful with Alps, Lakes, Beautiful Cities and Gorgeous Alpine Villages and Towns (they also have amazing chocolate and cheese which is an added bonus)! It is a magical country with endless beautiful scenery that would make a perfect shot for the front of a Christmas Card! It is truly one of the most magical and beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I would visit again in a second.
Matilda from The Travel Sisters
Japan is a great place to visit anytime and winter is no exception. Whether a fan of cities decked out in holiday lights, delightful snow festivals or popular winter sports resorts Japan has something for everyone. On our last winter visit to Japan, we were particularly charmed by Jigokudani Yaen Kōen aka Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park. The main attraction is a group of Japanese Macaques known for their red faces and hot spring antics. Native to northern Japan, winter is the best time to view these snow monkeys as true “snow” monkeys. Although possible as a day trip, we recommend spending a few days in the surrounding area where you can explore white-covered trails and even enjoy a soak in an onsen yourself.
Odoardo Girardi from Queidue
I love going to warm places during wintertime. It doesn’t have to be a very hot place like some Caribbean islands or tropical Asia. I rather prefer places that are really hot in July and August and not that cold in winter. My favourite is Malta, the small island in the Mediterranean, where I lived for a couple of years and where I would like to go back every few weeks even in winter. It is lovely to have a walk on the seaside with the not-so-hot sun warming up my body. And one of the best things to do during wintertime is to relax at an empty beach, where you can really enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the coast. Winter in a sunny place is absolutely a must-do.
Amanda & Brian from Eat Work Travel
Traveling in the winter provides a unique vantage point pf destinations especially when they are snow covered! We found the perfect winter wonderland during our travel to Reykjavik, Iceland. The long evenings of winter combined with a clear sky provide some of the best chances to see the Northern Lights. The golden circle is a popular destination route outside of Reykjavik to see waterfalls, geysers and the general country side. While you can experience these lush and green sights during the summer, a blanket of snow in the winter provides a very contrasting view! We loved seeing the rushing blue waters of the Gullfoss Waterfall through the crisp white snow. Finally soaking in the Blue Lagoon while the snow was falling is an experience we won’t forget!
Finally, the ultimate cold winter destination
Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter
If cold weather doesn’t scare you, Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime place to experience and a great winter travel destination. The White Continent shows up on many bucket lists and rightfully so. With a legendary landscape full of glaciers, icebergs and numerous opportunities for wildlife encounters (the iconic penguins are a crowd favorite) Antarctica will not disappoint. Unless working at a research station, visits are only possible from November to March- the months of Antarctic summer and winter in the Northern hemisphere. Antarctic summer temperatures are typically below freezing though so it is still a perfect destination for anyone who prefers colder climates. And as an added bonus, with around 20 hours of daylight, lucky visitors have even more opportunities to take in the breathtaking surroundings.
What do you think of this list? I want to go out in the snow! Where are your favourite cold winter destinations?